Go Ahead Im Listening

In today's fast paced environment, interaction with family and friends is often relegated to a few left over minutes here and there, leaving many people feeling isolated.

Radio fills the gap. Radio provides a one on one emotional experience. It creates a connection that is a personal and unique experience for each listener. It's just you and the voice on the radio, speaking to you.

TV and print media are mass media. Eliciting an emotional response from print is almost an impossibility. TV is emotional but not personal. You know it's you and the thousands of others who are watching, besides which it's beyond the budget of many businesses.

As an advertiser, you have an opportunity to speak directly to your customer, using words and phrases that have meaning for them. Radio can relate messages that have synergy with campaigns in other media, but shouldn't be written in the same style. Effective radio is a conversation with the customer. It's your chance to tell a story.

How interesting would you find a story that started with the company name or, " We have friendly, knowledgeable staff. Stop in and see us. We have 20 colours of sofas in a variety of sizes and styles." Boring isn't it? So why do so many advertisers do it?

It's easy to talk about your business and what you want to sell. It takes more time and effort to find out what your customer wants and talk in terms of their buying motivation, but it's worth it. It's easier to get quick results by announcing a sale, than it is to build a relationship with the consumer. Where do you think those sale shoppers will be when your competition is having a sale, not at your business I bet?

Another of radio's great strengths is its ability to reach a defined market segment. When you buy newspaper advertising, you buy the whole and very general readership, all the demographics and special interest groups. Now it's not a bad thing to reach more people, but if you have a limited budget you can spend it very quickly in your daily paper, on one ad,?. one day, ?.one time. That's not great frequency and just hit and miss reach. What if your best prospects don't read the paper on the day your ad runs?

Radio gives you an opportunity to target the age and interests of your segment of the market. With a budget large enough to cover the cost of a reasonable sized ad in your daily newspaper, you can buy a whole week of radio commercials.

Don't get put off by commercial prices at the top stations. It is not about reaching a huge number of prospects a few times. It's about reaching a smaller number of listeners enough times for them to think they know and like you, and want to do business with you. Spend time and money creating a message that conveys a message your customers can relate to.

Have you ever bought something you just had to have, and then gone home and explained logically to a family member why it was an essential? You bought on emotion and justified with logic, the same thing your customer does. Forget generic when it comes to radio. This is one time it pays to get personal.

In the US the norm is 60 seconds for a radio commercial in Canada 30 seconds. If you've got a great story to tell and you're a good storyteller, then use 60 seconds otherwise the shorter commercial is better. The only thing worse than boring the listener for 30 seconds, is boring them for 60. Frequency to raise awareness for your business name and purpose in speaking to them can be achieved economically by adding a schedule of sponsorships and/or 10-15 second messages.

This is an example of a 30 second radio script that connected with the customer. How do we know it was good? Sales increased.

Unbeknownst to your co-workers, you are a connoisseur. Sure, you have tattoos and a problem finding your inner-self, but you crave adventure and You! Know! Food! So, in this world of new awareness, reward yourself with a world of flavours. Wrapzone. An ambrosia of foods, and devilish sauces harmoniously heaped on a tortilla. The silver gift wrap is free every day! Experience-Full-Fillment. Wrapzone.

On radio, as in all your advertising, you need to keep it simple. A soliloquy well read is much more effective than something with too many words, multiple focus, lots of sound effects or a conversation between a two or more people.

Points to remember:

Radio is an opportunity, use it to your advantage, some of your competitors never will.

Negotiate; the price isn't always the price.

Don't get too hung up on the price per commercial. Ask for pre-emptable no charge commercials to augment your campaign.

Find out when your commercials will run. If you choose a station based on the number of commercials included in a package make sure they are not bumping up the numbers by running them all 6pm ? 5am.

If you have a small budget focus on one daypart to increase the number of times a listener hears your message.

Writing and production are included in the price but that doesn't mean the message they create for you will be effective. You need to be involved in the creative process.

You can be too creative. Don't make listeners strain to try to figure out what you are saying.

If you haven't got the budget to do a heavy enough campaign to make an impact, save your money until you do.

Ask how the station schedules their commercials. If they have long commercial blocks you have to work especially hard to stand out from the 5 or 6 (or more) other messages.

Keep your message simple.

Nancy Fraser worked in radio for over 20 years. She owned and operated her own specialty retail store, and held Management and Sales Executive positions in media and communications. Free information and tools on effective advertising and marketing are available in Notable News at http://www.notable-marketing.com

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