Four Must-Haves for Effective Radio Advertising 

posted by Stephanie Theisen

When you think of what you want for your business, you probably name success, recognition, profitability, and a way to be future proof. That might be a lot to ask as the owner or marketing manager of a local company. What if I told you there’s something that can help with those goals? Radio advertising combines strategy, skillful planning, and engaging creative to turn good companies into great local brands. Here are the four must-haves for effective radio advertising.


1. Frequency

Four Must-Haves for Effective Radio Advertising 

Just as it takes repetition for people to memorize songs, it takes time for radio advertising to sink in with listeners. The average person needs to hear an ad message three times per week for it to be memorable. Airing your brand’s message once a week for a month or two isn’t going to get you closer to your goals. When I say frequency, I’m referring to the schedule your ad plays within a specific timeframe. There’s a special kind of “radio math” and strategy associated with frequency; it’s the total number of ads per week per station. At Leighton Broadcasting, we utilize a “21/52” schedule – a formula that means running 21 ads per week, 52 weeks per year.

Why? Here’s a little more math to illustrate the importance of frequency. With your ad budget, it’s far better to reach 10 percent of listeners and convince them 100 percent why they should choose your company than it is to reach 100 percent of listeners, but only have enough budget remaining to convince only 10 percent of them that you’re the answer they’re looking for.


2. Consistency

Your brand image is the visual of how people in the marketplace will recognize you. The use of your logo, color scheme, and tagline are all consistent; your business isn’t changing its look from year to year because consistency is key to brand recognition. Your radio advertising strategy should follow suit in practice. Your radio ad’s music bed or jingle, your voice, and your brand statement are all integral components to leave largely unchanged from ad to ad throughout your production schedule. Businesses that bounce around and switch these elements up will deliver a message, sure, but they’ll never develop a brand identity in the minds of listeners.

Consistency works to build awareness by building tangible concepts attached to your brand. It also breeds familiarity which in turn fosters trust and positions your company as a reputable, trustworthy part of the community.


3. Differentiation

As a small business, you’ve had to consider this topic across most facets of your organization. What makes your brand stand out? What products or services do you offer that are unique? What are the benefits? When your employees or staff summarize what your business does, what do they say? Differentiation and distinctiveness will attract customers to you, and to you alone. They choose you and your service and solutions over others intentionally. In turn, your radio ad should seek to differentiate itself from all other ads so it stands out, representing your brand in a true fashion.

The first step to differentiate is to identify your business’s unique selling position (USP). This simple step is crucial and will help form not only the basis for how you operate in your industry, but how to position your message in radio advertising. Once you’ve established your USP, hammer it home (consistently, as outlined above) to illustrate why listeners should care about your business and what potential product or service you can offer them.


4. Dramatization

In radio, you have a small window to grab the listener. In some cases, it’s only 15 seconds. But simplicity actually works well in this medium. The listener is busy, the world is cluttered, and one good point is all you need. One of our AEs Kris Priebe said this about dramatizing radio ads, “Good radio ads are like a rhinoceros – they only have one point.”

That’s so true! In all of your ads, no matter the format, make a single point and dramatize it. Don’t offer your listeners a laundry list or complicated message. People will never remember it and will lose interest plus your ads with then sound like all radio ads – which directly goes against point three above – differentiate.

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