Radio Advertising First-Timer? 6 Tips to Get Started

radio advertising first timerTrying a new marketing medium can be scary. There’s an element of the unknown as you’re not sure what to expect when it comes to developing creative, running a schedule, and tracking ROI. This is exactly why we’ve put this list together—for those using radio for the first time who want to be certain they learn from others’ past mistakes. 

First, a Brief Look at the Power of Radio

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, but statistics provide a favorable case for radio’s inclusion in a strategic omni-channel media mix. Radio reaches almost everyone. In fact, according to Nielsen, radio reaches 93% of adult consumers in America. That’s nearly 250 million people 13 years or older reached weekly nationwide and what’s more, Americans 12 years or older spend nearly three hours with radio daily, on average. Radio reaches all age groups, is listened to throughout the day, and is listened to consistently year round.

Radio also provides significant results: advertisers will see an average $6 in return for every $1 spent and double-digit lifts in customer retention with radio campaigns. In fact, adding radio to a campaign that already uses TV and digital can lift key KPIs such as sales and inquiries from 9% to 23%.

Below are six radio advertising tips to help you get started with an effective campaign that can reap great results.

Tip #1: Identify Your Target Audience.

Of course, statistics are generalized. You need to leverage the best media for reaching your specific target customer base, and that may require research. You want to reach the best possible customers, which requires identifying and understanding your targeted audience segments. Demographics are a good place to start, but you’ll need to break that down further. What are their interests? What are their pain points? Are there patterns in behavior that influence their needs as well as when and how you reach them? This will help you identify which radio formats and stations will be most effective for your needs.

Tip #2: Determine Your Goals.

As with other types of marketing, your radio advertising strategy needs to be based on your business goals. What is it you’re trying to achieve with a particular ad campaign? This will help you identify the tools you need to gauge your success, but it also informs if, when, and how to deploy a radio campaign. Radio’s reach makes it a powerful touchpoint for building brand awareness, especially with a lower frequency over a longer period of time. However, radio is also a great action-focused medium that is close to the point of sale. For example, short, high-frequency action campaigns in the days leading up to an event or sale can greatly influence customers to make a purchase or show up.  

Tip #3: Budget for Frequency.

Frequency is how often your ad is heard by listeners within a certain period of time, and it’s considered to be the catalyst for remembering an ad and ultimately whether a person takes action. There is no standard frequency, though the minimum is often considered to be at least three. It’s important to remember that, in an omni-channel world where consumers have multiple ways to shop at any given time, radio is just one possible touchpoint that builds on the frequency of your campaign. The frequency and duration of your radio campaign must be defined by your specific goals and the kind of ROI you are seeking. You don’t want to underspend and leave yourself with subpar results.

Tip #4: Be Creative.

Radio engages the listener’s imagination, which makes it a prime opportunity to get creative. This is another reason to understand your audience—you can air a targeted ad that’s personalized to your ideal customer. For instance, if you appeal to a particular sense of humor when your competitor does not, it can help you stand out from the advertising noise. However, it’s always important to remember that your message and call-to-action need to be clear. If it’s not clear what you want your customer to do, then your customer can’t follow through—even if your ad is incredibly clever or interesting. 

Tip #5: Have Patience.

Quite simply, advertising takes time. How much time a particular campaign needs in order to be successful will vary. Action campaigns typically require less time than branding campaigns, but the results are inherently different. The temptation might be to stop a radio campaign if you don’t see immediate results, but if you don’t give it enough time, you’ll be severely undercutting your chance of success—no matter what type of campaign you run.

Tip #6: Work with Your Media Partner.

Professionals offer a wealth of knowledge and experience in their field, and teaming up with a media partner you trust will help ensure your radio advertising process is easier and more effective. For one thing, your media partner should already be familiar with the latest trends and best practices for that particular medium, and they should be there to help you avoid common mistakes. An experienced radio station Account Manager will understand the entire marketing strategy process and can help you look for the right data about your audience, choose the best stations, write and produce an effective ad, and recommend supplementary marketing. Essentially, they can step into a supportive role that would normally be provided by an in-house team.

A Powerful Medium Worth Doing Right the First Time

Adding a new channel to your marketing can be daunting. Take advantage of these radio advertising tips to get started with a targeted approach, balanced frequency, creativity, and patience built into your strategy. And remember, even though you’re a radio advertising first-timer, you don’t have to go it alone.

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