October 13, 2011
Will Direct Response Radio Work for Your Business?
As direct response radio professionals, the most candid and helpful answer we can give you to this question is that you will not know until you test using a proven testing process that captures the insights and data and shows you the potential for your campaign. Other than testing, there is no crystal ball that you can look into to know, for certain, whether direct response radio advertising will deliver new customers to your business at a cost that is profitable for your particular business. Anyone who claims to "know" is really saying something else - perhaps that he or she is confident. Now, that's another story. Just like 'hope is not a strategy', confidence is not certainty. Yet it may be the most helpful guide in making your decision about trying direct response radio.
Against that backdrop, there are a few key characteristics of campaigns that have seen success in direct response radio".
The most linear and obvious way to assess the viability of a direct response radio campaign for your business is whether there have been other similar offerings that have seen success through radio advertising. You could think of this as whether the "category" has seen success in direct response radio - i.e. financial services, weight loss, skin care, smoke cessation, intellectual property/learning products, etc. This is an easy enough assessment to make. However, again if you're looking for certainty you won't find it here. You must test. Why? Because while, for example, there have been many wildly successful direct response radio campaigns in the weight loss category, there have also been many failures in that category.
Beyond the category, you can look more specifically at your own offering. The majority of businesses that succeed in direct response radio are those that offer products or services that can claim to provide an immediate benefit or solution to an immediate problem the consumer thinks he or she has. In terms of your business - does the product or service you offer provide a fairly instant solution to a pressing problem? Is the benefit of using your product compelling enough to incite your target audience to act NOW?
Another item for consideration around the benefits of your product is whether your main promise can be expressed in words instead of relying heavily on the visual sense. We will always ask ourselves - can we craft copy that will bring to life the core, relevant benefits - enough to get the listener to engage in a phone call or web visit? After twelve years of doing this we can usually tell with a decent degree of confidence whether that will be possible. An example of what may not work well in direct response radio is the Wuggle Pets product now popular on TV. It may take too long to give words that conceptualize this offering for the listeners. But note the liberal use of "may" here. That's again because you won't know until you test - the way we sell in radio advertising is much different than in tv. Just like the blind man whose other senses are heightened to compensate, the way we would convey in copy and audio the benefits of a product would likely be much different than the way it is done on TV when there is a dominant video assist. Therefore, the approach we would take in creating radio ads for Wuggle Pets, (or any of the other current top TV products like Flexseal, No!No!, MyZone Headphones, etc.) has never been tested for that product before. Writing for radio takes a very sharp pen.
Another item for consideration when pondering whether a direct response radio campaign is right for your business is the type of offers you're able to make to consumers. The offer in your direct response radio ad must be so compelling that listeners feel there is no other option BUT to call. Businesses that work well in direct response radio often are able to offer a 30 or 60 day risk free trial, or an absolutely free trial to listeners. Direct Response Radio works best for businesses that can serve up strong offers that provide minimal risk to listeners. Risk Free and Free trials work well because the give listeners the chance to try a product they very likely haven't even seen yet, without feeling as though they've locked themselves into anything. Other compelling offers for direct response radio include a free report of some sort or free samples of your product. With direct response radio, the offer is incredibly important, as it's often the decision making aspect that turns a listener into a caller (and hopefully a customer).
Something else to think about when considering launching a direct response radio campaign is simply, the nature of your product or service. Are you offering something completely new and unique? Or do you offer a new solution to an existing problem? What promises or claims are new and different about your product that would make it stand out among competitors in the same category? Businesses that find success with direct response radio offer products and/or services that are either completely new or unique or that offer groundbreaking solutions other products in the same category do not. Direct response radio ads must be attention grabbing to get optimal results - not only does the open need to command attention, but the actual claims themselves need to be so impactful (while relevant) that the listening audience has no doubt in their minds about wanting to call.
Direct Response Radio can work across many different industries and businesses. The success of each direct response radio campaign is built upon a unique combination of creative messaging and media strategy. The question of whether or not direct response radio will work for your business is one that can ultimately only be answered by engaging in a well-crafted testing process. However, the above considerations can serve as a starting point for thinking about the degree of confidence you can have in the success for YOUR business with Direct Response Radio Advertising.
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