How to Make Your Radio Advertising Work: Radio Advertising Agency “Secret Sauce”

How to Make Your Radio Advertising Work: Radio Advertising Agency “Secret Sauce”

According to the Nielsen Total Audience Report, radio reaches 92% of Americans age 18+ each and every week. To compare that impact with other media sources, smartphones reach 83% of Americans each week; TV reaches 89% of Americans each week; and computers reach 50% of Americans each week. And this is happening while other advertising outlets like cable TV are losing audience–a phenomenon known as “cord-cutting.”

Radio is growing.

Author Annette Malave, SVP of the Radio Advertising Bureau, reports “The only medium noted as not experiencing declines, or better positioned as having a consistent audience reach, was radio – around 90% for at least the past nine years.” Each other medium noted within the release – newspapers, cable TV, network TV, local TV and digital-native news – had declines ranging from 5% to 15%.”

Malave goes on to report how Pew Research Center’s “5 Facts” mean a lot to radio. So in keeping in Pew Research Center’s “5 Facts” format, here are top five facts (along with supporting data) about radio:

1. Radio’s listening audience is growing.

  • June 2014: radio reached 244 million people weekly1
  • June 2018: radio reached over 247 million people weekly1

2. Radio reaches consumers on the go – wherever or whenever they want it – live or via streams, apps, podcasts and across devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, smart TVs or smart speakers.

  • Online radio listening is growing to 180 million people monthly2
  • Podcast listening growth to 124 million people2

3. Radio has an emotional connection unlike any other medium.

  • 87% say that broadcast radio personalities make them laugh4
  • 64% would follow their radio personality if they went to another radio station4
  • 61% stated that the personalities on radio stations make them think4
  • 51% see radio stations personalities or DJs like a friend/family4
  • 46% trust radio station personalities – they are opinion leaders4

4. Radio is local.

  • 84% of listeners believe that radio’s primary advantage is its local feel.3

5. Radio delivers results.

  • Radio delivers a $10 to $1 ROI5
  • Radio delivers a 29% lift in incremental Google search6
  • Radio delivers campaign awareness lift when combined with other media7

Since Radio reaches 92% of Americans age 18+, that makes radio America’s number one Reach Medium. So, the questions are: “How can I make radio work for my business?” and “What do I need to know to make my radio campaign successful?”

Here are Q&As to make your radio campaign successful.

Q: How do I make a radio commercial that’s effective?

A: Create your ads with the customer in mind. Know the problem that you are solving and develop your spots to deliver the solution. Customer-centric creative needs to present the problem, provide the customer with a clear solution in words and terms that the customer can easily understand “what’s in for them,” create a sense of urgency, and deliver a strong call to action. Great creative is the foundation for an effective radio campaign. According to Radio Recall Research of over 2,500 different radio commercials, neither humor nor music provided any help in brand recall. What’s important is that your creative delivers a clear and compelling message that your product or service can help make their life better. Provide proof in your creative and make it easy for them to try it out. Here are what actual radio listeners said they would like to hear in the ads on their favorite radio stations. Based on an online sample of 622 radio listeners ages 18-54, here is what they said would make a compelling radio spot:

  • Provide them with information on places to go and things to do (63%)
  • Help them learn about local businesses (41%)
  • Something that builds in-store traffic (40%)
  • Connect them with their local area (39%)
  • Prompt online action (38%)
  • Create Ads with messages that they retain (38%)
  • Tell them why to buy (26%)

(Source: NuVoodoo Media Services proprietary study for RAB, 2013)

Here are some things to avoid in your radio commercials. These elements are guaranteed to make the radio listener turn the station, tune out and probably be angry or feel negative toward your brand. Do these and you are certain to fail with your radio ads:

  • Use a police siren or ambulance sound effect.
  • Use a record scratch sound effect.
  • Use throw-away phrases that people tune out like “Now is the time to buy. Wait. There’s more. We’re #1 in the … business.”
  • Use unrealistic language in a slice of life ad. “Hi, Amy. How is your day going?” “Great, Jill. I just called 555-attorney to get start my medical malpractice lawsuit started.”

