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.

Word of Mouth

Word-of-mouth is super-wicked-awesome!

But if the speed of your good word-of-mouth isn’t fast enough for you, then a smart and strategic advertising plan will help you get where you want to be. Notice, I said, “smart and strategic”. If you don’t say the right things in your ads or have a plan in place that offers great potential…you could advertise unsuccessfully until you’re broke and blue in the face.

Image courtesy of “imagerymajestic” / DigitalPhotos.net

In the past, your advertising may have failed miserably. So, duh, of course your word-of-mouth outperformed your past advertising. All you have to do is decide if you’re OK with the pace of your current word-of-mouth. If not, you need to find some people who know how advertising works.

HOW do you find the right “ad people”, who know what they’re doing? Well, for starters don’t believe all the statistics, percentages, and pie charts that are wildly and irresponsibly thrown at you. They can make numbers look as good or as bad as they want.

I don’t care WHERE you advertise. All I want you to fully comprehend is that you cannot advertise generically. The days of only telling people WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE are over. And if you don’t change the way you advertise, you’re making it way too easy for your competition to snatch up the people you wish were YOUR customers.

I still see gobs of advertising that was created from a template in which all you have to do is insert any business name. Bzzzzzt!  Warning!  That’s a great way to watch your stream of new customers keep dwindling. And it’s a recipe for wasting money.

Have you ever thrown a Ben Franklin into the fire? Try it. I bet you couldn’t do it. So, why keep burning money on advertising that doesn’t work?

For more help with local advertising performance, and advice concerning what you should actually SAY in your ads to make them work better, consider my local advertising book, “Take a Bigger Slice”.  Or ask if I have an extra hard copy laying around to give you.

Duane Christensen

Results Radio Townsquare Media

Sioux Falls, SD

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Bad Business Alert

We all know there are bad businesses out there. It’s just too bad we have to learn about some of them through our own experience.

Image courtesy of “David Castillo Dominici” / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m not giving the name of a business. I don’t do that on a public blog. But I have shared the specifics face-to-face with friends and family because I’d rather they avoid this business.

I just don’t understand how a business can be blind to bad customer service, no ethics, and no apparent morals within some of their employees. Maybe the business owner isn’t blind to it…they just don’t care. Either way, it’s not cool.

It’s rampant. Don’t you think this will catch up with them? These are companies who advertise a lot. Companies who scrape and claw to increase sales. Don’t they know that if they ran a better business, they wouldn’t have to advertise so much? Really, all they’re doing is attracting new customers to experience their ineptness.

If you’re a shady or uncaring Sioux Falls business, I hope you go out of business fast, so you don’t hurt others with your bad practices.

If you’re a good, local Sioux Falls business, do you know how easy it is for good advertising to help you grow? We can shine a light on your good business and above average service and philosophies. And we can do it in a manner that doesn’t sound like the puffery so many others are spouting.

I work with good businesses who show passion in their work and care about people. If you’re one of those…I’d like to help you help more people. Let’s attract more new customers that will then share the good word about you to their friends and family.

Have you ever had people come in and do business with you because of the awful experience they had at one of your competitors? It happens all the time. There are people out there READY to hear about a good, local business they can trust. Let’s tell them about you!

For more help with local advertising performance, and advice concerning what you should actually SAY in your advertising to make it work better, consider my book, “Take a Bigger Slice”. Or heck, just ask me about it, I’ll probably bring you a copy.

Thanks for reading. Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Results Radio – Townsquare Media

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

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Julie Edison’s blog post on all the hats you wear as a business owner.

modernelixir

As a business owner (or even a manager) we tend to wear all the hats- or at least most of them. From manager to marketer, HR to customer service. It can get overwhelming. Sometimes we need a little help.

I’m not recommending that you drop what you’re doing and post a help wanted sign or ad in the classifieds. What I am telling you is that there is way to make wearing all of the hats a little easier to manage. And someday, when you are ready to hire, you will be prepared with a job description, payroll costs v. value and an idea of the type of person you are looking for rather than general ‘help’.

Every time you start a project or task, take a quick moment and decide which ‘hat’ you are wearing. Start making a list of all the hats and which tasks you do while…

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Crankin’ on all Cylinders

Good radio advertising helps businesses “crank on all cylinders”.

Image courtesy of “Sura Nualpradid” / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Crankin’ on all cylinders” is just a phrase that a client of mine used recently. It was nice to hear. Actually gave me a nice boost that day. This business has made mistakes in the past and learned from them. They’ve taken chances and done things out of the ordinary that their competition would be afraid to implement. They’re proactive in standing out and doing things differently. They’re smart with their investments. They think things through…and then act. It’s so fun to write a radio campaign for a business like that!

