Radio Advertising Facts

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Radio advertising might be seen as old fashioned especially with the rise of the Internet and other types of media and that their audience has decreased. This is not the case however. Commercial radio has a reach of more than 16 million Australians every week. 17 hours of the week are spent listening to the radio with the majority of it at home (49%) and in the car (32%). Below lists out a few benefits for advertising with radio:

Selective Targeting:

Radio station already targets specific demographics and market segments. Therefore by choosing which station to broadcast with, you can lock into your potential customers and increase the frequency of delivering your message. At the same time think about all the advantages and disadvantages of radio advertising in your selected radio station and see if that’s what you are looking for,

Increased frequency:

Advertising works with frequency and reaching your audience repeatedly. Radio is the perfect medium for this, being able to expose your ad to the audience repeatedly to build awareness. Also due to the loyalty of people listening to the same station, you are able to impact the same people more often.

More memorable:

Compared to written advertisement, sound is more effectively stored in memory. In addition, there is the ability to instill emotion and also allows listeners to use their imagination to create their own image of the product/service.

Cost effective:

Radio advertising have significantly less costs compared to other types of media. Television and print ads can go up to hundreds of thousands including costs for video equipment, studio time, actors, models. Radios ads require less resources while being able to reach the same target audience that a television spot would of resulted in.

Time efficiency:

Lead times with print and television ads can be very long, especially with planning and may take up to a year for the ad to run. In contrast, producing a radio spot can occur between two to three weeks. Another advantage of this is the ability to adapt and react quickly to changing market conditions.

Measurable results:

You can track results quickly and accurately compared to television where it may take months for measurable results or print media which can be even more difficult to track. Results for radio ads can be analysed on a daily basis, and if the message is not working in a week or two, a new radio spot can replace it efficiently as mentioned above.

With the widespread access people have to radio, even indirectly through shopping centers and supermarkets, radio continues to have a big presence in the advertising industry. Small businesses should continue to consider it as a top medium to advertise their product/services as the advantages over other resources remain strong.


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In the world of bad advertising clichés, none are cliché-ier than “For All Your (blank) Needs.”

By Ryan Patrick,

Just listen to commercial radio for one hour. Read a newspaper from front to back. Watch local TV commercials during the 6 o’clock news. I can almost guarantee you will hear/read/see the phrase “For All Your (blank) Needs” at least once. Maybe more.

“Wait. If that phrase is so bad, why do so many companies use it?”

a) It’s safe

b) It’s easy to use

c) The ad writer had nothing else to say.

Nothing particularly special about your lumberyard? No problem!  Just use, “For all your homebuilding needs!”

Can’t compete with the price or selection of the other pet store? Easy fix: “For all your pet supply needs!”

My favorite was a radio commercial for a diner in Kentucky that advertised “for all your breakfast needs.”

“Yes, I want you to smother my pancakes with beluga caviar and truffles. What do you mean you can’t do it? That’s my breakfast need!”

Each of us has different needs.

Mine are different from yours.

Yours are different from his.

His are different from hers.

There will ALWAYS be needs that you simply cannot meet.

“For All Your (blank) Needs” is an empty promise. It doesn’t convey the unique essence of your business.  It won’t convince consumers to buy from you.

Congratulations. You have a marketing slogan that says nothing.

Is that what your business “needs”?

(Used by permission,

Click HERE for the main article on clichés.


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Still spending money on ads in the yellow pages? Really?  It’s not 1982 any more.






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What’s the best medium for local advertising? According to Michael Corbett, author of “The 33 Ruthless Rules of Local Advertising”, it’s NOT the newspaper. According to Corbett, “the readers of most newspapers are middle aged and older. If you are looking for buyers under the age of forty, you’ll find fewer of them in the newspaper than in any other media.” Corbett says that newspapers are “a place for shoppers to compare prices and information after they’ve already been motivated to buy.”

Why then do many local business continue to spend the bulk of their advertising budget in the newspaper? According to Corbett, “he newspaper has been the traditional medium for many local businesses. For centuries, it was the only medium. But most consumers don’t rely on the newspaper as much as they once did. They get their motivation and information from many sources. The readership ages have changed; buying habits and priorities have changed; media choices have changed. The only thing that hasn’t seem to change is the tradition of thinking that the newspaper is still the motivation source for most consumers. It clearly is not. That role has been taken over by TV and radio, either of which consumers spend more time with than they do newspapers.”

