Direct Response Radio – Do’s and Don’ts

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Direct Response Radio – Do’s and Don’ts

There’s a black-and-white clarity to direct response advertising.  It either works or it doesn’t.  Each marketing platform has its own rules, tips and tricks to follow for success.  For 25 years, we’ve been perfecting radio’s success path.  Here are a few suggestions and guidelines to help you navigate the treacherous rapids so that you can enjoy the calm, blue waters on the other side of a test.

Don’t buy just one radio station to decide whether or not radio “works.”  Do identify and evaluate your best prospects to efficiently reach your audience in all four radio platforms (AM/FM, Satellite, Streaming, Podcasts) and, ideally, test four-to-eight different media options.

Don’t test just one commercial.  Do test several (or at least two).  If your target audience is Adults 25-54, be mindful that a 26-year old man has very different buying triggers than a 52-year old woman.  Even the simplest variable of using a male voice versus a female voice can greatly impact your results.  Test multiple ads to find your “control” commercial and then keep testing against your control.

Don’t write your own ads.  Do tell an experienced team of direct response radio copywriters everything they need to know to craft a variety of different scripts about your brand.  Be clear about your objectives.  Define the one thing that you’d like radio listeners to do after they’ve heard your message so that your creative and production team can devote their full energy and every resource to making that happen.

Don’t expect success on Day One (or even Week One).  In most cases, your brand and your offer will be brand new to radio listeners.  Do expect that the three-to-five message exposures they’ll need to take action may not happen for two, three or four weeks.

Don’t buy time on your favorite radio station because it’s your favorite radio station.  Do hire an agency with access to the latest Nielsen radio ratings to identify the most appropriate choices and then determine if those options are fairly or attractively priced.

Don’t assume that you must have a popular radio personality read your message.  Do weigh the incremental cost of paying for that voice talent against the incremental revenue needed to justify its expense.  Explore other creative options that could generate the same interest without the added cost.

Don’t expect product sales to be a completely accurate measure of success.  Do look for hidden value in measurable metrics like lift in overall web traffic, time spent on your website, higher conversion rates or a higher ticket average across all media.  Radio exposure “lifts all boats” to drive ROI in all channels.

Don’t avoid radio simply because you’ve had a bad experience.  Do reach out to set up a call where we can hear your story and suggest the best ways today’s radio can become your heroic, advertising workhorse.