Local Radio for Local Business [part one]

Radio Can Reach Your Target Audience
Radio can be a productive marketing channel for local businesses looking to stay top of mind with current customers while reaching prospective new customers. Local radio is inexpensive to produce and offers a great way to establish a personality for your business. Arbitron (a consumer research company in the United States that collects listener data on radio broadcasting audiences) reports that in one week over 228 million people listen to the radio, mostly in their car while commuting to work in the morning and evening. Plus, many radio stations now offer a live stream of their programming online, which can help widen the local audience hearing your ad. Online listeners are also just a click away from going to your website to get more information or check out your ad offering.
One of the challenges when marketing your business is to target your advertising to your potential customers as specifically as possible. The more targeted the advertising action, the more likely it will yield good results and be cost-effective. Local radio allows you to identify the type of listener as well as clearly define the geographic area your ads will reach. For many businesses, if you have been in a location for a period of time, you can already identify your local radio stations and you may have a good sense of the type of listeners they attract.
Radio Ads on a Budget
Do Some Research
Talk to your customers to get an idea of the stations they listen to and listen to your local stations and decide which ones you think sound like a fit. You can also contact local businesses you hear advertising on a station and get their feedback on how well it is working for them. Use this information to decide which radio stations you want to contact. One parent company may own and manage a variety of your local radio stations, which can make it easier to meet and get information on several stations.
Create a Customer Profile
You need to understand and clarify the audience you want to reach using local radio. Put in writing the details of your target listener including age, gender, income bracket, geographic area, personal interests, and any other details you can include. Use this list when meeting with sales reps from the stations and see if the station’s demographics are a match for your business. Radio station reps should provide both qualitative and quantitative information about their listeners. They will also have data showing specifically where their stations are heard, usually provided in the form of a map. Also, discuss with the sales rep what programs and what time of day are the best for reaching your target audience. You want to strategically narrow down the options and then choose the right match.
Choose a Time Slot
As a general rule, the most traditional radio listeners tune in during the morning and early evening commute to and from work. Online radio listeners tend to tune into a music stream mid-morning and late afternoon while at work. Peak listening hours will get your ad heard by the most people but will also be the most expensive.
Rotator ads can be an effective way to buy ad time on a budget. Your ad will be run within a window of time, not a specific time slot, and that may include some ads during peak times. You can also choose off-peak days and hours to keep the cost down, but your ads will run when less people are listening. Mid-day and late evening are usually priced lower than other time slots. The lower price may be attractive but you want to be sure these off times have the potential to generate results.
Determine the Length of Your Ads and Run Time
The standard radio ad is generally a 60 second spot, with shorter length ads available at 30 second, 15 second, and even 10 second. If you can create an effective radio script that gets all your info into a shorter time length, it can keep your cost lower, or let you run more ads within your budget. Some stations will offer a “name-only” sponsorship of a show or segment. You might sponsor the morning news, the weather, or a specific music or talk show. This will give you more mentions and many times the best spots during commercial breaks. Public radio offers company sponsorships of shows and your sponsorship announcement can now include more sales-oriented content than years ago.
Negotiate Your Radio Contract
You can purchase any amount of radio time, but a longer-term contract can give you a better price overall and will lock-in your rate. You may want to do some testing with shorter term commitments before you sign-on to a longer contract. Buying radio time is highly negotiable in today’s market so do your research on radio stations, geographic reach, time slots, and station listeners. Once you have all your data organized, sit down with the sales rep and work out the best contract possible.
There are three important parts of your radio ad plan and they should be included in your proposal.
   • REACH: Reach is the number of prospects that will hear your radio ad.
   • FREQUENCY: Frequency is the average number of times your prospects will hear your radio ad. (Frequency is not the number of spots to be run.)
    • COST-PER-POINT: Cost-per-point is what it costs you to reach one percent of your target audience based on your ad schedule and time slots. You can use cost-per-point to compare the effectiveness of the different radio stations you are considering.
Next month we will continue on the topic of radio advertising and review how to create an effective radio spot, along with methods for tracking the results of your radio ads.

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