Much of the gloss has gone from radio as a marketing medium. Push button radios make the ability to surf stations instantly and easy. Young people tend to surf around looking for a song they like, and switch stations when the ads come on. Radio stations advertising commercial-free periods are conditioning listeners to look for stations with no advertising. Advertising revenue has dropped 3.5% in the last 12 months alone in metropolitan Australia.
There is no doubt that radio is still a very effective advertising medium. Radio advertising reaches a huge audience every day. Each morning it is claimed 80% of people listen to the radio, and listen for an average of 146 minutes a day. It is one of the cheapest mass media options available. Many small businesses are tempted to begin their media campaign with radio spots.
Don’t Make These Mistakes
1) The wrong station
Radio stations target specific demographics or audiences. Ask yourself, who is your target audience. Their age and social position will give you some indication of the right radio stations to approach.
Contact the stations and ask for up to date information on their listeners. They are constantly monitoring their audience and know who is listening. Then think about your target market. Age and Sex are easy to ascertain, but their social status and attitudes are another story.
For example talk-back radio stations attract audiences over 50, but their attitudes will differ from people who listen to an “easy Listening” station, or a station playing hits of the sixties and seventies. If you are a Lexus dealership you want to target a different audience than a club advertising a Debbie Harry concert.
2) The wrong time
Once again look at your target market. Will they be at home or at school? Are they the type of person who will listen to the radio at work? Pass any building site, hairdresser, workshop or factory and there will be radios going. The average accountant will be less likely to be listening to talk-back radio while working, but he may be listening to the easy-listening stations.
Drive time is the most listened to period of the day, and also the most expensive. But if you are targeting housewives, that may not be the best time.
3) The wrong frequency
Small businesses never have enough money for everything, and advertising is just one of those expenses. The Station rep or account manager will want to sell you a package offer, perhaps 25 spots. A common mistake on the part of the advertiser is trying to get the most out of the package by spreading those ad spots out.
Research shows that we are bombarded with anywhere from 500 to 1,700 commercial messages every day. We cannot remember them all, our brain filters them out.
The way to break through that filter is repetition. You must tell the listener your message over and over. And it needs to be the SAME listener over and over. But you can only afford 25 spots. So what do you do?
The station will want to spread your spots across the day and the month. To be effective you need to repeat the commercial to the same people. So do some negotiation with the sales rep. Instead of 30 spots across the month, spread them across three or five days. Negotiate to have them repeated in the same “daypart” or time of day. We are creatures of habit. We drive to work at the same time every day. We drive home at the same time every day. If you play your ads in morning and evening drive-time, most people will not hear both ads. They will hear half of them Remember, repetition is the key. Repetition is the key.
If 60,000 people hear your ad once, you have wasted your money, if 30,00 hear it twice, almost the same. if 5,000 people hear your ad 5 times it will penetrate and you should see results.
4) Too many stations at once
The same principle applies to using multiple radio stations. If you spread your advertising budget across multiple stations you will once again dilute the message by not reaching people often enough. Most people listen to the same station most of the time.
As a child I sat in front of the radio waiting for my favorite show to start at 5pm. The days when people switched from station to station to listen to specific persons or shows are long gone. Now, that is reserved for TV shows. we stay largely with one or two stations. Pick the best station for your target audience, and own it as much as funds allow.
5) Too much information
Radio is good for promoting a single thought. Save your radio advertising dollars until you have something newsworthy.
Advertise a sale, a special, the arrival of a new product range, and end of season sellout or a specific event. The follow up with a simple contact point. The address of the sale, The number to order tickets, or an easy to remember web site.
Keep the message simple, repetitive and memorable, and you will get good results.
Please let me know your experiences with radio advertising.
Images by ArtDecoDude and Don Fulano