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



How do you write a different future for yourself or your business? How do you make an impact? How do you change the outcome?

This should help…   2 quick Moneyball movie trailers –

And Whoa! I love this next one too –

When you need to make something different happen…

When you’re tired of the same outcome time after time…

When you need a change

You need to do things differently.

“Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players…your goal should be to buy WINS.”

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

“Doing things differently is pretty much the only way I feel comfortable doing them. I used to feel bad about that. But not any more.”   

Local Advertising Book with no “sugar coating”

This blog post is about a book… and also about your local business… and what you could do to make something really spectacular happen to your revenues. And stuff.

So, I wrote a local advertising book. It’s my first one. And of course I feel that I should have said some things differently in it. And I missed that one type-o. But the best advice for some people (like me) is to just “put it out there”. Because if we wait for things to be perfect, we’ll never “put anything out there”.

Here’s the link to the book, if you’d like to plop down 6 or 7 bucks to learn about getting more out of your local advertising dollars. http://nonfatadvertising.com/brand-new-book-take-a-bigger-slice/

Hey, I’ve read a LOT of marketing books. And some of them left me wondering why they felt the need to use such fluff and industry jargon throughout the whole thing. I write like I talk. I don’t sugar coat many things. And if you don’t get any “eye openers” from reading the book… or any “golden nuggets” from it, I’ll give you your money back.

I think it’s better than 50% of the local advertising books out there. Maybe you’ll think it’s the best one out there. Most of the local advertising books I’ve read, try to tell you WHERE you should advertise. But I don’t do that. I don’t care where you advertise. You might like a particular method or advertising medium. My book will just help you get even BETTER results.

But other people might think, “Oh, great. You’ve given me a lot of tools to help me not waste my advertising dollar… but I really have no idea what to do next!” That’s when you call me. Radio isn’t right for everyone…but it might be totally frickin’ awesome for YOU. Do you want your business to be famous? I could help you out with that.

You’re thinking, “Really? Famous? I’m so sure.” But when you’re branded intelligently in your area, you ARE famous. Just not in the traditional sense of the word. If you’re wondering what it would be like to be BRANDED, just ask a few of my radio clients. If you want some of their phone numbers – I’ll give them to you. They’re happy to tell you what Radio and Duane Christensen has helped them do.

But of course, my radio clients tend to be pretty smart too. They run a good business internally, and they have me develop an advertising campaign in which Radio listeners actually like and REMEMBER.

If you’re not quite sure if you’re ready to pull the trigger on an advertising campaign, in an attempt to reach a specific “champagne-popping goal” then you should first read my book. But if you ARE ready, why not just have a talk with me some day – and I’ll just bring the book to you for free. ; )

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

Look for someone who has a passion for helping local businesses get ahead. Your first clue: Do they have a blog? Do they have two blogs? Let’s have a conversation soon.

Sioux Falls: Easy To Start A Business?

Oh Sioux Falls. I’ve considered moving to a more attractive climate before.

Because why do we subject ourselves to such volatile weather? But my wife and I always come back to the same conclusion – to stay. The crime is usually minimal. The people are pretty good – as long as you don’t push your political views down my throat too much. We know a lot of people too – lots of connections. We’re well established here (not always, we went through our “broke as hell” stage). And there always just seems to be something nice about the whole area. It feels good.

So, the allure of the Sioux Falls area for a lot of people is pretty strong. And the economy stays healthy most of the time, so a lot of people try to start their own business thinking that Sioux Falls is steady, but also growing.

But I just want to point out that owning a SUCCESSFUL business all comes down to the customer experience. I know location is important…and financial smarts…and demand for your product or service…but but but there’s too many start-ups that don’t understand you better deliver a solid experience for your customers.

Many think that Sioux Falls is great enough to support any new business no matter how you run it. But we still have low start-up success rates just like every other city around the country. Starting a new business and successfully operating a new business is hard. There’s so much more to do than just opening your doors and saying “Ta-da!!!”

I still have way too many awful customer experiences in this town. And we’re supposed to be friendly and understanding here in God’s country, right? Short story…

I had to drop a few things off at the household hazardous waste facility the other day. I wasn’t expecting the awesome attitudes and friendliness that I received. I got better service and more smiles there…than I do at most other local businesses! But before you say, “So what”, I want you to consider something. They have no competition! They don’t HAVE to be nice. They don’t have to worry about me going somewhere else for better service. And they were still fantastic, cheery, and helpful.

So, what about the restaurant, the plumber, the auto repair shop, the website designer, the restaurant, the advertising rep, etc. that fails to remember that they have a LOT of competition? That I have a ton of other choices?

My point? I’d love to see more new businesses thrive and stay in business – so maybe they could take a lesson from the awesome guys at the household hazardous waste facility here in Sioux Falls. It’s not easy to be profitable and be successful as small business owner…so don’t shoot yourself in the foot by forgetting that your biggest assets are your customers.

