Most radio ads in the UAE make me cringe. The majority of listeners, myself included, will simply flip channels when ads come on. Very few ads are interesting enough to keep my hand away from that dial. Even fewer are memorable enough to make an impact.
Radio is not an inherently ineffective medium. If used properly, radio can become an integral part of an advertising campaign. Follow these seven tips to ensure that your dollars aren’t wasted on the airwaves.
1. Quality copywriting
Since there is no visual element to radio, copy is everything. If you’re not sure of your copywriting skills, hire someone who is. Your ad’s message should be clear, concise, and creative. And please, for the love of marketing, don’t use corny and unrealistic dialogue.
2. Part of a larger campaign
Radio is better used as part of a larger campaign. Radio audiences are captive audiences because they are stuck in their cars, but they easily forget ads they hear on their commutes. Reinforce your campaign by using other mediums to remind your audience of your message.
I find that time sensitive messages work best over the radio. Limited time offers, seasonal campaigns, and other messages that encourage action due to time constraints drive response from listeners.
Timing is also important in relation to time of day when it comes to reaching your target audience. When is your ideal consumer in the car? That’s when you need to be on the radio.
4. Mention brand name at beginning and end of the ad
People flip radio stations constantly in search of good music or content. I’ve often caught the middle of ads that pique my interest, but I have no idea what brands they are linked to because the name was only mentioned at the beginning of the ad, which I happened to miss. Same applies to brands that only mention their name at the end of the ad – no chance of brand recognition for people who switch stations before the ad is over. Mention the brand name at the beginning and end to avoid both these situations
5. Know the audience
Unfortunately the UAE lacks radio station diversity. Despite most stations focusing on top 100 pop records, there are still slight differences in their target audiences. Knowing these differences is important so that you can book spots on the stations that best align with your desired audience.
6. Tie it in with radio show
Radio show hosts are mini celebrities in the UAE. It is more expensive to integrate promotion through their shows in addition to ads, but the personal touch that the hosts add to the campaign can improve memorability. Promotion via their personal social media accounts is also an added benefit you should try to include in your contract.
Be careful with your selection of shows to work with. Try to screen them by listening to clips of how they have worked with other campaigns. Some hosts seamlessly incorporate brand messages into their shows, while others stumble over provided scripts.
7. Call to action
Radio can be a wonderful direct response tool if a call to action is integrated into the copy. You can ask listeners to call your hotline, email your sales team, check out your website, or head to your stores. People should know what the next step should be after hearing your ad, and this will actually make the effectiveness of your campaign measurable.
Creative and clear radio ads that drive action can do wonders for your awareness levels and revenue. But lacklustre ads with no call to action will do nothing but serve as a waste of your advertising dollars. Assessing the benefit of this medium for your campaign and creating purposeful ads specifically for radio will help you avoid burning your budget.
Have you used radio as an advertising medium? How was your experience?