5 Ways to Drive Customers From Radio to E-Commerce Channels
630 KHOW AM, "Denver's Talk Station," streams live, online at KHOW.com. To join the show already in progress, Web visitors can click the "listen live" button on the upper left hand corner of the home page.
But before listeners hear the programming, they see and hear a few-second promotional video from Denver-based W.J. Bradley Mortgage Capital Corp. The video concludes with a screen providing WJB's toll-free number and a hyperlink to the company site, which then minimizes within the popup window as an alternating banner ad and moves aside to allow the radio show to stream live for listeners. It's one of many methods marketers are employing to direct radio listeners to their e-commerce offerings.
While cross-channel marketing has long been a mainstay of direct radio—toll-free phone numbers are still a staple, says Gary Kretchmer, president of Chicago-based pay per lead direct response radio agency Target + Response—the profession has been evolving and adapting with the times.
Mark Lipsky, president and chief executive officer of Media, Penn.-based Radio Direct Response now thinks nostalgically of the days in the late 90s when his agency helped launch direct response radio-to-Priceline.com ads on terrestrial radio. "We've gone from being a radio-only advertising agency, which is what we've been for 16 years to, I guess, phrasing it a little bit differently to say that we are marketing products and services and brands through the medium of sound," he says.
Based on their experience, Kretchmer and Lipsky tell marketers what to expect in their direct radio-to-e-commerce efforts.
1. The online experience can be tailored to include click-through opportunities that add images to the sounds. Lipsky says whether the ad comes at the beginning of a live streaming experience or when a commercial is playing live, a popup ad can show video or direct listeners to a special offer on an e-commerce landing page. (In the case of the mid-show commercial, the ad may direct listeners to maximize their browsers to click through and take advantage of the offer, he adds.)
2. Banner ads on station Web pages and e-mail offers to the station's fan base still work. "As long as the media we're working with understand that going in, whether it's conventional commercials, streaming commercials, click through pages, e-mail links, what have you, as long as they're willing to work with us to deliver the results the client needs, they're all wonderfully efficient," Lipsky says.
3. Continue to think of direct response radio as a lead generation tool, not necessarily a sales tool. "Just make it more about, 'For more information or for a free sample' " visit this site, Kretchmer says. "Make it informational and don't try to sell someone in a 60-second radio commercial, you can't convince someone to make the purchase. You're trying to direct somebody to the Web site and use the Web site to provide all the information that's required to make the purchase decision."
4. Make sure the e-commerce tool, such as a Web site, is consistent with the radio message. "If you're promoting certain benefits in the commercial, make sure those benefits appear on the Web site," Kretchmer says.
5. Repeating simple URLs works. The fifth time's the charm, Kretchmer says. "Let's say it's Sears advertising," Kretchmer hypothesizes. "They'd be better off doing radio.sears.com, as opposed to doing Sears.com/radio, because ... a lot of people will skip the slash." And if Web surfers forget to type in the tracking mechanism, it makes it more difficult to identify the source of the lead.