Ensuring Great Sales Promotions

There are many ways to make money and make your station look great!  A winning sales promotion will generate new revenue, build an audience, enhance the station’s image, and take dollars off the table that would otherwise go to a competitor.  These guidelines will help create a promotion that will make money and improve the listeners’ perception of your station:

  1. Every promotion needs a “management check-valve.” Examine the structure and rules to determine that the promotion is compatible, builds audience, and doesn’t violate lottery laws.  Conduct a careful review before it hits the air.
  1. Revenue and station involvement are in direct proportion to each other. A client spending $30,000 a year obviously deserves more promotional involvement than one paying $5,000.  The more revenue that’s involved, the bigger the promotion commitment.  Don’t spend disproportionate time and resources to net a $1,000 order.
  1. Recognize the limitations of your promotional inventory. Determine what the prospect really wants.  Is it a big sales promotion or just a “deal” on an ad schedule?  If the buyer is an agency, the answer may be “something that makes me look good to the client.”   That may be a bonus schedule in non-peak times, a remote, or a self-contained contest in that sponsor’s commercials.  Translation: There is no need for a sales promotion.
  1. Commit to good frequency for success. Frequency is the heartbeat of radio in schedules and promos.  It benefits all advertisers and sets us apart from newspaper advertising.  Spots and promos must be heard often enough to make a strong impression, but…
  1. Avoid promo overload. Twenty sponsors times ten promos a day equals 70 mentions a week.  However, listing 20 sponsors in one promo will fail the station and the clients.  Work on the details and devise a plan that keeps clutter out of the sales promotion.
  1. Offer what the client needs. Some clients love in-store entry boxes, but others hate them.  The sales rep should know the hot buttons.  An entry box at a plumber’s or lawyer’s office makes little sense, but it’s great at restaurants, mall locations, or remotes.  The salesperson should match client needs to station goals.
  • Let’s say the client wants to increase traffic (who doesn’t?). Collaborate on bounce-back coupons for remotes and staff appearances to give attendees a reason to show up again.  Collect names at remotes to furnish to the client for their own follow-up.  Look for individualized ways to visually display your station’s value beyond the schedule.
  1. The length of a promotion and an ad schedule don’t have to match. We often find clients wanting a 13-week promotion to match their 13-week buy.  Typically, contests or promotions can’t sustain audience interest for more than five weeks, let alone thirteen.  Long promotions wear listeners out and take away promotional time needed for other advertisers or events.
  1. Sales Promotions should bring in new dollars, not swapped budgets. Your goal is always to increase sales, so offer promotions for additional budgets or to new advertisers who will buy more time.  “New Dollars Rule!” 
  2. Make the advertiser feel good with follow-through. Did the promotion draw a good crowd and result in better sales?  
  • Post a photo of a prize winner posing with the sponsor to your website. Email the picture with your logo in the corner to the listener and client.
  • Create a sales promotion invoice that shows the value received.
  • Get the jocks to do a wrap-up on the air about the big crowd that showed up for the remote event.
  • Present the client with best-of audio – promos, delighted winners, and client interviews.
  1. Document your success. Completing a successful promotion should make securing the next promotion much easier, especially if you document your success through testimonial letters from the client.  Include all the details of what made the promotion work so you can pitch the promotion (or a variation) again in the future.  Show the package to other advertising prospects and use it for sales-staff training.

John Lund is President of the Lund Media Group, a radio programming, broadcast consulting, and research firm with specials in all mainstream radio formats.  Leave a comment below or email him at John@Lundradio.com.

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