Every day, we receive calls from remodelers from across the United States and Canada. Many times, they need information on some business issue such as hiring top people, understanding financial statements, building a strong production team, or implementing lead generation tactics. Below, Ted Dubin, Director of Business Development, fields a question on using Radio Advertising as part of an effective marketing program.
Q: Any suggestions on running a radio ad campaign?
I like radio – when done right it works!
While I’m not an expert, in a previous life we used radio extensively. Here are some tips learned through this experience (by no means a comprehensive guide):
1. Get a phone system with tracking. VOIP works great.
2. Get extra numbers (“virtual extensions”) and use a different one for different campaigns – people will say “I heard you on the radio” but may not remember which station or which specific ad got them to call (you can also forward your number through various trackable extensions). All the numbers still feed into your main phone system. Get rollover to alternate numbers so calls get answered if the main lines are busy.
3. As soon as you pick up the phone get the caller’s name, number, and email. You can’t build a database without contact info.
4. Every day get a list of all the missed after-hours calls and hang-ups. Call each one back and gently ask “Hey, we noticed you called our offices – can we help you?” You’ll be surprised at the number of people that called but either chickened out or got distracted and hung up. Of course, immediately and politely end the call if they don’t want to talk or don’t remember calling you.
5. Ask lots of open-ended questions before trying to get too personal – i.e. “What is it you want to improve in your home?”, “What’s going on with your (kitchen/bathroom/deck)?”, etc.
6. Track everything – calls, calls-per-hour, calls-per-ad, length of calls, which stations and campaigns the real leads, appointments and sales $$ come from, etc. and adjust your campaign frequently. Negotiate the ability to adjust in advance with the station.
7. Get on a station or program that lends itself to people listening through commercials i.e. sports (so people stay to hear their scores), traffic and weather, opinion-talk, etc. vs. all-music. Does no good to advertise if people just flip to the next station the minute the ads start.
8. Get additional mentions by sponsoring the time or the weather. Also get spots on the online streaming version of the station too.
9. Consider buying yourself a talk show where you answer questions as an expert in your field. Have people call in with their questions. Support it by running your ad first during the breaks.
10. If you’re using the campaign to set appointments have a different person call back to confirm the appointment. Confirmation calls greatly improve your show/no-show ratio and the confirmer gets vital info not discussed in the original call.
11. Make absolutely sure that the respondents have your contact info, the name of someone they can call at your office if they have questions and your website on every call.
12. Offer an appointment on every call. If the caller says they’ll call you back it may not happen.
13. Most calls from prospects start with non-direct questions: “What’s the name of your company?” or “Do you have a website?” – make no mistake, these are buying questions. Hardly anyone calls and says “I’d like to hire you!” Get their contact info, then engage.
Q: How many times a day do you think an ad should be played on a station to be effective?
Frequency really depends on the number of good responses generated. Try 4 times a day at least for your core advertisement if you can afford it. Repetition is good. That’s why I suggested also sponsoring announcements like time, traffic, and weather – this gets your name out there again at a potentially lower price. Recording and playing alternate versions of the same basic commercial can help. Try having the producer interview you and use your personal comments in the ads. Also, sometimes a talk show format may be cheaper than heavy repetitions and it works well, especially if supported by your commercials.
Watch the times for ad spots – I’ve been offered lots of commercials only to find out in the proposal that they were to run before 7 AM or after 10 PM. A great ad is worthless if no one hears it.
Try to get scheduled in the AM and PM commuting times and during popular talk or sports shows. Any good radio station rep should be able to tell you their demographics, listenership by show, day and time, etc. Make sure your campaign is clearly defined. Balance time vs. quantity. Negotiate hard.
Sometimes it’s possible to negotiate for additional plays of your ads as “floaters'” (= bonus commercials for filling the station’s open, unsold spots – different stations will use different terminology) in addition to the ones with a scheduled, firm time.
Rotate stations and programs. For example, get more ads on Political Talk during Primary or Election time, go heavier on Sports and Sports Talk during Draft or Playoffs, etc. Often you can get the talk-show host or commentator to record a version of your ad in their own voice and style (you may have to pay a small “talent” fee).
Answer your phones!
It’s very important to capture the caller’s initial spark of interest even if they can’t call you until they’re out of the car, off work, etc. Get the schedule of when your ads will run and be staffed-up and ready to answer your phones during those times. Test your phone system ahead of time every time. If your ad runs before or after regular business hours forward the phones to someone’s mobile (consider paying the person taking these calls a commission or bonus if the appointment they set turns into a paying customer and you’ll get volunteers). Forward the inbound lines to someone at all times during normal business hours or hire and train an answering service.
Remember – you want everyone to have a great “Remodeling Experience” and the “experience” starts the moment they hear and respond to your ad!
You can also hire an expert to help you field and manage your calls.
Our sponsor CallSource can work with you to manage, track and improve the results from calls generated by any advertising campaigns, including radio. Contact CallSource and see what they can do for you!
If you need help in improving the results of your marketing program, give us a call today. Remodelers Advantage has the resources to help you build a strong, consistently profitable business — all while allowing you to have a full, balanced life. 301-490-5620