Start there first. Get some good word-of-mouth going. Then when you advertise…I’ll help you attract new faces and increase the volume of your good word-of-mouth even more! Pretty soon you’ll either have to expand, add another location, or just enjoy your profits.

Sioux Falls…I like you. I’m staying. And I want to help you grow and become known as a city of respect and friendliness – no matter if I’m walking down the street, in need of a good electrician, or ordering a Philly sandwich.

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

Which Plumber Would You Choose?

I’m going to give you parts to two different ads for plumbers. Then you be the judge on which you’d be more tempted to choose.

Plumber #1

We were at a restaurant, and my brother said, “We’re plumbers…why don’t we start our own company?” You see, at the time my brother and I were both plumbers working for different plumbing companies. We’d been doing it a while and always took note of things that we thought should be done better. Whether it was better employee policies, work ethic, or how our bosses never taught anyone to treat the customer really well. So, we were sitting at the restaurant and we started writing possible names of our new plumbing company down on a napkin. We had about 12 awful names written down when I thought, how about the name of the street we grew up on as kids?…..

And so on…you get the picture, right?

Plumber #2

At B & D Plumbing, we can take care of all your plumbing needs. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that we’ve been in business for 16 years. No matter if it’s a broken faucet or a toilet that needs replacing, you can call B & D Plumbing to get the best service in town. Our trained technicians will take care of you no matter your plumbing trouble. B & D Plumbing is proud to be your Sioux Falls plumbing leader for years to come…….

So, you obviously can see the difference in the two ads. The first one is telling you a story and you’re getting to know that company and what they stand for. The second ad is what you hear every day from almost every local business in Sioux Falls that tries to advertise with radio, TV, newspaper, or whatever. It’s what you get when you think all advertising is the same and choose your advertising based on your favorite radio station, price, or by doing what you think advertising is supposed to be.

Which plumber would you choose?

I’m guessing you’d pick the plumbers that told the story over the other. And I’m also going to tell you that if those radio ads were actually running on the radio, you wouldn’t have even heard Ad #2 because your brain would have said, “Who cares” about 8 seconds in…and directed your attention to something more interesting.

If you’d like some more tips and advice, please subscribe to this blog. Or don’t be afraid to email me any questions or comments you might have. I’m in this business to help small business owners attract new, profitable customers. If I can help you out, I’d love that. I’d be honored.

You can even check out the new book I wrote here… http://www.amazon.com/Bigger-Slice-Local-Advertising-ebook/dp/B008IAOZXC  It took over a year to write and re-write and go back and forth deciding if I should actually publish it. Some of my biggest supporters told me to just go for it. So I did. And it feels good to have something out there that can help educate small businesses on a more effective way to advertise.

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

My Invisible Friend

Radio is like an extra person in the room. It’s company. It’s a silence breaker. It’s a friend.

So, when I’m cleaning my garage for an afternoon, I have the radio on. When we sit down for dinner and would like some “dinner music”, the radio is on. When I’m in my car, I have a passenger even though nobody is visible in the seat. Radio.

Radio is my mood lifter. My information giver. My invisible buddy.

Seems like a nice advertising platform doesn’t it?

Cool Video Creator Website

Hey y’all. Hope you’ve had a good week so far.

I have a client that shared a YouTube video with me that he made on Animoto.com. It’s something I’ll be messing around with…but here’s the link to see the Kaleden Construction video using it >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJgYGTTypXQ

Rob at Kaleden Construction is a great guy and runs a great metal building / steel building construction business. Here’s his website.  http://kaledencorp.com/  It might give you some ideas of your own. Or…maybe you know someone who needs a competent company to build a metal building.

Anyway, Rob has been messing around with more and more videos…to help out with his SEO. And to give customers and potential customers something to help them feel more comfortable doing business with Kaleden Construction. And you should be too! Of course you’re going to be uncomfortable doing video at first. But it gets easier. When I started, I would have to start over about 20 times before I was satisfied with a 1 or 2-minute video. You should do some of your own (where YOU are the star) and some others like Rob did. Here’s one of my first videos that I had to do over a million times. I finally got the “message” right…but it could have used infinitely better lighting. Take a look >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWYLUtIHkpY

No matter if you’re starting a Radio ad campaign or shooting some YouTube videos to help you get found online more often…it’s all a process. The “magic” doesn’t happen overnight…but if you take your marketing efforts step-by-step, day in and day out, and you’re consistent, then good things will eventually happen. Great marketing is a process, not an event.

Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend! I’m playing “super camper” with the family. I LOVE to camp and unplug.

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

Radio Ads That Don’t Stink

Radio advertising, sioux falls advertisingYou get stinky radio advertising results when you have stinky radio ADS.

I know Radio Advertising works great when you have something interesting for people to listen to. And radio is much nicer to listen to when the ads aren’t so putrid! AND…and…and (this is me getting excited to talk to you about good radio advertising) and… and …and do you know what else? A radio station will have more happy listeners when of course the DJs are good and the programming is good…but also when the ads aren’t so sleeeeeepy, annoying, and uninteresting.

