Radio Advertising Pros and Cons

    By | Small Business

    Radio is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you are thinking of ways to advertise your business. Especially in these days of social media and Facebook fan pages, radio might seem old-school. But radio can be an important part of your media strategy. To do it right, you need to know the pros and cons.


    • You can target your advertising to a specific audience. Different radio stations have different formats, from news/talk to oldies to rock. Decide who you are trying to reach (teenagers, families, urban men, suburban moms), and then choose the radio format that reaches your audience.
    • A 30-second ad on radio is often less expensive than a 30-second TV ad and easier to produce.
    • Radio ads can be produced very quickly, unlike television ads. And unlike magazine print ads, you do not have to wait for the next issue to come out.


    • While a reader can cut out your print ad and save it for later use, a radio ad is very ephemeral, playing over the radio for a minute or less.
    • Morning and evening commutes are key times when many businesses want their ads to run, and there are only so many spots to go around. This can drive up the cost for those choice time slots.
    • Radio can often be background noise. You will need to run your ad more than a few times in order for it to make an impact.


    If you decide to go with radio advertising, there are a few things that will help make it more effective.

    Radio ads engage listeners by constructing a 30- or 60-second story, keeping the product or service being sold at the forefront throughout, covering all the key points in an efficient and entertaining way and finishing with a call to action such as a phone number. If you will be writing the ad yourself, make sure to use informal language and write the way you talk. The proper pacing is also important; trying to cram too much into your ad will only make you seem pushy. Include the proper pauses, just as if you were speaking to the customers directly.

    Remember that people listening to your ad are probably doing something else at the same time, like driving in their cars or doing household chores. For this reason, repeat key information such as your company name and the name of the product or service you're selling. Let them know the call to action is coming (Have a pen or pencil handy?), and then repeat your phone number or Web address at least three times.

    The music and tone of the ad should also fit the station the ad will be airing on. For example, if you'll be buying time on a rock music station, you don't want to use a country jingle in your ad. It also pays to choose the proper type of station or programming, and make sure it is a good fit with your customer base.

    For information on other types of advertising, including the advantages and disadvantages of each, be sure to check out Television Advertising Pros and Cons and Print Advertising Pros and Cons.

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