Many companies see radio advertising as old school. While radio has been around for a long time, it is currently reverting into an untapped source of potential revenue as the majority of advertising dollars are heading towards television and digital marketing. As a result, there is far less competition for radio advertising, making the medium much more cost-effective than others. A radio spot can be as little as half the cost of a television spot, yet yields similar — if not superior — results.
The goal of radio advertising, like any other form of advertising, is to increase your market share. As an advertiser, this is how you should approach your campaign. Marketing is an investment to grow your business. Your radio spot should be made to bring real customers to your business. Otherwise, you are simply wasting money.
Developing an effective radio marketing plan
The first step to take in developing an effective radio marketing plan is to identify your target audience. The audience you will reach with a radio spot is far different from the one you would find with a social media campaign. For instance, you will need to ask youself whether your intended customers are even listening to radio in the first place. If the answer is no, then other forms of marketing might be better suited to your business.
Nevertheless, even within the radio world, there are different audiences you can target. The people who listen to the family-oriented Christian radio station may not be the same audience as those listening to a radio station churning out the latest top-40 pop hits. Although there could be some overlap, one of the great things about radio marketing is that it allows you to target a particular audience. If you don’t pick the station that your spot will run on carefully, you’re wasting a valuable opportunity.
Once you’ve selected which audience you are targeting and have identified what radio station they listen to, the next step for you is to negotiate a contract. When you reach this point, it’s typically best to involve an agency to assist you in the negotiation process. Marketing agencies often have established relationships with the sales departments at radio stations. They will be able to get you the best deal possible on the airtime you need while ensuring that you are not being sold something that you do not want or need.
After the contract is negotiated, you can produce your advertisement for the specific requirements of the station. Each station has different requirements that advertising must adhere to, so it is essential to wait to do this until you have decided where your spot will run. Depending on the station, you may end up with a heavily-produced recorded spot, or a more straightforward live read. Whatever the case, you will need consistently clean, professional copy and professional production; all things an agency can assist with. Without these, your advertising spot won’t be effective.
What businesses benefit from radio advertising?
More often than not, the type of businesses that benefit most from radio advertising are local. Most people listening to FM radio are on the move, often listening while commuting to work or driving their kids to school. This means that radio spots for businesses they will have to find later and on their own time are not nearly as effective as an advertisement for a business that they drive past every day.
Similarly, brick-and-mortar national brands tend to have greater success in radio marketing. These are brands that people already know (and hopefully love). A radio advertisement can be a great way to introduce them to new products, or remind them of what they already love about the brand. National brands will also have more of a budget at their disposal, meaning that their advertising tends to be better quality.
Other industries that see significant spending in radio advertising are automotive and insurance. Since most people are listening to the radio while they drive, products and services related to how they drive will sell well through radio. People are usually already thinking about their car to some extent while driving, so advertising that cashes in on this aspect have greater chances to be successful.
Producing a quality radio spot
The best radio spots are memorable. Whether that means a catchy jingle, a sense of humor that won’t be forgotten, or offering a great sale that will get listeners excited, advertisers need a hook to remain in the mind of potential customers—even long after their radio spot ends. Having a memorable angle can also help you fight a listener’s urge to change the station during a commercial break.
Great spots should also have a call to action for listeners. It can be as simple as, “Come try our new product today!” or, “Visit our location in your city today!” but you need to ask your listeners to perform an action after listening to your advertisement. Otherwise, you will simply be inundating potential customers with information. Given that you usually have only about 30 seconds to get your message across, overloading listeners with information can quickly become overwhelming.
Radio marketing is often ignored because many advertisers have deemed it out-of-date. Still, it gives you a unique “captive audience” that can be targeted to meet the needs of your business. As long as you pick the right radio station to market on, produce a spot with high-quality copy, and have a call to action that is right for potential customers, radio can become another useful tool in your marketing strategy.