According to the Psychology of Advertising report in, the emotion of “likeability” is the measure most predictive of whether an advertisement will increase a brand’s sales. Advertising campaigns that performed well had 31% emotional content and 16% rational content.

So, make sure your voiceover talent is friendly and that their voice builds trust. Create an opportunity for a radio listener to like your brand and your offer, even if they don’t need your product or service now. One day they will, and you want them to think of you in a positive way when it’s time to purchase.

Q: How do I break through the clutter? How can I get my customer’s attention?

A. Use 60-second radio spots and not 30-second spots if you really want your spots to generate sales. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, “60-second spots have a higher recall than 30-second spots. If two commercials are exact in length, then the commercial with the greater amount of words will have higher recall.” Another reason to use 60-second spots over 30-second spots is the value. In television you usually get a 50% discount on 30-second ads vs. 60-second ads. But that is not always the case in radio. Usually radio stations will try to keep an average unit rate of about 65% to 70% for 30s vs. 60s. So, you don’t get half off many times. You don’t always save 50% by using 30-second vs. 60-second spots. As a rule, a 60-second radio spot should contain 160 to 170 words. A 30-second radio spot should contain 80 to 85 words. You want to give the voice talent time to deliver your message in a compelling way and not just read as fast as they can. This will give you time to build the trust and awareness you need for the customer to respond.

Q: How do I reach more customers? How do I stop wasting dollars on ads that don’t work?

A: Target your ad to run on the stations and formats your customers listen to most. As stated before. radio is a reach medium. You can cost effectively reach your audience if you know what format your customers listen to. Here are some guidelines:

Q: How do I make money on my radio advertising?

A: Don’t pay too much for your spots. Advertising rates are negotiable. The station will send you a rate card. But that really is like sticker price on a car. You should be able negotiate based on the actual audience they deliver in the time or daypart you want to advertise:

Standard dayparts are Monday through Friday 6am to 7pm; these are also known as rotators.
Morning Drive is Monday through Friday 6am to 10am.
Mid-Day is 10am to 3pm.
Afternoon Drivetime is Monday through Friday 3pm to 7pm.

Professional media buyers will negotiate based on the cost per thousand (CPM) or Cost per Point (CPP). This is an indicator of the cost to tell one thousand people about your product or service. For example, if the station you are negotiating with delivers 25,000 Average Quarter Hour (the average number of listeners every 15 minutes, noted as AQH) for Adults aged 25-54, you can offer to pay $10 per thousand or $250 per spot. You should be able to negotiate for more aggressive pricing during the first and third quarter of the year and less so during the second and fourth quarter of the year when seasonal demand for inventory is higher.

It’s wise to get a professional media buyer on your side. They know what the market is delivering and usually have relationships that can get you the maximum number of spots and audience for your investment. Radio spot rates are negotiable. You don’t have the pay what’s on the rate card.

Use these guidelines to build a better performing radio campaign. Radio is theatre of the mind. It has held its own with the onslaught of digital media. It’s local. It’s loved. People feel a connection to their favorite hosts. You can use radio’s powerful influence to create awareness, demand and results for your business.

Sources: 1 Nielsen, RADAR 124 and 137, June 2014 and 2018, M-Su 24-hr. weekly cume P12+; 2The Infinite Dial 2018, Edison Research/Triton Digital; 3 Jacobs Media, Techsurvey 2018; 4 Vision Critical/MARU, November 2017; 5 Nielsen Catalina 2014-2016; 6 RAB: Radio Drives Search, 2017, Sequent Partners, Media Monitors, Inf4mation Insights; 7 New Research/IAB, 2016.

Media Buying: 5 Steps for Developing a Successful Plan

Media Buying: 5 Steps for Developing a Successful Plan

There are smart reasons to advertise. In today’s competitive environment your advertising has to work even harder to break through the clutter, gain market share, create buzz and beat out the competition. However, cost-effectiveness and ROI begins with the right approach to media buying.

According to the RAB, here are 10 reasons why advertising is so critical:

  1. Advertising creates store traffic or web traffic.
  2. Advertising attracts new customers.
  3. Advertising encourages repeat business.
  4. Advertising generates continuous business.
  5. Advertising is an investment in success.
  6. Advertising keeps you competitive.
  7. Advertising keeps your product, service or business Top-of-Mind with customers.
  8. Advertising gives your business a successful image.
  9. Advertising maintains morale.
  10. Advertising brings in big dollars for your business.

