ICS Magazine

Turn Up the Radio in Your Marketing!

August 3, 2010

You may have noticed an influx of radio salesmen calling lately. Radio stations are hurting for more advertisers. Sure, the economy is having some impact, but the Internet is likely the major cause.



You may have noticed an influx of radio salesmen calling lately. Radio stations are hurting for more advertisers. Sure, the economy is having some impact, but the Internet is likely the major cause. Businesses are spending more of their ad dollars online.

Radio can be a great way to reach a large amount of people for little money, so this is your chance to take advantage. But never, ever purchase a radio campaign (or any advertising) based on a sales call. Do you homework first and determine if radio is your best media.

Know What You're Getting Into

For a cleaning business, radio is good for what I would call a secondary or support advertising media. This means your radio commercial contains the same exact message as another media you dominate. For instance, if you have a trustworthy newspaper campaign, magazine ad, Yellow Page ad or website, you support your campaign with a radio commercial that conveys the same message.

Radio rarely works all by itself. Why not? People rarely write down phone numbers. And for most cleaning companies, the telephone is the only way your clients do business with you. Radio is air. Once the commercial has run, it’s over. The listener can’t press rewind or clip out your ad for later reference. This is a major point to keep at the top of your mind when creating a radio advertisement.

Radio works really well when the listener hears your ad and says, “Oh yeah, that’s the company over on Main Street.” (or in the newspaper, the popular local magazine, etc.) It’s great if they have a point of reference the listener may know you from.

How Can Radio Work For Your Business?

It takes repetition. Yes, you need to keep running your ads for several weeks to get a good idea if the radio station will work for you. But don’t buy into the idea most ad reps try to sell you that you need to advertise the commercial for three months before you can determine if your campaign is profitable. If you get zero calls in one month of radio commercials, something is seriously wrong. Advertising for two additional months will do nothing but deplete your bank account.

It takes frequency. You want to strategically place your commercial spots where the same people hear your commercial several times a day. Radio and television are the two media that require frequency for results. Make sure you’ve got enough commercial spots during the same times each day. People listening to the radio at 8 a.m. are likely to listen to the radio at 8 a.m. the next day. It’s best to keep your spots centered on a strategic time.

It takes commitment. For maximum results, you need to stay with the program for a few months. But as mentioned above, if you aren’t getting any results at all after a few weeks, either your sales message, offer, or the radio station need to be changed.

It takes urgency. Put a killer, urgent offer in the commercial. Call the listener to action. Let her know that hearing your commercial is the answer to her cleaning problems and now is the absolute best time to respond, because she may never get an offer this good again.

It takes money. If your ad budget is small, it may be best to stay away from radio. Typically, a monthly budget of at least $1,000 is best for radio. Plus, when testing radio, it may not be best to have your company’s future hinging on whether or not your radio campaign works. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Used correctly, radio can help you seal the deal

A Few More Tips For Radio

  • Make your message simple and concise.
  • Give your phone number two or three times.
  • Use a phone number that’s easy to remember and dial.
  • Give your phone number or website, but not both.
  • Use a jingle or catchy phrase to make it memorable.
  • Have a strong call to action with a short deadline.
  • Got a timely message to get out? Use radio!
  • Radio stations commonly do partial trades, so ask about trade-outs.
One clever concept I’ve heard was for a company called Ralph’s Carpet Care. The announcer did an interview with a dog. The interviewer asked the dog which carpet cleaning company he preferred. The dog said, “Ralph’s” in a bark-like tone. The interviewer asked a few other questions and the dog always answered “Ralph’s.”

This concept hits pet owners at heart level. It’s funny. And, it makes a huge repetition of the company name. How can a listener who has repeatedly heard this commercial forget it? The listener probably won’t remember the phone number, but she will remember Ralph the next time she’s searching for a cleaner on Google or in the Yellow Pages.

Radio has been responsible for helping build huge carpet cleaning companies; the trick is to know what radio can and can’t do. Any ad media can work in the right circumstance. Know what you’re getting into and determine your plan before purchasing radio time.