Reconsidering Radio in the Digital Age

Reconsidering Radio in the Digital Age

In the age of social media we feel compelled to be hip and up to date on the latest and greatest marketing fads. The jargon alone can be tiring. Hit rates, page landings, clicks, views, conversions, yada yada. You outsource an expert who knows this marketing well and tells you that your conversion rate will be 1.5%. You nod your head yes, and then write the check, having no idea what in the world is going on. This is small business marketing as you would believe it to be today. Those of you who yearn for days of old might just want to give radio another try.

This is especially hard for young entrepreneurs who have not grown up in the era of radio and the now defunct Radio Shack. If you’re still on the fence about radio advertising, take a look at some of these statistics.  According to a 2018 report by Nielsen, “More Americans tune into AM/FM radio (93%) than watch television, or use smartphones, tablets or computers.” And that number includes millennials. The report also found that more than 90% of millennials listen to the radio monthly. Okay, so now that you have decided to investigate the radio, you need to do a few things.

Strategically Fund Your Ads: Mitch Russo, Founder of, tells how his radio success almost became a business failure. “We had a problem. We were receiving more calls than our little team of salespeople could handle. So, we scaled back on ad spend temporarily and built our team. After adding and training several new team members, we ramped up our radio efforts again.”

Businesses often believe that radio advertising is something they can’t afford. Actually, you can buy spots on some stations for as little as $25. Knowing exactly who your ideal client is, look for a station that you believe would be a good fit. Then contact them and ask to speak to a sales representative to get pricing on several of the stations you identified. Ask about buying regionally/locally.

Know Your Target Audience: I cannot overemphasize the importance of your target audience. To be effective, your marketing must reach a qualified audience on the channels they use. That means that while a particular radio station might be popular if your audience isn’t there for it, you’re wasting your investment if you advertise there. Use a network of local terrestrial stations to concentrate your budget on very specific territories, then further target specific radio listener niches.

Track Your Radio ROI: Determining your return on investment is important, but often cannot be easily quantified. This is especially true in radio advertising. What that looks like can vary based on your goals, the type of campaign you run, and the medium you’re using. Radio is an inherently ephemeral medium, so you’ll need to take the extra step to tie it to something tangible, like a radio-specific promotional code or landing page.

Radio is an affordable and effective way for small businesses to reach a mass audience and grow both brand awareness and customer influence. Consider the benefits of radio advertising when planning your 2019 marketing strategy.

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