3 Mistakes You Don't Want To Make In Your Radio Advertising


I never listen to the radio. At least, that's what I thought when I started writing this.

Then, I started researching facts and figures. And after getting over the astonishment when I read that 93% of people age 12 and older listen to the radio every week, I realized I'm probably exposed to radio more than I think. I started remembering car rides and trips to the grocery store. And then I thought about all the radio ads that I could recall. And I realized, Wow, radio is a part of my life and I didn't even know it!

Radio is just about the most accessible media source out there. You don't have to pay for it. You just have to be able to pick up a signal. So, I guess it's no surprise that so many people are listening in.

So, what does all that mean when it comes to advertising? Check out these facts and figures from the Radio Advertising Bureau.

  • Consumers spend 22% of their total media time with radio.

  • 84% of drivers cite radio as their primary in-car entertainment device.

  • Radio retains more than 93% of its lead-in audience during commercial breaks.

The statistics make it seem like it's a worthy marketing channel. My opinion? It absolutely is... as long as you don't make these mistakes.

1. Marketing to "whoever's listening."

One of the biggest mistakes you could possibly make in radio advertising is not thinking about your target audience. Putting a commercial together and scheduling it at the cheapest times available won't get you anywhere.

It's crucial that you think about who you're marketing to and when they'll be listening. Entrepreneur.com has some great tips for pinpointing your audience.

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.

Once you've decided who you're marketing to, create your spot with that target audience profile in mind.

  • What would entertain them?
  • What would grab their attention?
  • What background music should you choose?
  • What gender and what age should the script-reader/actors be?

All of those questions are directly related to your potential customers, so make sure you aren't choosing what to do based on your own preferences. Maybe even polling some people in your target audience would help you figure out your answers.

2. Repeating your call to action over and over... and over (and over) again.

While it could be argued that repeating your phone number or website address helps listeners remember the information, it tends to do more harm than good. (It's actually kind of annoying.)

In his article, Seven Tips For Radio Advertising Success, Paul Suggett makes a good point.

If someone you don't like comes up to you in a bar and gives you their phone number a dozen times, will you call it? On the other hand, if someone is funny, charming, beautiful, or a combination of all three, and they give you their number just once, will you call? Of course. This is about creating interest. Grab their attention, make them want to know more...

Worry less about the call to action, and more about the "meat" of your radio spot. Emphasize your brand and it's benefits. If you succeed in winning the listener over with your "charm," they'll take the necessary action to follow up with your request. In fact, 28.1% of radio listeners initiate online searches based on something they've heard on the radio. (That's a pretty big number, considering that some radio listeners can't even search online until hours later!)

3. Not utilizing some form of analytics to tell you whether or not your ads are working.

If you don't have a call tracking number, or a website address unique to your radio ads, you won't have any idea how your radio marketing is performing. That means you won't know what it's costing you per lead or per click, you won't know whether or not it's worth it to keep running the ads, and most importantly, you won't be able to sleep at night–because you just don't know!

Analytics are your best friend when it comes to spending your advertising money. You can even go so far as to put specific call tracking numbers or website addresses on different ads at different times of the day, so you know which ads perform better. The possibilities really are endless.

So, what's been your experience with radio? What's working for you? What's not? We want to know! Leave us a comment below.