Ask a Tanning Salon Business Consultant: Radio Ad Basics

by | Ask a Tanning Salon Business Consultant

Q: “I usually do radio ads at the beginning of the peak tanning season. I’m very torn over whether this is a good form of advertising or not. I’m strongly considering doing some radio advertising for busy season. I know that you’re very knowledgeable about the correct way to do radio advertising. Do you have some basic tips you could share to help me have a successful promotion?”

A: I am so glad you asked this question.  In the indoor tanning industry, I’m known for being the “radio advertising guru.”  Of all the media we have in the industry to get feet in the door, radio has the biggest potential… but it’s also the least understood.  I find that clients fall into knowing more about Facebook then they do radio because they have been immersed in social media for the last several years.  This has forced them to develop an understanding of social media’s principles.

Radio is powerful but unique in its complexities.  I have 48+ years experience buying radio and no station or broadcast group can outfox me because I’m the one teaching them!  That might sound braggadocious; but when you’ve worked with and continue to work with every major and neighborhood-owned stations, you pick up a few things along the way.  Radio can be quick in terms of turning around spot copy and production and such, but it takes a while to get the value of what you’re buying.

Not surprisingly, I have many tanning salon owners calling me these days and the questions that the vast majority of them are asking about the challenges of radio advertising.  To answer your question, I’ll share these seven tips for you to consider:

  1. Use a radio format that’s one of the most attractive to tanners who listen to radio. I recommend contemporary hit radio (CHR-Top 40 for 18-24 year olds). Contemporary country (18-34 year olds) is also good. So is hot adult contemporary (24-44 year olds). It might be difficult to buy all three formats. The best case scenario is finding a company that covers all these age groups.
  2. Ask the station for a coverage map. This shows how far the broadcast signal reaches and how large the possible audience is.
  3. Get spot rates for 30- or 60-second spots that cover critical time periods of 10-3 PM  and 3-7 PM. These are the best listening times for adults who tan or might be interested in tanning.
  4. Offer free tanning for their listeners to get some free ads in addition to what you purchase.
  5. Have the station write your ad copy and production for you, but try not to talk about too many points in the ad. Radio can be a great branding or call-to-action media but not usually both in a 30-second time span.
  6. A good number of spots during a two-day approach is about six to eight spots a day. Running a few spots isn’t enough to achieve what we call “top of mind awareness.”
  7. It’s critical to be confident in the account executive (sale rep) that the station is providing for you. This can be a huge factor in having a successful radio advertising campaign.

As I said earlier, tanning salon owners can benefit from radio advertising.  It’s true strength is that it targets your tanning salon consumer demographic.  As good as radio advertising is, there are a few things that salon owners must avoid.  Here are some of the pitfalls that tanning salon owners must avoid when planning radio ads:

  1. Radio station sales reps want you to charge you for a billing plan that draws money throughout the year. This includes the low-revenue J.A.S.O.N. months.
  2. Radio reps will sell you a five- to 15-second spots that won’t help your tanning salon’s branding.
  3. The spots you buy might get aired at 3 AM when few people are listening.
  4. The radio station uses the same commercial copy each month without suggesting any changes.

Remember: Radio is still one of the best mediums for cost-per-contact, demo alignment, and lifestyle.  It targets specific markets, connects with social media, and helps with your branding.  All of these things will benefit your tanning salon.

It was a pleasure answering your question.  I hope all this helps you sort out this issue.  If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask this tanning salon business consultant.

Ask a Tanning Salon Business Consultant: Radio Ad Basics

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