Can 8 Words Make a Difference?

Can 8 words make a difference?

Ok… I’m a person who looks at all billboards because I’m a marketing guy and I’m curious to see how businesses are using them. I’m usually disappointed. Maybe not usually…I should say more like 95% of the time I’m disappointed.

Image courtesy of "phanlop88" /

Image courtesy of “phanlop88” /

What do you want your billboard to do?

Do you think you can make people do what you want them to do… in 8 words or less?

I’m just askin’.

I know it’s nice to see that big, pretty design up there…and your logo, but can it DO what you WANT it to do? When’s the last time a billboard really moved you? When’s the last time a business branded themselves with a billboard?

They have their uses, but branding isn’t one of them. And changing perceptions isn’t one either. It’s tough to do a lot with 8 words. So, you better think long and hard about those words. Even if your 8 words are good… will it make a difference? Will you cause people to act?

A big billboard, with a lot of traffic going by, doesn’t guarantee that it will work. You have a problem… and you’re looking for a solution. Just be honest with yourself – do you feel that 8 words, a logo, and snazzy graphics will be the solution? Maybe it will. I just want you to ask the tough questions before you invest in something.

I’m a fan of billboards and some other outdoor advertising when used correctly – when they’re used as a flash reminder of what you’re drilling into people’s heads with your radio campaign. Or if you have a greasy burger joint right off the interstate and you put a big billboard at the Exit saying, “Hungry for a big, juicy burger? Exit NOW!” See what I mean? There are men who will see that and say to themselves, “Damn right I am!”

Billboards have their strengths and their weaknesses. Same as Radio, TV, online, bus benches, print, mobile, etc. I can help you understand more about local advertising if you’re interested.

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen       605-940-7984

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

Results Radio / Townsquare Media – Sioux Falls

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” /

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



Yes, I love what Radio Advertising can do for local businesses when it’s done right. But it’s important for ME and YOU to know the strengths and weaknesses of every ad medium. It’s important because what you’re trying to accomplish with your advertising might prove difficult with the use of some of them.

Today, let’s talk about billboards, bus benches, taxi cabs, city buses, etc.

Let’s start with Billboards. Here’s what NOT to do.  Don’t cram 35 words onto a sign where people only have time to read 8 words before they pass by! A billboard message should be short and to the point. Within 2 seconds of looking at your billboard, I better know exactly the point you’re trying to make. Give me a reason to consider doing business with YOU instead of someone else. Personally, I’d mostly use billboards to reinforce a TV or Radio campaign, like a support tool – if I had the budget to do so. Using billboards for branding is generally not a very efficient use of them.

If I owned a burger joint off an Interstate or major highway…I’d put a big billboard right before the exit.  “Hungry?  Exit Now.” Or something like, “Try the OINKER BURGER – the bacon is ground right in!” Get my point? Billboards should be super short…and very direct. I see hospitals, realtors, insurance companies, and banks trying to brand themselves with billboards (or what they THINK is branding). They’ll say something like, “We’re here for you” or “65 years of superior service.” Do you honestly believe those statements will motivate anyone to do business with them? Or cause people to REMEMBER them?

Bus benches and taxi cab advertising…or anything similar is just a smaller and cheaper form of billboard. And you can usually get some really good deals on multiple placements. But just like billboards…you have to be brief and impactful with your ad message. Tell me something that will stick.

The bad thing about outdoor advertising is that it takes MORE than 8 words to change perceptions about your industry or business. Outdoor advertising can be used as a “flash” reminder of your core Radio or TV message. And it can also be used effectively if you have almost zero competition. I see a lot of realtors and mortgage brokers advertising on bus benches. They usually have hundreds or even thousands of competitors in their city. But I don’t see them there very long before it’s another face giving that strategy a whirl.

Billboards have strengths…branding is not one of them. Awareness – yes. Branding – no. Just because someone is aware of your company, doesn’t mean they’ll do business with you. Brand yourself as something that people care about and can connect with – giving them a good reason to choose YOU versus your competition. Name recognition alone doesn’t cut it.

Those that have a billboard ad plan, usually have a big ad budget. They usually have enough to do TV, Radio, Magazines, Online, Direct Mail, AND Billboards. One or two billboards all by themselves usually yield disappointment.

If you’re going to have a billboard, make it stand out. Use words that “JOLT” us a little. Give us a good reason to remember you.

I’ve talked to a handful of small, local business owners who have advertised with billboards in the past. They did it for ONE year. ONE, not two. When we got down to the nitty gritty, most of them said, “I thought all I needed to do was get my name out there.” Getting your name out there doesn’t drive sales. I’m AWARE of a lot of businesses, but it doesn’t mean I’m “chomping at the bit” to buy from them.

If you have any questions about billboards, give me a shout. Or Radio. I know a little about Radio too. ; )

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

I work for Results Radio in Sioux Falls. I spend a lot of time thinking or researching and writing ads for my clients. Some days I’m in super-mental-creative mode. Other days, I struggle for a “spark”. But I am starting to think that Pop-Tarts and salted Almonds are good for creativity. You can find them in my “food drawer” at work if you need a quick snack.

Traditional Media for Small Business (brick and mortar)

Radio, TV, Print, and Billboard. These are the main local advertising options you have. (we’re not talking digital or anything internet – I’ll tackle that beast later. Ok, quickly, digital ads are just print ads on steroids)

If I’m in charge of an advertising budget for a small business, I have to be sensitive to the size of the budget. I’m not going to be able to advertise everywhere. So, where do I put the money?

First, you have to understand the difference between “intrusive” advertising and “passive”.

Intrusive is radio and TV. It means that if we’re listening to a radio station or watching a TV program, the ads just “happen”. We don’t have to DO anything to be exposed to them. It’s not work…we just listen. Unlike passive media (print), where you have to choose to read an entire ad. Example: Just because there’s an ad on the magazine page you’re glancing at, doesn’t mean you’ll read it.

So, my first choice for advertising a small business is intrusive media if the budget allows for it. I also choose Radio over TV for 2 main reasons.

1) It’s more affordable to run the frequency of ads needed to start the branding process.

2) I can change the ads at no charge EVERY MONTH…easily. Whereas, TV production is spendy and labor intensive. And any time a TV ad airs for more than 6, 8, to 12 weeks…the effectiveness of that ad drops sharply down close to ZERO.

It’s because once we’re exposed to one particular ad more than a dozen times, we tend to “tune out” after only a couple of seconds. We say to ourselves, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me something I haven’t heard before.” Tell us something new. An overplayed ad bores us to tears. Or worse, it annoys us. And that’s not good for business, eh?

What’s the short version of HOW a small, brick and mortar should advertise locally? Radio. 48 to 52 weeks a year. Of course there are always some exceptions, i.e. a seasonal business. Or I may suggest direct mail when your target prospects are few…and easily located.

I write radio for many small businesses. When we take our time and find the right things to say in the ads…growth is not far behind. Return on investment from radio done right, far exceeds what can be accomplished with print and outdoor (passive) advertising.

Something that I’ll always remember that Roy H. Williams said, “We can close our eyes, but we can’t close our ears.”

Have an awesome day!

Duane Christensen

Results Radio Townsquare Media – Sioux Falls


My work website: (And if you’d like a business website like this, or nothing like this, give me a shout. I’ll point you in the right direction)

And if you have questions about the cost of radio advertising, which radio stations would be a good fit, or how to get started attracting more customers, don’t be afraid to ask. I like to help good businesses take a bigger slice of the market.