I Love Your Radio Ads

“I love your radio ads.”

Some people say that…to a pretty good handful of my radio clients. That’s great! But it doesn’t mean much if the ads aren’t working.


There’s something to be said for getting people to like your ads. That means they’re listening all the way through. If you bored the snot out of them for the first 5 to 20 seconds…they won’t stick around to listen to the rest. And therefore…they won’t tell you “I love your ads.”

I love your radio ads

Image courtesy of “basketman” / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What does it take to have radio ads that are liked or loved?

It usually involves a story. Or some piece of interesting information shared in such a way that engages the listener. Maybe you teach the listener something. Maybe you get them nodding their head saying, “That’s me. I know exactly what you’re talking about.” Or your ads are sincere and touch an emotional hot button…and then provide a solution to a problem that doesn’t seem “sales-ey”. When you truly want to help…that shines through.

I read a quote recently (and for the life of me I can’t remember who said it) “People don’t listen to ads. They listen to what interests them.” And I remembered the quote because it’s soooooo true. Just because you’re on Radio, TV, online, Facebook, Twitter, billboards, bus benches, etc…. it doesn’t mean you’re actually getting your message across to those people who use or come in contact with a particular advertising medium. You better be telling them something they care about or providing enough intriguing info that keeps them listening.

A good headline is crucial. But if you decide to take the easy route (after the interesting headline) and start telling them how great you are, that you’re the best, that you have excellent customer service, yada yada yada…you’ll lose them. Have an intimate conversation with the listener. (I say listener instead of listenerS because your ad needs to speak to one person. It’s one on one. Make it personal. Make them feel like you’re face to face with them. Keep your radio ad about your prospect – not about you.)

I forget that I need to say this more often: People don’t care about you…they care about themselves and their family and how you might be able to HELP them. That’s it. If someone doesn’t feel you have their best interest at heart, good luck snagging that fish.

Not everyone will say, “I love your radio ads”. But when you finally get on the right track…some people will. And you’ll notice the effect it has on your business.

I can’t end this without a little disclaimer though. There have been thousands of advertising campaigns that have won big awards and popularity contests…but they didn’t end up attracting any new business for the advertiser. Humorous, outrageous, or heart-warming might get some attention…but your ads still have to sell. They still have to move people closer to doing business with YOU instead of your competitor. It can get kind of tricky. The right strategy comes into play here. You need to make sure the message you’re conveying is something that people will care about and can cause them to buy more of what you sell.

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog


Example of Wasted Advertising Effort

I saw a company’s vehicle the other day with their advertising slogan on the door. It said:

“Here for you…as life happens.”

Did that just blow you away, or what?!

Image courtesy of "scottchan" / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of “scottchan” / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

And this business is BIG in my town. They probably have millions for an advertising budget. So, someone came up with that slogan (maybe an advertising agency, maybe a family member of the CEO – I’m not sure) and a committee probably said, “Yes! That’s exactly who we are and what we do!”

No, they didn’t say that. They probably thought to themselves, “We ARE here for you. So, it’s perfect. And life DOES happen, so it fits. This is great marketing! People will love it!”

This slogan is so vague and all-inclusive and un-something…I could make that my own slogan for my family. When my wife has a problem, I should just say, “Honey…I’m here for you, as life happens.”

Ok. I’m done being critical of the slogan. I just wanted to share an example of a completely wasted advertising effort. Your slogan should communicate something that is specific to you. It should be able to stand on its own…where the reader will know exactly what you do and what you stand for.

Please do not copy this slogan. There are probably tens of thousands of companies with something very similar. If you want to stand out with your advertising and get noticed and be remembered…stay very far away from advertising slogans of this nature.

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Results Radio Townsquare Media

Sioux Falls


How Radio Advertising Rocks the House for Local Businesses

There are many hard-working, local businesses sprinkling their ad budget around many different local advertising mediums. My prediction is that those advertisers are frustrated to the point of kicking every advertising sales rep out the door who walks in.  And they’re confused. Everyone seems to tell them a different load of bull about advertising. They’re confused about how to make their advertising do what they want it to do.

