Portrait of male radio presenter interviewing a woman guest in a radio studio for a podcast. Concept: how to advertise your business on the radio.
Cedric Jackson
By: cjackson
Read in 10 minutes

How to Advertise Your Business on the Radio

Learning how to advertise your business on the radio is an effective way to build your brand power. This has been proven right for companies in various industries and areas, from small to medium businesses and even larger corporations. Whether your business is on a tight budget or has advertising money to spare, knowing how to advertise your business puts you in the best position to use it efficiently, effectively, and affordably.

The good news is that radio advertisements are within even many of the smallest businesses’ reach with a little planning and strategy. In this article, we will give you critical insights on how to advertise your business on the radio.

Why Advertise Your Business on the Radio?

Part of learning how to advertise your business is figuring out the right medium. There are numerous benefits to promoting your business on the radio.

Radio advertisements are usually less expensive than advertising on TV, especially when it comes to production costs. Developing an entirely visual commercial is far more time-consuming and costly than a radio spot. They also cost less to book than TV commercials. If the price is an issue for your business at this time, then the radio is probably a better bet than TV. You will be able to purchase more ads with longer runtimes.

Radio also lets you target particular demographics quite specifically. Radio is utilized by people on the road, in every language group, fans of various music groups and genres, people at work, retired people, and late-night listeners. Depending on who you want to target, you can pick a different station or a specific air time for your ads. This power lets you hone in on specific audiences that are more relevant to your business. Stations you consider using for your commercials should be able to provide you with a breakdown of their demographics and help you target yours effectively.

How to Advertise Your Business on the Radio Effectively

If your business operates in an area where many people are driving to and from work, radio ads are probably a solid idea to get your brand recognized. Certain kinds of companies are more likely to use radio ads than others. For example, jewelers, salons, banks, and car dealerships are some frequent users of radio ads.

Businesses that use radio ads are often local and usually give their phone number, website, or address so they can be easily reached. Most of the time, radio ads are geared toward enticing people to visit your location or website.

If you are trying to figure out how to advertise your business for less, online radio is a cheaper option. Online stations can lack the audiences of traditional ones, but this is not always the case. Make sure to do some research on the online radio station you consider. Ask them about their audience numbers, demographics, and any other info about their advertising conditions.

How to Advertise Your Business on the Radio in Six Steps

  1. Know what you want to accomplish. You should know what your message should be, and your goals are before approaching a radio station. Knowing what you want to achieve with your ad will help you later on when negotiating contracts. You need to understand how to increase your market share before you negotiate. Be ready far in advance and arrange for a more extended contract, as this will get you a better price.
  2. Pick a target audience. Your target audience should be whatever demographic you want to bring into your business. Know this before you talk to a radio station so they can show you which options best suit your needs. Radio stations can often help you find a demographic closest to the one you want, too.
  3. Research your area’s radio stations. Try to figure out which stations are best at communicating with your target audience. You want a station that effectively reaches your market. You should also pay attention to the programs during which your ads will air. These should be explicitly geared toward your target demographic. Ask your current customers which stations they listen to most often.
  4. Pick the right station. Once you pick a station, you need to approach them about advertising. Ask for information like rates, contract lengths, etc. You should know everything about your potential ads and contracts before signing onto anything. Get this information in print so you can take it home to look over a second time. Never make an advertising decision in your first meeting with an advertiser. Always give yourself time to weigh your options.
  5. Negotiate an ad campaign contract. While you can negotiate your deal yourself, there is no reason you have to. Ad agencies are often hired to do the bidding and research on the company’s behalf. This lets them potentially negotiate a better contract.
  6. Produce your radio ad. You may wonder why this is the last step. You cannot produce your ad without knowing first how long it will be. You also should not create the ad until you are sure which demographic you are targeting, what station you will use, and what the station’s terms and conditions are. In other words, you need to make sure you are thoroughly prepared to make an ad before you do make an ad. Otherwise, you may have to go back and redo quite a bit of work. Your radio station may take care of the whole production process, but also you can turn to an advertising agency. In any case, don’t try to create your commercial yourself (recording it at home and then asking a radio station to air it): not only the quality will be lower, but also radio stations have restrictions in the use of home-made spots.

How Much Will It Cost?

One of the best qualities of radio advertising is flexibility. The radio station or advertising agency of your choice will go through your options to help you find one that works for your budget and goals.

That said, here are some national average radio costs. Radio ads cost between $200 and $5,000 per week depending on ad length, audio editing services, and, most importantly, your location.

This is a wide range, so we will break it down a bit more. Radio ads are priced based on the number of listeners multiplied by a set cost for reaching every 1,000 listeners. This is known as the Cost of Advertising per Spot or “Cost Per Mille” (CPM). Listener numbers are measured by the Average Quarter-Hour Persons. The radio station should give you this information for any ad spot you show interest to buy.

CPMs will vary widely depending on the station, the location, and the time of day. The average daytime CPM is usually between $12 and $16 if you are targeting adults aged 18-49. However, if the audience is older, the CPM is generally between $8 and $12 for the same time slot. Evening and overnight hours are typically priced less than daytime hours.

Also, consider the length: radio ads are offered in 5, 10, 15, 30, and 60-second lengths. The length you pick will have a significant effect on your total cost.

Finally, keep in mind that other types of ads, like sponsorships during traffic and weather, or on-air mentions by hosts, will have unique and more expensive prices.

Make sure you ask your radio station which options tend to be the most successful among their audience. It may cost some extra money, but probably the expense will be worth it.

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