Radio provides an ideal advertising medium for small businesses, but running an effective campaign takes a bit of know-how. Just follow these four tips for navigating the radio waves.
1. Pinpoint Your Audience.
Every radio buy must begin with a clear understanding of the listeners you want to reach. Write a one-sentence target audience profile based on the demographics of your prospects. This should include their age, gender, where they live and other factors, such as household income. Then share this information with the sales reps from the stations you’re considering. They’ll tell you what percentage of their stations’ listeners match these demographics and at what times of the day or during which programming you’ll reach your best prospects. There also may be qualitative characteristics of your ideal prospects you should consider when making your radio buy.
2. Know What You’re Buying.
The three most important elements when evaluating proposals are reach, frequency and cost-per-point. Reach is the number of your prospects that’ll hear your marketing message. Frequency isn’t the number of spots you run, but the average number of times your prospects will actually hear your message. Cost-per-point is the basis for evaluating cost effectiveness. CPP is what it’ll cost to reach 1 percent of your target audience population, so it’s the best way to compare the value of competing stations. Buy enough frequency to ensure your message is heard at least several times.
3. Look for Special Sponsorships.
Radio stations are promotional engines, and there are at least two ways you can get on board. First, most stations offer the opportunity to sponsor news, weather reports or other types of regular programming. As a sponsor, you’ll typically get additional mentions, such as with “billboards,” which are announcements of your sponsorship that lead into special programming. Often, sponsorship will guarantee your spots air first in the commercial breaks, or pods, so you’ll reach more listeners before they have a chance to switch stations or tune out during long breaks.
Radio stations also get involved in the community with special events. Look for sponsorship opportunities that include on-air mentions, as well as visibility at the events themselves. And be sure to seek out events that are well attended by your target audience and put your company in the spotlight.
4. Entertain the Audience.
Once you’ve evaluated the proposals from the radio stations and negotiated and finalized your buys, you’ll need effective spots. Since radio spot production is rarely a do-it-yourself job, you’ll most likely work with a local production company, agency or station. But you should understand a few basics to be an effective part of the team and keep them on track.