Radio Results Blog

Hold The Phone! Advice for Maine Small Business Owners

Posted by Larry Julius on Thu, Oct 20, 2016 @ 08:04 AM

Portland_Radio_Maine_Small_BusinessSix of the last seven commercials I heard on a Portland radio station included the phone number for the Maine small business who had paid for the advertising. In several of these commercials, the phone number was even repeated twice.  Studies suggest that including phone numbers in radio ads is probably not a good idea.

According to research published in the New York Times and the London Daily Telegraph, 9-out-of-10 people forget a phone number within 5 seconds of hearing it. The study goes on to reveal that 70% of people cannot remember their best friend's phone number and 50% cannot remember their parents' phone numbers

This inability to remember phone numbers is a result of a relatively new phenomenon called "digital amnesia." It seems, as we become more reliant on personal technology to remember things like phone numbers for us, we employ our own memories less to preserve that type of information.

"We are beautifully adaptive creatures and we don't remember everything because it is not to our advantage to do so," says Dr. Kathryn Mills of UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in London. "Forgetting becomes unhelpful when it involves losing information that we need to remember. One of the reasons consumers might be less worried about remembering information is because they have connected devices that they trust. In many societies, having access to the Internet feels as stable as having access to electricity or running water," Mills concluded.

In other words, our brains have become hardwired to depend on our smartphones, tablets, and laptops to remember information and to find phone numbers. As a consequence, we no longer invest the cognitive resources necessary to store this information in our brains.

Phone Numbers Take A Toll On R-O-I

So, from a dollar and cents point of view, including a phone number in a radio commercial may not deliver a positive return-on-investment. Here's why:

The typical commercial on Portland radio comprises 160 words.  If a commercial costs $100, then that means a commercial cost 62-cents per word.  So the cost of putting a 7 digit phone number in a radio commercial is $4.34 each time the number is included.   Since research indicates that hardly anyone will remember it, that makes putting a phone number in a radio commercial a poor choice for a Maine small business owner to make.
 
A better use of word-count in a commercial might be to utilize a web address instead of a phone number.  Research by the Radio Advertising Bureau indicates that every week 32% of listeners are driven to an advertiser's website from information embedded in radio ads. And unlike most businesses, websites are open 24 hours per day. 
 
Furthermore, according to Brad Kelly from Nielsen audio, "A separate  analysis found that people who were exposed to a radio ad three or more times had a higher likelihood of doing online research and taking action to purchase, when compared to those not exposed to any radio advertising. The study elevates radio’s effectiveness in driving people to a marketer’s online properties and shows how purchase intent increases with radio campaign exposure compelling and relevant story about."
 
So our advice for Maine small business owners: unless there is a valid marketing reason to include a  number in your ads on Portland radio, hang it up.  Use all 160 words available to you to sell the benefits of your product or service.
 
Other advice for Maine small business owners:
 

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Tags: Portland Maine Radio, Small Business Advertising, Maine Small Business, Portland Radio, maine small business marketing