Maine small business owners are a giant part of the state's economic engine.
There are 144,002 Maine small businesses. Ninety-nine percent of all businesses in Maine are small businesses. Almost 60% of every private-sector employee in Maine works for a Maine small business.
According to the University of Maine, this year, 2000 new Maine small businesses are expected to open up their doors. Sadly, 1/2 of these companies will fail in fewer than five years. Many of the small businesses that survive the first five have something in common: they advertise on Portland radio.
A recent posting on the U.S. Small Business Administration website says, "Advertising, if done correctly, can do wonders for your product sales, and you know what that means: more revenue and more success for your business." The posting goes on to provide a list of how advertising can benefit any small business:
Remind customers and inform prospective customers about the benefits of your product or service
Establish and maintain your distinct identity
Enhance your reputation
Encourage existing customers to buy more of your product/service
Attract new customers and replace lost ones
Slowly build sales to boost your bottom line
Promote your business to customers, investors, and others
For the past 95 years, local radio has proven to be an effective advertising and marketing resource for small business owners. Even today, despite an onslaught of new media options, traditional AM/FM radio still thrives.
"You wouldn’t know it from all the media coverage focused on streaming video and streaming music," writes Doug Schoen in Forbes magazine, "but recent Nielsen data shows radio actually has the most reach among American media consumers. 93% of adults listen to the radio each week as compared to 87% who watch TV, a substantive difference."
But more importantly, for cash-sensitive small business owners, radio delivers the greatest returns-on-investment.
Turning Nickels Into Dollars
Research giant Nielsen has produced 20 studies that demonstrate AM/FM radio can deliver what Ad Age magazine calls an "eye-popping return on investment." A new study by the company released last week produced similar results. It revealed that a radio advertising campaign conducted by an auto-aftermarket retailer generated $21.00 of incremental sales for every $1.00 invested. Turning nickels into dollars.
Over a three-month period, according to Westwood One who commissioned the latest study, Nielsen matched its Portable People Meter panel with credit and debit card spending data in order to compare purchases of those exposed to the radio campaign with consumers who were not exposed. The results continue to demonstrate radio advertising's jaw dropping ability to improve a business owner's bottom line.
Radio Advertising Produces New Customers
In addition to the 21-times ROI, the current Nielsen study also found that during the radio advertising campaign, the retailer experienced a 64% increase in brand new customers. It also found that the retailer's share of total auto aftermarket sales increased by 71%.
This new Nielsen study not only affirms its 20 preceding studies, but it also confirms what many Maine small business owners already know: advertising on Portland radio drives results.
Case in point. Scott Libby, owner of Royal River Heat Pumps in Freeport, credits his radio advertising campaign and its catchy jingle with doubling his sales in just one year. "When it comes to reach," says Mr. Libby, "radio is second to none."
Advertising On Portland Radio Delivers Qualified Customers
Cathy Manchester, a real estate agent based in Gray, Maine, has had similar results utilizing radio as part of her company's marketing mix. "When we began advertising on the radio several years ago," says Ms. Manchester, "our business doubled! We went from selling 100 homes a year to approximately 200 homes each year! Radio advertising continues to provide a steady stream of well qualified customers for us!"
Jon Goodman, who is the front man of Time Pilots, a Maine based wedding band also experienced accelerated growth when he started advertising on radio. "It would be fair to say," says Mr. Goodman, "that our wedding business has tripled."
Stacy Dodge, an owner of the Bill Dodge Auto Group with Maine locations in Westbrook, Saco, and Brunswick, also lets reality not perception guide her company's media and marketing decisions. "We have been using Portland radio as a primary marketing source for about 10 years now." said Ms. Dodge. "We have seen very measurable results and are able to target our audiences more effectively."
"We are also more effectively able to market specific brands to a specific audience which is sometimes harder, and more expensive, to do with other mediums, said Ms. Dodge. "Radio is a very cost effective way to get your message out to the people you want to hear it."
The R-O-I Bottom Line
Not every radio campaign can deliver these types of results. On average, the studies Nielsen has conducted, produce a 6 time ROI. According to Ad Age magazine, these findings indicate that advertisers can expect higher returns-on investment from radio than TV, digital, or social media.
After considering all of the research, Mr. Schoen concluded in his Forbes article, "The implications of results like these are profound for the communications and advertising industries and as a marketing professional with over 35 years of experience, I found this data nothing short of fascinating. 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 Great Advice For Maine Small Business Owners
- 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
- 3 Mistakes Maine Small Business Owners Make in Ads On Portland Radio
- The Beatles Teach Maine Small Business Owners About Radio Advertising
- Improve Employee Recruitment By Branding Your Maine Small Business