Radio advertising – the original social media

“In radio, they say, nothing happens until the announcer says it happens.” – Ernie Harwell


Without advertising, a terrible thing happens… NOTHING!  If you’ve something to say, say it using the original Social Media; RADIO!

Radio Advertising is all about ‘what you say’ X ‘how many times you say it’.

Local radio advertising is more powerful and more cost effective than you can imagine.  Local radio is sold to local people by local reps at a local price.  It’s called local trading and, in essence, that’s absolutely fine.  However, airtime is a commodity like gas, electricity and telecoms and it is therefore negotiable!

So you’re considering using Radio, you have three choices:

  • Approach the local station direct and buy it on a local ‘spot rate’.
  • Approach an advertising agency who is more than likely to approach the station on your behalf… and buy it at a local spot rate… and take 15% commission.
  • Approach an independent radio advertising expert with planning software and audience data who can then ‘effectively’ buy the audience on reach, impacts and opportunity to hear and on a ‘cost per thousand listener’ basis (it’s all about the currency and the currency is the audience).  Use an independent expert, who will also write and produce the commercial.  Sadly, something like 98% of radio stations outsource this, and very few (if any) advertising agencies have production facilities, so it’s a no brainer and it’ll save you money overall.

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So … if you are going to add radio advertising into your own marketing activities, what are the top tips for getting the most out of your campaign:

  • Grab their attention!  This is best achieved by quickly offering something special, like a sale or limited offer. Give the listener a reason to act/visit you.
  • If you have a website, make sure this is mentioned at least twice and your business name mentioned THREE times.
  • Combine your activity with other channels – so encourage listeners to use your social media channels or visit your website to receive a discount, etc.
  • Don’t waste valuable airtime by telling people how long you’ve been in business and how nice you are to deal with. Nowadays the listener is only concerned with what’s in it for them.
  • When budgets may be tight, consideration should be given to Community stations and AM/Digital stations. The audience may be smaller, but it’s still an audience at a very reasonable cost.
  • Never use a ‘regional’ station when a ‘local’ station will do. It’s far better to hit a smaller audience LOTS of times than a huge audience only once or twice.
  • Radio is difficult to avoid (unless you physically switch it off) It is still proving, and always will, that if you say the right thing to enough people, scheduled correctly… It works! – All you need is an expert to simplify the process.
  • DON’T include actual dates in your commercial. Instead say “Sale ends this Monday” or suchlike as commercial productions are licensed for 12 months, meaning you could use that commercial as many times as needs be!
  • Always remember to tell the listener what’s in it for them – marketing is all about the customer after all, so make it easy for them to understand.

Always use an independent expert to guide you on all aspects of radio advertising – frequency, advert production, scheduling, negotiating price, etc.

Blunt thinking on radio advertising from Yorkshire Powerhouse
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