Radio stations are like niche marketers in that they target a narrow group of people and work around the clock to attract them to their station, so make sure you’re advertising on the station your customers are listening to, which might not be the number one station in the market. Take your own preferences out of the equation. Don’t buy your favorite station, buy your customers’ favorite station. If you don’t know which station that is, you can start by taking an informal survey of your customers. Ask them what radio stations they listen to or observe their behavior.
Being a knowledgeable buyer is the first step in getting the best radio advertising rate and reducing your radio advertising cost.
Click here to use the Identify Your Target Customer Worksheet. This is a great tool to help you select which radio stations to buy and communicate your needs to your radio advertising sales person.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to five or six (or more, depending on your budget) possible stations for your advertising, call them to set up a meeting. When you connect with an Account Executive (your sales person), tell them you’re interested in setting up a meeting with them. Click here for more information on how to make sure you’re getting the best Account Executive assigned to your account. This could make a big difference in your results, and make the process a lot easier.
One key to an effective radio campaign is frequency. Reducing your radio advertising cost is irrelevant if your schedule is not effective. You want to make sure your customer hears your ad enough times in the course of one week to understand it and take action on it. When people listen to the radio, they hear fragments of commercial messages. Most advertisers think people are hanging on every word of their ad, but unless you’re giving away brand new cars for free, they hear only parts of your message.
By running an ad schedule so your target customer might be exposed to your ad at least 3 or 4 times in the course of a week, you’ll have a better chance of getting your entire message heard. Click here for more information on effective radio schedules.
Before we begin the buying and negotiating process, here are some key factors in buying radio that you need to be familiar with: demographics, frequency, commercial message, added value, and a good Account Executive (AE).
Contact as many radio stations as you think can match your needs and ask for a proposal. Tell the Account Executive you want the following elements in the proposal:
√ Station’s target demographic – the age cell, male/female ratio
√ Qualitative information that tells you who their listeners are, usually referred to as a station profile. Usually a station will have a media kit that includes all of this information, but you may not want to hassle with sorting through all of the fluff.
√ One week sample schedule with a 4.0 frequency.
√ The schedule should be based on your target demographic– this is important because you want the numbers of the schedule to reflect your target demographic, not the station’s target demographic.
√ Added value offered.
√ Production cost quote, if necessary.
√ The schedule should display the following information: Spot Rate, % Reach, CPP, GRP’s.
√ Cost per week for 30-second commercials, and cost per week for 60-second commercials.
√ Ranker of top 10 stations in the market for your target demographic.
Your advertising schedule will be layed out in dayparts. Click here to learn more about dayparts.
As with television, be sure to compare apples to apples to get an accurate evaluation of which radio station(s) to buy.
When you meet with each AE, let them know that you will be meeting with six or seven stations in the market, but will probably only buy about two or three. To get the best advertising rate on radio, get proposals from more stations than you plan to buy.
Before putting their proposal together, they’ll probably ask you about your budget. Just let them know that you’re still working on it, and their schedule will help you determine how much you need to set aside. At this point, you don’t need to tell them. This can be a negotiating tool later.
After you’ve met with a couple of Account Executives, you can look over their rankers and see what other stations you should contact.
Now that you’ve collected all of your data, you’re ready to start the negotiating process, evaluate your options, and create a media plan and make the most out of your radio advertising cost, and negotiate the best radio advertising price.
If you’re planning to buy more than one station, click here to learn about radio station formats.