Guide to Radio Advertising (Advertising Mediums Part 1 of 4)


Over the years I have worked with many business owners of varying business sizes and in the vast majority of cases they all made (or wanted to make) the same mistake – using the wrong media-type and technique to advertise their business. I had another example of this recently, where a business owner wanted to advertise his business on radio, despite the fact that it was completely the wrong thing to do. I couldn’t dissuade him from this venture and so his wasted Euros will have to educate him where I failed to do so. Because of all this I decided that over the next three articles I would outline the benefits and negatives of the main marketing mediums available today (Radio, Print, Internet). Because it’s so fresh in my mind, I will start with Radio.

The first thing you must understand about radio advertising is that in itself, it is neither good nor bad. That is to say that just because you run a Radio campaign does not guarantee more enquiries over print advertising (although some radio advertising sales people would have you believe otherwise), nor is it a waste of money in all cases. So how on earth do you decide whether to advertise on Radio? Pretty simple actually. The deciding factors are what type and size of business you are as well as the message you want to advertise.

Factor 1 – Size of Business

If you are a large business with outlets or offices nationally, across a whole county or even across a town or number of villages, then radio could be very interesting for you. However if you have one outlet, even in a large town, you need to think very carefully and get independent advice.

Factor 2 – Type Of Business

If you are in retail then radio could be very useful, if you’re in a service industry then again think carefully and get advice

Factor 3 – Message

This is where most newbies to Radio advertising get it wrong. Radio is expensive and so because of this most radio-based advertising campaigns are relatively short. Radio advertising on local radio stations is cheaper, but that’s because the audience figures are much lower than their bigger rivals. So because of this, companies that successfully use radio as an advertising medium typically run offer-based advertising. That is to say that they run an ad linked to a short-term, but powerful offer. For instance “Buy any 2 widgets this week and you’ll get a super widget fixer FREE!” The mistake that many companies make is to run a ‘Branding’ ad on radio. These are the ads that typically go something like this “Hi, we’re the Widget Company and we have really great widgets, from small red widgets to large green widgets. So next time you need a widget, come to the Widget Company”.

Unless you have really big marketing funds, this type of ad is simply a massive waste of money. This is because branding ads have to be heard time and time and time again by prospective customers before they’ll remember you.

If you’re still not decided then let me make it easy for you. If you’re not running a print campaign, then you probably shouldn’t be advertising on radio. Radio should be an additional marketing technique you use, rather than replacing something else.

But, let’s say that you decide that radio is for you. Come up with a great offer and then work with the radio station to come up with an even better ad. Make it interesting, different, funny, wacky, or whatever else you can think of to make it memorable and stick-out. Best of Luck.





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