Insider's Tips on Using Radio Advertising for the First Time

using-radio-advertisingA popular 70's pop song once said "Video killed the radio star." With the eventual rise of the internet and social media, radio was predicted to be relegated to the dusty shelves of a museum. However, this has certainly not been the case, and if anything… radio has seen growth in recent years. In August 2015, Nielsen reported radio audience at an all time high in history, once again proving radio’s impact on our daily lives.

Radio advertising is a force to be reckoned with, and one that proves to give a solid return on marketing investment time and time again. Whether you’ve been advertising on the radio for years, or have yet to tap into the power of this medium, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we outline some of the best insider tips for radio advertising that any business can use to be successful.

Start With a Strategy

Before developing your radio creative (which is everyone’s favorite part!), you need to create a marketing strategy first. A first step to building a marketing strategy includes conducting a competitive analysis which will help you determine what they’re known for, why people choose to do business with them, and the reasons they may keep or lose customers. Only by analyzing your competition first can you really determine what makes you stand out in the market; this is known as your unique selling point or USP.

The pizza industry is a fantastic example. Domino's has always been known for delivery, Pizza Hut for family, and Little Caesar's for being cheap. By the time Papa John's came around, the angle they took was fresh ingredients because none of their competition positioned themselves that way, quickly becoming what they are known for around the world.

After studying your competition and identifying your USP, it’s time to think about your brand and marketing strategy. Your brand strategy will let potential customers know what you offer and what they can expect from you, and allow you to deliver this message in a consistent and effective way via your marketing.

Need more help? Learn how to build a marketing strategy here.

Always Set SMART Goals

While the most common goal for marketers is to increase sales and bring in new customers, before starting a radio advertising campaign you’ll want to dive even deeper into what your goals are for this particular campaign. For example, “more sales” or “brand awareness” are not what we would consider SMART goals.

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

The more specific you can be, the better. This will help you develop creative and a call-to-action that is goal-oriented, and give you the direction you need to develop a radio advertising schedule that matches your goals (more reach vs. more frequency, particular dayparts, etc.)

Some examples of SMART goals might be:

  • To increase sales of product X by the end of this quarter by 15%

  • To drive a minimum of 50 new leads to our sales team this month

  • To increase website traffic by 25% and convert a min. of 5% into leads on the site

  • To sell out our next event with full price tickets

You can always shoot for the sky but when we’re referring to SMART goals you need to be grounded in reality as well. Be sure to set goals that can be reached realistically in the timeframe given, and within your budget.

The second part of setting goals is making sure you have a system for tracking them. Many radio advertisers (and really any type of advertiser) will complain that they didn’t see results, as if they are just waiting to “see” them. However, it takes more than that to really track your ROI. Knowing what your goals are is half the battle, but what is your baseline? What historical data do you have to compare to? What other variables might affect results like other campaigns running or seasonality?

If your goals aren’t as specific as the examples above, and lean more toward a branding campaign, then you still want to determine what makes for a successful campaign. For example, if your business typically generates five inbound calls in a day and you see that number jump to 15 after airing your radio commercial, you might determine that your branding campaign is working.

Tips for Working With Your Radio Partner(s)

Using radio advertising for the first time can be a daunting task and it’s certainly recommended that you consult with your radio partner. We are experts in the field that can help you develop a customized strategy and campaign that will work best for your business. This includes help determining what radio format or station will best reach your desired audience and the appropriate creative to get results. Sharing your goals and expectations, as well as your overall brand and marketing strategy (if you have one), early on will help us help you.

One mistake business owners make is assuming that potential customers are just like them. You may enjoy a particular country music station but it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where you’ll reach your next customers. In this case, you have to have a certain level of trust in your media partner to help you determine the appropriate audience and station to aim for based on your business and goals.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions and get help. At Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group, we pride ourselves on helping our clients with building a brand strategy and creating unique, effective radio creative that is proven to get results. We don’t want you to feel like you’re going at it alone, and we encourage our advertisers to take advantage of our expertise. Whether you’re advertising with us, or another radio group, tap into the expertise and free resources provided.

Tips for Developing Radio Creative

  • Focus On "Why You vs. Them" - As mentioned, having a USP (unique selling point) will help you stand out from the crowd and this is what you have to let people know about. Why should they choose your business and not your competitors? What can you provide that they can't? What problem are you helping them solve?

  • Think About Your Audience - Your message needs to be tailored to the appropriate audience and knowing their motivations is essential to reaching them with your marketing.

  • Figuring out the Details Like Voice, Slogans, Jingles, Etc. - Having a consistent voice, memorable slogans and catchy jingles will greatly help you stand out from the crowd. The best slogans and jingles can anchor themselves into the minds of audiences and stay there long after they've heard your commercial. Mention the slogan, "Just Do It" to almost anyone and they'll be able to tell you what brand it is.

  • Create a High-Quality Production by Hiring Experts - You will need high-quality radio creative and production to wow listeners which is something your media partner can definitely help with. Utilize their expertise and resources to develop the highest quality advertising possible.

  • Have a Call-to-Action That Is Clear - Once you've gotten the listener's attention, you can then provide next steps. Define a specific action you’d listeners to take like “Call us now for a free consultation!” Your CTA will be most effective when you use actionable language that is easy to understand and provides value to your customers.

Do Not Forget the Importance of Consistency and Frequency

When developing your Mid-Missouri radio advertising you want to keep consistency in mind. Your marketing needs to have consistent branding as well as maintain the same tone and feel across other media. This will allow all of your marketing to work together, instead of against each other.

Frequency is always important, but what is a “good” frequency depends on many variables. Ultimately, the frequency of your advertising is going to depend on your industry, your goals, the type of campaign you’re running, and your budget. This is another great place to use your radio partner’s expertise. We can help you build an advertising schedule that matches your specific goals and works within your budget.

Integrate With Your Other Advertising

Your advertising will always be most effective when it’s paired or integrated across other channels you might be using. This means taking the same messaging from your radio spots, for example, and repurposing it to make sense for your billboard, social, and/or PPC campaigns.

Let’s take a quick look at some ways we can integrate our radio advertising with other media. For the sake of examples, we’ll think about this from the perspective of a personal injury law firm hoping to be top of mind after someone is in an automobile accident. Here’s how their advertising might play out:

  • Radio and Billboards — Chances are a lot of the same people that are listening to your radio spot are seeing your billboards as well. This is a great way to utilize both consistency and frequency in your strategy. Keep your billboard creative consistent with your radio creative. Use imagery that matches your radio ad, and keep your calls-to-action consistent. Think about the medium as well. Is it easier for a listener/viewer to remember a phone number or can you direct them to an easy to remember URL?

  • Radio and Social Media — Radio advertising is a great way to generate social engagement. Use your radio ad to encourage a conversation by promoting a hashtag that listeners can use. Seeing a number of tweets utilizing your hashtag is also a great way to track how well your radio ad is actually working (if this matches your target audience). Driving people to your Facebook page, vs. your URL might make sense if that is a goal of yours as well.

  • Radio and PPC — Your radio advertising can be used in conjunction with your pay per click (PPC) campaigns as well. Think about the verbiage you’d like your prospective customers to search for when looking for your business or products/services, and include those keywords in your spot. Using our law firm again this could be something as simple as mentioning John Smith, Attorneys at Law consistently in your ad so there’s no doubt about what a listener should be searching for when they get in front of a computer.

Developing a Mid-Missouri radio advertising campaign for the first time can be intimidating, but a good media partner can walk you through the steps of developing a strategy, outlining your goals, developing creative, and creating a plan that will work across different media and deliver results.


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