Radio Advertising Tips

For your advertising dollar, you can get a lot of bang for your buck by advertising on the radio.  Most investors automatically associate radio advertising with high dollar expenditures and a low rate of return.

While it is true that you can spend an awful lot of money on ineffective radio ads, when done properly, it doesn’t cost that much money to run a good ad.  If you have a website, you can have the best of both worlds.  You can drive well-qualified leads to your website and get your phone ringing off the hook.

Because I think that cost could be your primary objection, I’ll address that first.  Radio is an advertising medium where rates vary wildly based on supply and demand.  While factors such as market share, radio station format, and population enter into the equation, competition between radio stations for limited advertising dollars is fierce.

This competition tends to drive down the cost of advertising.  Radio stations always have more advertising slots available than they have advertisers to fill those slots.

Here’s how you can save money.

Most advertisers want their ads to run on specific days and times, typically during periods known as “drive time” – morning and evening rush hour – in order to maximize available radio traffic.  As a result, advertising during these times (and throughout the business day) can be extremely expensive.

Because many of the people you’re trying to reach with your ads will be motivated sellers or retirees who may listen to the radio late into the night, you can benefit by reduced rates during off-peak hours.

The reason I say motivated sellers could be more likely to be listening late into the night is because if they’re experiencing financial or marital problems, they’re probably losing sleep worrying about them.  I can think of nothing that tempers a desire to sleep more than a stack of unpaid bills or a deteriorating personal life.  Harassing calls from bill collectors are motivating them to take action, but they don’t know how to proceed.

So instead of sleeping, they stay awake worrying about how they’re going to get out of the financial pit of despair they’ve fallen into. To a lesser degree, the same holds true for elderly property sellers.

While elderly property owners may not be losing sleep over a stack of unpaid bills, many older people do tend to stay up a little later because they don’t usually have to get up early in the morning to go to work, or they may just sleep less than they used to.  And many of them are also motivated – by fear of losing their homes, declining health, etc. – and they will frequently seek solace in the comfort of the radio.

Furthermore, if you’re not picky about the exact time of day that your ad runs, you can save even more money.  Unsold radio advertising time is known as remnant time.  These remnants – or unsold leftovers – are extremely inexpensive, many times as little as five dollars per minute.

More than 90% of all remnant time is available during off-peak hours, late nights and weekends.  By concentrating your radio advertising during these off-peak hours you can save a lot of money on advertising costs as well as potentially reach an important demographic that’s vital to your success.

It’s also very important that you select the proper radio station format.  If you choose the wrong format you may as well pitch your hard earned money out the window because your ad will be ignored.

Avoid advertising on a radio station whose primary function is playing music.  Radio station listeners are almost programmed to tune out advertisements because they’re listening for musical entertainment.  In short, while the music is playing they may listen, but the second the music ends they tune everything else out because there is generally nothing entertaining about an ad.

It’s during commercials that the majority of people listening to music stations talk, take bathroom breaks, and switch stations.  In short, if you’re advertising on a music- or entertainment-oriented radio station, you’ll probably be wasting your money.

The talk radio format is different.  People listening to talk radio are different.  The news/talk format is information-based, so the listening public is already acclimated to talking voices, so they’re less likely to tune your ad out automatically because they hear talking, or more specifically, a lack of music.

While they may be listening intently to the radio program, it normally takes most listeners a few seconds to realize that they have segued from a radio talk show to a commercial.  People interested in information don’t differentiate between information sources with as much clarity as someone listening to music.  Your ad has an extended window of time to grab the attention of the listeners and hold it.

Another reason talk radio listeners are more willing to listen to your ad is because most of the listeners are seeking information.  They may not have settled on precisely what kind of information they’re seeking, but sometimes there is a need or a problem they’re trying to address.  This bodes well for your radio ad at least having a shot at being heard and listened to.

So what kind of an ad works?  The most effective ad jumps out at the listener and grabs their attention quickly and then doesn’t let go.  A good way to grab a listener’s attention is by saying something bold or provocative, or even unexpected.  For instance, if you’re running an ad directed at distressed homeowners, your ad might say something like:

“Are you shopping for a cardboard box to live in?

Are you afraid you’re about to become homeless?  Can’t make your house payment?

Whether you’ve lost your job, are going through a nasty divorce, or you’ve simply bitten off more than you can chew, if you can’t make your house payment, life stinks.  I can help.  If you need to sell your house quickly, visit my website right away at  I’ve helped hundreds of homeowners out of worse situations than yours.  I can help you as well.  If you’re behind on your house payment you’ve probably discovered very quickly that your friendly banker isn’t so friendly anymore.  Don’t deal with the Grim Reaper.  Let me help. Do it now!”

A radio ad is more cost-effective by utilizing remnant time, and if you have a website, your potential clients can immediately go to your website for information while your solution to their financial problems is still fresh in their minds, even if it’s 3AM.

If they have to wait until morning when you’re in your office and available by telephone, there’s less of a chance that they’ll call you.  It’s a proven fact that when you and I are given a call to action we’re more likely to respond immediately than we are later on.

