Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why would I use radio for advertising?
A: Radio is awesome for telling an interesting story. It’s the easiest way to brand your business locally. Any advertising medium can work. Billboards and online have their place. But, their messages tend to be quick (6 words and under.) That can be effective for simple messaging; not so much for storytelling and branding. TV is strong for storytelling. But, production costs for advertisements are very expensive. Lastly, radio is a fantastic partner for other mediums. Listeners who connect with your brand on radio are more likely to click your links online.
Q: Should I use my phone number, address or website in my radio ad?
A: No. They aren’t memorable, practical, or necessary. Listeners won’t memorize numbers and addresses. Even if they did, that isn’t how people will contact you these days. People will almost always check you out online first before calling or visiting you. So, why not put the website? Simple… people know how to use search engines. They won’t type your web address directly. I’ve actually accidentally typed “Google” into Google to find Google. You may have as well. If your business is Googlable, your prospective clients will find you. If you aren’t Googlable… you should solve that before advertising.
Q: Should I voice my own radio commercials?
A: Maybe. It depends. First things first… Are you good in front of a mic? Be honest. If not, steer clear. Secondly, are you in an industry that would benefit from owner voiced commercials? Businesses that rely on trust are the most beneficial (health, security, finance.) And lastly, how many businesses in your market have commercials voiced by an owner. The more there are, the less effective they become.
Q: How many radio commercials should I run at the same time?
A: Nothing is better than having one simple message. I suggest one simple message per commercial, and one commercial per campaign. The more messages you add, the more you water down your campaign. As with everything, there are exceptions. But, generally… keep it simple. Focus on one message and let people hear it exclusively.
Q: How much radio airtime do I need for a good campaign?
A: That’s a big question with a lot of answer. The answer depends on what type of commercial you’d like to run. There are two basic types; transactional and branding. Transactional ads are basically sale ads. They include an offer that entices the listener to contact you right now. These campaigns can be as short as one day. You’ll just need a great offer and as many ads as your budget will handle. If you’re airing a week long campaign try to aim for at least 7 air times per day. If it’s only one day, have an insanely good offer and air it 20+ times.
Branding campaigns are different. This is the best use of your budget if you can afford. Branding ads build a story. They don’t generally have offers. The point of a branding ad is to “create the why and wait for when.” Entice people to use you on their schedule. The point is to brand consistently to become top of mind. Aim to be on the air every day of the year three times a day.
Q: How many radio stations should I buy?
A: That depends on your budget. I always say start with one. Build your business until you can own in fully (3 spots a day every day.) Once you own the best radio station for your business fully, add another to the mix. Don’t spread your budget over multiple stations if you can’t afford it. That will only dilute your message. It’s better to own one station all the way, than 5 stations poorly. Also, small stations can be great value. Don’t judge a station purely on ratings.
Q: Someone told me radio doesn’t work? What do you have to say about that?
A: They’re probably right. There are tons of ways that radio won’t work for you. It’s the same as any other medium. It’s only powerful if you use the right message, in the right way, at the right time. Make sure to work with somebody who gets it. I know somebody! *points at himself in a mirror…
Q: How long will it take for my radio ads to work?
A: Sale ads can work immediately depending on the offer. If you put an ad on-air telling people you want to give them a car for free with no strings attached you will get A LOT of calls. If you offer a bowl of soup at 5% off… you’ll hear crickets. Somewhere in the middle is where you want to be. Pick your offer wisely.
Branding ads (ones without offers) can take from 3 to 6 months to work. You’ll want to cancel your campaign. Remember that you’re growing something. A branding campaign is like an investment. It takes time. But, the compounding interest will reward you for your patience.
Q: Do radio jingles work?
