radio adsWhen working with a client and we begin discussing advertising on the radio I hear more often than not, “I tried radio advertising once, but it didn’t work.” Ugh….When I hear this, it’s almost like nails on a chalkboard.  Radio Advertising does work. However, it needs to be planned correctly; like any advertising campaign.

Planning a successful campaign on the radio is less science and more an art form.  There needs to be a combination of a good creative (The Commercial), good frequency (The Commercials) and a good medium (The Radio Station), for a campaign to be successful. I’m hoping this information will help in your radio advertising domination.

Know Your Target Audience

This is the first mistake most make when going in on their own.  It’s common for a radio station sales rep to stop in and drop off the “Package of the Day.”  The business owner takes a look, sees that the rate is extremely low or that there are a lot of commercials included, or a combination of both and says, “Heck, why not?”  What the business owner doesn’t realize is that the radio station they just agreed to advertise on was a Rock Station reaching predominantly Men 25-54. Their business sells Women’s Clothing, which has a Women 18+ demographic.

No matter how you structure the message, the campaign will be extremely limited and will not meet expectations.  This is an overly exaggerated example, but you can see where I’m going. The moral of the story is, know your audience.  Make sure the radio station that you’re advertising on meets your demographic and standards.  Most radio representatives are more than happy to provide information about their radio station.

Know the Radio Station

Understanding the radio station that you’re about to advertise on is important too.  What’s the physical coverage of the station?  Who are the listeners?  Is the radio station edgy or controversial?  Will the radio station brand have negative consequences on your brand?  These are all good questions to ask before you agree to advertise with the radio station.  A good step to take is to ask your customers what they listen to.  You’ll get all sorts of answers, but it will give you an idea of where you should start.

Understand Good Frequency

Advertising on the radio takes fortitude.  It’s not a quick fix and success isn’t accomplished overnight. Radio is also a Frequency Medium, meaning that you need to schedule enough commercials for a commercial campaign to be effective.  How many commercials?  Well, it depends. Say you have an Open House on Saturday between 10 am – 3 pm.  I’d recommend running a 1-week campaign with at least 35-40 commercials between Monday and Saturday.  The commercials on Saturday should be frequent between 10 am – 3 pm and the message should be specific to Saturday and the Open House.

On the other hand, if you’re Brand Only without a specific “call to action” you should run about 50 commercials a month, and focus those over a two week period at the beginning of the month.  Run this campaign for at least six months.  These are only two strategies, and depending on your expectations, the number of commercials and where you place your commercials can change.

Write Good Copy/Produce a Good Commercial

This is the most important part of a successful campaign.  Good creative!  Ask the Radio Representative if they have a copy writing department.  If they do, great!  Most of the time, this will be included in the cost of the commercial and most radio stations offer this service.  If they do, ask if they’ve won awards or have received recommendations for their creative services team.  If not, hire a company to write and produce the creative for you.

You need creative that is effective.  You want copy that touches on emotion and cuts through the clutter of bad commercials.  A commercial that creates a “need” for your product or service can only be accomplished through a well written and produced creative.  There are plenty of creative agencies available in every major market.  Do a Google search for “Commercial Production Company” and see what comes up.  Radio production isn’t terribly expensive, and most packages include several commercials that you can use over several months.  It’s worth the investment.

Don’t Place All Your Eggs in One Basket

Like any advertising, do not rely solely on one form of advertising for your company.  If you’re running a radio campaign, have a social media campaign, with the same messaging, running at the same time.  This is a strategy that I recommend a lot. Radio and social media are perfect partners. If you have the budget, run a targeted broadcast TV campaign along with your radio campaign.  It’s important to have many advertising mediums in play for a successful campaign.

Radio advertising can be very powerful and done correctly, can meet your expectations and generate new and continued business.  I love feedback so please leave it below.