But good radio advertising can’t fix a business that doesn’t have everything right on the inside yet.

Bad character: For some reason I give a lot of people the benefit of the doubt. But then I run into a business owner or a salesperson with too much “shady” inside of them. It’ll catch up with them fast.

Employees with no direction: You can’t have employees that just “do their job”. They need to be part of your big goal. They need to be on board with you on delivering an outstanding customer experience.

Not in business for the right reason: You have to be in business to help people. Yes, you need to make a profit, but profits come faster and easier when you help people and they love you for it.

You may try to patch holes in your sales inconsistencies by throwing good money at advertising…but you have to right the ship within before you can expect advertising to do you any good. For example, I have one client spending a little bit on advertising with me. We’re in the process of talking about repairing some things within his business. I’m recommending he puts his ads on hold for a few months until he can deliver a better customer experience. Doesn’t that make more sense?

Need some more inspiration and great advice for creating a GOOD COMPANY? Check out Tim Miles’ book, called Good Company.

Let’s get more cylinders crankin’ inside the business before we try to attract more customers. Because wouldn’t you want those new customers to tell other people about how nice, fair, helpful, honest, and genuine you are…instead of the opposite?

Now…if you’re all set…let’s work together to make your 2013 and the next 5 years better than you thought was possible.

Duane Christensen

Passionate about helping businesses grow. Working at Results Radio Townsquare Media in Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

Do You Love To Talk About Your Business?

One of the best things that can make your future radio ad campaign bust loose into high gear is if…

YOU LOVE TO TALK ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS!

There’s nothing that busts through all the advertising clutter more than a business owner or local manager who loves to talk about their business.

So… if you love to talk about your business… then what would you need me for, right? Well, I’ll help you say things that your customers care about. I’m the person who helps you step outside your business for a few moments and helps you say things that will get your future customers’ attention. I’ll help you sound even more sincere than you already are.

That’s it. If you love to talk your business, you have a head start in giving your radio advertising in Sioux Falls some teeth. When it’s YOU on the radio, it’s personal. It’s sincere. It’s laying it out there allowing people to see you as a human being, not a business owner just trying to make a profit. They want to know you understand them and you care.

I have a nice handful of clients who voice their own ads. It’s fun getting to know them. It’s fun learning how they speak… and then writing to the way they speak. It feels so right when an ad is done and it sounds so good. I’m not satisfied until I hear the ad… and I know people will be moved by it. Moved closer to doing business with YOU.

Do you love to talk about your business?

Have a great day! Call me.  : )

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

I work for Results Radio in Sioux Falls. I’ve been camping out and hammering away here since 1998. I love what I do. 

Are You Leaving Money on the Table?

Here’s the debut video of my “on the front steps” series. Talking today about not leaving money on the table with your past customers.

Core customer mailings and e-newsletters are great reminders for your past customers to come back and buy again. Maybe you have a new product or two… or an additional service that you didn’t offer before.

Mailings and e-newsletters to your past customers is a cheap way to stay in touch with those that were hopefully delighted with your service in the past. Good business is about building solid relationships – so don’t forget to do that with all your communications with customers. Don’t hard sell them every time you talk – be a friend. Be a trusted resource.

Advertising and marketing in Sioux Falls doesn’t have to be frustrating. If you’d like to attract a consistent flow of new customers, let’s sit down and talk about what a good radio advertising campaign could do for you. Have a great day!

If you have a second share this video with someone. Thanks!

Duane Christensen
Results Radio Townsquare Media
Sioux Falls

Websites:

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising
Non-Fat Advertising

Buying Bad Radio

You might think that “Radio” is “Radio”. And when you buy Radio advertising, you may feel the wise choice is to pick the station or stations with the lowest advertising rates – or find a stellar ad package where you buy 1 and get 1 free. After all, you’d be saving money, right?

Here’s the problem with buying radio ads in that fashion…

You could buy the cheapest radio ads in the world, but they’re still EXPENSIVE… if they DON’T WORK. The best way towards getting advertising results will be with the CONTENT of your ads.

Your advertising person should emphasize the unwavering importance of the strategy of your ad campaign. And about the ad itself. The message you communicate to the public will always be the biggest factor of whether your radio advertising works or doesn’t work.

The hefty portion of our training is all about writing the best ads. Not about winning awards and being creative… but focusing on being persuasive and making an impact with our clients’ ads.