Corbett concluded by saying, “newspapers, in my experience, are neither appropriate nor affordable as your primary vehicle for domination or impact.”

So, where do you advertise to get the most impact? Corbett suggests one of the two “motivational mediums”, radio or broadcast TV (not cable). Corbett also suggests you “dominate” a medium in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. Since most local advertisers cannot afford to dominate TV, the logical choice is radio.

Quoted from “The 33 Ruthless Rules of Local Advertising”
by Michael Corbett
Pinnacle Books, Inc


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Even though competitors like to portray radio as an aging technology, the reality is radio advertising remains an effective tool for reaching consumers in today’s fragmented media landscape. Extensive research by the Radio Advertising Bureau reveals a robust weekly audience of radio listeners.

Who’s Listening?
Over 92 percent of Americans age 12 and up listen to radio each week, creating an audience of over 235 million listeners. Among 12- to 17-year-olds, who are perceived as not listening to the radio, nearly 90 percent listen weekly.

Where Do They Listen?
The majority of radio listening occurs in cars, with 73 percent of adults age 18 and up listening while driving on a typical weekday. The second most popular location for listening is at home. The number of people listening to commercial radio online now includes nearly 20 percent of the people who listen each week.

What Are They Listening To?
There are over 10,000 commercial radio stations in the United States. There are more country music stations in America than any other type with over 2,000 outlets. News/talk is second with 1,375 stations.

Who’s Advertising?
Major brands such as Verizon, Home Depot, Walt Disney and Burger King are among the top 20 largest radio advertisers. The largest advertising categories for radio include retail, automotive, insurance, restaurants and financial institutions.

How Much Do They Spend?
Radio advertising revenue exceeded $19 billion in 2008, and over $13 billion came from local businesses.

Article written by Mike Stern.


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Here are some concepts to keep in mind as you plan your Radio advertising:

  • Feature one item, or a limited number, per commercial to insure listener remembrance. You can’t sell ten items in thirty seconds.
  • If you must use price, use one or a few only. This way you won’t confuse the listener.
  • Is a phone number necessary? If it can’t get an order or sell a customer, and if you can’t make it the centerpiece of the ad, don’t use it.
  • Spend a reasonable amount of money. Don’t expect good results unless you invest appropriately.
  • Use saturation for hard-hitting impact. You can’t get the job done with one spot. Repetition – frequency – is one of radio’s biggest persuaders.
  • Distinction is an effective tool for attracting people. That sound effect, theme music or “sound signature” will help your ads make an impression.
  • Don’t select radio programs or formats for your own personal likes or dislikes, but rather for the audience you want to reach.
  • The best use of radio advertising is day in, day out, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. The results from radio advertising build over time, and they are lasting results.
  • Don’t try to reach too many people all at once. It is better to reach 10% of your prospects 100% of the way than to reach 100% of your prospects only 10% of the way.


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Build it and they will come… a motto which is the downfall of many new, small businesses.

The problem is, “they” often don’t know you exist! Ideally, you have figured out that you will need to advertise your business in order to attract customers.

That leads to the question, how much money should be spent on advertising?

The U.S. Small Business Administration has a lot of wonderful resources for the small business. There is a very helpful section on their website that addresses this:  Click here.

In creating an advertising and marketing budget, the SBA says: “Because marketing needs and costs vary widely, there are no simple rules for determining what you marketing budget should be. A popular method with small business owners is to allocate a small percentage of gross sales for the most recent year. This usually amounts to about two percent for an existing business. However, if you are planning on launching a new product or business, you may want to increase your marketing budget figure, to as much as 10 percent of your expected gross sales. Another method used by small business owners is to analyze and estimate the competition’s budget and either match or exceed it.”

That information is also available from the SBA: Click here.

So how much will advertising cost you? Perhaps a better question to ask yourself; “How much is NOT advertising costing you?”


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Have you ever said the following: “I tried radio but it didn’t work”? Many business owners have that complaint. The fact is radio is just as effective (if not more effective) as any other advertising medium. The reason a spot (commercial) fails is more often due to one or more of these five mistakes given below.

Mistake One: Phone Numbers.
Especially if more than one are given. Now I understand that if your phone number is the ONLY WAY a customer can possibly do business with you then you must have a phone number in your commercial. But for everyone else – phone numbers are a waste of time, which is something you can’t afford to do with just 30 or 60 seconds of commercial time.

