- 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.
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.
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