What To Do When Your Radio Advertising Sucks

by Steven Weisenburger

Nothing is more stressful for an entrepreneur than to be tied into a long term advertising contract and have the ads fall flat on their face. It creates a desperate situation. And radio advertising can be one of the most draining marketing expenses when it your spots aren't working.

But it doesn't have to be that way

Radio advertising is like a tornado – when control, it’s like this giant invisible power vac sweeping across the marketing landscape rending listening prospects powerless to resist, and sucking all the cash out of their pockets and filling yours.

However, if you don’t know how to control it, it will viciously turn on you and you’ll end up like the cow the tornado has sucked off the ground, legs flailing, bellowing fearfully, and puzzled as to the source of havoc being wreaked upon your life.

Gina, the owner of a greenhouse and nursery, was beside herself because of her radio advertising – the radio station had her on a full “rotational” campaign, running spots throughout the day and night. You know the “branding” campaign – if customers hear your name enough times they will eventually choose you over your competitor when the time comes to buy.

Have you ever felt this pain before

Well, her intense discomfort came from the fact that, for each of the past 9 months she had been shelling out $4,000 and the effort was simply not delivering a return-on-investment (R.O.I.). She didn’t plan on renewing her contract ever again.

Since there were three months left on the contract she wanted to know if there was anything she could do to salvage the disaster. How could she fix her radios spots?

How would you feel if you were in Gina’s position?

Her radio spots were appalling 15 and 30-second “funny” quips about her store -- about half of them mentioned a product but none offered a reason to come in buy something right now... you know like a sale, bonus, discount, some sort of compelling offer.

Fixing this problem is easy and quick

Listen up. There are lots of ways of fixing her problem -- here’s the quick fix approach I recommended in this situation.

There were two critical marketing steps I had her take immediately.

1st – I had her think in terms of giving prospective customers a reason why they should come into the store right now. Have your commercials make some sort of offer.

2nd – I had her switch from 30 sec spots to 60’s and throw out the funny drivel and use the “live radio show host call-in” format strategy. These are commercials where you call in your spot to the radio show host and he/she gets to grill you about what’s going on down at your store. And even if it’s not really a live spot, you call in and record it with the host as if it were.

It might go something like this...

Radio Host: We have the owner of Gina’s Greenhouse and Nursery on the line. Tell us Gina what’s going on down there today?

Gina: Well Dick right now we’re unloading a semi truck full of Royal Empress Trees, the fastest growing tree in the country.

Radio Host: The fastest growing tree Gina? Just how fast do they grow?

Gina: The Royal Empress grows 10 to 15 feet a year and are 40 to 50 feet tall within three years. Plus, it has the most fragrant and gorgeous purple bloom.

Radio Host: So Gina you said you had a truckload of them?

Gina: Yes, Dick we are unloading 200 of them right now. I bought them from a nursery up North that was going out of business. And best of all Dick I got them at an unbelievable low price -- 70% off, and I’m passing the savings on to all of your listeners that come in this weekend... Yada yada yada...

Anyway you get the idea.

Did it work?

Well, I’m happy to report that Gina renewed her advertising contract with the radio station for another year!


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