Radio is a great medium for spreading the word about your business.
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But a signed contract with a radio station is no guarantee of success. To make sure your radio ad reaches the people you want it to reach, you'll need know the basics of effective radio advertising.
For the uninitiated, radio advertising can seem fairly complicated. But once you get beyond the initial confusion, you will discover that radio is an extraordinarily powerful communication medium. It's estimated that in any given week, as much as 94% of the population tunes in to their favorite radio station. Although it's impossible to reach all of those people with your advertising message, radio still offers a potentially huge bang for your advertising bucks.
Right off the bat, you need to be clear about who you are trying to reach through your advertising campaign. Demographics vary widely from one radio station to the next, so until you have nailed down your target market it will be difficult to identify the appropriate venue. After you have identified your target market, your next concerns should be market size and listener profile. Remember: Your goal is to maximize the number of potential customers who will hear your ads, so it's worth the effort to perform side-by-side audience comparisons during the search process.
Airplay is another important factor in radio advertising. Contrary to popular belief, ad frequency isn't the number of times your ad is played over the airwaves. It's the average number of times a listener will hear your ad. Obviously, your goal should be to maximize frequency. The more times a listener hears your message, the more likely it is that he will buy your product. However, when comparing ad costs, frequency should not be your basis of evaluation. Instead, you need to look at the ad's cost-per-point, i.e. the expense you will incur to reach 1% of your target market.
Radio advertising also opens up possibilities for several forms of specialty advertising. Some business owners choose to sponsor specific programs or segments as a way to enhance their "visibility" on the airwaves. With many radio stations now offering internet streaming, sponsorships can be combined with banner ads on the station's website to create a nicely integrated campaign. If you purchase enough airtime, you may even be able to convince the station to throw in a remote transmission in which a DJ or talk radio host broadcasts live from your store.
The most memorable radio ads are the ones that engage the listeners. A straightforward presentation of your message may be informative, but it won't be heard because listeners will tune out. To keep your listeners' attention, you need an ad – or better yet, an ad campaign – that conveys information in an interesting and humorous manner. Technical requirements preclude most business owners from doing this themselves, so you will probably have to tap into the expertise of a production company or the station itself. Since radio ads tend to go stale quickly, you will also have to make preparations to update your ad on a semi-regular basis.