(To sales departments everywhere-- give this one to all your clients.)

By Rusty Faust

Many people say that the best advertising they have is by “word of mouth.” Your customers have such a positive experience with your business that they can’t wait to tell their friends all about it. I have four words for you: “Don’t count on it!” Don’t let the success or failure of your business hinge on the handful of people your satisfied customers will talk to. Spread the word to thousands of potential customers at one time on the radio. Here are a few tips to help you translate good word of mouth into a great radio commercial.

Know who your customers are, and what they’re saying about you. Who is your average customer? What do they like or dislike about your business? Have you ever asked? List each of those positives as a separate starting point for each commercial and build from there. Make as many as you can.

Your potential customer has a need, YOU have the answer. Look at your commercial from your customer’s point of view. What makes them want to walk through your door? Friendly Service and Low Low Prices? You have to know your customer will smell that ad coming and tune it right out. Really involve the listener. They’re the ones you have to convince that they should give up sixty seconds of their day to hear what you have to say.

Don’t clutter your message; keep it light. Avoid wasting precious time on your hours of operation or complicated directions. Give your potential customer one simple, clear message in each separate commercial. If you want them to call, give ‘em the number as much as you can. If you want them to come see you when they don’t absolutely need you, you better give ‘em a darn good reason. If you want them to come see you when they do need you, touch them on a personal level. Add humor, be creative, have fun!

Keep ‘em coming, no matter what your neighbor tells you. Keep your new commercial ideas coming and put them in the hands of a good radio account representative. The more you’ve got to work with, the more they’ll love you for it. It makes their lives so much nicer when they come back to the station to put it all together. Your finished product will probably be a little different from what you originally envisioned. Don’t worry, most professional radio commercial Production Directors know what it takes to really make a commercial stand out in the mind of a listener. They also know that you’re the boss, and if you want to change the ad at all, you have the right to approval before it goes on the air. One of the best ways to get exactly what you want is to get in there and do it yourself. Who knows your business better than you? That really comes across on the radio.

Finally, put your fabulous new commercials on the air as often as you can, and try to change the copy frequently. If your neighbor is telling you that he’s sick of hearing you on his radio every day, that’s a good thing. Every time he hears your ads over and over, thousands of new and different people have tuned into it for the first time. That can add up quickly, and if you’ve involved the listeners, giving them one clear and simple message to digest, they will respond. Radio is the ultimate “word of mouth” advertising.