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How To Counsel Your Radio Advertising Client

how-to-consul-radio-advertising-clientRecently a dentist licensed one of my syndicated radio commercials for use by his dental practice.

An example of the actual commercial is here, but all you need to know is:

1. The problem is defined as someone who wants “gleaming white teeth” like “those pretty people on my TV.”

2. The solution the radio spot presents is a dentist who “does cosmetic dental.”

Radio Advertising Client Change Request #1

The client wanted to replace “cosmetic” with “family.”

That’s not an unreasonable reaction by the client.

My Reply to Radio Advertising Client Change Request #1

“I understand that you’re a family dentist, but among the things you offer as a family dentist are ‘Cosmetic Dental,’ yes?

“It’s natural for some dentists to worry, ‘But people might think Cosmetic Dental is all I do.’ But the problem presented in this radio spot is someone who wants ‘gleaming white teeth,’ and the solution is a dentist who does Cosmetic Dental.

“In radio advertising, you want to be specific rather than general.

“If you insist, we can replace ‘cosmetic’ with ‘family.’ But I urge you not to do that, because it will weaken the impact of the commercial, which will weaken the response you receive, which will make you disappointed in our work and sorry you made the investment.

“I hope you’ll trust me on this point. If it’s any consolation, you’re not the first client who wanted to say ‘family’ instead of ‘cosmetic.’

“So…Do you still want us to replace ‘cosmetic’ with ‘family,’ or should we stick to the original wording?”

My thinking: I didn’t think changing that word would ruin the commercial. It would lessen the campaign’s response, but the campaign still would produce results.

So I didn’t “go to the mat” over that one. If the client insisted, I’d make the change.

Result: The client took my advice, and the copy remained unchanged.

Radio Advertising Client Change Request #2

The client thought it might be better to replace his office phone number with his Web address.

My Reply to Radio Advertising Client Change Request #2

“You want an ad campaign like this to be what often is referred to as ‘a greased chute’: When a prospect expresses any kind of interest, he is most receptive to the solution you provide.

“If the commercial sends him to the website, he then will have a lot of actions to choose from…which in this case is bad.

“Sending people to your website also obliterates the unique, quirky, personal impact of the radio commercial.

“What you want is:
– Potential patient (PP) hears & likes your commercial.
– PP thinks, ‘That sounds much more personal and human than most dentist advertising I hear.’
– PP calls your office, hoping to further that human contact.
– PP’s call is answered by a bright, friendly person who is delighted PP has called.

“In that telephone call, the first thing the PP will say is, ‘I heard your radio commercial…’

“If your employee who answers the phone replies, ‘What commercial…?’ then she will kill the effectiveness of your campaign.

“Instead, she should immediately know what the PP is talking about and laugh and say, ‘Oh, yes. We get lots of comments about that ad. Are you interested in having Dr. (X) help you get those “gleaming white teeth,” or is there some other kind of dental issue we can help you with?’

“Regardless of whether the PP is interested in a brighter smile or needs treatment for some sort of dental ailment, your receptionist responds, ‘Oh, certainly, Dr. (X) can help you with that. Let’s see…Our next available appointment is Tuesday morning….’ And she books the appointment.

“Remember, the person who answers the PP’s phone call is a crucial part of this advertising campaign. She needs to be genuinely friendly, helpful, informative…and she needs to be very familiar with your radio commercial.”

“But you can’t achieve any of the above by sending someone to your website.”

My thinking: I wasn’t going to budge on this point. A radio needs to have a single Call to Action.

“Call to Action” = the one action you want the targeted listener to take.

There’s no doubt that in cases such as this, “Choice paralyzes response.”

You want there to be no obstacles between the prospect and the action you want the prospect to take.

If you tell the prospect, “Call us…or go to our website” before taking action the prospect now has to make a decision: Should I call? Or should I go to the website?

Each time you require prospects to make a decision, your overall response rate drops.

The only decision targeted listeners should be required to make is, “Do I want to have gleaming white teeth?”

If the answer is “yes,” then you tell them, “If you want gleaming white teeth, this is what you should do next…”

Result: The client took my advice, and “call this telephone number” remained the single Call to Action.

Question for Radio Sales Reps and Copywriters

Do you care enough about your clients’ success to engage in discussions similar to the one above?

Or do you evade your professional responsibility by saying, “The customer is always right”?

Here’s a resource that teaches you how to educate your radio advertising clients.

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