Radio Hed: Hold the Phone

radio-hed-logo1By Jeffrey Hedquist

When was the last time you wrote down a phone number you heard on a radio commercial? I thought so. Do you really expect any other listener to do it, especially if they’re driving?

Millions of dollars in radio time are wasted each year on phone numbers no one responds to, and yet clients keep asking to have their numbers put in radio commercials, thinking that radio works like print. It doesn’t.

Use a phone number in a radio commercial only if a phone call is the primary (or only) response vehicle, and only if the phone number is MEMORABLE. We can’t all have 1-800-FLOWERS, but the simpler your number is to remember the better.

In all cases, use the spot to make them want to call, then make it easy for the listener to call. (Read this line again out loud)

If you have a memorable number, build the spot around it: benefit/phone number/ benefit/phone number/benefit/phone number….

Or, challenge the listener to remember the number, or make a joke about it, or sing the number, or make it rhyme.

If you don’t have a number that’ll stick in the mind, make sure you implant the advertiser’s name, and send those listeners to the White Pages of the phone book. That way, the competitors’ ads they might see in the Yellow Pages won’t distract them.

Above all, stop adding a phone number as an afterthought. If the spot is powerful enough and aired with enough frequency to get listeners to remember the name and what the benefit is, they’ll find the advertiser. 

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