Local Radio for Local Business [part two]

This month we will continue our look at using local radio to promote your business. Last month we looked at the factors involved in buying radio advertising, today we will look at creating effective radio spots and tracking the results of your radio campaign.
Create an Effective Spot
Meaningful Message
To create an effective radio spot, you need to grab the listener’s attention and quickly make a connection. As in all marketing, you are looking to meet a consumer’s needs with your product or service, now you need to express your product or service benefits in 60 seconds or less. You should have identified your target audience at this stage, so use your knowledge of this group to develop a meaningful message and a compelling call to action. Think carefully about what you want to convey in your message and consider using humor, stories and testimonials as effective ways to connect with the listeners.
Compelling Voice and Music
Your means of communication with radio is all about sound using voice, music, etc. Sound is powerful and can instantly evoke thought, memories and emotions. Decide who will be the voice of your radio ads, and consider using a professional voice artist. With today’s technology, a voice artist can record your radio script in the comfort of their home or studio, and then simply email you a file. Many voice artists will re-record you script with any minor changes you would like as part of the service. It may be well worth the cost to have a polished and consistent voice for your radio campaign.
You can also use your own voice. If people know you and will recognize your voice, that can be an effective way to connect. But be critical and only use your voice if it really meets the criteria for your message and your brand. The radio station will usually let you come in and record in their studio. Many radio stations will also offer their own radio personalities to record your ad at the station, and this is often included in the cost. Just be careful of radio personalities that do a lot of ads, as your ad may not stand out as much as it might with a unique voice. Some radio ads are read “live” by the radio show host, so if this will be the case, be sure your script will work well for someone that needs to pick it up and run with it.
Music is also very important and should be carefully chosen to impart the right mood to your ad. Be sure you understand copyright issues in relation to using music, just because you have access to the music, doesn’t mean you can legally use it. Your radio station should be able to advise you on this and help with music options.
Develop a Theme
It is helpful when developing a radio campaign to have an overall theme to your messages, and then change up the radio scripts to keep it fresh. This keeps your message on target while also adding new pieces of information to your ongoing story. Be careful not to run unrelated spots, use various voices, or disjointed calls to action. Radio requires repetition to be effective and you want every ad that is aired to build on that recognition and familiarity. 
Call to Action
Every marketing campaign needs a call to action, and radio advertising should include one in every spot. Carefully consider what action you want the listener to take and make it easy for them to remember. Your ad can provide a URL to your website, a phone number to call, a coupon code for a special offer, or an invitation to visit your place of business or attend an upcoming event.
Track Results
You will want to measure and track the results of your radio ads. You can use a unique URL to track the number of people coming to your website from your radio ads and also monitor some specifics of the website visits, such as the time of day and pages visited, through your web analytics program. You will also want to track phone calls coming from your ads which can be done by asking how the caller heard about your business, or using a unique phone number if that is practical for you. Providing an on-air coupon is also a way to track response. You can provide a coupon code, an easy to remember word or phrase, that customers can use when they visit your business.

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