Is Radio Advertising Worth It for Contractors???

Posted by David Chism | Fri, Sep 3, 2021

 Is Radio Advertising Worth It for Contractors???
  • Do peo­ple still lis­ten to the radio?*
  • I’m too small to adver­tise on the radio! I can’t afford it. 
  • I don’t even like the radio, and ignore the com­mer­cials anyway. 
  • Nah, I don’t like that station!

These are just some of the com­ments and ques­tions I’ve heard from my home improve­ment clients over the years. Decid­ing whether or not to pull the trig­ger on radio adver­tis­ing isn’t easy, and the price tag often is a tough pill to swallow.

So, is it real­ly worth it?

If your com­pa­ny has a busi­ness plan that involves annu­al growth and expand­ing your mar­ket share, I would strong­ly rec­om­mend that you leave room for radio adver­tis­ing. There are still thou­sands of con­sumers that tune into their favorite pod­cast and/​or radio sta­tion sev­er­al times a week. If you stay con­sis­tent with this form of adver­tis­ing, you’ll see fruit from your mar­ket­ing invest­ment. I’ve watched it hap­pen firsthand.

What should you con­sid­er before adver­tis­ing on the radio?

I wish leads just start­ed pour­ing in as soon as you go on air,” but it’s not that easy or sim­ple. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

Stay con­sis­tent.

Radio is a long game. If you try it for 3 months and don’t get any leads, that’s hon­est­ly pret­ty com­mon. Peo­ple have to hear your com­mer­cials for quite awhile to remem­ber who you are and what you do. Some home improve­ment con­trac­tors might expe­ri­ence faster results if they have a ser­vice like HVAC or plumb­ing, where the need can be sud­den and imme­di­ate. But if you’re a painter or remod­el­er with a longer sales cycle, expect at least a 6‑month ger­mi­na­tion peri­od before you see fruit. Don’t stop! Be patient.

Pick a sta­tion with a loy­al fan base. 

The news-talk and/​or sports sta­tions tend to be the best options for home improve­ment con­trac­tors, boast­ing faith­ful audi­ences who are most like­ly to hear your ad again and again. They cost more, since the val­ue is there, but it’s a bet­ter invest­ment than adver­tis­ing on cheap­er music sta­tions that have lis­ten­ers flip­ping through ran­dom­ly. You want to adver­tise to an audi­ence that trusts the source: news, traf­fic, weath­er, sports talk, home improve­ment shows, etc. 

Part­ner with a show host.

This can cost a lit­tle more, but if you part­ner with a pop­u­lar show and/​or its host, their loy­al lis­ten­ers will be more like­ly to hire you when they need your ser­vices. The host has a built-in rap­port that you can tap into.

In a per­fect world, go a step fur­ther by see­ing if you can do some work for the host so there’s a per­son­al con­nec­tion when they run your ad spots. 

Bi-week­ly spots.

Com­mit­ting is good for your ROI, but it’s also good for your rate. Sta­tions tend to offer added (bonus) spots if you com­mit to a longer con­tract. I also rec­om­mend dou­bling up on fre­quen­cy for a busier radio week, then back­ing off anoth­er week, just to mix things up. 

As a side note, unlike mag­a­zines (for exam­ple), radio sta­tions are pret­ty for­giv­ing of con­tracts if you go through a tough peri­od and need to back off for a while. 

Get a catchy jingle.

Old-school adver­tis­ing still works! Hire a jin­gle expert to come up with some­thing to help you be remem­bered, whether short or long. They may charge any­where from $1 – 2,000 for the cre­ative, but it’s mon­ey well spent. 

Make it personal.

I know some busi­ness­es that rely heav­i­ly on the own­er to do all the radio spots. That’s a strat­e­gy that can def­i­nite­ly work. If the own­er has a good radio voice or real­ly wants to be the voice of the com­pa­ny, go for it! I also know of busi­ness­es that get their kids involved in the com­mer­cials! What­ev­er you can do to make it mem­o­rable. Just stay con­sis­tent. Too much exper­i­men­ta­tion or play­ing around cre­ates weak brand­ing and makes your spot forgettable.

Don’t stress out about track­ing radio.

Full dis­clo­sure? It’s very hard to track whether radio is real­ly work­ing. Not many clients walk in your door and say, Hey! I heard your radio ad!” Many will hear your ad, then check you out online and read reviews before con­tact­ing you. At that point, your lead source will prob­a­bly be Web” or Phone Call” on paper, but it real­ly start­ed with radio.

If you do what I out­lined above, stay con­sis­tent, and start to see sol­id lead growth and con­ver­sion with­in the fol­low­ing year, it’s not a coincidence. 

I hope this overview is help­ful! I’m just scratch­ing the sur­face, and encour­age you to think it through, get inspired, and con­sid­er imple­ment­ing a radio strat­e­gy in your upcom­ing mar­ket­ing plans. As always, reach out with any questions!

*Note: In today’s mar­ket, you can also add stream­ing radio on the inter­net as well as pod­casts as sim­i­lar to radio

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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