How often do you hear radio commercials that are funny, entertaining or fast paced? The airwaves are full of ads that use these techniques. And they’re often complemented with the use of jingles, music tracks, sound effects, and interesting voices.
Do these approaches sell? They may help create a favorable image for your product or service. But if your goal is for listeners to take an action like calling a toll-free phone numbers or visiting a web page, then too much production value could end up working against that objective.
Production “enhancements” shouldn’t get in the way of selling your offer and providing an opportunity to respond. We find that a simpler, straightforward selling approach is often a more sensible direction for direct response radio advertising.
When you strip away the pizzazz, the groundwork of successful direct response radio creative includes:
- Copy points that address a need and are easy for targeted listeners to appreciate
- A compelling offer
- A call to action that is simple to remember
With that in mind, here are six tips for making your radio copy action-oriented:
Have a Compelling Opening – If you don’t capture the listeners’ attention in the first several seconds, then you’ve lost your opportunity. One of the most successful ways to grab attention is through the problem/solution approach. This method begins the commercial with a question (the problem) that the product’s benefits can answer (the solution). Integrating emotion makes this approach most effective to create listener interest.
Make a Strong, Simple Offer – Tell listeners what you want them to do (call to action) and why (the offer). Radio offers can’t be too complicated. Offer something for free to capture their interest. And repeat the offer. Without the luxury of visuals, repetition makes a very important difference.
Use Conversational Pacing – It’s amazing how much information is crammed into some commercials. If you say too much, listeners won’t retain your message. If you talk to them at a conversational pace, now you’ll have a shot at getting them to respond.
Write Benefit Oriented Copy – All the benefits need to answer the listeners’ question “What will this do for me?” Select just a few key benefit points and repeat them in the commercial. The repetition will help you sell. If you load the ad with too many benefits, then you may lose the listeners’ focus. Stick with just a few of the most important benefits points and you’ll have a more impactful message.
Minimize Legal / Disclaimer Triggers – TV and print have the luxury of putting legal copy in small type at the bottom of the ad while the sales message continues. Radio doesn’t. Do your best to minimize the legal and disclaimer copy. “Some restrictions apply, ask for details” is a catchall phrase that may cover for otherwise more extensive legalese.
Repeat the phone number – The phone number should be in a 60-second commercial at least three times. Four (or even five) times is better. If you’re driving inquiries to a web address, the more repetition the better. The commercial should end with the call to action repeated at least two times.