As states gradually reopen in the midst of the pandemic, the biggest challenge for most radio stations is not attracting listeners; it's attracting advertisers. Entire categories or clients, such as restaurants or concert venues, are unable to spend money right now. To weather the storm, radio stations will need to find new clients in addition to bringing back the old ones.
Before the pandemic started, the “Advertise With Us” page on a radio station's website was arguably the most important. After all, no other page on the website has the potential to bring in more revenue. The value of this page has only increased since the pandemic started. So if you haven't looked at this page in a while, now would be a good time to review it.
Unfortunately, too many stations have underwhelming “Advertise With Us” pages, often consisting of nothing more than a phone number and an email address. If you were a radio salesperson on site at a station promotion and a business owner walked up to you and said, “I'm interested in advertising,” would you simply give them your phone number and walk away? Or would you invest time in telling them about the power of radio and persuade them that this is a good place for them to spend their money? Any decent salesperson would do the latter. So why does your station's webpage do the former?
Let's look at the components that make an effective “Advertise With Us” webpage:
1. Put a link to your “Advertise With Us” page in the main menu.
Your station's website should have several different goals — actions that it wants visitors to take, including streaming the station, entering contests, and joining the email list. “Express interest in advertising” should also be on that list of website goals. While far fewer people will do this than take those other actions, the ones that do will contribute the most to the station's bottom line. So you want to give this goal prime real estate on your website. If somebody wants to give your station money, make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Don't bury the link to your “Advertise With Us” page in the website footer or hide it on the “Contact Us” page. Put an “Advertise” link in the main menu.
2. Make the opening paragraph about the prospective client and their issues.
Once a person has navigated to the “Advertise With Us” page, you want to hook them in. Some radio stations make the mistake of not providing any text aside from a phone number and email address. Others make the mistake of leading with text that talks about the radio station: “We're so great because we reach so many people blah blah blah…”
Don't do this.
Instead, lead with a paragraph about the prospect's challenges. For example, the opening paragraph might read:
“As businesses around the valley reopen for the first time in the wake of the pandemic, they are faced with the challenge of reassuring their customers that it is safe to return. We know how hard you've worked to stay afloat and ensure the safety of your patrons during this challenging times. When you're ready to move forward, we can help you communicate your message to your customers.”
The key to this paragraph is acknowledging the challenges that your advertisers are facing before going on to describe how you can help them overcome those challenges. It's never been more important to get this paragraph right. Because the pandemic is affecting different markets in different ways, this paragraph might look very different depending on the station writing it. The businesses in rural Georgia are facing different circumstances than those in the Bay Area, so the opening paragraph on the “Advertise With Us” page should look different for stations from each of those markets.
Given the fluid circumstances surrounding the pandemic, you'll want to review this opening paragraph every few weeks and change the copy as the situation warrants.
3. Then talk about how you can solve the prospect's problems.
Once you've acknowledges the prospect's issues, now you can talk about your station. Even here, however, you want to talk about your station within the context of the client's issues. It's not, “Here's how great we are,” it's “Here's how we can help you solve your problem.” For example, don't write, “We reach 500,000 listeners every day…”; instead, write “Our ability to reach 500,000 reachers every day enable you to…”
4. Provide lead magnets.
Some people who visit your “Advertise With Us” page will be ready to talk to a salesperson. Others are still in the early stages of conducting research. Make sure your webpage offers something of value for people who aren't ready to pick up the phone or fire off an email. Providing helpful content in exchange for a prospect's email address will enable your station to build a list of leads that can be nurtured until they're ready to buy. We call these pieces of content “lead magnets.”
Here are some examples of lead magnets:
- A guide to writing advertising copy during the pandemic
- A recording of a webinar about consumers' state of mind right now
- A collection of good examples of pandemic-related advertising campaigns
On your “Advertise With Us” webpage, link to pages that put these lead magnets behind a form to capture email address. Put those mail addresses into a lead nurturing email campaign to engage with these people until they're ready to advertise.
5. Include contact information — and respond to inquiries as quickly as possible.
Provide different contact methods for prospects who are ready to talk to somebody. This might include a contact form, a phone number, an email address, or a chat window. Different people will want to contact your station in different ways. The key is to ensure that you have a system in place that enables you to reply to any inquiries quickly. If you let a late-Friday inquiry sit unanswered until Monday morning, you're much more likely to lose out on a sale.
When I worked at a marketing automation company in Silicon Valley, they aimed to answer every lead inquiry within five minutes. If an inquiry went unanswered for a short period of time, it would automatically be brought to the attention of a manger. After 60 minutes, if an inquiry was still unanswered, it would be elevated to the CEO. This company took their response rate seriously, and your station should too.
If you haven't reviewed your radio station's “Advertise With Us” webpage, now — as your station is trying to bounce back from the pandemic — is the time.