The lure of a multitude of shiny new media emerging daily is turning out to be a blessing in disguise for professional radio marketers. It wasn’t that radio stations tried to sell their stations or clusters against other stations and clusters.
Today, most stations are trying to sell their fit with new digital media. The days of muddying the waters by knocking other radio stations, except for in the largest transactional markets, seem to be coming to an end. Hooray!
I’ve always been from the school that a rising tide lifts all boats, and that radio should work together to strengthen our position in the eyes of the advertising community.
The rise of new media has helped us focus on radio’s fit in the new media landscape, in three strategic ways;
1.)Radio is the Proactive Media We position radio as ‘proactive’ and the internet as ‘reactive.’ Radio proactively reaches and influences customers not yet in the market for a product or service in a way that reactive media cannot.
Once consumers have a need for a product or service, they react by searching for a supplier online.
Seldom will you find an advertiser who wants to rely solely on reactive media, once you explain a proactive strategy of radio to inspire, internet to inform.
2.) Radio is the ‘Turn-key’ Media Rapidly changing and emerging new media options are confusing, even to alleged new media experts, let alone a business owner who’s trying to run a business.
Once an advertiser decides to pursue digital media, they then have to decide which platforms, who produces what content, and how to adapt as each platform changes.
With tried and proven turn-key radio, all the business owner has to do is say “Yes” and sign a check. You do the rest, from advising on creative and scheduling to creating the script, producing the commercials, and scheduling them to reach the target audience.
3.) Radio is the Best SEO Our research of more than 10,000 consumers across North America over the past three years proves that radio is the best Search Engine Optimization. Consistently in every market we’ve surveyed, consumers prefer to click on a business that they’ve heard of over one they have not heard of when they conduct their online search.
Have you had our Local Share-of-Mind surveys conducted in your market? We guarantee a return on your investment with increased sales.
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It seems that most radio stations manage their websites in a programming silo, segregated and sometimes alienated from sales.
Lately, I’ve been spot checking some of my station client’s websites, and I’ve yet to find one that did NOT have a mistake. Have you clicked on every banner, Icon or link on your website? You should do so regularly.
I clicked on a banner for a pizza chain on a station’s website today, and it mistakenly linked to a location in another state more than 1000 miles away.
If the sponsor is tracking results, and you can bet they are, that station won’t be getting a renewal of that pizza banner ad.
I Googled one station’s site but the link took me to their sister station’s site in a different market. It was obviously managed corporately, and no one ever Googled it.
Some of the common errors I find on station websites are;
- No phone numbers, or they are hard to find
- No way to access sales, only programming contacts are published
- Contests or special offers that expired last month still posted
- Links that don’t work
- Concert announcements for concert dates that have long since passed.
- No mention of sales, advertising or radio advertising anywhere
- Sponsored promotions are hidden or take a back seat to programming promotions…it’s not fair to the advertiser who paid for it.
These are just a few of the many common errors, and as I said, I’ve yet to find a problem free station website.
It’s probably time to get a part time student or non-staffer to safety check your website every week, if not every day.
I understand why programming manages your websites rather than sales. But it’s time the two worked together to everyone’s benefit; listeners, staff, and sponsors.
And whoever manages your website should be aware of the difference between audio communications and written communications.
Live audio programmers have to be careful not to do anything to cause audience tune out.
Programmers of written content have no such limitations. A feature that’s of no interest to part of your audio audience can cause them to tune out.
Irrelevant written information can simply be ignored while the reader skips to the next feature….we have eye lids, but we don’t have ear lids.
You wouldn’t publish ‘news’ about a sponsor’s store opening in your on air newscast, but you can certainly have a page full of various sponsor news on your website, because disinterested parties can simply ignore that page without ignoring your entire site.
As I travel across the continent, virtually and in reality, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that programming, your webmaster, and sales, need to work more closely together.
Marketing practitioners have long known about the power of ‘New’ and ‘Free.’ Buyers have always been attracted to that which is new, and can’t resist offers that include something free. The problem with these two words as marketing tools is that neither is sustainable.
Nothing is new forever, and you can’t stay in business giving away your product for free. Can you say, “Facebook”? Much to the chagrin of businesses that flocked to build a Facebook fan base, it is no longer new or free.
You didn’t have to have a crystal ball to know that emerging social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and more would steal Facebook’s “new” label. And it was inevitable that Facebook would have to monetize their “free” product.
What is a bit of a mystery, however, is how so many businesses succumbed to the free fad and willingly lost control of their marketing and fan database. Organic reach on Facebook is fast becoming a thing of the past, and other social media networks will inevitably follow their steps towards the pay-to-play space.
Businesses that focused their resources on creating large fan or follower bases are finding that Facebook is now charging businesses for the chance to be seen on the newsfeeds of the database they built! That reality means marketers still looking at Facebook as an organic channel must rethink their strategy.
As the boundaries between earned, owned, and paid media become more blurred, smart marketers are going back to the old strategy of driving traffic to a business’ owned media, websites, blogs, and apps, with intrusive paid broadcast media.
While a business has no control over the number of followers, fans, posts, or likes they attract in an evolving and fragmented social media space, they certainly have control over content and can create their own social communities on their websites.
What social media did teach us is the need to build communities and to have shareable and interactive content. The new business websites will be more interactive; they’ll listen to their communities, and have content to help their communities make more informed buying decisions.
And smart radio advertisers will advertise, “visit our website” instead of saying, “follow us on [some social media] site.”
Marketers are learning that having 50,000 people registered on their website for email campaigns is more valuable than having 500,000 Facebook fans. These businesses can connect with the 50,000 users who cared enough to register as often as they wish, without having to pay each time. Having to pay to reach your own Facebook fan-base makes no sense.
The old strategy of utilizing Broadcast to inspire and Internet to inform is making more sense each passing day.
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