Ruth King
Just as direct mail is effective in certain situations, radio advertising can be equally effective. If your company is in a geographic location where the radio signal reaches the entire area that you serve, then radio is a possibility. The second criterion is that the people who are your target customers listen to a specific radio station or radio show. If so, you have a good chance for radio advertising to work well for your company.

For example, radio advertising works very well on South Carolina's Hilton Head Island. Here's why: the radio signal reaches the entire island and a little beyond - the same geographic area that most of the contractors on the island work. Most of the radio stations on the island are aimed at the younger people who commute to the island for work but don't live there. However, there is one radio station that caters to people on the island who are 50 years old or older.

Think about it: these are the people with discretionary income and large houses - the people who are your target audience. We tested this theory and found that radio advertising on this station worked well. We tracked the telephone calls and sales from that radio station's listeners. The contractor initially said that he wouldn't advertise on the station because he didn't listen to it. My reply was that I didn't care whether he listened to it; his customer base and potential customer base did. So we sponsored the stock market report every Thursday morning for one year.

The advertising worked. And it was a lot less costly than the popular radio stations with more listeners - listeners that couldn't easily afford the company's services. Radio is good for highly targeted geographic areas with people who can afford your products and services.

The secret of success

Part of the secret to successful radio advertising is the creation of a catchy jingle. I don't expect you to produce one internally. Hire a professional to do it for you. You might pay $5,000 or more, but if it's good, you can (and should) use it for years on every radio station or television advertisement you produce and air. People will associate that catchy phrase with your company and remember it - and your company. That's the goal.

And the catchy phrase can come from anywhere. A contractor who I've worked with had a jingle professionally produced that used a segment of music from the opera "Carmen". He stopped running the ads. Many, many months later, people still said they heard about his company through the radio ads. When he started them again, he continued using the jingle. It has been very successful over the years in getting customers and potential customers to remember his company.

This brings me to my last point about radio: frequency of running the ads. Commit to radio. This means sponsor an advertisement spot on a show for year. Don't just do radio for a week or a month. Radio is a build-up medium, which means that it takes time for people to notice and remember your message. Thirteen weeks may not be enough. Commit to testing it for at least six months and preferably a year. You'll know whether it's working for you if you track where your customers come from. Where radio covers your geographic area with a station or programs that your target audience listens to, radio can boost your company's sales.

Copyright 2001, Ruth King. All rights reserved.

Ruth King's American Contractor Exchange

1650 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 405

Norcross, GA 30093


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