While there are great reasons to advertise, the question becomes “How do we advertise wisely? What does it take to develop a successful media plan?” Or more often than not, the question we get asked is “How much should I budget? Or “How much should we spend to have our advertising be successful?”

These are absolutely the right questions to ask because you don’t want to spend too little and never know if your advertising would have worked if you would have invested just a little more. And you don’t want to spend too much and waste money.

You don’t need more advertising options. There are so many it can be distracting. You need to know which of the advertising options are going to give you the maximum Return on Investment. So here are some steps to consider when developing a media plan and how we at DX Media Direct begin to establish the right-sized media plan for clients.

Step One: Establish your target metric for results. Make it measurable. Make it specific. Make it count.

The first step to developing a successful media plan is to know exactly what you want or need from your plan for you to consider the advertising investment a success. This looks different for every company. If you are a retail location, then you would like to see more customers, foot traffic, and same store, same month, year over year sales increases. If you are a web-driven company, then it could be visitors and purchases from your site.

One way to help clarify what you need to get from your advertising is to finish this statement: If I spend $1,000 in advertising, I need this _______________ to happen. Fill in the blank. You answer could be a number of new customers, number of sales dollars, number of prospects, increase in store visitors, number of unique visitors to your website or follows on social media. Then you need to consider how many opportunities you need to convert to the specific number of sales to make that $1,000 a profitable investment.

For example, if you convert 10% or 1 in 10 prospects into a sale and you make $500 per sale on average, then your advertising needs to deliver 20 prospects for you to break even on your media. That’s because you create two customers on average based on your conversion ratio. So, you gain $1,000 in sales for every $1,000 you invest. That’s also known as 1 to 1 Media Effectiveness Ratio. Most companies are looking for a 2.5 to 1 or 3 to 1 Media Effectiveness Ratio.

What you fill in the blank with is the foundation and metric that every part of your media plan must achieve to continue being part of your media plan. That’s your benchmark. That’s your target metric. It’s also known as a KPI or Key Performance Indicator. Once you have established your Key Performance Indicator, then you need to review your sales process and develop a plan for measuring the response rate, conversion ratio and lifetime value of your customers.

Step Two: Match your media mix to the way you sell.

How you sell and who you sell to (your target customer) determines how you advertise. Delivering optimal advertising results is specific to your organization. When, where, how and who your customers are will guide you to your optimal media mix. Each company has established a sales system that works for them because of how they connect best with their target customers. It could be leads from a website to an in-house sales team. It could be you sell best 100% online. If you have retail outlets, then you want more opportunities for face to face customer interaction. Every media type has strengths and weaknesses. For example:

  • Radio is great at driving response from M-F, 6am to 7pm.
  • Facebook has certain times of day that are stronger for results because more people are free to look at it.
  • TV is dominant in Primetime and weekends.
  • Outdoor is excellent for “Exit Here” strategies.

At DX Media Direct, we work hard to make sure the media mix matches the highest conversion rates for each specific company and the way they sell. Write down your responses to the following statements. This will guide your agency or media buyer to determine the best media mix and plan for the maximum results.

  • I convert more prospects to sales at this time of day and these days of the week.
  • My best salespeople work during these hours and days of week.
  • My sales system is this. Be specific on how you handle responses from the start of the selling process to converting a customer.
  • Seasonality impacts my sales. Yes or no?
  • My worst sales days are these.
  • I’m closed these hours and these days.
  • My best customers are age, gender, income and psychographic segmentation, which means dividing your market based upon consumer personality traits, attitudes, interests and lifestyles.
  • My best customers really seem to enjoy ___________.
  • Most of my customers live ______________ miles from our location.
  • Location is not a factor in how we get business.
  • My customers say they purchase from us because ________________.
  • My customers are web savvy, shop and compare all the time. Yes or no?

Your agency should begin to see which media should be included in your media plan once some of these answers come to light.

