Your radio station has a website — but why? What is the website for? How does it fit into your radio station's overall strategy? What do you want listeners to do when they come to your website?
It's important for radio broadcasters to step back and think about these questions. If the best answers you can come up with are, “because everybody has a website,” or “because listeners expect it,” or “because branding,” then it's time to sit down and articulate some better responses.
What do you want listeners to do when they come to your website? Ultimately, you want listeners to do something that impacts the station's bottom line when they visit. With that in mind, here are some possible goals for your radio station's website:
1. Stream the Station
You probably want listeners to, y'know…listen. After all, when they stream the station through your website, that counts towards your Nielsen ratings, and your ratings directly impact the bottom line.
2. Sign Up for the Email List
We no longer live in a world where advertisers just want to reach a lot of consumers; now, they want to reach the right consumers. Digital outlets like Facebook and Google have a ton of data that allow advertisers to target people precisely. To stay competitive, radio stations need to be gathering data on their listeners as well (and not just relying on the data they get from Nielsen).
Data gathering starts by capturing email addresses. Sometimes you'll be able to capture other information at the same time, sometimes you'll have to re-engage with listeners later to capture more data. But once you've got a listener's email address, your station is in a position to go back for more later. So one of the key goals of your website should be encouraging people to sign up for your radio station's email list.
3. Enter a Contest
Contests are a great way to capture listeners' data and build your station's email list. Contests can also be used to encourage listeners to create online content (photos, videos, etc.) that can be used to share on social media and attract more visitors to your station's website. Getting contest entries should be a key goal of your radio station's website.
4. Click on an Ad
If your radio station generates revenue by getting listeners to click on (or view) ads, then this should be one of the stated goals of your website.
5. Buy Tickets to a Station Event
Many radio stations generate revenue through events — both by selling tickets and sponsorships. The more people that attend the event, the more revenue the station can make. So ticket sales is a key goal of the station's website.
6. Buy Station Merchandise
If your radio station generates revenue by selling t-shirts, hats, or lunch boxes, this should be one of the explicit goals of the website.
7. Download the Station's Mobile App
If you have a mobile app that allows you to drive listening (and ratings) or generate revenue directly from the app, then the number of downloads can impact the station's bottom line. Use your website to encourage mobile app downloads.
8. Request Advertising Information
Many radio stations overlook the fact that their website can generate sales leads. But if an email or a phone call from a potential client comes in via the website, it can be worth tens of thousands of dollars. One of the goals of your radio station's website should be to generate leads for the sales team.
A few notes on your station's website goals:
A Website Can Have Multiple Goals…
There's no rule that says your website can only have one goal. There may be multiple things that you would like listeners to do when they come to the website.
…But Some Goals Are Worth More Than Others
All of your website's goals should ultimately impact the station's bottom line, but that doesn't mean they'll impact it equally. When you sell a concert ticket, the station may make $40 profit, while an advertising lead may generate $5,000 profit. Know the goals, but also know their value.
Just Because You Can Measure Something, That Doesn't Mean It's a Goal
Notice what's not on the list of goals for your radio station's website: Facebook likes, retweets, pageviews, email open rates, etc. These are all good stats to track, and they can help inform your decisions as you try to increase your website goal conversions, but that doesn't mean they are important in and of themselves. They are a means to an ends, not the ends. Limit your explicit goals to the things that directly impact the station's bottom line, and don't get distracted by other data points.
Everybody Should Agree on the Website's Goals
In every radio station that I've ever worked in, there has been tension between the programming department and the sales department. That's because the two departments have different goals: one is focused on ratings, the other on revenue. Most of the time, those two goals go hand in hand, but sometimes they don't, and that's when issues arise.
Don't make the same mistake with your digital strategy. Everybody — from the DJs to the digital team to the Program Director to the General Manager — should agree on what the goals of the radio station's website are. If two people are looking at the same data and drawing different conclusions, you're setting your station up for internal strife.
Review the Analytics Regularly
It's not enough to define the goals of your website; you also want to sit down regularly and see how well you're achieving those goals. I encourage radio stations to conduct a weekly website meeting to do this.
If your station hasn't taken the time to explicitly define the goals of its website, get the appropriate personnel together and do this. Once you've decided what they are, type them up and post them where everybody can see them. Your digital strategy will go farther if everybody is on the same page.
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