You’ve Bought Radio Advertising Before? Oh No.

You’ve advertised on the radio before. So, you know what you want. Ok. But is “what you want”…the best thing for you?

Image courtesy of "Salvatore Vuono" /

Image courtesy of “Salvatore Vuono” /

Sioux Falls has a ton of advertising options. You may have already “tried” a bunch of those options. You may have “tried” a bunch of different radio advertising schedules. You may even feel you’ve met nearly every advertising sales rep in the city! Wow, I hope not. That would make ME want to sell everything and move to the mountains!

Do you feel that advertising is a necessary evil? You say, “Well…let’s try another stint on the radio. Can’t hurt, right?” Then, you call up a radio station (maybe me) and ask about the rates.

Now, here’s me. I don’t know much about your business yet. And the number of radio advertising options are pretty high. It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing (if you actually plan on making your radio advertising work). Rates don’t really mean much if you’re not buying into the right plan. Or the right IDEA.

My first thought is… “Do we know what to SAY in the radio ads yet?” No. We don’t. Do I know your competitive landscape? Do I know why your customers buy from you and not the other guy down the street? No.

Image courtesy of "Master isolated images" /

Image courtesy of “Master isolated images” /

Questions. I need to ask questions to offer the best solution. Not just give you a “package” that won’t work. I need to know more before I can recommend a plan for you. Would you like to draw a one-time crowd? Or would you like to become a household name in Sioux Falls? What would you like your advertising to accomplish? Why do you think you’re a big deal? Do your customers feel you’re a big deal? Would you like more of those happy customers? If I asked your customers about you…what would they tell me?

I love to work with Sioux Falls small business owners who want to make a mark. Those who want to serve their customers better than anyone else could, and those who have a goal and want to know how to reach that goal. I don’t really ever feel comfortable being an order taker. I almost always find a major flaw in someone else’s advertising plan. Those flaws could be any number of things that can sabotage a local marketing and advertising campaign. Such as the length of the ads, the competitive strategy, the message in the ads, the number of ads scheduled to air, etc.

If you’ve bought radio advertising before…I want you to forget what you’ve done before. Because if you were doing it right, you wouldn’t have stopped. You wouldn’t have called someone else. So, try your best to erase from your memory what some other advertising person has told you in the past. If you truly want to get it right this time and stop being unsure, skeptical, confused, or frustrated with your local advertising, then, we’re going to start from scratch. We’re going to have a bunch of conversations before I let you spend any money on advertising. We’ll get it right, first. We’ll have a plan. A plan that will carry the potential for good things to happen. Growth. Good word of mouth. Buzz. Increased profits.

When you’re ready, just call.

Thanks. Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

I’m kind of a big advertising nerd. And I’m confident in the power of radio when it’s done right. The spoken word is impressive when you choose words wisely. You can arrange them in a way that can be subtly persuasive, aggressively entertaining, or peacefully comforting. Let’s find the right words to use for your small business. I am a salesperson, ad writer, and marketing guy for Results Radio Townsquare Media in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I started there in 1998 (while still a punk) answering phones and scheduling radio commercials on an old DOS program (green and black screen). Yikes. I’ve learned a heck of a lot since then.

I even published a small business advertising book in July of 2012. You can check it out here if you want >>> Take A Bigger Slice (on Amazon)

Ph: 605-940-7984





Advertising Sales People


You advertised in the past by buying some “ads”. And the ad rep wrote down some notes in their meeting with you. They took those notes and gave them to someone in a creative department to conjure up a magical ad.  The ad included some creative wit, what you sell, your business name, maybe your logo, maybe some cutesy sound effects if it was a radio ad, and then your contact information. Voila!

Image courtesy of “stockimages” /

You were told by your advertising representative that the people you’re reaching “are just the right people you’re looking for.” The ad rep said that their audience fit with your customer profile perfectly. So, then, when the advertisements didn’t bring you any new customers, you blamed it on the advertising medium. You say, “Radio, TV, newspaper, direct mail, online, etc…doesn’t work!”

But that’s how you think the world of advertising operates. You keep trying new and sparkly things and give new ad people a shot. Eventually, you get frustrated, you waste a lot of money, and yell at every new advertising salesperson who calls or walks into your place of business.

You might even get frustrated to the point you consider hiring an advertising agency so they’ll just “handle” everything. Sometimes that’s a great move. Other times it’s not. The ad agency will take your ad budget and a lot of it will be used for their creative services. And you believe them when they say it takes a lot of money to create something great, because after all…they’re the experts.

In my experience with local ad agencies, you’ve got a bunch of graphic designers and creative types producing ads with a lot of glitter and smoothness. Pretty soon you’ve wasted half your budget on their creative production work, and have very little budget left to actually pay for any ad placement. And instead of FOCUSING your ad dollars, they spread your ads around in a bunch of different places, not making much of an impact at all. You just get charged for more creative work.

A media “mix” is great for huge companies and national brands that have hundreds of thousands or millions in their ad budget. But when you spread your ad budget too thin, it’s like trying to put out a raging 4-alarm fire with your garden hose. Your “sprinkling” isn’t going to do any good.

And when it costs a lot of money to actually create or produce your ads, you won’t want to spend the money to have the agency freshen things up with new ads. Pretty soon you’re using the same ad or ads over and over. Sometimes for years. This isn’t doing you any justice because after your ad has been seen or heard a dozen or twenty times, the effectiveness of that ad drops off sharply.

You have a lot of different stories and ways to communicate your message to people. It’s important to keep teaching people about you. Teach them why to buy from YOU instead of your competition. And you do that with a new ad fairly often within your annual advertising plan. Or you do it with a different direct mail piece every few months or so that will teach them more about you, and move them closer to doing business with you.

Whether you have drab, lame, cliché ads from your local ad rep that look and sound like every other ad, or you have smooth and glittery ads from an agency that entertain but fail to sell, you’re going to have a tough road ahead.

Just to make sure I don’t get a nasty email from any advertising agency people, I’ll say this – not every advertising agency is bad. Some are quite good. Maybe an agency would be right for you. If that’s the case, I want you to find a good one. I have very good relationships with some ad agencies here in Sioux Falls.  Just don’t assume an advertising agency is good at what they do because they call themselves an “ad agency” or “marketing firm”.

But it’s everywhere. There are advertising reps, marketing groups, and ad agencies who don’t know what they’re doing. I just want you to beware. I want you to know a little bit about the local advertising scene so you can begin to STOP wasting your advertising dollars.

You’ll hear advertising salespeople bragging to you about their demographics and “reach” and show you a bunch of charts and graphs. Yuck. It’s a forecast for crappy advertising results. And a few ad agencies’ main selling point is that they can buy advertising cheaper than you can directly. First, it’s not a good selling point. Second, it’s not true. You can negotiate your advertising rates and any bonus structure, just like anyone else can.

Is there a way to know if an ad rep or an ad agency is any good? Yes. If they know that your ad strategy and what you SAY in your advertising message is most important, then they’re a keeper. 

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Results Radio Townsquare Media

Sioux Falls