When Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh read an advertiser’s spot, they often tell their listeners to “Call Now.” Not surprisingly, thousands of daily listeners DO call. Responsive callers are a natural by-product of radio (talk-show call-ins, contest lines, etc.). Many Direct Marketers have made DR radio work, yet success can only be enjoyed by those who know how to properly drive – and then handle –radio callers.
Veteran Direct Response Radio Marketers and Call Center Managers both share a common knowledge – Radio Listeners are THE MOST QUALIFIED leads who call to order. Radio listeners make daily appointments to hear their favorite talk hosts, Music DJs, and radio ministers. When those trusted personalities read copy, there is an inherent, instant credibility attached to the offer, convincing the listener, “If it’s good enough for Howard Stern/Rick Dees/Rush Limbaugh/”Fill-in-your-favorite-host-here”, it’s good enough for me.” Moreover, we turn to specific formats – News, Talk, Sports, Religious — for trusted information. Spots heard within the context of this information are often received with more credibility than ads placed in more lighthearted venues. Lastly, consider that most well-written DR radio ads can still only feature the phone number two or three times during a :60 spot. Likewise, the caller never has a “visual impression” of the number. Most likely, they will seek the nearest pen and paper, all the while repeating the phone number multiple times to memorize it. Clearly, this is a customer who called to “reaffirm their confidence in buying”, rather than one who called to “be sold.”This said, not only can most radio-driven callers be closed, but also more successfully Steve Pittendrigh of THE AFTERMARKET COMPANY has had clients where offers were seemingly limitless. As long as the upsells and cross-sells have logical flow from the on-air offer, average tickets from $100 to over $300.00 per radio caller are quite common. Pittendrigh adds the first step is to remember that creative motivates the call – and once we understand why a person will be calling, only then can you build an effective inbound script.
Copy is one of the two most crucial elements to creating successful radio callers. The words, “Have your Credit Card Ready to Order Now” make a big difference in shorter call times and higher close ratios. RADIO DIRECT RESPONSE president Mark Lipsky reminds us “the goal of your spot is to make the phone ring – not to be funny, clever or silly.” Lipsky also reminds us that you can’t communicate 30 benefits in one spot. Instead, create a sense of urgency based upon the key benefit of the offer. Of course, give out the phone number enough times (usually at least three) until people remember it.
The key benefit gets the attention, but you still must build confidence in the offer to convert the caller. You don’t have visuals, so you must describe the offer in greater detail. Amongst most common concerns that MPC Call Centers President Dean Villella has heard from his radio-driven callers – Safety, Legitimacy, Risk Factor (notably the option to return and Money Back Guarantees), and Specific components of the product. The more of these you address in your copy, the greater your closing ratio. Villella remembers one radio client who increased from a 50% testing to an 80% close ratio after making the above adjustments to on-air and inbound copy. Lastly, when creating HELP/OFFER INFO menus for your agents, make sure your get the product info (ingredients, safety features, unique needs, etc,) ahead of time – and listen to your reps if they say that customers continue to express objections for which you haven’t accounted.
Both Radio Marketer and Call Center Management must be on the same page when training for DR Radio Customers. Make sure your reps hear the radio spot, or at least have the copy nearby, ahead of time. Have the reps examine, and if possible use, a product sample during training. Carla Curran, President of Salt Lake-based Call Center O’Currance, reports that it makes a big difference in converting radio callers when the rep can give personal testimonials about the offer. Curran also encourages sales commissions to the agents, in order to build excitement for converting upsells and high- ticket items.
Furthermore, you are buying radio as a targeted medium. The marketer already knows the gender and age demos of most of their callers ahead of time (stations will be bought to specifically target Men 40+, Woman 18-49, etc.). It pays to have your initial calls routed to reps whom the callers are more likely to relate. Older men reps should handle the majority of male 30+ offers, while young women should take the Women 18-34 targeted offers.
And if you are worried about call lengths – DON’T BE! Lipsky, Pittendrigh, Curran and Villella – along with the experiences of many successful DR radio marketers – all state that the average successful campaign yields call lengths of only 2-4 minutes. This includes not just close, but an average of (2) related upsells and one cross-sell Club-type offer. Just remember, the job of Limbaugh, Stern, and a host of other radio personalities is to drive some of your best-qualified customers. However, it is still YOUR job (Marketers and Call Centers) to properly cultivate and secure them.
Joe Rashbaum consults many radio direct marketers, including traditional television and print DMrs, as President of THE RADIO SOLUTION COMPANY, a full-service, radio direct-response agency. Joe can be reached at (805) 279-3391 or inquire below.