Every now and then, a radio station asks me for a digital strategy for a major radio station promotion after they've already started it. If you're giving away a significant prize or investing a lot of airtime into a contest, don't let the online strategy for your promotional effort be an afterthought. Do these things as you plan your contest:
1. Set a digital goal.
In all likelihood, you probably view a ratings bump as the primary goal of a big promotion. But let's be honest: Nielsen is fickle. Maybe you get that bump, maybe you don't; and if you don't, it may have nothing to do with the quality of your promotion. So in addition to higher ratings, set a digital goal as well. For example, use your promotion to build your email database, drive mobile app downloads, or increase web traffic. Avoid vague goals like “increase engagement” or “raise awareness” or “branding.” Come up with a specific goal that you can quantify. This way, your station can make gains even if you don't manage to capture that elusive ratings bump.
2. Set your station up to measure that goal.
There's no point in setting a quantifiable goal if you can't measure it. Make sure that you have the ability to track your success and you are reviewing the data. For example, if you decide that the digital goal of your six-week Million Dollar Turkey Drop promotion is to grow your email database, make sure you know how many email addresses you have in your database before it starts, and check the numbers each week to see if it's working. Compare the rate of your database's growth during the promotion to the normal rate of growth. If you see twice as many email registrations during the promotion, you're doing well.
3. Run a website usability test.
I am a big advocate of usability tests — tests that show you how real people interact with your website to see if there are specific tasks that give them trouble. Before your radio station launches any major promotion, it should run a usability test to make sure the digital components of that campaign work properly. For example, let's say you are running a contest where you ask people to fill out a form on your website to enter. You'll want to run a website usability test to answer basic questions, such as:
- Can they figure out how to get to the form?
- Does the contest webpage make it clear how to enter?
- Does it explain what you win?
- Are the rules clear?
- Does the form work?
Too often, people view website usability tests as something that you only need to perform once. I highly recommend running one before any significant station promotion. Here are more details on how to run a website usability test.
4. Only spend money on online advertising once you've completed the steps above.
If you haven't done the first three steps, spending money on Facebook ads or other online marketing could be a waste. You don't want to get to the end of your campaign and have nothing to show for it, so only spend money if you've taken care of everything else first.
You're going to invest a lot of resources into your radio station's next big promotion. Take a little extra time to follow these steps, and you'll get digital mileage out of the promotion as well.
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- Ask These Two Questions Before Every Radio Station Promotion