Radio Advertising Questions and Answers

I was emailed these questions about radio advertising the other day the other day…

  • Do you write the promotions?
  • Do you research the reach? Or, have suggestions on where we could push our product?
  • How many ads is good to have in rotation?
  • How many people can we reach?
  • What time of the day is best to run our ads?
  • Cost/per ad during the week?
  • How many times will this run throughout the week and/or on weekends?

All great questions. And usually the answers to those questions are the core materials in any media rep’s presentation. Which is why their ad campaigns will probably fail. At Results Radio, our “presentations” are a bit different. We focus on figuring out how we’re going to make your advertising actually work.

So, let’s add a couple questions to that list above that are more important…

  1. How will we make it work? (what’s our strategy?)
  2. How will we measure success?

These are more important because the other questions above won’t matter, if we’re not going into this campaign with the expectations of making it work… and knowing that it’s working. Right?

Let’s answer those questions up top first though

Do you write the promotions? Yes we do. At Results Radio, that’s what we train on most heavily. The words that are written and then spoken that go into people’s ears are what makes or breaks an ad campaign. And that is why we spend so much time figuring out what to say in your ads. Because that’s the core of making your ads work for you.

Do you research the reach or have suggestions on where to push our product? I’ll have to clarify this question with the business, but I think they’re asking something about demographics. Yes, we suggest the stations that will work best based on the people you’re looking for. But you need to understand that particular stations don’t own an audience. Meaning, most people listen to an average of 2.5 stations. For example, if you’re looking for “car parts type of people”, aka motorheads or “truck people”… can you imagine the different types of radio stations they could be listening to? Sports, Classic Rock, Modern Rock, Top 40, 80s, 90s, Modern Country, Classic Country, Talk Radio, etc., etc., etc.!

So, you pick a couple that seem like a good fit, and you start there. Or whatever works with your budget. And if you can’t afford to buy enough ads to run each month on the biggest of the stations, then you pick a station with a smaller audience that you can afford to talk to month-in and month-out. You’re trying to win a group of people over, one station at a time. Once you start seeing growth, then you can afford to add another radio station to your mix.

How many ads is good to have in rotation? You can air multiple ads that rotate at whatever percentage you wish. Most businesses don’t need to rotate different ads at the same time, but if you have a few different products to push… maybe you rotate 2 or 3 at once. But you also have to make sure you have enough ads airing each week in order for everyone to hear each of those ads enough times.

How many people can we reach? You can reach about 90% of the adults in the radio stations’ coverage areas if you’re advertising on enough stations. But that doesn’t mean you have to be on all of them. Remember when I said the average listener listens to 2.5 radio stations? Well, that means if you advertise on 2 radio stations, you’re theoretically advertising on about 5 stations. Cool, right? When it comes to actual numbers… there are some ratings out there on most stations. But the thing is… the number of people that are surveyed for radio station ratings is very low. Like, grossly low. So, the level of accuracy is low. So, one year a station can be listed as the #2 rock station, and the next it’s #8. How does that work when nothing else changed in the radio market in the last year? Radio rankings are hit or miss. There’s a disclaimer on those rankings that mentions something like, “use these ratings at your own risk”.

How many people are we reaching? It all depends on the popularity of the station. It could be anywhere between 5000 people to 40 or 50,000 people depending on the station… and the time frames in which you’re running those ads. If you’re only running ads during a morning “drive time”… you’re only reaching a fraction of that total audience.

What time of the day is best to run our ads? You want to reach the entire audience if you can afford it. And it costs less per ad to run ads all throughout the day. You can never predict when someone is listening. We all have different habits when it comes to radio listening. Some listen from 6 to 7:30 every morning. And then not again until 2pm or 5pm. Others listen periodically throughout the day, some all day long at work. Others only when in their cars. That’s why it’s a fool’s errand to only want to run ads during certain times of the day. You’ll pay more for the ads, and you’re hitting a smaller audience in the end.

Cost per ad during the week? This depends on the popularity of the radio station, the length of the ad, and the time frame they are airing. We’ll have a discussion about actual prices face-to-face.

But let me drop this little nugget on you… It doesn’t matter how much an ad costs if it doesn’t work. Even the cheapest ads are still expensive if you don’t see any results.

How many times will this run throughout the week and/or on weekends? My recommendation for “ad frequency” depends on your competition and your “share of marketing voice” within your industry. If you’re placing ads all throughout the day (let’s say 6am to 8pm), then you’ll need anywhere from 19 to 25 ads per week… at least 3 weeks per month if we’re trying to brand your business (make you the business people think of first in your category). But if your business category has a lot of competition advertising, then you need to adjust your ad load a bit higher to make sure your “share of voice” is high enough to make an impact on the radio listeners. You don’t want to be “drowned out” by your competitor’s ads.

So, those are my basic answers to those questions… but they aren’t comprehensive by any means. The questions asked in a face-to-face meeting and extra research on how much local marketing their competition is doing, gives much more insight into the radio scheduling tactics that would need to be implemented.

But you must know… the actual MESSAGE that we put into the ears of the radio listeners is what will ultimately determine the success of a radio advertising campaign. If the radio script that is written is just an afterthought… your radio marketing plan will fail. No doubt about it. But if enough time, research, and thought is put into the writing… “mountains” can be moved.

