roiIt’s not easy these days being in the traditional radio business. The threats are everywhere.  Internet Radio. Social Media. Mobile. Video. SEO. PPC. The list stretches out as far as, well, long tail keywords. 

And despite a recent study that reaffirms broadcast radio’s ROI, proving radio's ROI to local SMBs that practice “random acts of marketing” and chase the latest “shiny object,” is my company’s greatest challenge. And opportunity. We simply can’t afford to not get the credit we deserve. And HubSpot helps us do that.

Radio, The Rodney Dangerfield of Media

Generally speaking, broadcast radio gets little respect from national marketers. Despite the fact that consumers spend between 12 to 15 percent of their time with it each week, broadcast radio historically receives only up to 8% of marketing budgets

A similar gap certainly exists between the time spent with digital platforms and the marketing budgets that get spent there. But radio is not a new, untested or morphing medium. It’s an 80 year-old industry with a long track record of growing brands and driving measurable response.

Sure, radio may not be a visual medium. But it certainly is a visceral one, capable of generating deep emotional connections between brands and consumers. Something a display ad or Search Engine Results Page simply can’t do. (And don’t even get me started about digital’s accountability issue).

Rodney Dangerfield aside, I like to think of broadcast radio as the "Mark Twain medium.” It’s an amazing storyteller and reports of radio's death have been greatly exaggerated.

Making the Grade with Prospects

Truthfully, we only use a few of HubSpot’s capabilities right now, but we use them to great effect by:

1) Grading our clients’ web presence

2) Holding our clients’ website and search teams accountable

3) Generating and managing client leads

Nothing establishes credibility faster than walking through a prospect’s door with a HubSpot Marketing Grader report on their web presence.  And the story usually breaks one of two ways: 

1) Their web presence is weak, in which case we’ll recommend building and managing a landing page to support a radio CTA.

2) Their web presence is pretty good, in which case we can engage them in a discussion around how to make the most of their radio creative, especially when there’s an opportunity to use a radio CTA to drive traffic to a premium piece of content. 

This last point is not a new concept to radio. I’ll often remind my younger peers of the iconic CTAs of the past “Call now for your free DVD” CTA. But, radio CTAs, paired with premium content sounds like a fresh idea to prospects because now with online CTAs and landing pages we can track ROI.  And that moves us one step closer to a sale.

Holding Client Site and Search Teams Accountable

In my opinion, broadcast radio’s greatest threat does indeed begin with the letter “P.”  But, that does not stand for “Pandora.” It stands for “Pay Per Click.”

I’m convinced that many SMBs are overspending on PPC and under-spending in broadcast media.  If you haven’t read this university study on the cause and effect of TV advertising on search behavior, let me summarize it for you. Despite 20 years of integrated marketing theory, advertisers rarely coordinate their broadcast and search engine advertising campaigns. That’s because search engine marketing is mostly done in isolation and search marketers are only focused on driving their own profits. So, the marketers who fail to measure the impact of broadcast advertising on search could be over-spending on search and under-spending on broadcast.

So now, as part of our client onboarding process, we require a meeting with our client’s site and search teams to drill down on their practices and establish benchmarks.  The two metrics we zero in on are direct traffic and branded search, two outcomes we know we can lift with radio advertising. 

Even thoughour clients’ site and search teams have their own preferred online marketing and measurement tools, our credibility as radio marketers who “get Inbound” soars and, with it, the value of our input.

Leads, Leads and More Leads

Getting credit for radio’s top of the funnel impact -- as measured by direct traffic and branded search lift -- is cool. But let’s face it, clients will never (and should never) stop obsessing over leads.

Lead generation is our best and highest use of inbound marketing up to this point. Using radio CTAs to direct traffic to HubSpot hosted landing pages that capture lead information has helped us prove radio's ROI. 

Like our Carpool Giveaway promotion that drove nearly 1,100 warm leads for our car dealer and pool builder partner and over $440,000 in attributable sales.

Or our landing page program that drove record enrollment for a school that serves children with autism by collecting and acting on more than 100 warm leads in just two weeks.

Or our campaign that delivered valuable consumer insights for the local gas company and drove more than 200 warm leads for their homebuilder partner.

By the way, all three of these programs renewed for 2014.  And I can’t think of a better proof of ROI.

Where Are We Headed With Inbound Marketing?

We’re barely scratching the surface of HubSpot’s capabilities. When we first engaged the platform, we already had dozens of landing page programs in the field that needed immediate help of HubSpot's platform.

So, yes, when it comes to my HubSpot-recommended protocol you should follow is:

1) Use it for yourself.

2) Learn from that.

3) Then use it for clients.

We’ve gone about our engagement in reverse, first we used it in client assignments, learned from that, and are now using it for ourselves.

In fact, we just finalized and documented our inbound marketing strategy.  Not surprisingly, LinkedIn will be an important distribution channel. So if you follow our new company page you’ll start to see our inbound practice take shape, with provocative posts, case study publishing and associated lead generation landing pages.

After all, we can’t be recommending inbound if we aren’t practicing what we preach.

radio advertising ROI, lead generation for advertisers

Originally published Apr 29, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017