When Google launched AdWords in 2000 (now simply Google Ads), businesses could bid on words to ensure they showed up higher in search on the internet. This led to many new AdWords accounts being set up with reckless keyword bidding for anything and everything. Business owners were certain they could easily share their product with the masses and make millions. They proceeded to wait for days, then weeks, then months without receiving a single inquiry. Many still wait…if they are even still in business.
I share this scenario to make an extreme point of how many home services business owners approach their lead generation efforts.
Many people I speak with on a daily basis have a decent website. They are doing some paid search. Yet, they aren’t getting the leads they need to sustain or grow their business. What they fail to realize is what one of my favorite marketing gurus, Bob Hoffman, has always said: “Paid Search will never create DEMAND for a product or service.”
Take a second and read it again.
Simply having a website and doing some paid search will not educate the consumer of who, what, and why they should do business with you. When someone hops online to search for a home improvement contractor, they are playing Russian Roulette with their most important investment. How can they ensure they are selecting the correct company when so many companies show up in their search results?
Granted, reviews play a large role in who is selected, but how can you reach a consumer before they ever fire up their search engine? If you answered “sign up on Home Advisor” you are wrong.
Very, very wrong.
In my experience, one of the best ways to build awareness of your company is through traditional media; more specifically Radio and TV.
What You Need for Radio to Work
One of the first things I hear from business owners when TV or Radio is brought up is: “no way, it’s too expensive” or “we have done TV and/or radio in the past and it just doesn’t work”. Ironically, a lot of these same people are spending thousands a month buying leads on sites like Home Advisor. The issue with this is they never build their own company’s brand. Many also allocate money for Google AdWords but don’t get leads. The money remains unspent because nobody is familiar with their company.
Today we’ll tackle radio advertising. If you have tried radio in the past and it didn’t work, it was likely due to 1 of 3 (or all three) of the following:
- The station
- The schedule
- The script
The Station’s Critical Role
The station you choose is so critical. There are two different types of stations in radio. A station you listen to in the background or a station you listen to in the foreground. If you are trying to build a brand and get your phones to ring, you must choose a foreground station. Here’s why.
- Background stations brag of high listenership and massive reach, which is true in most cases. The issue though is most people listening to those stations are not engaged and are only listening to hear music. When a commercial comes on they tune out or tune into another station. Your Top 40 stations (or any station which plays a lot of music) is a background station.
- Foreground stations tend to be a talk radio format. I’ve seen the most success here; specifically in conservative talk radio. If you look at the numbers which matter, these stations tend to have a more affluent listener who owns their home and makes a decent wage. Most importantly, they are highly engaged with the format. When they are listening to a personality like a Limbaugh or Hannity, they do not flip the station when commercials come on. They listen through them because they want to hear what the hosts have to say after the commercial break.
Why the Schedule is Important
The next critical part of making radio successful is the right schedule. We always recommend doing 60-second spots and a schedule of at least 25-30 spots per week. When scheduling radio, the most important part of the schedule is to maximize your reach (how often your spot plays each week). If you only run 5 spots a week, the chances of someone hearing your spots are minimal at best. You need to have a schedule with high frequency over multiple days. If your current budget does not allow for this level of frequency, you are better off waiting until you can.
The Right Script is Paramount
Finally, let’s talk about the script. If I had a nickel for every bad radio spot I hear each day, I would be writing this article from a yacht in the Caribbean. Bad spots are the norm, unfortunately, and this leads to many unsuccessful radio campaigns.
Radio spots tend to sound like every single car ad you have ever heard: a voice yelling at you to “come down this weekend for a once in a lifetime sale” which runs next month, too. Car dealerships are some of the biggest radio advertisers; most follow their lead in the way they approach their ad scripts.
Roy H. Williams, the author of The Wizard of Ads, puts it best when he says “Become the brand customers think of first and feel the best about.” How is this accomplished? By working with a talented scriptwriter who knows what makes your company unique vs. stringing together words about what you sell. If you are able to connect with the listener on a personal level and speak to their values and needs, they will call you when it is time for them to use your services.
At the end of the day, no one can force or coax someone into calling a company before they are ready to purchase. Using radio allows you to have a dialogue with the potential customer weeks or months prior to them needing your services. This being the case, it is critical to be patient and consistent with radio advertising. It takes time to have an impact, but once it does, hang on tight! The leads will start flowing to your phones and your digital presence.
If you would like help planning out your radio strategy, connect with Art Unlimited today. We’ll collaborate with you on choosing a radio station partner, manipulating the schedule to fit your budget, and creating a knock-out script.