Enticing listeners to a new radio station, especially on a small budget, can be challenging, since radio listeners tend to be extremely loyal to the stations they currently tune in to. According to British newspaper The Guardian, one-third of listeners don’t change the station on the way to work and most listeners tune in to only two stations per week. However, a strategic mix of classic and new advertising techniques can help to draw in new listeners and the news of your station to spread.
Social media is becoming more and more the go-to method for advertising due to its effectiveness and because it is free. A radio station can effectively use social media by having the DJs interact with the listeners. StreamFinder.com suggests that opening a dialog between the DJ and the audience can be a beneficial marketing tool. A DJ can, for example, pose a question to listeners and also post it on the station’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, inviting listeners to respond, and then read the responses on the air. This will entice listeners to both keep tabs on the radio’s social media pages and also listen to see if their names and comments make the airwaves. The more people this method entices, the better the chance word will spread to “friends” and “followers” of those already connected to the radio station.
Running contests and giving away prizes on-air can both get people to listen and even encourage social media shares. For example, if you are running a contest, the entry “fee” for each participant could be two social media shares or posts promoting the station. WebsiteBroker.com points out that radio stations keep their audience listening for a while before announcing a winner or a secret “code” word. If you are giving away a prize on-air, designate a block of time to do so, but not a specific time, so people will be inclined to keep listening in. The prize could be something intangible as well, such as 30 seconds of airtime to give shout-outs to friends for example, so there is no cost associated with it.
Hosting an event can help to inexpensively attract listeners to the radio station. Offer local businesses a chance to broadcast your radio show from their venue, which will in turn serve as free advertising for them, and the word-of-mouth advertising from the shows will benefit the station. You could also offer to DJ and broadcast from local events, such as a high school prom or a town’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony, to further stretch your reach.
Write a press release before and after each contest and event and submit it to local newspapers and television stations to maximize their reach. This will encourage the public to listen to the station to hear the particular broadcast or participate in the contest or even attend the event you are broadcasting from. Even if they only see the press release after the event, it could entice them to listen to your station for upcoming contests and events.