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Radio Ads Should Work – Here’s Why Mine Didn’t

Author: Tony Brueski   |   November 24th, 2009

More than once I’ve been contacted by an otherwise very savvy business person making the statement “radio advertising just didn’t work for me.” This statement troubles me… because it’s been proven time and time again that radio, when used correctly, can be the most effective medium for driving customers to a business.

Think about it – what other medium is on in cars, in businesses, on in the kitchen when someone is making dinner, played loudly at a back yard bbq, and a slew of other times and places. Despite other mediums of entertainment evolving over the years, radio is still one of the leaders… How is it “not working” for someone?

After I hear this, within 2-3 questions I can almost always diagnose the problem. Just as a doctor wouldn’t tell you to “Go home and die, you’re not working”, if you feel sick – he wants to find the root of the problem and correct it.

The first question I ask is, “Where were you advertising?” If your radio commercial is on a station that does not connect with your target audience, radio will not work for you.

For example a women’s clothing store that wants to target women 35-54, will likely not do too well on the local sports talk station or the rock station no matter how much the “manager of the store likes those stations”, or what “great deal” the local rep gave you. If it’s not your audience, it’s not your audience.

If the radio station itself is not the problem, I ask about how frequently it was on the air. If the answer is “once a day for a week,” or “two times a week for two weeks” – we have discovered the problem. If your commercial is only heard one time by your audience, it is not doing anything.

A rule of thumb: your commercial needs to be heard at least three times by your target customer for them to take action. This does not mean it only needs to air three times. It needs to be heard on their schedule three times or more. An advertising agency will be able to tell you on average how many times your radio commercial will be heard based on listener stats.

The third question I ask is, “What did the commercial sound like?” If the answer was “the radio station created it for free,” “my kid read the script” or the business person says “I wrote and voiced it” – red flags go up everywhere.

Some radio stations still do indeed produce good radio commercials, but these day’s they are few and far between. Most of the time, if you want quality radio commercial production that is written and produced by professionals that make your message stand out – you will want to invest the $300 it cost to have a professional radio commercial created by a professional production company.

An effective message is a key part of driving customers to your business. Just as the person producing the radio commercial wouldn’t walk into your area of expertise and be effective, don’t expect to walk into a studio and be able to voice or have your child voice a commercial that will be effective in any way, shape or form.

To review: Before you say “radio advertising didn’t work for me” – take an honest look at 1) The station you were on, 2) The amount of times your message aired, 3) The quality of the radio commercial.

Tony

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