And… I’ll address those two questions I added to the list…… next time. 🙂

Thanks for reading. Have a groovy day!

Duane Christensen

Results Radio / Townsquare Media

Sioux Falls, SD

What Makes People Do The Things They Do?

Why do people act a certain way? Why do they say things they don’t mean? Why do they buy the things they buy? Why do they call one business for service instead of someone else?

What makes people do the things they do?

It’s the question that MARKETERS have been asking for centuries.

There are some obvious ones…

Keep up with the “Jones’s. To impress others. It’s what everyone else is doing. To look like you have a big bank account. And then some.

But as far as really knowing… all I can talk about is myself and my habits. And for the sake of keeping this a marketing article, let’s talk about my own BUYING habits for a second.

They’ve changed over the years. I’m soon to be 45 years old.

When I was younger, I mostly cared about how much something cost because I didn’t have much to spend.

But now, I want good products that perform and last. I want good service even if I have to pay a bit more.

Here’s the thing though… how do I know for sure if a local company is going to treat me right? How would anyone know?

They wouldn’t… unless they knew you… and trusted you.

Which is exactly what a good radio campaign can do. Cause people to like and trust you before they even meet you.

For example…

If I need a plumber, but I haven’t ever found one that I’ve fallen in love with… then I’m going to shop around. If there’s no one that comes to my mind, then I’ll do a google search for “plumbers in Sioux Falls” or something. The results I get will either jog my memory and one will look familiar… or it’s going to be a complete eenie meenie miney moe type of decision on who I call.

If one looked familiar, it’s probably because I’ve seen a lot of their service vehicles around or I’ve been exposed to some of their advertising. But I still really don’t know much about them, and I’m still reluctant.

But what’s the best case scenario for a business owner to get my business?

It’s when I’ve been exposed to their radio campaign for a while… and I’ve gotten to know them through those ads. They’ve talked about things in the ads that make me trust them. They’ve entertained me. They’ve given me some helpful information. So, now, when I need a plumber… boom… I automatically think of that business. And do I google “plumbers in sioux falls”? Heck no. I google the business name. And I either go to their website, or I click the Call button from their Google Business listing. Done. No competitors even came into the picture.

And as a side bonus, do you know that google rewards businesses with better ranking when more people type your business name directly into google. It shows them that you’re a good, reputable, popular, trustworthy business. So, being searched for by name on google not only gets you a direct call or click, bypassing your competition, it also helps you rank higher on google.

What makes people do the things they do? Well… a lot of times it’s EMOTIONS. The emotion of wanting to do business with an easy-going, trustworthy, and friendly company is POWERFUL. So, that’s what you need to convey throughout your Radio campaign. That’s the secret.

But the problem is… most marketers, ad reps, and ad agencies don’t know HOW to create Ad campaigns that does what I’m talking about. Sure, some might be creative, but there’s no tie-in to the business. Some might be full of lots of fluffy “we’re the best” type of stuff, but nobody believes them.

WHAT CAUSES SOMEONE TO CHOOSE YOU AND BUY FROM YOU FOR THE FIRST TIME?

They feel like they know you, they already trust you a little bit, and they like what you stand for. And those things can be conveyed to people in a couple different ways – such as their friends told them about you, or your advertising told them about you through a series of ads over time.

Do you see now why your advertising can’t just be about “awareness”? Awareness isn’t enough. There needs to be something else. Some secret sauce. There needs to be some kind of message that causes people to feel like you’re going to treat them well and deliver what they’re paying for. And then some.

Did you know that 90+% of people still listen to local Radio? Yup.

Sure there are lots of other ways people are consuming entertainment. But that doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned radio. We just have more options. It doesn’t mean we’re not listening. Do young people use radio as much as adults over 25? No. But I don’t really recommend you use radio if you’re trying to target kids either.

Your advertising strategy and the words you use in your ads… are SO IMPORTANT. The MOST important. They either make you or break you. They can either make you hate advertising or almost like it. Like “Like-like” it. A few of my clients actually LOVE it. They know it’s the biggest driver of new customers for them.

Even if I wasn’t working for a radio group… or I was running a marketing company… I would still recommend using radio. As long as the strategy and the message is relevant and engaging… there’s not a more versatile way to convey a message to the masses that can stir people’s emotions and get them to like you before they’ve ever done business with you (and the repetition of your radio ads are a huge part of why it’s one of the best ways to get you stuck in people’s heads – in a good way).

Of course, Radio isn’t right for every business. I’ve turned down business before because I knew it wasn’t the right fit. Maybe their profit margins weren’t good enough to make it pay… or they were still fairly new and didn’t have the budget yet to run enough ads to give it a chance to start sticking into people’s heads. There are variables.

Yes, you have a lot of advertising choices. It can get confusing. I can help you navigate all of it. If you have questions about some other forms of advertising and marketing, I’ll give my advice. And if I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it for you… or we’ll talk through it with each other.

Sorry for being so long-winded today! Making advertising work can get complicated… unless you know the right person. 😉

I hope you have a great rest of the month, quarter, and year!