5 Steps to Radio Ads That Convert

This morning, having come to the end of an audio book, I turned on my car radio. I don't listen to much radio lately, and I'd forgotten what traditional, "interruption" advertising sounds like. 

  

At each commercial break, advertisers literally screamed at me, insisting that I buy their products - – shaving cream, plumbing services, debt consolidation, feather beds. Their stores and offices were all conveniently located (convenient to whom?) and their services intended for people just like me (really?). All slick, salesy and presumptuous.

 

Are you doing any advertising on radio (or TV, or in print)? Are you attracting all the new business you want?

 

Here's the thing. Even though your prospects may be listening to your ad on radio, chances are they spend a lot of time online. Email and social media marketing have changed consumer expectations. Not just online, but offline – on radio, TV, or in print – as well.

  

If you want your audience to pay attention, give them fascinating, educational, trust-building content. For example, explain how to get better gas mileage (the car dealership), arrange pillows so as to avoid a stiff neck (feather bed store), or reheat coffee without making it bitter (cooking school)?

  

And constantly refresh or rotate the content, or your listeners will tune you out. 

 

Here's the formula for effective radio advertising: compelling content delivered with authenticity and authority, over time. It makes you the obvious choice should a need arise.

  1. Identify your prospects. Speak to your ideal prospects – people likely to have a need for your products or services, and let them know who they are. 

  2. Be gracious and authentic. Listeners aren't going to do business with you unless they like you. 

  3. Educate your prospects. Establish your expertise and genuine concern with lots of fresh, useful information.

  4. Encourage listeners to engage by phone or email. You're building relationships.

  5. Commit to a several months at a minimum. Trust takes time to establish, and most listeners won't hear all your ads.

Follow these five rules, and the ROI on your radio ads will go from awful to awesome.

 

 

Creating Content, Establishing Expertise

au·then·tic·i·ty The quality or condition of being authentic, trustworthy, or genuine.

Increasingly, business owners understand to be taken seriously in today’s marketplace, they need to produce high quality, education-based content consistently, and then get it in front of their target audiences. In fact, useful content – the kind that gets you recognized as the “go-to” source in your particular field – is the core of many successful small business marketing campaigns. And it’s not enough to create content; you need to get it in front of your target audience, people with a need for your products or services.

If you’re a business owner, you’re probably wondering where you’re going to find time (or talent) for writing. Running a business day to day is more than a full-time job, especially in a struggling economy.

Some of your content can be third-party. A post consisting of a line or two and a link to an article can keep you in front of your your target audience. Many professional associations, veterinarians and financial planners, e.g., produce generic newsletters, on- or offline. Pawan Deshpande over at Social Media Pros reports that a combination of original content and third-party content yields better results than original content alone.

As well, in many cases, content creation can be 1. delegated to someone on your staff, or 2. outsourced to your marketing consultant or a freelance writer or writing service such as bloggmutt.com or contentdevelopmentpros.com. If you’re selling manufactured products or impersonal services, then authenticity shouldn’t be a problem. So long as your information is factual and germane, neither your target audience nor the search engines will care who wrote it.

If you ARE your business, however – say you’re an investment advisor, a candidate for elected office, or a wedding planner – then at least some of your content should be your own. What you’re selling is your personality, your own thoughts and opinions. Sure, you can incorporate points from various sources, even other blogs, but make it your own. Because what you’re selling is you!

Keep in mind that the purpose of content creation is to attract and convert leads to you, not to your industry. Your goal is to own your niche.

If you’ve been following my recent posts, you know I’ve joined the Duct Tape Marketing consultant network, and that over at Duct Tape, we treat marketing as a habit, not an event. The most important step you can take to generate and convert leads is to make it a habit to produce fresh, noteworthy content, and make it authentically yours. 

 

You Can Make Your Small Business Appear Big, But Should You?

Small businesses spend an awful lot of time and money trying to look like bigger organizations with multiple offices and a dozens of employees.

  • email addresses that include last names, e.g., tony.phillips@tonyandjohnny.com, as if there were likely to be more than one Tony at John’s office
  • voicemail with multiple extensions and “departments,” all going to the same six or eight people
  • titles like “CEO” or “Chairman” in a company with a handful of employees
  • several “offices” listed on a website
  • interns or assistants acting as a gatekeepers, making prospects jump through hoops to get to a principal

I even read about one solopreneur who listed 14 employees of another firm on his About Us page. He thought it was legit since they all worked in the same office building!! This isn’t just positioning; it’s lying.

So, is “big” really what your prospects are looking for? Unless they’re Fortune 500 companies that require specialized expertise in a multitude of areas, probably not. Most likely, they just want to be sure that you’ll deliver on your promises.

To that end, you may want them to know that an assistant or intern handles your scheduling and administrative work so you can stay focused on clients’ projects, or that your company is part of a professional network or strategic alliance.

And of course there are other qualities that you should be leveraging to convert prospects:

  • professionalism – well-designed and content-rich website, collaterals, newsletter and blog
  • expertise – demonstrated with ebooks, speeches, interviews
  • social proof – video, audio and written testimonials and reviews, press releases
  • strategy – see Duct Tape Marketing

But authenticity is a huge part of earning and keeping clients’ trust, and consequently, their business.