In 1980, The Buggles first sang that ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’. Yet despite the growth of video-based media, radio remains a popular platform.
In 2018, 28.5 million listeners tuned into NPR programming every week. That’s just public broadcasting.
Radio has a loyal audience of repeat listeners. That makes it an affordable alternative to digital advertising.
So how do you make the most of that opportunity? Are you wondering how to write an effective radio ad? Read on to learn more.
Think Outside of the Box
Before we go any further, we should start with a simple point. Radio advertising does not only mean talking about your product.
Yes, you can’t show the product in use like you can with a TV ad. Yet you can still show its benefits if you’re willing to get creative.
Take Kodak’s Kodacolour Gold, for instance. How do you advertise a brand of photographic film without images?
The company did exactly that with its award-winning ‘Colours’ ad. It’s narrated by English actor Jimmy Nail, known for his no-nonsense, blunt style.
They compared the brilliant colors of Kodacolour Gold with sound. Where the color range of other brands sounds like a kazoo, Kodacolour Gold is a full orchestra.
It’s a simple concept it’s memorable and effective. With that in mind, let’s look at radio ads.
Research Your Radio Station Options
Start by researching the available options. Do you want your ad broadcast nationally or locally? Local ads are a great way to help build brand awareness among regular listeners.
Consider the demographics of each station. Which stations does your target audience listen to?
Each station will also have its own personality that you can ‘borrow’ by running your ad there. Build brand associations by choosing a station that complements what you sell.
This level of research helps you to choose the right station.
Once you’ve narrowed it down, check the kind of ads each station runs. Find out how long their ad slots are. This will dictate your script and the ad cost.
Don’t feel you need to appeal to the greatest number of listeners. You’ll have more success if you appeal to the right listeners.
Decide the Goal of the Ad
What do you want the advert to do? Is it brand awareness building or more web traffic?
Are you running a specific promotion or offer? Do you want them to know you’re opening new premises in their town?
The goal will shape the direction your ad takes. It also helps you decide on the right station depending on their demographic.
How to Write a Radio Ad Script
Now you know where the ad will play and what the ad is intended to do.
Pinpoint why someone should buy your product or use your service. What benefit will they get by doing so? Which problems do you solve?
This should be the focus of your ad. Don’t fall back on cliches or jargon. Stick to clear, everyday language to appeal to your listeners.
From there, you can layer in other elements. If you’re aiming the ad at brand building, you can include snippets of your story. When was the company established and what are your values?
For better web traffic, add testimonials. You may not have time in a 30-second ad to read them all out. Yet you can add “rated 5* on TripAdvisor by 70 percent of customers”, or something similar.
This social proof signals to potential customers that you are a safe brand.
Consider using a copywriting formula like AIDA. This stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. It’s the stages customers pass through before they buy.
Grab their attention with an unusual melody or headline. Build their interest by showing the benefits of your solution. Create desire with a before/after story. Then tell them what to do if they want to know more.
It’s simple yet effective.
Make Your Call to Action Easy to Do
Internet or social media ads make it easy for a viewer to take action. There’s often a link straight to a web store or a landing page.
That’s difficult to do in a radio ad. Instead, you need a compelling call-to-action that’s easy to do.
If you want to generate more foot traffic to your location, tell them where you are, and invite them to visit you. You could give them a number to text and you can send directions to their phone.
For product sales, give them a simple URL or a memorable brand name to type into Google. Make sure it’s something a person can do without needing further instructions.
Keep It Simple, Stupid
Speaking of simple, you need to keep another advertising principle in mind—KISS.
Otherwise known as Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Don’t be tempted to add every product feature or throw too many details at your listener. You may only have sixty seconds at most to get your point across.
Stick to one point for a more memorable ad. This is where your goal comes back into play.
Write your radio ads with the narrator in mind. The choice of narrator voice is important, as discussed earlier with the Kodacolour Gold choice of Jimmy Nail. The narrator gives your ad personality and helps build a bond with the listener.
In the same way that celebrities help boost TV ads, the right narrator will also help to cement your brand image and values.
Don’t be tempted to save money and read the ad yourself. Voice actors are trained specialists and they can give your ad extra nuance.
How Much Does a Radio Ad Cost?
Your radio ad cost comes from two places: production and distribution. On one hand, you need to pay for the voice actor, editing, and other post-production tasks.
On the other hand, you need to pay a radio station to play your ad.
When you’re starting out, try to keep costs low. Run an ad and check its performance against metrics like sales, traffic, or social media mentions.
If the ad performs well, you might run it again in a more expensive slot or on a different station. If it doesn’t, tweak one of the factors and try again.
Connect With Your Listeners
Crafting an effective radio ad is a great way to build brand awareness. They can also boost sales for special offers and new products.
Pair the right station with the right ad to see the best success. Remember, a voice actor can add a professional sheen to your words.
Check out our money and finance articles for more tips on boosting sales.