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Ron Kruse on Radio: Wave Control

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Promotions are a less expensive alternative to radio ads that will get you lots of attention, says Ron Kruse.

Ramping up your radio advertising during holiday seasons is certainly a good idea, but there is another way to get lots of attention without a substantial increase in advertising costs. Promotions. These will help get your name on the air more frequently. 

In small to medium markets, one promotion my clients often use just before Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day is a pearl-earring promotion. They give away a pair of pearl earrings on the radio station’s morning show for a week to 10 days prior to the holiday. While the perceived value of the earrings is high, the cost is low. Here’s how to set up such a promotion to create maximum attention for your store. 

To start, contact your station rep and tell them you would like to help them promote Valentine’s Day. You will give them 10 pairs of earrings to give away, one pair each day, on their morning show. All you ask is that they provide you the following: 

1. Mention your name each time they mention the earrings on the show.  

2. Run a schedule of promotional announcements during all dayparts promoting the giveaway and include your name as the sponsor. 

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3. You can even ask for a schedule of announcements equal to the retail value of the earrings. You may get this only on smaller market stations, but don’t let your promotion hinge on it. What you’re after is lots of name mentions. 

Rather than give the station the actual earrings, give them a certificate to mail to each winner that must be redeemed in your store. You’ll bring in new faces and you’ll be surprised how often a sale results. 

In larger markets where commercials can be hundreds of dollars each, offer a diamond bracelet or ring. Big stations love to give away big prizes. The name mentions will be worth far more than the cost of prize you are furnishing and you couldn’t buy the equivalent amount of advertising for anything close to your cost. 

Here are some additional requests you can make to enhance the promotions: 

1. If you have a jingle, ask that they use it as a 10-second ?sign off? at the end of each promotional announcement. 

2. Include your logo in a promotional mention on their website. 

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3. Have the morning-show talent call you and do a brief interview with you prior to the start of the promotion. 

4. If you are running commercials in the morning show, have them do the giveaway right before your commercial runs. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for a lot. You probably won’t get it all, but you just might. You’ll be much more likely to get stations to agree to do promotions with you if you are a client. Remember, commercials are still the critical element in your advertising plan. Promotions are just a way to enhance your image and make you more visible. 

One side benefit I love about promotions are those excited listeners they put on the air. What better image than people who are thrilled to be receiving a gift from your store. Powerful stuff! 

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