Calgarians are inundated with roughly 3,000 advertising messages a day, so how does radio fit into the mix, if at all?
The simple answer is that, yes, radio advertising works. There are over 20 radio stations in Calgary that exist largely because of advertising revenue - as the old saying goes, if a service is free (and radio is) then YOU are the product.
So why is there uncertainty surrounding the effectiveness of radio? It comes down to distinct factors:
Audience Connecting with the right audience is key, but it goes deeper than just Adults 25-54. For example, there may be two men that fall in the same demographic that have completely different behaviors: One 30 year old femaile is single, works as a receptionist and earns $50k/yr, lives in a modest apartment and drives a used vehicle. Another 30 year old female is married with two children, lives in an established home with a household income of $150K/yr, and the household owns two new vehicles. Obviously the needs of these two women are totally different, so make sure you dive deeper into the behavioral attributes of your audience to ensure the right fit.
Creative Great creative is essential to the success of any advertising campaign, and it's important to note that it is a science. It's becoming more difficult to disrupt someone and motivate them to take action, and while huge savings and limited time offers are always attractive, not every business model lends itself to those options. You need to connect authentically with your audience about their pain, aspirations, and optimism. Great creative surprises the target to encode a message they were not expecting. Read more about that here.
Frequency Advertising works best when it's received many times by your audience. One metaphor that seems to resonate is that it's like dating a brand. The first date rarely results in action, but after the 3rd and 4th dates, your listeners will begin to know, trust, and like you... so the next time they need something you offer, they'll be more likely to search for you alone online.
Offer Just because you're on the radio doesn't mean people will flock to your business - it's all about the offer you make. Imagine you have the attention of a few thousand Calgarians, is 10% off a sofa going to create a stampede to your store? The answer is likely no - but 70% might. I'm not suggesting 70% off is a reasonable offer, but if you want to create urgent, inbound traffic, you should have a great sounding limited time offer that motivates people to act now. If you want people to consider you WHEN they need to make a purchase, a branding play might be the better strategy.
Quantification Having experience buying radio advertising has given me a unique perspective on measuring its effectiveness. The best ways to measure are to monitor website traffic - Radio will cause people to come to your website directly, or to search for your company name online, so you may see increase home page hits. You should also see a higher conversion of traffic - meaning a higher percentage of visitors will contact you. You may also notice the quality of prospects contacting you improves - because they know a little about your brand and difference, so price becomes less of an issue. Another way is to listen carefully to the language people use - if they use key phrases from your radio commercials, you know the ads are working!
Radio advertising is like anything else, if you follow the formulas for success, you increase your chances of succeeding. Lean on the radio experts in Calgary who can share best practices and teach you how to connect with their audiences - take advice from the professionals on how best to leverage this media and you will increase inbound sales leads and traffic.
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