How Fast Can Radio Work?

It’s a question that’s asked quite a bit. “How fast will my radio advertising start working?”

I will answer the “how fast” question with more questions for you. Some of these questions tend to be greatly overlooked…

How often does someone need or desire what you sell? 1 time per year? 10 times? 1 time in 10 years? The longer the time period between their need…the longer it will take for ANY kind of branding advertising to work. And by branding, I mean, sticking in someone’s head so when they need you they’ll feel most comfortable buying from YOU versus your competitors. Which is the most profitable form of advertising in my opinion.

How much emotional voltage does what you sell carry? What I mean by that is, how do people feel about what you sell? Is it a “cold” purchase like a water heater…or is it a “warm and fuzzy” kind of purchase like a gift for a child that will light up their face? A “cold” purchase is something of necessity that people don’t get too excited about. A “warm” purchase is something that makes us really happy to buy. So, if you’re advertising a “cold” product or service, expect your advertising to take longer to work. If it’s “warm”…then you can hit emotional hot buttons easier and heavier.

How many ads will you be airing? This one is probably widely debatable. But I like to schedule ads all day long, about 24 to 30 per week. That gives the average radio listener a chance to hear your ad about 3 to 4 times each week. If you can’t afford an entire station then pick a 4-hour time frame throughout the day and cut the number of ads in half. That will allow the people listening during that time frame to get familiar with your business quickly. But it’s a smaller group of people versus advertising to the entire listening audience. As soon, as your budget can afford it…start advertising all day long, even into the evenings. And if you can, advertise at least 3 weeks out of every month. Optimum scheduling would be 52 weeks if you’re not a seasonal business.

But maybe you want things to happen faster. Maybe you want to start “sticking” in people’s brains a bit quicker. Then, pump up your number of ads for a few months. And update your ads every 2 to 3 weeks versus 4 to 6 weeks. It’s all about getting the listener familiar with your business and starting to trust you before they’ve even met you or contacted you. You’ve got lots of stories to share with listeners. Start doing it. They want to know WHY they should trust you. You’ll want to say, “You can trust us” or something cliché. But I want you to PROVE it to them in your ads.

How GOOD are your radio ads? Here’s the biggie. It’s so much more important than what most believe. How good are your radio ads means how much punch do they pack? No matter where you advertise, it’s tough to get people’s attention. People aren’t just sitting around waiting to be advertised to. And when they realize they’re watching or listening to an advertisement, their guard goes up. So, what are you going to do about that?

The best thing to do is try your hardest to create ads that don’t sound like ads. Ads that sound like ads are filled with platitudes. What’s a platitude? A platitude is a trite, meaningless, biased, common, or boring statement, often presented as if it were significant and original. Platitudes in advertising are the things that people don’t really care about. Or things that go in one ear and out the other.

To create ads that don’t sound like ads, you usually need to tell a story. Or you have a character telling a story. Or your radio can be as if you’re eavesdropping on a conversation. Or maybe bringing inanimate objects to life and giving them voices. The sky is the limit with radio.

You can have also have ads that are detected as an ad easier by the listener, but they still listen. These are ads that provide information that’s interesting. And the information is given in such a way that keeps you hanging on to every word. Words and arrangements of words that aren’t expected. You have about 2 seconds to grab a listener’s attention. And once you’ve done that, then you have to say something that will keep their attention for the next 4 seconds. And so on, and so on. But never start talking about what YOU care about as a business owner without making sure that your “targets” care about it as well. That’s the only thing that matters. What would people be interested in hearing?…and how do you connect that to your business? How can you make them feel 10x more comfortable doing business with you instead of a competitor?

I feel that radio is one of the best advertising mediums because of its unlimited possibilities. You can get people to go places with you in their minds that is impossible to do with TV, print, or anything else for that matter. The power of sound all by itself is incredible. I can have you close your eyes and take you on a journey. A journey to a different place in the world…or I can help you experience owning a product that you haven’t purchased yet. Oh, sure, you can see a TV ad with actors demonstrating a product of service. But a radio ad can help you envision YOU, yourself owning a product or experiencing the benefits of a particular service. An advertisement has much more impact on someone, when THEY are in the “movie”. Radio does that. Radio creates a movie in people’s minds…and THEY are the star. Not some actor…or a picture of someone they’ve never met.

What was that original question again? How fast will your radio advertising start to work? Ummm…you’ve got quite a few variables. Please don’t condemn ANY kind of advertising, until you know exactly how it can work to your advantage. Know its strengths and its weaknesses. Radio works best for the branding game. The game where your business name is “stamped” onto the brains of the public. When YOU are one of the first places they think of when they need your product or service…you will never have the problem of wondering where your next new customer will come from. I’m thinking radio is best compared to the Energizer bunny – the best choice for the long haul – the best choice to keep delivering what you really want out of your advertising.

Have a beautiful day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

Results Radio team member since 1998.