Radio Advertising

Photo courtesy of “digitalart” / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Radio advertising is one of the most difficult forms of advertising to write…effectively.  But once a business hires a radio ad writer who knows how to make it work, good things follow, and it doesn’t seem that hard at all.  A good ad writer will make it look easy.  Radio can draw crowds for sales and special events.  But the true strength of radio lies in long-term consistent branding.  Branding a local business is really no different from branding a billion dollar company.  You want as many people as possible to think of you first when they need your product or service.

Radio reaches people.  Period. It reaches consumers – people with wallets that would like to spend their money.  And the affordable repetition that you can get with radio is an essential ingredient in branding your local business into the minds of the public.

But THE most important element for making radio work its absolute best…is in the message.  What you SAY is what matters most.  Give me the cheapest radio spot rates, along with a crappy radio ad, and you’re still wasting money.  To all those cheap rate seekers out there, you’re overlooking the most vital part of an ad campaign.  You need to have a high-caliber message in order to make it work.  That’s what should be researched, sweated over, and pounded out before you decide to spend any money on your advertising.

What kind of message works?  There are all kinds…

Some like to be creative and funny.  But beware of being overly creative and forgetting to include the selling part of the ad.  Like legendary ad man David Ogilvy said… “It’s not creative, if it doesn’t sell.” You know, the kind of commercials that spends 23 seconds setting up the joke and the last 7 seconds poorly selling the product.

I find that stories work really well.  Or even a short mini-story within a radio ad. Any story that helps draw more attention to how your product or service helps your customer…is a good story.  Any story that helps the listener “connect” with the owners/employees is a good story.  People love to do business with people they know (or feel they know).  People love to do business with people they trust (or feel they trust).  A story that helps the listener connect emotionally with the product, service, owner, employees, etc. is a good story.

When telling stories about the owner of a local business, not just ANY story will do.  It’s got to have an “engagement factor” included.  You can’t just tell any dumb story about a business owner and think that the public with give a hoot.  It’s best to be completely candid and truthful with your listener and portray that YOU, the mighty and powerful business owner, are human too.  Don’t ever try to trick a listener into becoming your customer…seduce them with care and frankness, and make it possible for them to trust you and get to know you better.

The bottom line is that radio works great for those local businesses that want the public to remember THEM first and not their competitors.  Or if the industry is saturated with competition…radio can at least put you on the short list as an option…rather than not being an option at all.

Radio works great for business owners who truly want to grow and are competitive by nature.  You’re either growing or shrinking – if you don’t want to beat your competitor and gain market share – radio might not be for you.  If you don’t have a budget for growth or at least for maintaining market share – radio might not be for you.

Don’t “spray and pray” with your ad budget. Find out what works (like radio), find someone who understands that the message is the most important ingredient in a successful ad campaign, and focus your ad dollars there.  You’ll know if it’s working by setting goals for your business and seeing if you’re on pace to reach those goals by checking them at 6, 9, and 12 months the first year.

One last note… some say radio advertising doesn’t work. But I have a nice handful of customers who can prove the naysayers wrong. When it’s done right…when you have the right people on your “radio team”… it’s one of the best weapons you have if you’re a small to medium-size local business trying to grow and get an edge up in your market.

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

And to learn more about seducing new customers with your advertising you can get the Kindle edition of my book here, Take A Bigger Slice.

I work for Results Radio / Townsquare Media in Sioux Falls. I write ads and help my clients attract new, profitable customers. I started as a wide-eyed radio rookie in 1998 and love helping good businesses grow and attract new faces.

Radio Salepeople Who Write Radio Ads Too!

I recently read a radio article that talked about getting the best “deal” when you buy radio. It was full of a lot of radio jargon that probably didn’t make much sense to their targeted audience – business owners.

But the most interesting part were the comments below. Most of them were radio salespeople and people who write ads for a living. The radio salespeople were throwing in their 2 cents about how great radio is…and the writers were schlepping their own businesses by saying, if you need a radio spot go to their website.

