Get on the Radio and Start Growing Your Sales

By Denise Turney

Technology advancing at such a rapid pace, for millions of people it might be hard to believe that radio once ruled the media world.  It was one of the main ways people in the 30s and 40s got their news and entertainment.  Radio is a media form that has stood the test of time, attracting millions of avid daily listeners in America alone.  Looking at radio as a powerful marketing tool, especially in the age of electronic social networking, might find you taking a step back.  However, whether this is your first or umpteenth time putting your business on the airwaves, one thing’s clear, radio can help grow your sales. 

Benefits and Rewards Radio Can Bring Your Business

To use radio to grow your business sales or attract consumers to services (e.g. counseling, tutoring) you offer there are generally two approaches you can take.  You can pay for advertisement spots on radio stations or you can schedule interviews with radio stations and discuss your products and/or services during the interviews.  Generally, the latter approach saves you money.  Yet, some brick and mortar radio stations may require you to travel and conduct your interviews in person, adding to your travel expenses, especially if the stations are more than two hours one-way from where you live.   

Strategic Media reports in their “Radio Advertising Costs, How Much Should I Budget” article a “single-voice radio ad” cost about $850 to $900.  It costs about $1,000 to run an ad with two voices (e.g. two people speaking your advertisement, helping to bring it alive).  Before shelling out a lot of money on radio ads, you’re encouraged to buy two to three spots so you can measure how listeners respond to the ads.  If your product sales or telephone calls inquiring about your services increase enough to cover the costs of the ads, consider running two to three more ads.  Again measure the results of your efforts.   

If you work with radio stations that develop ads for business leaders, you can save yourself the time and effort of hiring voice actresses and actors and writing the content for the ads.  Station marketing professionals are also generally familiar with their listening audience and likely know the types of ads that have the strongest chance of generating results.  On the other hand, if you have experience creating voice ads or are an effective copywriter, consider taking a shot at creating your own test ads. 

Locally run ads (especially those that only run on one to two radio stations) tend to cost less than nationally run ads.  For this reason, you might want to start small and grow you ad output alongside your sales.   

Take Advantage of Internet (including Free) Radio Stations

The above approach may prove to be a good starting point for you.  However, you can also advertise on the Internet and satellite radio to grow your business.  Directories and lists of Internet and satellite radio programs, across genres, are available at a variety of website including: 

  • Blog Talk Radio
  • National Public Radio
  • Live365
  • Pandora
  • Sirius
  • Radio Tower
  • Radio Locator
  • Shoutcast

You can even set up your own radio show and interview other business leaders, artists, etc. on many of these radio stations.  If you want, you could also create shows that focus on your business products and/or services and hold half hour to hour long discussions, inviting listeners to dial into question and answer sessions.  Prior experience hosting radio shows isn’t required.  In fact, some of the above radio stations provide new hosts with free guides they can use to learn how to operate their online platforms, schedule radio guests and get the most out of their daily, weekly or monthly shows. 

To schedule radio interviews with online or offline stations identify the genre or talk shows your products and/or services fit.  For example, if you sell inkjet printers you might find it financially rewarding to schedule interviews on radio shows that focus on printing, marketing, magazine production, etc.  Skip telling yourself there isn’t a radio show that fits your line of business; there are plenty of radio shows crossing genres, subjects and themes. 

After you identify the radio shows you want to appear on, contact the station director or producer of the show you want to appear on.  For Internet radio stations, the director, producer and host might be the same person.  Therefore, if you don’t see a name for the director or producer, reach out to the hosts of shows you want to interview on. 

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Sources: (Stratus Media: Online Radio Statistics) (Strategic Media: Radio Advertising Costs, How Much Should I Budget)


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