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Take Your Radio Ads to the Next Level

Most small businesses do not have a high powered advertising agency to produce award-winning radio commercials for them. Most award-winning radio commercials win for the wrong reasons anyway.

Radio commercials should sell the benefits (not features)of your business/product and should be on the same page with print, TV and billboard. A major problem in business advertising today is the lack of coordination of a campaign where all media are targeting the same message. The newspaper ad says one thing and the radio commercial doesn't seem to fit anywhere. Wasted money. Hit 'em with the same message across the board and you increase your reach.

Radio commercials at smaller radio stations are typically created by the radio salespeople or the announcers. In most cases, neither are trained at selling benefits. It's your money and you shouldn't spend it on amateurish and/or totally ineffective commercials.

The biggest mistake many business people make is letting the station staff come up with the commercial copy and finished product. When they play it for you, you can tell they really love it. They wrote it, maybe they voiced it. It's me, me, me. They love all the fun they had making it. They don't know squat about selling benefits.

Effective radio commercials Remember Tom Bodett for Motel six? A great campaign, it was Tom delivering the benefit for staying at the motel with a little music in the background. Award winning. And Motel Six business shot off the charts. Benefits sell. Yet few local radio people would be comfortable with a straight voice Tom Bodett style ad. They want you to feel like you are really getting something for your money. so they produce a grand scale dud.

Here are BIG Mike's tips for better commercials

Don't Do It Yourself You may be able to write it, after a little practice, but don't get fooled into thinking you can do it better than a professional announcer. The radio people will want you to voice it because some of your fiends will tell you they heard you on the radio and you will be convinced radio works. Phooey. That's an old way to sell ads. The high powered ad agency worked with David Orreck for several days to get those vacuum cleaner commercials to sound like one-takes.

Avoid two-voice "slice-of-life" ads Many are made by dragging the receptionist into the studio to play the wife or mother and the result is something that sounds like the junior high school drama class made it.

Steer clear of characterizations The last of the great character actors on radio was Mel Blanc and he died 20 years ago. An 18 year old kid trying to sound like a crusty ol' sea captain doesn't get it.

Don't try humor - it ain't funny Remember the main reason to advertise, WIIFM, What's In It for Me, that's what they want to know. Sell benefits. Take a poll, no one cares about a cutesy commercial, they care about what's in it for them. Yet, every radio station in the country has at least one would-be Bob Hope who thinks he can out-funny the pros. It doesn't work. Consider how you feel when you hear one on the radio. It sure doesn't explain why you should visit the store, unless it is to punch out the owner for being so stupid. Ditch the lame humor for real substance

90 Seconds into 30 Won't Go. The power of the pause is important in radio commercials. Too many radio people take you literally when you tell them what you want in your commercial and try to get it all in one ad. Instead, ask them to create several that will rotate on the air. Take your time to explain the benefits.

Don't buy anything longer than 30 seconds Some station price 60s double what they charge for 30 seconds, other plus up the 30 rate by 20 or 25 percent. Either way, you don't need a 60. Make two 30s and get more exposure and save more money. Heck, if you can say the entire Lord's Prayer in 20 seconds, you can sure sell your benefits in 30.

Ask for an out-of-market voice These days with email audio attachments, many radio stations share voices around the country. You can get a voice thousands of miles away that will do ads only for you. In turn the station announcer who would have done your ads, does one for that station, an even trade. The exchange takes only seconds, no one does any more work and the cost to the advertiser is zero.

Be sure your radio ads sell the same benefits at the same time as your newspaper, shopper and other print and billboard ads. Plan your advertising well in advance, just like the other parts of your business.

For more about advertising, get my article "Cable Ads 5 Bucks!" Send a blank eMail to

©2005 BIG Mike McDaniel All Rights Reserved BIG Mike is a Professional Speaker and Small Business Consultant with over 30 years experience,

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