Ernie Boch, Jr. is one of the largest auto dealers in New England He credits radio advertising with building his company's brand and his profits. Maine small business owners can learn a lot from Mr. Boch. Especially when it comes to using Portland radio to market their goods and services.
In a recent article published in Radio Ink, Mr. Boch described his formula for ensuring his radio advertising delivers his branding objectives. "I would rather advertise to a million people a bunch of different times," explains Mr. Boch, than 10 million people once. Frequency trumps all. Frequency beats everything. Frequency and consistency."
To emulate Mr. Boch's success on Portland radio, the first thing a Maine small business owner should do is to establish a high-priority marketing objective.
According to the Small Business Guide To Effective Radio Advertising, a marketing objective is crucial for determining the right radio stations to use; the times of day to advertise in; how long to advertise for; and what the commercials should say. Investing in a radio campaign without a marketing objective is like being lost in the woods without a compass and a map.
All marketing objectives fall in to one-of-two categories Branding, which Mr. Boch talks about, and promotion. Here's is the difference between the two:
- BRANDING OBJECTIVES are used when you want your target consumer to believe something about your product or service. An example of a branding objective could be: Get working mothers to believe that my daycare service is the safest place in town to entrust their children.
- PROMOTION OBJECTIVES are used when you want your target consumer to take specific action. An example of a promotion objective could be: Get people who maintain their own cars to buy 3 quarts of motor oil at my store this weekend.
As Mr. Boch points out, the successful fulfillment of a branding objective requires frequency. Having the same people hear your message repeatedly over long periods of time. This is how you earn people's belief.
How To Build Frequency On Radio
Consumers use radio in a habitual manner. They tend to tune into the same radio station at the same times every day. Based on this predictable listening pattern, there are three key tactics that can be mixed-and-matched for building frequency:
- Advertise for a longer period of time
- Concentrate advertising into narrow times of day
- Utilize a minimum number of radio stations, those with the highest concentration of your target consumers.
In his article, Mr. Boch indicates using all three tactics consistently. "Radio is a slow burn, says Mr. Boch. "If you are going into radio for the first time, you have to give it 90 days before you even decide if it’s working. Sticking with it and being there all the time, it’s guaranteed. You can’t tell me that a media that has 600,000 listeners in the morning throughout the show is not going to work for you."
How Much Frequency Is Enough
A commonly repeated myth about frequency is that to be effective, a commercial needs to be heard at least three times. This myth is busted in the blog post Three Times A Charm? A Myth Understanding About Radio Advertising. When it comes to frequency there is not an optimal number, but more is always better.
Many Maine small business owners subscribe to the same brand building principles as Mr. Boch and have had similar success. This includes both Kevin Kaserman and Cathy Manchester
Mr. Kaserman credits radio with helping to build his company's brand. He runs Dunbar Water a Sanford, Maine based company that sells water treatment filtration and purification systems throughout the Portland, Area. "You need to be consistent," says Mr. Kaserman. "If I had to make the decision to continue our radio advertising base on the first two months of advertising, I would have stopped 5 years ago."
"Do not be alarmed if you don't see immediate results," Mr. Kaserman continues. "because people in the world don't believe everything they hear. They need to hear [our message] over-and-over and then maybe they will try us." Mr. Kaserman said it took a year for his advertising to hit full stride.
"Radio Doubled My Business"
Ms. Manchester is a veteran real estate agent in the Portland, Maine area. Prior to adding radio to her marketing mix, her team of agents was selling a respectable 100 homes per year. She, however, wanted to take her business to the next level. To achieve her goal, Ms. Manchester consulted with high-volume agents across the country who were selling 200-500 houses per year.
According to Ms. Manchester "One of the things I found that was consistent with them is they were all using radio." As a result of her research, she added radio as a primary component of her marketing. Over the course of her first year using radio, Ms. Manchester says her sales doubled.
Ms. Manchester experienced the same results curve as Mr. Kaserman and Mr. Boch. "It took a couple of months to get started," she said. But once the calls started coming in, they turned into sales. Cathy says, "It's a rarity when radio calls don't turn into business immediately."
The radio results Mr. Boch and the Maine business owners have experienced echo the same conclusion that marketing expert Doug Schoen published in Forbes magazine, "It’s quite clear that we should all be paying more attention to radio, its reach and potential to help our businesses. It’s doing the job with expert efficiency."
More advice for Maine Small Business Owners
- Portland Radio Tops The Charts. Maine Small Business Owners Notice.
- Is Your Maine Small Business Ready For Prime Time?
- Why Maine Small Business Owners Are Gaga For Portland Radio
- Who Didn't Listen To Portland Radio Last Week?
- Portland Radio Remains Relevant In Life Of Maine Consumers
- Improve Employee Recruitment: Tell The Story of Your Maine Business