A: They definitely work. But, it’s at a cost. Most radio jingles are extremely cheesy. The consequence of running them is that your brand becomes inherently cheesy as well. If you’re OK with that go for it! If not, tread carefully. There are some very good jingles out there that aren’t super-lame. The value is definitely there. The human brain is awesome at remembering things musically. The biggest challenge of advertising is to have people remember your business name. Jingles can work for you. Just be careful about how you’re remembered. Check out one of our jingle products if you’re interested.
Q: Should a male or female announce voice my radio ad?
A: It doesn’t matter as much as you might think. The most important thing is to get your actual message right. People can generally take advice from either sex. And yeah… it may sound strange if a man voiced a tampon commercial. But, isn’t the point of your ad to stand out? With the writer message, that may be a great opportunity to stand out.
Q: Do funny radio ads work?
A: They can… but, you need to make sure that you aren’t just airing an entertainment piece. The point is for your product to be remembered. The comedy should just be a segue to introducing people to your business. If the connection isn’t made, it’s useless.
Q: When is a good time to advertise on radio?
A: It’s more about your business than it is about radio. You should advertise when it makes sense for your business. If you’re looking for a sexy industry tip, I’d suggest advertise when others choose not to. You can get better deals after everyone spends their budgets at Christmas. Plus, there will be less businesses to compete with. Also, there is more value in overnight ads than you think. And stations will often bonus that airtime.
Q: Why should I hire you?
A: We give a shit and we know what we’re doing. Honestly, that’s the bottom line. We won’t sell you something we don’t believe in. That means we won’t tell you what you want to hear. This isn’t a sales based company. It’s a passion based company. We make great campaigns that work. If we do that, everything else falls into place.
Q: What shouldn’t I mention in my radio commercials.
A: Anything cliched. That includes some hugely overused crap like…
- Great customer service (Everyone says it. It means nothing unless proven.)
- One stop shop (One stop shut up!)
- Locally/family owned (what does that mean to the customer?)
- Your awards (Awards mean nothing to listeners. Everyone has one.)
- XX years in business (Congratulations! But, it means nothing to the listener.)
- Phone number, address, website (Not memorable. People know how to Google you.)
People have great mental firewalls for weeding out BS. As a general rule: If you hear it all the time, avoid it.
Q: Why is every radio station I speak with #1?
A: Because they’re sales people. Any radio station can find a segment that they’re #1 in. Put your trust in sales reps that want to talk about your business instead of their own. You’re what matters. If you get that right any station can work (they’re all #1 after all…)
Q: Should I cancel my radio campaign if I get complaints?
A: Complaints can be a great sign that a campaign is doing well. To be clear, I’m definitely not saying that you should “air a commercial where your business questions whether the holocaust happened.” If you have one of those… pull it now! What were you thinking?! For normal complaints, take it in stride. Not everyone is going to like your ad. The people who complain were never your customer in the first place. Your goal is to make your ad stand out. Complaints from uptight members of society are usually proof you’re on the right track.
Q: How do I measure whether my radio campaign is working?
A: It’s all about your web traffic. Radio will push your web site. You don’t need to mention the website. It just happens. Don’t expect people to mention your ads to you. That is rare. Rising web traffic is your measurement.
Q: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
A: No. Come on!
Q: How much do radio ads cost?
A: It depends on the market and the time slot. Drive shows cost a lot more than overnights. Big cities cost a lot more than small towns. But, there are bargains to be found if you look for them. Keep in mind, the bargain may be the more expensive station. A station that reaches a million people at $100 per air time is more valuable than a station that reaches 10 thousand people but charges $20 per air time. Use your maths!
Q: How long should radio ads be?
A: Standard length is 60 seconds in the USA, and 30 seconds in Canada. Stations will usually sell 15, 30, and 60 second spots. You can also buy tags and live mentions of varying other lengths.
- 60 seconds give you ample time to intrigue your listener and ply them with information. This length is great for dramatic commercials.
- 30 seconds is concise. But, still gives you enough time to intrigue and inform.
- 15 second commercials should only be used if you have an extremely simple concept.