Traditional Radio Advertising is Dead – Do THIS Instead

Early on in the 20th Century John Wanamaker, a famous merchant and US businessman said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Man, those were the good old days for mass media advertising sales!

You can almost hear the salesmen from back then now –

“Want to double your sales?  Double your ad spend!”

“Well, we know our part worked! I’m not sure where you’re wasting the rest of your money. Why not spend it all with us?”

“If you don’t keep running ads, we’ll get another mechanic/dry goods store/merchant to run ads in your place.  You don’t want that, do you?”

Life was much easier when you didn’t have to quantify how much each dollar being spent with you was bringing in.

Fast forward to the present day.

Things are MUCH Harder Now

The mass media landscape has changed drastically.

The big three TV channels carry a fraction of the influence that they used to.  Newspapers are disappearing in droves, and many people – industry executives included – consider radio to be a dying (if not already dead) medium.

Sadly, that’s only part of the uphill battle that advertising sales people are facing today.  The other half is the increased sophistication of even the most average business owner.

Can you imagine what Wanamaker would have thought of the world we live in today?

If you’d have told that man that he could create ads, only pay to have them shown to his most likely customers, see how many impressions, clicks, and conversions his ads got, and know exactly how much he made for each dollar spent, he would have lost his mind!

Yet, that’s the power that every plumber, contractor, and car dealer in your town has, and if you don’t have a good answer when they ask what kind of ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) they can expect, you’re not going to get their business!

The traditional approach to radio advertising just isn’t going to work anymore.  You’re going to need to try something different.

Three Things You Can Do to Win and Keep The Numbers Savvy Advertiser

#1 Use a Direct Response Approach

If your advertisers want numbers, give them numbers!  Most local radio advertising these days seems to fall into one of two camps – brand awareness or human interest.

Either the commercial touts the company and its history, ownership, standards, etc or it’s a human interest angle, where the owner comes on as a “regular human being” and talks about family, faith, and community, often with a dash of humor sprinkled in.

Given enough time, both are good and very effective methods of advertising, but they’re not really that measurable.

To win over a numbers guy, you’re going to have to give him numbers, and the best way to do that is with a direct response approach.

The Direct Response Approach to Advertising

A direct response ad is one that includes a trackable call to action, such as calling a phone number or visiting a website and it provides advertisers with real-time data to show how well the ads are working.

If you’re old enough, you may recall companies such as Oreck Vacuum Cleaners and ProActive acne treatment running both effective direct response radio and TV campaigns.

So, how do you get started?

Well, a good direct response ad has four basic parts:

Just like in a newspaper or magazine article, your ad should have a good headline that grabs listeners’ attention right off the bat.

It should be short, snappy, and intriguing, with a good hook that reels them in.

Next, you need to make a compelling offer that gives listeners a reason to take action.

Whether it’s a discount, freebie, or exclusive deal, the offer should be irresistible and relevant to your target audience’s needs or desires.

Your offer should be so good that the listener who needs your product would feel like an idiot to not take action.

After presenting your offer, highlight the benefits of taking advantage of it. How will it improve listeners’ lives or solve their problems?

Take them into the future and paint a vivid picture of the positive outcomes they’ll soon experience by acting now.

Call to Action
Finally, call them to act.

The call to action is the most crucial part of your ad. It clearly and explicitly tell listeners what you want them to do next, whether it’s visiting your website, calling a phone number, or going to your store.

Make it as easy as possible for them to complete the call to action.

We’ll cover direct response advertising in more detail in future articles, but hopefully this brief overview has given you enough information to get the wheels turning.

Take the time now to start thinking of ways you can create compelling offers for your clients and win over those number savvy advertisers who want proof that their ad campaigns are working.

Then, check back in a few days for part two of this article where we cover the final two solutions you can implement to win over more clients for your station.

Pic designed by DilokaStudios for Freepik.

Brent Hoodenpyle is a Texas-based digital marketing and sales specialist with over twenty years experience working with a wide range of companies to improve their digital stats and revenue.

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