A bunch of the radio stations I’ve listened to in Sioux Falls and all over the country have the same mediocre and worse than mediocre ads that sound just like a newspaper ad read into a microphone. Sleepy Town. And not only are the ads kind of boring and blah blah blah…but they don’t work! Talk about double-yuck! It’s like they have a template on file for each business category, and they just insert the business name into the proper one. It’s a formula that creates haters of radio advertising.

Radio works great when you STRIP AWAY the clichés, the template-style writing, and all the things that everybody else drones on about in their ads (but nobody cares about). When you say things that are interesting and unexpected, people listen, and results / return on investment / increased market share will happen.

But then…you can even take a better than average ad and improve upon it. How do you do that? Help people visualize something. Help them SEE. Make a movie with your radio. Tell a story with visual words. How do the best fictional writers get us so hooked on their story? By making us feel like we’re there. The “gurus” say that radio is theater of the mind. And it IS. But very few actually create that kind of ad. When you DO, it’s powerful.

Let’s do something that works. Let’s leave out the everyday phrases nobody cares about. Replace them with something interesting that a listener can “latch onto” and cause them to REMEMBER you. Let’s make some radio ads that smell like chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven. When you do, you’ll love what radio advertising can do for your business.

Have a great day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

I’m a radio ad writer and sales guy that works for Results Radio in Sioux Falls. Love my job. Of course it comes with stress and frustrations at times. But when you have a passion for something…what doesn’t? I like to help Sioux Falls business owners convince the public that their business is the bomb. It’s a process. But it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Let’s get started!

The Missing Piece of Advertising Success

I feel there are a number of Sioux Falls businesses that would like to attract more new customers. But the missing piece is a shortage of advertising ideas. Ideas that give your advertising FUEL for the fire. You may have advertised in the past, or you’re even advertising right now, but feel like there was or is something missing.

You have a vision of what you’d like your advertising to accomplish…and you have plenty of advertising mediums and advertising people you could contact…but there’s a middle area that is uncertain. It’s a cavernous middle area that you wish were more clear.

A big idea can help fill some of that area. Understanding of what really makes advertising work is another missing piece. A person that’s on your side and doesn’t just sell you something and disappear is another ingredient. But let me go back to “the big idea”. It’s a spark that can get you excited about your advertising instead of dreading it. It can be the reason someone chooses to do business with YOU instead of someone else.

You can tell people Who you are, What you offer, and How to contact you, until you’re blue in the face. But if there’s not a big idea to help tell people WHY they should consider buying from you, your advertising will continue to be mediocre at best.

What you may be missing, is a big idea.

Let’s have a conversation. Then, we’ll get ready to create your big idea.

Have a day full of big ideas!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

I consider myself a big idea hunter. I work at Results Radio Cumulus Media in Sioux Falls.

Snoozer Ads: “The List”

I listen to the radio. And I listen to the commercials. Especially the commercials on one of our 8 radio stations. The radio commercials we write, engage and keep people listening longer. If I ever need to remind myself of what most local radio ads sound like…I just pop it over to a station outside of our group. It’s kinda painful.

I like to evaluate the ads on any station – ours or theirs. I can tell the difference between an ad that has potential…and an ad that will help listeners tune out faster. I heard an ad recently that needed some major help. It contained “THE LIST”. The ad that lists about 15 different products. One after the other…and anoothther…and anothththeerrrr…Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

So, what were they trying to do? They wanted to let everybody know that they have a huge selection to choose from. I get it. But the problem is…it’s grounds for being a SNOOZER AD. There are many different kinds of snoozer ads, but today we’ll talk about “the list”.

How can we let people know that you’ve got a lot of great products? Well, you can let them know you’ve got ONE great product, and a lot of others just as great. What I mean is, you focus on ONE product. You dazzle people with its greatness. You make them SEE themselves using the product. You make them see how wonderful it would be if they OWNED it. You describe the product through story. You describe the process in making the product. Whatever awesome things your product can do for your potential new customer or whatever they might find interesting about the product, you talk about it. Maybe it’s super high-tech. Maybe it’s a combination of this and that. Maybe it has a feature that people don’t know about.

But you can’t be tempted to start rambling off a bunch of other products. When you start listing products one after another, that’s when your Snoozer Ad Warning System signals “red alert” in your brain. Don’t do it. Be strong. Once you’ve pulled out some great juicy bits about your ONE product, then you can say something like, “If you don’t think it’s the best thing since sliced bread, why not inspect one of our other 27 selections.” Or something like that if you really feel the need to let people know you have a ton of products.

When you intrigue people with one product…and they believe that it’s truly a whiz-bang product…they’re going to assume all your other products (or services) are equally as fantastic. And by doing your radio ad that way, instead of inserting “the list”, your ad became interesting, entertaining, informational, and above all…a non-snoozer.

Have a great day! Do one thing better than anyone else could do today.

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

I’m a hard-working guy at Results Radio Cumulus Media in Sioux Falls. If you want to chat, drop me a line!