Photo courtesy of "Salvatore Vuono" / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of “Salvatore Vuono” / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One comment from an ad writer said not to have the radio station write your radio ads because they don’t know what they’re doing. I agree. Except my company is an exception – I’ll tell you why soon.

Another comment said that good radio ad production costs between $1500 to $3000 – just to get one ad written and produced! Yowza! (I’ve heard those ads – most still aren’t any good – or could be much better)

My company, Results Radio / Townsquare Media in Sioux Falls, doesn’t charge you anything to have ads written and produced. But the part you may be interested in…is that the training for all of us “ad salespeople” here is probably among the best that you’ll find in the country.

As a salesperson, I need to sell radio airtime to make a living. But as a smart radio salesperson, I would prefer that the ads my clients buy from me actually WORK. That’s why we/I are constantly learning and training to write better radio ads.

Although most radio stations do not agree with this philosophy…I believe it’s the best way to ensure a radio station’s success and our clients’ success. Is it EASY to learn how to write good radio? Or to learn about great marketing in general? No, it’s not. Not at first. But now, it’s second-nature to me. To me, it’s not worth doing…if I’m not going to do it right.

It’s my passion. That’s why when I see bad advertising, I cringe and wish that it was ME who could be the “marketing guy” for that particular company with the bad advertising. And my wife is with me many times when I explain to her what is wrong with the advertisement and why it won’t work…and how it could be better. There are tons of these examples on billboards as we drive along.

Now, back to the point of that article – getting a good “deal” when you buy radio advertising. Does it really matter if you get the best deal in the world if you’re buying a radio advertising plan that won’t work? It’s still expensive… no matter how cheap your radio spots are.

So…here’s what you get from us here at Results Radio:

  • Marketing ideas and strategies to help you stand out from your competition and help you grab a bigger slice of the market.
  • Ad plans to reach the masses and help you attract the people you’re looking for.
  • Radio ads that will be heard. Radio ads that don’t sound so much like ads.
  • A marketing person who is fighting for you month-in and month-out (not just an order taker who you only talk to once every quarter or once a year when they want you to renew your advertising contract).

Of course, I want you to choose me when you’re interested in making a dent in your market. When you want to grow. When you want to attract a new, consistent flow of new customers. But it’s not just me. It’s my radio group’s culture. Help our clients first…and our own success will follow.

Do I agree that you won’t find the help you need from most radio salespeople regarding the content and the message of your radio ads? Yes. But our group is an exception. I’m an exception. And we don’t charge you anything extra for our expertise in local marketing strategies and tactics.

Now, I’ll probably get a couple nasty emails from a couple of ad production directors who believe they do good work. And they might. But if they’re handling the ads and strategies for EVERY SINGLE ADVERTISER on their stations – how much attention do you think those advertisers are getting. I’m just sayin’.

We are radio salespeople who have learned how to write good radio. We ask our clients questions. We research. We dig to find the right way to help our clients stand apart from the crowd and get noticed. We stay in touch and ask what’s going on in the trenches.

I invite you to give me a call to discuss local advertising. But don’t forget to talk to a few other advertising people throughout Sioux Falls too. Then, you be the judge as to who might be able to help you the most. And who you might enjoy working with more.

My radio customers are dear to me. Their success is what I think about every week. If my radio campaigns fail to work like I thought they would, I lose sleep over that. And back in 2004 and 2005, and 2006, I did lose some sleep. But not today. When, I put a plan in place and when a radio strategy hits the airwaves…I’m confident in that plan.

There are thousands of options for you out there. Just make sure you keep in mind that advertising only works when the message is right. And “the message” is what at least 90% of my education has focused upon.

Has this been a shameless plug for my radio group, Results Radio / Townsquare Media – Sioux Falls? Maybe. But I also feel that not enough people know how committed we are to our clients’ successes. And that the radio industry might want to take note of what we’re doing here.

Have a great day! If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them. Thanks!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

Results Radio / Townsquare Media Sioux Falls

For the Kindle edition of my book – click here Take A Bigger Slice

Non-Fat Advertising

I almost drove off the road when I heard this radio spot.

