Traditional Media for Small Business (brick and mortar)

Radio, TV, Print, and Billboard. These are the main local advertising options you have. (we’re not talking digital or anything internet – I’ll tackle that beast later. Ok, quickly, digital ads are just print ads on steroids)

If I’m in charge of an advertising budget for a small business, I have to be sensitive to the size of the budget. I’m not going to be able to advertise everywhere. So, where do I put the money?

First, you have to understand the difference between “intrusive” advertising and “passive”.

Intrusive is radio and TV. It means that if we’re listening to a radio station or watching a TV program, the ads just “happen”. We don’t have to DO anything to be exposed to them. It’s not work…we just listen. Unlike passive media (print), where you have to choose to read an entire ad. Example: Just because there’s an ad on the magazine page you’re glancing at, doesn’t mean you’ll read it.

So, my first choice for advertising a small business is intrusive media if the budget allows for it. I also choose Radio over TV for 2 main reasons.

1) It’s more affordable to run the frequency of ads needed to start the branding process.

2) I can change the ads at no charge EVERY MONTH…easily. Whereas, TV production is spendy and labor intensive. And any time a TV ad airs for more than 6, 8, to 12 weeks…the effectiveness of that ad drops sharply down close to ZERO.

It’s because once we’re exposed to one particular ad more than a dozen times, we tend to “tune out” after only a couple of seconds. We say to ourselves, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me something I haven’t heard before.” Tell us something new. An overplayed ad bores us to tears. Or worse, it annoys us. And that’s not good for business, eh?

What’s the short version of HOW a small, brick and mortar should advertise locally? Radio. 48 to 52 weeks a year. Of course there are always some exceptions, i.e. a seasonal business. Or I may suggest direct mail when your target prospects are few…and easily located.

I write radio for many small businesses. When we take our time and find the right things to say in the ads…growth is not far behind. Return on investment from radio done right, far exceeds what can be accomplished with print and outdoor (passive) advertising.

Something that I’ll always remember that Roy H. Williams said, “We can close our eyes, but we can’t close our ears.”

Have an awesome day!

Duane Christensen

Results Radio Townsquare Media – Sioux Falls


My work website: (And if you’d like a business website like this, or nothing like this, give me a shout. I’ll point you in the right direction)

And if you have questions about the cost of radio advertising, which radio stations would be a good fit, or how to get started attracting more customers, don’t be afraid to ask. I like to help good businesses take a bigger slice of the market.