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Are You Marketing or Just Selling?

3-26-2012

My father once told me, "Never buy a car owned by an auto mechanic. After they've been paid to repair other people's cars all day, the last thing they want to do is take care of their own car for free." Most radio stations suffer from the same "mechanic's syndrome": After creating innovative marketing campaigns for their local clients all day, they neglect the marketing of their own stations.

Most stations rely strictly on outbound marketing, largely face-to-face selling and telemarketing, even though the research proves that the cost per lead generated by outbound marketing is often three to 20 times as high as for leads generated by inbound marketing processes — that is, marketing where the client or prospect approaches you, instead of vice versa. 

And many stations believe a "lead" is a tip, referral, or process that generates a new contact that eventually "leads" to new business. Not so! The best marketers know that a lead is any tip, referral, or process that generates new business, in addition to generating lucrative revenue lifts from existing contacts and clients. Inbound marketing that inspires a client or prospect to approach you consistently achieves higher closing ratios than traditional outbound selling. And generating revenue lifts from existing clients is always easier than prying budgets from reluctant prospects. But sadly, mechanic's syndrome prevents most stations from generating inbound leads. The irony is that no business is better equipped to generate inbound leads than ours.

Advertising. You're not sold out! And believe it or not, advertising works. Producing a series of radio advertiser testimonials and advertising tips will yield huge dividends. Most businesses pay to advertise. Yet we ignore our own media's power of persuasion even though we have the inventory. No one is easier to sell than the business owner who listens to your station and calls you.

Websites: Prospects visiting most station websites would be hard-pressed to know you're in the business of selling advertising. Your website is the perfect venue to extol the virtues of radio advertising and establish your brand as a marketing professional. Most sites simply suggest "To, advertise click here" -- no education, no sell, and no call to action.

Blogs: Your blog is the perfect platform to feature helpful radio advertising tips, to build your credibility and to generate leads from pre-qualified buyers. The blog portion of our SoundADvice radio e-marketing system generates an average of 4.5 leads per month per account executive. How many leads does your current marketing generate per account executive?

Marketing seminars: Your clients and prospects are bombarded with news about the new media landscape but hear very little about proven radio advertising. They're confused by the "new media" hype and are desperately looking for new ways to grow their businesses. An educational seminar that clearly positions radio's role in the new media landscape will generate pre-qualified leads as well as "lift" revenue from existing clients. (I mean a real educational seminar, not a sales pitch where you put Dobermans at the door and don't let clients out until they buy your "package.")

S.E.O.: Try searching "advertising success stories" online. You'll go through page after page about Twitter, Facebook, S.E.O., and even newspapers long before you'll find anything about radio. Fortunately, when you Google "radio advertising success stories," the website for the seven-station cluster operated by Townsquare Media in Lafayette, LA, does get top billing. It's a wonderful website with dozens of success stories, and helpful advertising tools and resources. And kudos to Southwest Michigan's MidWest Family Broadcasting, whose helpful radio advertising site is also on the first page in a Google search for radio success stories. Why don't more stations market radio like this?

Social media: Social media is gradually replacing traditional search engines. Social media can build awareness of your station, establish credibility, and create leads at little to no cost to you. Admittedly, social media requires considerable amounts of your valuable time, on a regular basis, to be done right.

Talk shows: There is huge interest in the changing media landscape, not only among marketers, but among the public at large. Featuring pro-radio marketing experts on your station's talk shows is a great way to generate interest in the "power of radio" and to solicit on-air inquiries from listening prospects. Guests like RAB staff members, Jeffrey Hedquist, Roy Williams, Dan O'Day, Steve Jones, or local pro-radio ad agency people can be informative and entertaining and generate more in-bound leads, although I am not sure all the names I mentioned are available for guest appearances. I once did a guest appearance on an East Coast station that generated a lead for a West Coast station from a business owner who happened to be listening online.

Outbound marketing works. But the cheapest and fastest way to improve your sales is to complement your outbound efforts with a solid inbound marketing process. 

For more articles from Wayne Ens go HERE

Wayne Ens is President of ENS Media Inc and can be reached via e-mail Wayne Ens wayne@wensmedia.com




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