I had recorded my daughter last year talking about Christmas. It was for a co-worker of mine. He asked if I would be willing to get some audio from my daughter for a Christmas ad. So, I asked her a few questions and she did not disappoint.

The ad didn’t hit the airwaves for last Christmas…but it’s ready for this year. Even though I had already heard the final ad, I nearly drove off the road when I heard it in my car the other day. We can do wonderful things on the radio…this is just an example. Enjoy.

Apple Tree Holiday Pre-School radio spot

[audio http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/72g9fqaq9h/apple_tree_holiday_preschool_rev2.mp3]


Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Non-Fat Advertising

I’m a marketing guy and ad writer. This isn’t just about better ads either, it’s also about a strategy to set you apart and…

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Charley’s Grilled Subs – A Lesson in Customer Service

Charleys subCharley’s Grilled Subs is a favorite of mine. They’re in the mall. But I don’t shop in the mall. Charley’s is a destination for me. It’s good enough for me to make a special trip to the mall…just to grab one of Charley’s awesome grilled subs. They have enough selection to keep me curious and trying something new every time. I usually grab a buddy from work and we head over to Charley’s.

Let me be clear. A sandwich…is my favorite food. And Charley’s never disappoints. Of course it’s not an average sandwich. It’s a grilled sub where they sear and fry everything on the grill right in front of you.

And what about USDA Choice steak that you can’t even find in the grocery store? Or the courageous practice that if your fries sit longer than 90 seconds, they go in the trash? 90 seconds! Now, that’s fresh!

I’m not going to talk about their food though. It’s good. It’s great! I highly recommend you try it. Ok, I’m done talking about the food.

I notice their customer service. But let’s not think of it as “customer service”… but maybe “customer delightedness”.

Their employees always always always appear to be happy and having a good time. In my opinion…that rubs off on customers. Of course, you’ve been to other eateries where “the help” seems to have just gotten out of bed. Or they have a chip on their shoulder something fierce, and you wonder if they spit in everyone’s food. But not at Charley’s.

I talked to the owners of Charley’s recently. Nice, hardworking, and grateful people.

What’s their secret? I don’t think they have one – they just run a business like more people should.

They KNOW that their employees are part of their marketing. They come up with employee contests. They ask for input and feedback. They ask for ideas. They share their sales numbers and get them to WANT to beat yesterday’s numbers or last week’s numbers. Charley’s employees feel they’re part of the team…not just an hourly worker bee.

And it SHOWS! And it works! Charley’s always seems to be busy when I’m there. Of course, you’d expect they would get a bunch of mall traffic. And they do. But just “being in the mall” doesn’t guarantee success. I’ve seen many eateries come and go in the mall. And the ones that have to close up shop usually had a “customer delightedness” problem. Or the owners tried to manage from afar. And that doesn’t work.

And what about their marketing? Of course, I could help them do some really awesome radio…but that isn’t always the best thing for a restaurant with tight profit margins. Especially for a place like Charley’s who is still fairly new. The owners of Charley’s here in Sioux Falls at the Empire Mall aren’t afraid to go out and “get” business. They’ll hand a coupon to anyone, anywhere – with a smile and a handshake.

I’m not a fan of coupons in newspapers and online because then you start training people to look for your coupon. Coupons are to help entice someone NEW to try you out. Then…you can dazzle them. And Charley’s does just that! The owners and management make sure they have a pocket full of coupons wherever they go. They get out and meet new people. They say something like, “Hey, when your head is on a swivel in the food court at the mall…wondering where you should eat…give us a try!”

You get a great meal…at a fair price…and happy employees “whistling while they work”. It beats the tar out of most places we visit these days, right?

I think if they continue to empower their employees and make sure they understand how much impact their smiles and attitude affect their customers…they’ll keep growing and continue to be a success!

Congrats, Charley’s Grilled Subs! You’re doing it right! Thank you!

Have a delicious day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

I work for Results Radio / Townsquare Media in Sioux Falls. I even have a local advertising book that was published July 2012. The e-book is available on Amazon. Click here if you’d like to take a look at “Take A Bigger Slice”.