Radio can be a great advertising medium for marketing and promoting your business… if you know how to use it.
Three years ago, salon owner Lara Nance had a bad experience with her local radio station. The advertisements her sales rep developed for Sun Seekers Tan & Spa weren’t exciting, and seldom aired on time. Worst of all, the station played her ads right behind those of another tanning salon, which only obscured her message. When Lara called her sales rep to discuss these issues, he wouldn’t take or return her calls, forcing her to abandon further radio promotions for two years. While this might have made some salon owners give up on radio for good, Lara eventually gave it another try and discovered how to obtain quality radio advertising that’s also effective.
The key to successful radio advertising is connecting with the right sales rep, Lara says. “Normally, reps would cold call us looking for business,” said Lara, “but after our first experience, I decided to give the station a call. They were very surprised that I did.” Lara connected with Paige Grapinski, who was more than willing to hear about the salon owner’s experience and more importantly, how she could help create a better, more successful one. “She assured us that she would do a much better job than our former rep,” Lara said, “and she proved this the first time we met.” Lara says Paige came prepared with detailed notes from their conversation as well as some great ideas for ad campaigns on her laptop. “This was so different from our experiences with our previous rep,” she added.
If a salon owner is fortunate enough to find a radio sales rep they like, Lara recommends spoiling that person with free tanning memberships and spa services. It’s a worthy investment, she says, that will improve your relationship with your rep and benefit your business. “Paige stops by Sun Seekers at least once a week to see how we’re doing and if there’s anything she can do to help,” Lara said. “Because we’ve developed this friendship, she gives us many of the ad slots that don’t get sold. One week, we ran 100 free ads!”
Since working with Paige, Lara has learned that radio can be an effective marketing tool for tanning salon owners. A close relationship with a good sales rep will often result in better ads, she says, as well as more effective ways to utilize them. “Paige has showed us that it’s better to produce two or three ads and rotate them throughout the month,” Lara added. “This keeps our message fresh and exciting with listeners. She also showed us that it’s good to sponsor events such as the traffic and weather reports because those segments are very popular.” Lara added that advertising heavily during tanning’s off-peak months is also helpful because it gets people excited about tanning during a time when it’s usually the last thing on their minds.
A 14-year industry veteran, John "Ribby" Ribner has written hundreds of
articles for IST Magazine and, as Director of Editorial Content, has also
helped guide the publication's evolution. Ribby is a graduate of Central
Michigan University's journalism program and has brought many years of newspaper reporting experience to his position of Head Writer. He is also the author of three novels, "Legacy of the Bear," "Prophecy of the Bear" and "World So Dark."
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