The secret to an effective radio ad is to immediately let the listeners know what your web address is because there’s an excellent chance that they don’t have a pen in hand.

By the way, if you don’t have a lead-capturing real estate investor website yet, you can get one set up quickly and affordably at

By getting your web address out there right away you’re letting them know that it’s something they might want to write down, so while your ad is playing they can be looking for a pen with which to write down your web address – and your telephone number if you want – when it’s repeated.

If you give it at the very beginning of the ad and repeat it two to three more times during the course of the ad, you’ll exponentially increase the number of people who will visit your website as a result.  I should also point out the importance of having an attention-grabbing web address instead of a timid, almost generic address – and for the same reason.

Tip: If your current web address is not so attention-grabbing, you can simply register a new domain name and forward it to your existing site without having to disrupt or change your existing site. 

To grab some good domain names cheap, go to

In fact, you can have multiple different web addresses forwarding to the same site.  This could allow you to test different ones and see which get the best results.

The beauty of a radio ad is that you can have several different versions of the same ad running at the same time.  You can have one version of your ad running that advertises your willingness to buy houses and you can run a different version of the same basic ad advertising the fact that you have houses for sale.

By having the radio station DJ read your ad live on the air it saves you the cost of producing and editing the ad. The most effective radio ads are upbeat and punchy, and most radio station personnel are known for their spunkiness.

Although Internet access is almost universal now, it wouldn’t hurt to mention your telephone number in your ad as well, so that your potential customers have more than one way of contacting you.  Some folks are less technologically savvy, or may even be working a night shift somewhere and not have access to the Internet.

It may sound inconsistent to suggest giving your telephone number out after explaining the benefits of driving traffic to your website instead, but keep in mind that marketing your real estate business is first and foremost in your mind.  You shouldn’t care where your customers come from – you just want them to come.  Some listeners may not have anything to write with, but they may have a cell phone handy so they could call your number right then and there.

If you’re running the ad late at night, you probably don’t want to give out your home or cell number.  Also, if you get a lot of calls at once, you won’t be able to take them all.  In fact, if your ad is more effective than you’re expecting, you might not even be able to keep up with the calls.

Something I had happen once is I put out a bunch of signs around town with my phone number and I was just flooded with phone calls.  There was no way I could keep up.  I could only be on the phone with one at a time and all the rest were going to voicemail and then my voice mailbox filled up (which can happen very quickly when you run an ad) and I was losing leads left and right.  Whether you realize it or not, most voice mail boxes have a limit, such as 30 minutes, or in some cases a certain number of messages.

When your voice mailbox fills up, usually one of two things will happen.  With some services, people will just get a message that says something like “Sorry, this mailbox is full” and it won’t let them leave a message.  Other services may let them leave a message, but it’ll start deleting your oldest messages (even though they may only be a few minutes old and you haven’t heard them yet).

Either way, you’re losing leads and making a bad impression.  One very cheap way to deal with this is a service called MagicJack.

If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a little device you plug into your computer that uses your Internet connection to provide a phone number.  You can plug a phone into it or use a headset on your computer and it works just like a phone line, but using only the Internet.

Now, there are a few benefits to this.  First, it’s an inexpensive way to have a separate phone line for your business.  Second, it gives you a phone number for your local area but you can take it anywhere in the world and make calls as if you’re back home.  Third, the point I was just discussing, was how it handles voice mail.

When someone calls and leaves a voice mail message, it not only is stored in a voice mail account you can dial in to and check, but you also receive an e-mail with the voice mail message attached as an audio file.  I love that feature.  I never dial in anywhere to check my voice mail but I just check my e-mail and my voice mail messages are there for me to easily listen to.

So the only limit of how many voice mail messages I can receive is how big my e-mail inbox is, and most e-mail accounts are pretty generous these days.  For instance, Gmail gives you over 7GB of space.  I just checked the size of an e-mail I received with a voice mail message attached and a 36-second message was only 69KB, which is hardly anything.  So I could have roughly 101,000 voice mail messages that size in a 7GB e-mail account.  In other words, it’s not a problem.

Now, I don’t know how well it will handle a really big campaign with tons of calls coming in at once, but I haven’t had any real trouble with it so far with moderate use.

Another nice thing is that if you disconnect it from your computer, your phone doesn’t ring and calls go to voicemail.  So if you’re running an ad at night, or have people responding at night, just unplug the MagicJack from your computer and you won’t have the phone waking you up.

Ok, back to radio advertising.

For optimal results, your radio ad needs to be highly targeted.  This is no time for a generic buying or selling real estate ad.  If the listeners can’t immediately tell who the ad is targeted to and what you want to accomplish and what sort of action they should take, your ad will fall flat on its face.

So before you turn your advertising copy over to the radio station, carefully read it aloud to ensure that it does these things, and that there are no tongue twisters in the ad.  You want your ad to result in visitors to your website – not laughter because the DJ got tongue-twisted.

Have you tried radio advertising?  What results did you get?  Do you have any comments or questions?  Please leave your feedback below.

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