Radio Advertising

Betsy Gallup

Radio advertising can be an extremely fun and efficient way to communicate the benefits of your business, product or service. A well-produced commercial strategically placed on the right station will have a great impact on your marketing efforts.

Target Your Audience

Developing an Advertising Plan is the best way to forecast the various stages of marketing for your business. Your plan will also guide your budgetary decisions.

The current radio market is highly segmented. However, it doesn't have to be confusing if you first do a little research on your own, simply by flipping the dial. Listen to each channel to determine if your customer base might either be:

  • Listening to that station
  • The demographic you'd like to attract

Broadcast advertising can be expensive, but as a mass outlet, it's often the best way to reach thousands of potential customers at once. To be successful, the formula is this reach combined with frequency, which is how often listeners will hear your message.

Basic Radio Advertising Terminology

Like any industry, radio advertising has very specific business terms. Here are a few that will come up quite frequently as you're planning your campaign.

  • Adjacency: Placing your ad before or after a specific program, e.g. news or weather.
  • "Avail," or availability: the timeslot in which your commercial will be placed.
  • Coverage: listeners within the range of the radio signal.
  • Daypart: divided segments throughout the broadcast day.
  • Flight: placement and length of time your advertising will run on the station.
  • Spot: the commercial.

To better understand broadcast terminology, view a more comprehensive list here: Radio Advertising Terminology

Selecting Dayparts

To isolate the best times to broadcast your message, the radio station will provide a demographic breakdown of its audience's listening patterns. Morning and evening "drive" times are usually the most popular dayparts and, consequently, the most expensive.

However, depending on your message and advertising plan, other dayparts or adjacencies may prove to be just as successful and more in line with your budget. General awareness campaigns, for example, will benefit from having advertising on the right station at any particular time, a flight called "run of station," and are far less pricey than drive time advertising.

Additional options might be to sponsor a certain program or feature to build awareness with a very specific block of listeners or to even invite the station to broadcast live from your location.

Your account executive should be very clear with strategies and have documentation, like ratings results, listening patterns and case studies to back up any suggestions.

Effective Creativity=Response

Throughout the history of marketing, business owners have wanted to be the face and voice of their advertising. While occasionally successful, a business owner-produced radio commercial is more often akin to a "Craaazy Eddie's Mattress Sale!" type of commercial and more often than not, makes a listener first mock you, then tune out.

Resist the urge to do the ads yourself. Each radio station has a staff of creative writers, voice actors and broadcast producers trained to create effective advertising. Your primary job in the process is to clearly identify your objectives for advertising, provide details of the message and express the desired results from the effort. With this information, called "copy points," the creative staff will develop an ad to accomplish the objectives.

There are a handful of general rules, such as length of commercial (generally 10, 30 or 60 seconds), number of times the business is mentioned in that length, how the address/phone number is communicated and the like. Ads can have sound effects, character voices and interesting music, be clever and humorous or straightforward and conversational.

But the most creative commercial will start with clear identification of the audience, how the product or service can benefit them and then placement of the message when they can hear it. The sum of these components equals the best radio advertising.

Radio Advertising