How to Sell Radio Advertising

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With the amount of advertising options businesses have to promote their goods and services, the key to selling radio spots is to communicate the unique benefits your station has that other media options don’t. Radio offers a number of specific advantages you can promote, such as the ability to time ads each day and add sound effects.

Analyze your Customers

The first step in creating an effective radio advertising sales campaign is to analyze your customers in a way that tells business owners how radio spots can be effective for sending their marketing messages. This should include the ability to target specific consumers by demographics. Radio listenership surveys and ratings reports provide information about your audience by age, sex, race and other demographic data. This information can help you determine which businesses will be your best potential targets.

Compare Yourself to the Competition

One you know who your best potential advertiser is and what type of customer they are trying to reach, analyze how your competition is trying to reach this audience and demonstrate how you do it better. For example, radio stations can schedule ads for specific times of the day, such as when consumers are driving to or from work, thinking of what they’ll have for lunch or dinner or what they want to do with their free time on the weekend.

Create a Data-Driven Pitch

Start your pitch by letting the client know that you understand who they are trying to reach. Confirm the demographics of the buyer’s customer based on your discussion with the advertiser or your research. Match your listener demographics to the advertiser’s target customer profile. Show your cost to reach 1,000 listeners, or CPM. For example, if you have 100,000 listeners and your cost per spot is $200, your cost to deliver 1,000 potential customers is $2. Compare this to the CPM of other media in your area. Avoid making negative comments about your competition. Focus your comparisons on your demonstrable advantages.

Offer Free Production

One way to improve your CPM is to offer to produce the commercials of your advertisers free of charge. As part of your media kit, include audio samples for potential customers. Have a production charge for making commercials, but let your sales reps discount the rate or eliminate it for new advertisers or those who make large buys. If you can afford it, make demo commercials for specific businesses to let them hear what they’d be getting if they advertised with you.

Promote Cooperative Advertising

Many manufacturers offer to pay for part of a retailer’s advertising if the retailer includes information about the manufacturer in the ad. Ask your retail customers who their suppliers are and if the suppliers offer co-op dollars. If they aren’t sure, do the homework for the retailer to get the answer. Manufacturers might have taglines to include with ads you create, or offer complete ads into which you can insert a local retailers phone number or address.



About the Author

Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Photo Credits

  • Antonio Gonzalez Cuesta/iStock/Getty Images