How to Buy Radio Advertising


For many advertisers, radio represents a happy medium in terms of the number of customers reached and financial investment. Broader and more direct than newspaper ads but less expensive than television commercials, radio ads can be the answer for many businesses. Radio ads can be purchased relatively easily by following a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Radio
  • Telephone (or other way to contact the radio sales department)
  • Money for purchasing advertising spots

Determine your target market using sales statistics, customer information and research, if available, then select the local radio station(s) most suited to your customer demographics.

Determine when you want your ads to play by deciding if your target customer is likely to be commuting to or from work or if your market will be listening to the radio during the day or at night.

Set a budget. Consider the Small Business Administration's recommendation of 42 spots per week to be aired three each morning and four each afternoon or evening for six consecutive days. (Be sure to ask the radio stations if they offer discounts on block purchases.)

Contact the station's advertising department and set up an appointment with the sales person to discuss options and make the purchase.

Listen to the station(s) regularly to monitor your ads and make sure they're being played at the appropriate times.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider allowing the radio station to record your advertising spot, because the professional recording produced by the station is more likely to make a positive impression on your customers and give your business a more professional reliable appearance. Certain adult-oriented products can advertised only at night; FCC regulations prevent adult-themed advertisements from being played before 10 p.m. Ask the local radio station sales executive for "new advertiser" packages that may offer bonus ad spots at reduced costs.
  • Always include--and repeat--all appropriate contact information in your radio advertisements; failure to include this information may render interested customers unable to contact you or purchase from your business. Do not allow personal bias to determine where your advertisement airs; just because you like a certain type of music does not mean your target customers are likely to listen to that station.

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