Cut Through the BS: How to Know If Your Radio Advertising Is REALLY Working

The biggest question about any marketing campaign is whether or not it's doing something positive for your business. At the same time, marketing ROI isn't always the easiest thing to understand or determine for small businesses, even for traditional marketing methods like radio advertising. Today, we'll take a look at how to know if your radio advertising is really working.

The Campaign Is Hitting Benchmarks and Achieving Goals

Guide-to-Tracking-Marketing-ROIWhen you create your radio advertising campaign, you and your media partner should define goals for your campaign to achieve. Specifically, you need SMART goals, i.e., goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. For the moment, we'll discuss the fact that your campaign goals need to be measurable ones, with metrics you can track in real time and a clear way of recording and reporting on that tracking for review. Your goals and the radio format should define your metrics.

For example, perhaps the overall goal of your campaign is to promote a new product or service. If you create a landing page on your website with complete information about the new offering, you can feature a specialized URL in your radio ads and set the benchmark of 300 unique page views per month throughout the campaign. You can utilize platforms such as Google Analytics to track these page views and determine whether or not the campaign is achieving that benchmark, which will be an indicator of reach and how effective your call to action is in your campaign. As a way to help ensure success, make sure you invest in A/B testing various elements so that you can develop the strongest ad with the strongest CTA for your audience to respond to.

As we discuss in the free guide, these results aren't enough to determine the final value of your radio marketing ROI. However, this is an important step and a key component of understanding.advertising-in-uncertain-times

The Campaign Is Generating New Leads

Another key factor is actually generating leads with your advertising. The results we mention in the first point aren't necessarily the same thing, just as tracking metrics and their results aren't the same as understanding your ROI. New Leads are an extension of those results, carrying the listener from simply visiting your website — to keep with our previous example — into taking steps to find out more about your business in a way that leads them closer to conversion. For example, if the landing page features another call to action that has them exchange particular information in order to learn more, sign up for your newsletter, or download related content.

Of course, to ensure that these new leads are due to your radio campaign, you'll need a way to determine attribution. Sometimes, that means using a phone number that's only featured in the radio ad; however, you'll need to have a number that's easy to remember, especially if your ad will air during popular drive times when people can't immediately reach for their phones. Alternate ideas can include catchy short URLs, CTAs that include a code specific to the radio ad, which can, in turn, be entered when they fill out lead forms, and hashtags for social media engagement. It's important to remember to avoid weak methods of attribution, including the "mention this ad" schtick or "check off where you heard about us" forms.Radio-Advertising-Guide-Mid-Missouri

The Campaign Correlates to Revenue Lifts

In the end, the bottom line is what business is all about. In our guide, we'll talk about how success in some metrics doesn't equate to marketing success. To touch on it briefly, however, when you're properly tracking your advertising, you can measure it against the big picture. Is it associated with revenue lifts? If so — your radio advertising really is working.

This is just a glimpse into understanding how to know if your radio advertising is really working. It should be a good starting place for evaluating your current radio campaigns, and you can work with your media partners for a more in-depth look at your radio marketing's role in your overall strategy.

Originally posted 6/28/16 - Updated on 9/20/23

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