Why? Because most people are listening to their radio in their cars or at work. In both cases trying to remember or even write down a phone number is expecting way too much from the listener. And if, as some advertisers do, you have more than one phone number the listener just isn’t going to bother at all.

The best solution is to not give out your phone number at all, but instead offer a very compelling reason why people should seek your business. They’ll find it if they’re interested. Remember there are many ways to find a business’ phone number… phone books, the internet, even calling the radio station (many stations keep lists of current advertisers handy with contact info).

Mistake Two: Price points.
If you think it’s hard for a radio listener to remember a phone number just try adding a bunch of other numbers. I’ve heard many business owners tell me, “Well so what if they don’t remember the prices? This way they’ll know we have a lot of items on sale!”

The problem here is you are again assuming that the listener cares enough to not totally tune out all those price points. That’s a very dangerous assumption. Do you ever hear the radio personalities reciting lots of numbers or price points when they’re talking (outside of reading commercials)? No. Why? Because they know that the typical radio listener expects to hear clear and concise information. Not a lot of numbers that don’t relate to anything.

You’re better off keeping price points in your print advertising where people can take the time to look over all the information. For radio spend your time giving people compelling reasons to do business with you instead of sale prices.

Mistake Three: Confusing locators (the way you describe where your business is located).
“We’re located just a half mile off Interstate 512 in the Gas-Lamp Strip Mall, 2899 West 333rd Street, with convenient free parking four days a week.”

Again, you’re expecting a lot from your listener.

Don’t do lengthy directions. State your location as simply as possible:
“Downtown at the corner of State and Lake.”
“Just off I-512 at the Big Town Exit”

What about street address numbers?

Unless your address can be seen perfectly from at least a half a block away, don’t use it. Most businesses don’t have street numbers on their doors anyhow or if they do it’s so small you can’t read it until you’re right in front of it.

The best solution for a locator? Direct people to your website. You can insert a Google Map or Yahoo Map locator that can give anyone precise details on how to get from where they are to where you are.

Mistake Four: Too many advertising cliches = Major turnoff.
“Friendly Professional Staff”
“Storewide Savings”
“Number One In Customer Service”
“Dependable and Trustworthy”
“The Best Prices”
“We Will Not Be Undersold”

There are dozens more of these tired cliches. Why are they tired? Because you can hear them in radio commercials right now, and if you were to get in a time machine and go back 50, 60, 70 years you’d hear them in commercials from then. They’re worn out because everyone uses them and to most consumers they’re pretty much meaningless.

If everyone is using them then what makes them special? Nothing. If every business is using them then what sets you apart and helps a listener remember who you are? Nothing.

The old adage from Lenny Bruce says it best: “If you have to tell them you’re hip, you’re not.” That holds true for all of those advertising cliches. There is a basic expectation of service from all businesses that includes most of those above cliches. You can’t be in business without meeting those basics, and everyone knows it.

So why waste your advertising time with it?

Instead give people meaningful (personal) compelling reasons to do business with you. And by personal I mean your customer. What are your best customer’s personal reasons for doing business with you? Find that out and talk about that in your commercials. You’ll be amazed at the difference in response.

Mistake Five: Not being convenient.
I don’t mean in terms of hours or location, though those are definitely factors. But more important, does your radio commercial (or any of your advertising) make it hard for people to get what they want?

“Mention this ad for a free can of cheese whiz”.
“Bring in the coupon from last Sunday’s newspaper”.
“The first 12 people to call in the next five minutes get a five percent discount”.

Making people do extra work to get something is only worthwhile if the payoff is incredible (i.e. “The first caller right now gets one million dollars!”). Very few customers will actually care enough to jump through hoops to get a five percent discount or even a 15 percent discount. But more importantly you’re telling the vast majority of potential customers that they have to do something extra besides just showing up at your store. And most people don’t want that extra hassle. What you should be doing is rewarding them equally for showing up. Remember, your customer is doing you a favor by showing up – not the other way around.

Just offer great values and great service to everyone all the time. Also remember, value doesn’t mean low prices. It means CONVENIENCE. All your customers really care about is how fast you can give them what they want and how nice you are about it. As pointed out in Mistake Four – let your best customers tell your story. Nothing compels people to act more than hearing why other people prefer your business over everyone else.

Article courtesy of John Pellegrini.