Step Three: Create a test plan to measure how the initial media plan performs before a complete rollout.

Once you have your target metrics, how you sell and when you sell the most, then a media plan will begin to emerge. A good media plan usually has a mix of media because customers now research and respond in several ways. They search you on their smartphone, look up reviews, check you online, see if your website answers some initial questions for them, look up your Facebook page and even stop by your retail location or call. There is a best-in-class strategy for each media you use.

The key is to test the initial media plan, review the results and refine the plan before you roll out more budget. We usually recommend three- to four-week tests initially. Your media should be delivering at 65% to 75% of your stated goals within the first test phase. If certain media outlets are only performing at half of goal, or 50% of your target, then this media needs to be eliminated or re-analyzed to see why it’s underperforming.

Step Four: Make sure you get enough frequency to move prospects through the purchase funnel: “Awareness, Interest, Desire to Action.”

In broadcast, you will want to target a minimum frequency of three times. Erwin Ephron writes in his article the rule of three, “Exposure No. 1 is a ‘What is it?’ type of response. Anything new or novel—no matter how uninteresting—on second exposure has to elicit some response the first time… If only to disregard the object as of no further interest. The second exposure response is ‘What of it? Does this have relevance to me?’ By the third exposure, the viewer knows he/she has been through the ‘What is it and what of it?’ phases. The third exposure becomes the true reminder.”

For radio we suggest a minimum 25 spots per week Mon.-Fri. from 6am to 7pm. Optimum Effective Scheduling, which helps you determine the number of spots to achieve a frequency of three times on radio, is based on the formula Cume / AQH X 3.29 = OES or Optimum Effective Scheduling. This gives you the calculation for the number of times your message needs to air to reach your target audience at least three times in a week.

Optimum Effective Schedules will direct you to much higher frequency weekly, but you can save on budget by advertising fewer weeks of the month to deliver a greater yield than if you had a low number of spots spread out for 52 weeks. Again, your agency and or media buyer should help guide you to the most efficient way to execute the test.

Step Five: Let the Data drive you and take the emotion out of the media plan.

When you start advertising and planning your media, it’s easy to let emotions drive you. A customer comment, a salesperson’s input, and anecdotal observations can drive you crazy and get you off target. Once you begin to execute the media plan, then evaluate the performance based on the results each media buy accomplished. As long the media is performing you can create other campaigns that are similar in target audience, CPM, reach and frequency, and results. There will be ups and downs, but they should be manageable.

Paul J. Meyer writes: “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” When you have built a smart media plan, you will harvest solid, stable results.

Nielsen Reports Radio Still a Favorite

Nielsen Reports Radio Still a Favorite

Want to reach your audience cost-effectively? Advertise on radio.

According to Nielsen Research Reports: “Back in spring of 2011, consumers 12-17 spent an average of 9 hours and 15 minutes with radio each week-—not internet radio; not satellite radio; just good old AM/FM radio. Fast forward six years later, and these same consumers (now 18-to-24-year olds) spend an average of 10 hours and 15 minutes with radio each week. In other words, when teens grow up, they spend more time listening to the radio.”

What are the Benefits of Direct Response Radio?

What are the Benefits of Direct Response Radio?

There are three key benefits to Direct Response Radio over traditional branding advertising.

1.) You know within the first 48 hours if your advertising is performing. With traditional branding advertising, your reps will tell you that it takes 13 weeks or more to see if it’s going to deliver. That’s one way they get to keep more of your budget longer. With Direct Response Radio you know within the first 24 to 48 hours if it’s driving enough calls, website visits or even foot traffic to be worth renewing the next week.

2.) It’s much cheaper to test creative than Direct Response Television advertising. To have a Direct Response Radio ad produced costs anywhere from nothing to $100. It’s very inexpensive to test out different spots to see which copy performs best. TV spots can cost from $3,000 to $150,000 per spot to produce. That’s an expensive venture to find out you have a dud.

3.) You get the benefit of branding on top of immediate sales. A well-executed Direct Response Radio campaign is going to drive calls, leads, sales and brand awareness. So you are really not losing one to gain the other. Get a professional Direct Response agency to help develop and execute your campaign. You will make money, save time and look great doing it.