Here are 3 kinds of ads, which would you rather have?

1) Cheap ads

2) Glittery and Creative ads

3) Cash-register ringing ads

That doesn’t mean you can’t also have a creative ad that gets great results. But we focus on the “results” part first. And it also doesn’t mean you’ll never find a less expensive ad that can get results. You just need to make sure that the people you’re buying radio advertising from, actually KNOW how to write a good radio advertising campaign.

Have you ever had an advertising person give you a “spec” ad before they’ve ever learned anything about you or your business? You might even think it’s clever or funny. But that “spec” ad will never hold a candle to a well-researched ad campaign where the ad rep or ad writer asked you a lot of good questions and dug deep for the “good stuff”.

Look for an advertising person who can give you a proven track record. Ask for references… and then call those references to hear what they have to say.

For example, if I moved to an unfamiliar city to open a new business. I’d want to hear from local business owners who are getting great results from their advertising. When all the ad reps started calling me, wanting me to advertise with them, I’d definitely ask for a list of their happy clients. And I encourage you to do the same right here in Sioux Falls.

So, give me a call. And ask me for my list of happy advertisers. Have a conversation with them, business owner to business owner. Ask them about what radio has done for their business and ask what I bring to the table that they really appreciate and enjoy.

Of course, I’m not perfect. I’ve had my share of failing ad campaigns. But it was usually because I wrote ads that the business owner wanted to hear and insisted upon, instead of writing ads that their potential new customers would like to hear. I’ve LEARNED from my 14 years here. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. I’ll help you avoid “buying bad radio”.

So, when you’re ready to grow and take a bigger slice of the market… let’s get this party started!

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Results Radio / Townsquare Media

Sioux Falls

I’m a marketing guy, ad writer, and business grower. I’m on a mission to help local businesses get more from their advertising bucks. I also wrote a  a no-nonsense book about how to take a bigger slice of market share with better advertising. It’s called “Take a Bigger Slice”.

More Marketing in Sioux Falls

How do I explain how to market a small business in Sioux Falls?

Ummm…that’s a tough one. It’s best left for a one-on-one conversation with you. Radio might not even be the best option. Whether it IS or ISN’T, I’ll tell you. I’ll be honest with you.

Marketing is about taking a product or service and trying to make a few bucks. Marketing for YOU could be getting in front of as many people as possible to share the goodness that you can offer. OR you might offer something more niche, where only a small select group is your target audience.

RADIO will help a business most when a large portion of the population will need what you offer at some time in the future. Radio ads are like an army of tiny salespeople.  What kind of businesses would benefit from a good radio ad campaign? Plumbing and HVAC, check. Grocery stores, check. Mattress or furniture stores, check. Fitness centers, check. Restaurants, check. Even psychological services, attorneys, dentists, lawn care, landscaping, or a sewing store can benefit from radio.

There are a few businesses in which I will recommend something different though. Maybe they’re exclusively targeting people who have a combined household income of  $200, 000 or more. Then, I’d say go with Direct Mail. Or maybe you’re a one or two-person shop. You might not be able to afford a radio campaign at this time. BUT… every situation is different. We need to have that one-on-one conversation to discuss a good plan for you.

RADIO is great because it can reach a lot of people. But the best thing about radio is how you can AFFECT people with a good radio campaign. You can change perceptions. You can make people feel most comfortable with YOUR business by saying the right things in your radio ads. Don’t settle for the same old radio ad that sounds like a newspaper ad read into a microphone. It’s not gonna work.

Radio advertising done right will cause the listeners to feel good about you. When we find the right things to say in your ads, you will experience a tipping point. Meaning, there is a building up period in which your messages are starting to stick into people’s minds. You’ll know when your tipping point has arrived. You’ll feel it. Your cash register will reflect it.

So, when you’re wondering about marketing in Sioux Falls… let’s see if radio is a good fit for your business. Let’s sniff around and come up with some amazing ways to get people to love your business. If radio IS right for you, I know that I can help you achieve your tipping point and start growing like you never thought you could. It’s exciting when that happens.

And when you look back on all those years of being frustrated with local advertising… you’ll wonder why you didn’t call that Duane guy sooner.  : )  But I’ll be honest with you. If I don’t think something will work, I’m not going to let you do it. I’ll help you understand what works and what doesn’t.

Here’s to your business growth!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Advertising blog

Townsquare Media – Sioux Falls

I’m a marketing guy, ad writer, and business grower. I’m on a mission to help local businesses get more from their advertising bucks. I also wrote a  a no-nonsense book about how to take a bigger slice of market share with better advertising. It’s called “Take a Bigger Slice”.

