Radio advertising remains one of the most effective ways to reach a large audience - especially one defined by geography and demographics. But not all radio ads are created equal.
If your ad doesn’t have the right ingredients, it is destined to fail. Below are five essential elements that should always be included in a radio ad.
1) A Breakthrough Beginning
The average consumer is now exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day and has learned to tune most of them out. This means you need a powerful message that can hook your audience within the first few seconds of your ad. Here are some powerful ways to your audience’s right away:
- Open with a shocking fact that is relevant to your target audience
- Begin with a humorous remark that motivates the listener to pay attention
- Kick off an interactive experience by asking the audience a compelling question
Coca-Cola is known for captivating listeners with radio ads that open with the sound of ice going into a glass followed by the sound of a can of Coca-Cola being opened and poured over ice.
2) Sonic Branding
Sonic branding boosts awareness of your organization through consistent, repeatable expressions of your brand. When properly executed, sonic branding can be used across a variety of marketing channels beyond radio.
A great example of sonic branding in a radio ad is exhibited by Motel 6. The hotel chain's friendly, catchy phrase, "We'll leave the light on for you" is quickly recognized by consumers worldwide. In fact, Motel 6 ads have been recognized during the Radio Mercury Awards as the best radio ad of the year in 2017.
3) Targeted Messages
Targeted messages are the cornerstone of an effective radio ad campaign. They are the key to ensuring that your ad motivates the people you are trying to reach. Here are some tips for creating a radio ad that will resonate with your target audience:
- Start with market research: The path to a targeted message begins with an audience that is based on current market research.
- Keep your target audience in mind. As you create your ad, always be mindful of the unique needs, wants, and pain points of your target audience.
- Use the language of your target audience. For example, if you target doctors, you can use terms such as "treatment results" and "clinical impact."
The automotive industry has capitalized on targeted messaging, with brands such as General Motors carefully studying driver behavior and preferences before crafting their radio ads. GM's radio-tracking program monitored the listening habits of 90,000 drivers in Chicago and Los Angeles to identify driver preferences and craft ads that appeal to those desires.
4) A Specific Goal
Radio ads are created for a reason. As you craft your message, think about the action you hope listeners will take. Whether you hope listeners will buy your product or sign up for your webinar, you need to tell your audience what to do. This part of your radio ad is referred to as a Call-to-Action, and it is vital to ensuring your advertising efforts are not in vain.
McDonald's is known for running effective radio ads prompting listeners to play their annual Monopoly game. The restaurant chain's "Builders" radio ad campaign in the UK ends with a specific call to action and McDonald's familiar five-note jingle: "Get peely peely with the Monopoly game at McDonald's. There are millions of great prizes to win."
If your ad sounds like every other ad on the radio, it won’t stick in listeners’ minds. The key to setting your message apart is to craft an ad that stands out. As you create your ad, strive to create an ad that people will talk about after listening to it. These word of mouth discussions will help spread awareness of your brand.
Creating an award-winning radio ad requires time, creativity, and a strategic approach to your target audience. A radio ad that features the five aspects above will be far superior to the majority of other radio ads.
Progressive Insurance was recently recognized as Radio Marketer of the Year at the 2019 Radio Mercury Awards. Progressive's CMO Jeff Charney alludes to the importance of innovation and creativity when producing memorable campaigns. Charney states, "Understanding the 'art and science' of the medium is key to putting out breakthrough radio campaigns," and credits the company's "Out-create approach" as a key driver for their powerful results.
Whether you are creating your first radio ad or your hundredth, be sure to balance your organization's goals with the needs and wants of your target audience. Both are equally important for your long-term success in radio advertising.