5 ways to maximize toll-free numbers in radio ads

5 ways to maximize toll-free numbers in radio ads

So you’ve picked a meaningful, memorable toll-free number and you’re enthused about leveraging that into a catchy radio ad — especially now that you can use call-tracking metrics to monitor campaign results and better target your audiences.

Your ad budget may be well spent in radio. In a 2014 study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions, consumers tracked 28 days after listening to an ad spent on average $6 on related products for every $1 spent by the ad buyer. And on average, radio drove 5.8 percent of total sales across 10 brands surveyed.

What to consider when crafting radio ad copy:
1. Start by briefly and clearly presenting the problem. Think about how ads for personal injury lawyers get to the point with statements like “Have you been injured in an auto accident?”

2. Next, grab your audience’s attention by presenting the solution in the form of the benefits provided by your product or service. Go beyond features to describe the effect on the end user. Ads for Utah-based Zerorez carpet cleaning explain how it leaves no residue so carpets feel softer and stay clean longer.  They emphasize the name (spelled the same backward or forward) and use 952-ZEROREZ to full advantage.

3. Present a clear call to action that includes a sense of urgency, and then repeat it. Your toll-free number should be the last thing in the ad your audience hears, and memorable enough to remember without writing it down. In the ad for New Jersey-based nonprofit Kars 4 Kids, for example, a child sings “1-877-Kars4Kids” multiple times and ends with “Donate your car today.”

4. Jingles can be very effective. In a study in the Journal of Advertising Research, 83 percent of respondents recalled the product in an ad after a 10-second musical cue, compared to only 62 percent of those given a verbal cue. And consider the ubiquitous Empire carpet chain jingle that’s now one of the most-recognized in the nation: “800-588-2300 … Em-pire.”  The poison control center hotline (1-800-222-1222) also uses a memorably upbeat tune stressing that it’s open 24 hours, free and confidential.

5. Strive for entertainment value. A company called Remedy Bail Bonds (1-800-BAILMEOUT) reaches its audience via a hard-edged, repetitive rap noting all collect calls will be accepted. Sample lyrics? “Get out of jail and go home.”

Finally, keep tracking responses to figure out if your radio ad produces a good ROI. Call-tracking metrics are making such results easier to measure in a medium that used to be of questionable value.

“We’ve learned that measuring the actual retail sales impact of radio advertising is both possible, and scalable,” reports the Nielsen study. “Using single-source data with purchaser information to determine marketing effectiveness is a significant leap for advertising in this traditional, mass medium. As a result, radio may just now be coming into its golden age.”