2021 was a year to try out some new radio advertising strategies. It was also a year to invest more heavily in advertising that has performed well in previous years. If you’re looking for some background on what spend in 2020 looked like, read about that here.
In 2021 we knew there was going to be demand for our services because of the consistent demand we saw all throughout the 2020 season. As an example, last year we worked well into November and even had clients getting services in December and January. Going into this year we knew that there was going to be a large demand for window cleaning and wanted to plan accordingly.
To capture as much organic demand (and to build up our own) we started running a radio campaign 3 weeks before our busiest part of the season. The key point here is that we started the radio campaign BEFORE we knew the demand would come in. This is so that we would already be top of mind when people started looking for services.
Comparing 2020 to 2021
In contrast, last year we did not use any paid advertising during this time. Now let’s look at a quick comparison for bookings at the start of the season (2020 vs 2021). In 2020, without any paid advertising, we booked $60,122 of residential work in our call centre during the month of May. In 2021, with radio advertising to drive demand, we booked $109,521 of residential work over that same month. That is a difference of almost $50,000 of bookings. To run 7 weeks of radio it cost roughly $3500.
Because of the excellent returns we saw in May, we decided to continue our radio strategy throughout the season and re-evaluate impact on bookings every month. Because we saw consistent returns every month, and because we had negotiated a comfortable rate with our radio station, we ran radio for the entirety of our season.
Radio Advertising Content Strategy
To clarify, we ran ads all season long, but we switched the content of what the advertisements were saying. We used the same music, voices and tone, but we changed some of the messaging throughout the seasonality. In May, we talked about spring cleaning. In Summer, we mentioned additional services like siding cleaning. Finally, towards the end of the season, we focused on Gutter cleaning. We ran each of these ads for at least 8 weeks so that we could be sure the new messages were getting across to clients.
Again, I want to stress that these ads are all linked together with the same sonic branding. Clients are expecting a message from Elite Window Cleaning within a second of hearing the jingle at the beginning of our ad. This works for two reasons. The first reason it works is because we are hitting clients with a consistent frequency to the point where they recognize our ads. Playing an ad 4-7 times a day for months on end on the busiest radio station in any given area is a great way to accomplish this. And the second reason it works is because we’ve established ourselves as the premier service provider when searching online. Let me unpack that last sentence a little more.
Complementary Online Advertising
The most overlooked component of a great radio campaign is a complementary online strategy. Think about it for a minute. After someone hears an ad over the radio, what is the most likely way for them to get in contact with you. They are almost certainly going to search for it online. This means that your business NEEDS to show up when clients are searching for it.
Consequently, Elite has focused on organic SEO and paid SEM strategies to maximize returns on radio campaigns. The copy we use in our advertisements are keywords that we optimize our website, blog and other online advertisements to include. By mapping out the pathways that our clients use to make purchases, we’ve been able to focus our messaging and remove the barriers for clients to book quickly and conveniently.
As I mentioned above, this is incredibly important because, ultimately, clients don’t book in “through the radio”. And all advertising strategies need to be thought out in this literal fashion. Understanding “how the client actually makes the purchase” is the underlying mechanism that advertisers are looking to work with.
Because we knew clients were thinking about spring cleaning BEFORE they actually wanted the work done, we were able to place our ads in a spot that built on a pre-existing trend. Then, by optimizing our online strategy, we were able to capture all of the interest that we had just worked so hard to generate.
It’s not enough to just generate buzz, you need to turn that buzz into dollars. And that’s what we did with our radio advertising in 2021.
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