What does it take to make a radio ad campaign work?

I have 3 clients recently that are seeing some phenomenal things happen partially from their ongoing radio campaigns. So, I thought, “What is it EXACTLY that makes it work?”

I pondered that for a few days… and I’ve got it! And I’ve always know it. But didn’t know how to put it into words. I do now, though. I think. I’ll try.

Business #1: This Sioux Falls business has been advertising on the radio for 8 months. And it’s like a switch went on, and now this business is BUSY. Of course, they got some extra business in the previous 8 months, but not like this. The tipping point has been hit! Normally, it doesn’t take this long for the “tipping point”, but this business has a smaller budget with a TON of competition. Those are two big factors in how fast results will come. Now, because of their growth, there is more budget available, and we can shift into 2nd gear to see what the next wave will bring. It’s very exciting for them!

What’s the secret? It’s not ONE ad… it’s the whole SERIES of ads over time. A new ad every month. A new story in each ad. A new perspective for people to hear. It’s the series of ads and stories, not just one ad.

Business #2: This business has been advertising on the radio for ummm, let’s see… 8 YEARS! After the first 4 to 6 months, they saw a pretty big spike in new business. Then, it went up from there gradually. And their ad budget grew with their increased revenues. After about 4 years, their revenues were about 3x from when they started their radio campaign. These are smart, passionate business people. They know how to run a good business and shine brighter than their competition.

So, recently, they’ve added a couple of radio stations to their annual advertising schedule. And by the way… all they do for traditional advertising is RADIO. Now, 7 or 8 years into their campaign… and after adding a couple of big radio stations to their mix of radio, they are taking off again. Still growing! And through the recession, they stayed steady and were never even close to “panic mode”. They were head and shoulders above their competition and also other similar stores across the entire country. They are leaders in their industry no matter where you look. Have I mentioned they’re smart? Wow, do they get it. They get the WHOLE marketing picture – not just radio. They were being asked, “How do you do it?”

What’s the secret? It’s not ONE ad… it’s the whole SERIES of ads over time. A new ad every month. A new story in each ad. A new perspective for people to hear. It’s the series of ads and stories, not just one ad. There is no magic ad that makes it all happen. It’s the long-term strategy and persistence to change people’s perceptions and make them think of THIS business when people need what this business offers. It’s local branding at a completely different level.

Business #3: This business is seasonal. Most of their new customers come in the late winter to early spring. This business has been advertising on the radio with me for 4 years. The first year was good. Way better than they expected. Which was good because they had tried radio in the past with someone besides me… and it didn’t work. Phew!

That first year, they were considering doing a TV campaign, but couldn’t ever get any ideas from them. And barely even a call back. So, I’m glad they gave me a shot! The second year was better than the first. And then, the third year was the “tipping point” for them. Because they were a seasonal business and didn’t advertise 48 or 52 weeks a year, it was going to take a bit more time before they became a household name in Sioux Falls. And much to their surprise, year 4 as a radio advertiser, knocked their socks off. They needed to hire more people. And they did.

Have I mentioned these folks are smart, too? They hire GOOD people. They know WHO is going to be a good hire, and they never settle for somebody that doesn’t measure up. When they hire people, they stay, they love their bosses. Isn’t that soooo critical? Hire the right people! Be picky. AND they have a vision. They have a goal and can SEE it. And they take action! I can’t wait to see what year 5 brings them. They’re picky with their ads too. I’ve had to go back to the drawing board a few times. That’s ok. It makes me a better marketer. They urge me to dig deeper and strive for the best. And we’re doing that.

What’s the secret? It’s not ONE ad… it’s the whole SERIES of ads over time. A new ad every few weeks of their 4-month seasonal ad schedule. A new story in each ad. A new perspective for people to hear. It’s creating ads that stand out from their competition. Ads that increase people’s TRUST in their business. But the main thing that makes this happen is the series of ads and stories, not just one ad. And every year, it gets better. They were patient… and are being rewarded for it.

I can’t wait to write about my next project. It’s a business run by a couple of smart fellas who are going against everything that their franchise corporate people have told them to do (which wasn’t working very well anymore). This business has been advertising on the radio for 4 weeks. I’ll know more in about 2 to 3 months. I’m hoping their “tipping point” hits just as the cooler fall weather is upon us. Which reminds me, I need to write a new radio ad for them. It’s the next building block in the “fortress” we’re building.

Want to talk about what could be possible for YOUR business? Let’s sit down and discuss your situation.

Thanks for reading. Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

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