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.”   

Marketing in Sioux Falls

What IS marketing anyway?

Isn’t it just finding a good way to make some moolah from a product or service? So, what are some good ways to market what you have to offer? Let’s take a look at a few from the top of my head.

1. Have a really awesome product or service that will generate some word of mouth (some buzz). BUT this is easier said than done. Your product needs to wow the pants off of people. It needs to be better, faster, easier, etc. than the next best product. Your service needs to be a step above what your closest competitor is doing.

2. Make it look good. So, if you’re a retail store, make people say, “Wow, this is really nice” once they’re inside. If you’re a service biz, then don’t drive around in rusted out pieces of junk. And make your service people look like a million bucks compared to your competition.

3. Say it different. In all of your communications with a potential customer, don’t sound like everyone else who is selling the same thing. Stand out. Stand for SOMETHING. Be remembered by how you present your product or service.

4. Your policies. Don’t be a copycat. Just because most of the businesses in your category do something a certain way, it doesn’t mean you have to have a policy that makes no sense. Have some guarantees. Create some return policies that make people feel ultra-comfortable in their purchasing decision. Make doing business with you EASY.

5. Free merchandise. Not everyone can do this, but I think most could find something to give away. Coffee mugs, T-shirts, etc. But make the stuff FREE when they purchase a certain amount of product or services. I saw a smoothie place that was selling their T-shirts. I bet their sales on those are close to zero. Why not give everyone a free T-shirt when they get 12 punches on a special card? But make your merchandise fun. Have a funny saying on your stuff that makes people actually WANT to wear or use the freebie. Cause them to proudly don your merchandise and advertise all over Sioux Falls for you. Heck, if you have a great customer, send them something unexpectedly, with a card attached that says “Thank you”. They’ll love you for it, and they’ll probably tell a couple of people.

Of course advertising on the radio is marketing too. If you want to accelerate your word-of-mouth and go beyond what I’ve listed above, I can help brand you locally. Local branding is powerful. But it’s not “awareness”. It’s totally different. Awareness doesn’t mean much. Branding makes people remember you for something good. I’ll help you be remembered when people need what you offer. If we dig a little, and find the right strategy, it’s how you can take your business to new levels.

Sioux Falls marketing doesn’t have to be so difficult. You just have to stop copying other businesses (because they don’t usually know what they’re doing either), provide great service, and get out of your “box” as often as you can.

Do you want to market your business better? Then, let’s brainstorm for an hour some day. I hope to talk to you soon! : )

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

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


What do the highest grossing movies in the world have in common?

They all have an above average degree of the unexpected. They keep you on your toes. They keep you wondering what’s coming next. They “change gears” dramatically and often.

And that’s what the best advertisements also have in common. When your ads are predictable, your prospects’ brains tune out and do something else. The headline of your ad should get you to listen to or read the next line. That line should get you to listen to or read the line after that…and so on. As soon as one of the lines in your ad is filled with word after word of predictability, your prospect will zone out and focus their attention on something more important.

If a husband buys his wife flowers every Valentine’s Day, his wife thinks it’s sweet, but it doesn’t “move” her like he’s hoping. But when he surprises her with flowers on a completely unexpected day, along with a hand-written note, her heart will flutter – mostly because it was unexpected. And what if he took it an extra step? What if he picked her up after work and they headed off to a stress-free mini-vacation for the weekend without the kids? Now, that’s a nominee for husband of the year. Which reminds me…I should practice what I preach!

We’re getting slammed with advertisements and special offers every minute of the day. So, keep people on their toes with words and advertising messages that surprise and give people a warm feeling. Something that makes them start wondering why they’re not doing business with you. Make someone feel good about your company. You’ll get a heck of a lot better return on investment just by making people feel good about your company, versus pushing another annoying and typical ad on them!

The great authors of fiction peel us away from reality and throw us into new worlds with ease – and we don’t want to ever put the book down. There are movie makers that cause people to go see their films without even caring too much what the movie is about. We just know it will be good. They do it with unpredictability. Twists, turns, drama, conflict, and surprise – they’re not just for great books and movies, but your advertisements also.

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

I’m a radio marketing guy in Sioux Falls who loves helping local businesses improve their marketing message. The difference between good advertising and bad is usually all about the MESSAGE. Improve your ad message, and you’ll improve your advertising results.


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.

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.

Non-Fat Advertising

What would you like your advertising to accomplish? What goal are you trying to reach?

Before you embark on a BIG ADVERTISING ADVENTURE, you should have a GOAL. “I just want to get my name out there” is not good enough. Maybe you’re at $500,000 in revenues and want to grow to 1.5 million in 24 months. That’s a goal. You should envision what that will look and feel like also. If you were doing 3x the business, can your current staff handle that? Are you set up for that?

Yes, there’s a bunch of things you need to consider…it’s not easy. But if you want your advertising to work to its full potential, you need to first HAVE a goal. You need to know exactly what you want your advertising to accomplish. Then, you’ll need to allot the proper ad budget to help get you there. It doesn’t happen…

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“You mean we get to say whatever we want to radio listeners?”

“Pretty much.”

“Wow. That’s cool. Talk about the possibilities.”

“I know. It’s too bad most advertisers don’t take advantage of its full potential.”

“What’dya mean?”

“Oh, most like to make their ads sound like ads. It’ can be an invitation for people to tune out.”

“To me, it seems like it could be seduction beamed right through their speakers.”

“I like that. Seduction.”

“Well, isn’t that what we’re trying to do?”

“You’re absolutely right.”