Networking for radio sales professionals from Grace Broadcast Sales.
Personally John, and I know there are those who will disagree, I don't believe in any set rule on how many times, especially on the phone number. Often I completely avoid phone numbers. I mean seriously who has a pen in hand at all times to write down numbers from the radio while they're driving down the road. To me, the quality of the ad far outwieghs the importance of how many times their name and number are mentioned. Write a good catchy, memorable ad that gets attention and you've won the battle for their business.
The client should be mentioned at least 3 times. If it is a co-op commmercial it can't be mentioned more times than the co-op brand. As far as phone numbers, forget it, for every number you have to say, you can say a word to sell your clients product or service. Some clients insist you give their phone number, if you can't discourage it, try to make it memorable somehow.
I agree 100% about phone numbers. They are a waste of airtime. People in cars, where a lot of our listers are, don't have note pads and they won't remember a number rattled off in the last 5 seconds of a spot.
And yet, as the sales department will chant, "But that's what the client wants." Give the listeners a creative message with a good offer and they will go out of their way to find the client.
What do you want the listener to do after hearing the commercial? Go to the store? Visit a website? Call for more information? Whatever the call to action, a single, memorable point of contact usually is best.
For brick-and-mortar businesses wanting immediate foot traffic, the store location would be my top choice.
For clients trying to establish their brand and position themselves as the preferred choice when the customer need arises, inviting listeners to visit their website would make the most sense, as it enables the client to engage prospects at their convenience, to learn more about the business. This presupposes, of course, an engaging, informative, "sticky" website.
Phone number? Radio writers often include it without thought, thinking "it can't hurt." Most often, it's a waste of valuable air time. Exceptions:
1) it's the only way to contact the business, as with some direct-response advertisers (in which case, the client had better invest in a memorable number, as below)
2) the telephone number can be comprehended and recalled effortlessly
a) repeating numbers (334-4444: "three-three-four, forty-four, forty-four")
b) sequential numbers (334-5678)
c) a mnemonic device (e.g., "883-SMILE" for a dentist or "GET-A-BED" for a mattress store)
I've recommended, and in some cases even helped a client obtain, vanity telephone numbers for this purpose.
As to how often the name of the business should be mentioned, the "at least three times" rule has been around for as long as I've been in the business, but I don't adhere slavishly to it. It all depends on the commercial itself, and what fits naturally into the message. Jingles can take up slack in this area, as can distinctive spokesmen (think Tom Bodett). The important thing is to have a message so compelling that the listener WANTS to remember the advertiser.
You pretty much nailed it. Especially the one call to action. For a number of our clients who want to have a phone number and a URL (and their schedule is hefty enough to allow this to work), we'll do 2 identical commercials with the phone number in one and the URL in the other. Increases response big time.
As for client mentions, if the message is compelling enough, one client identification may be enough. Heck, you can even do a spot with no client ID as a tease that will get listener involvement and results...but ONLY if the message is powerful and intriguing.
For an article with more on "How To Get Radio Listeners to Take Action," email me. Jeffrey@Hedquist.com
The redoubtable radio expert Dan O shares his take on when an advertiser should include a phone number in their radio spot...