Radio advertising

Our top tips to creating compelling radio commercials in a digitally led modern-day world…

We have all been there… You are in your car, stood still on the motorway, stuck in that never-ending rush hour traffic jam!

Listening to your local commercial radio station, anxiously awaiting the next travel update. Perhaps moving those shoulders along to your favourite song, from your favourite band and then BOOM!

It is the adverts, and within a second it is that jingle again, doo-de-do-dah, and with that you just know that jingle and whatever it is associated with, is going to be stuck in your head all evening, and more than likely into tomorrow and the next week too.

There you have it, you have just been captivated in today’s modern digital world by one of those traditional and yet still very powerful marketing media … RADIO!

90% of Brits still tune into radio each week

The UK radio market holds steady, recent statistics from Rajar (Radio Joint Audience Research, the body jointly owned by the BBC and Radiocenter, the industry body for commercial radio), found that some form of radio reaches nine out of 10 members of the public each week. According to their research, 89.7% of the UK’s 54.4m adults over the age of 15 tune in to the radio each week, clocking up an average of 21.3 hours a week. While on the surface these numbers seem remarkably high, it just goes to show how much radio the UK public still consumes.

In order to take advantage of this media, and the now very low-cost airtime availability, you will need to create gripping, dynamic, memorable radio ads. Which grab attention instantly and hold their interest and imagination.

With a very narrow window of opportunity in order to achieve this – here are our top tips for mastering the art of radio advertising.

Grab Your Audience Attention

Here is the one chance to grab the listener attention and hold their attention. In the radio world this is called The Hook. The Hook is what sells the ad, and you have to sell the ad, to sell your products or services.

Simple right? Hmm, not really, because listeners are bombarded by a huge number of advertisers fighting for their attention. It really can be the most difficult thing to achieve. To master this you must immediately provoke the listener’s curiosity, surprise and imagination. All within the first five seconds, after which their minds will start to drift away. Be bold, be daring!

The Compelling Offer

There must be a compelling, relevant offer or fact, to grab and hold the listener attention, whilst being simple enough to grasp quickly. Relevant meaning that it not only matters to your potential listener, but even captures their hearts and minds on an emotional level too.

Can you include and get across the WOW Factor?

The WOW factor means they must instantly believe in the offer, product or service. Without the concept being too complicated by language and technical jargon. It needs to make them stop and think, but not too much, and finally then be memorable and believable at the same time.

Do also remember to always make sure if an offer is made that you can back it up!

What is in it for the listener?

Your advert must quickly convey what is in it for the listener.

How will the offer impact on their life, in a way that will make their life better, happier, or easier? What grabs, holds attention, and sells is something that solves their problem or pain point quickly, safely, better and more conveniently than anything that has gone before… A bit like sliced bread was, when first introduced!

The simple and clear Call To Action

Now you have the listener captivated, you must deliver the call to action. Taking the form of a simple, easy to remember, (as most might not have to hand a pen and paper), set of instructions and that the listener will have a burning desire to complete.

Use sounds that create images

Unlike most visual Billboard, Press, Internet or TV advertising, the only ammunition that radio has to offer is sound.

Sounds though can provoke the listener imagination. To create a visual scenario in their mind’s eye, whether there is a sprinkle of humour, fear, shock or just a plain MIMO (miss it, miss out). All these add to that visual scenario, that is portrayed to the individual as they listen.

Your ad should always be scripted to create this kind of visual engagement. As this engagement, studies have shown, stays with the listener for longer and is more impactful and personal.

Even when there is a lot of information to get across in a very short time, a change in pitch of voice and expression can keep the listener engaged. For example have a listen to this 30 seconds advert for a local Motability products retailer:

Play Advert

We hope these thoughts and tips have given you some food for thought, for the use of radio as both a direct marketing tool, and also as part of your overall marketing strategy for awareness and sales.

For help with marketing, contact our expert* Phil on LinkedIn.

*We’ve picked experts we know and trust who are good at what they do. All of them will give you at least an extra 30 minutes free advice if you contact them and would then charge their normal prices. They don’t pay to be on BuBul and don’t give us any money from anything they earn as an expert.