Should Your Business Try Radio Advertising? | Fora Financial Blog
Should Your Business Try Radio Advertising?
August 20, 2018

Should Your Business Try Radio Advertising?

The first paid radio commercial hit the airwaves in 1922, and since then, radio has been a prime method for advertising. Each year, advertisers spend more than $18 billion on radio advertising and that trend is predicted to rise.

Recently, Neilson published a report which revealed that 93 percent of American adults listen to the radio each week. This is more than those using a smartphone or watching TV. If your small business is not reaching those consumers, it might be time to consider allocating funds to radio advertising.

In honor of National Radio Day, we’ll list five questions you should ask yourself to determine if your small business should be investing in radio advertising.

1. Can You Afford It?

According to Fit Small Business, radio advertising costs between $500 to $8,000 per week depending on the market. For example, it’s more expensive to advertise in Los Angeles than Green Bay because you’re reaching more people.

Before trying any type of marketing, you should understand where radio advertising fits into your overall marketing budget. Will you have to cut spending in other areas to advertise on the radio? If so, are those areas performing well, or do they need to be replaced with something else that will attract more customers? Ultimately, you shouldn’t spend money on radio advertising if your other initiatives have a great return on investment (ROI).

2. Do You Have a Specialized Product?

Radio advertising is great for services such as landscaping, restaurants, and auto repair shops, just to name a few. These are services that the general population needs. However, radio advertising typically isn’t useful for specialized brands like gluten-free meal services, or clothing that’s only for a certain demographic (just to name a few examples).

3. Is Your Target Demographic Listening to the Radio?

While the data is fairly consistent among the demographics of radio listeners, you should determine if your target demographic is listening to the radio before spending money on advertising. Neilson’s Audio Today 2018 report says 98 percent of baby boomers are listening to the radio, but only 95 percent of millennials, 94 percent of teens, and 97 percent of Generation X tune in. In addition, women 18-49 years-old are more likely to listen than men.

After determining if your demographic listens to the radio, you should research and find out the types of stations that your target audience is listening to. For instance, you might find that teens prefer listening to pop music, while baby boomers like news stations. So, if your business provides professional landscaping for homeowners, you’ll likely getting a better ROI if you advertise on news stations because your target demographic is listening to those stations.

4. Are Your Competitors Doing Radio Advertising?

If your competitors are advertising on the radio, that’s validation that it might be something to try. If they’re not, it could be that they tried radio advertising and it didn’t work. Try calling a few radio stations that you want to advertise on and ask if other businesses in your industry have advertised with them in the past year. If they haven’t, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, but you should start slow and increase the amount of money you spend if you see a positive ROI.

5. Does This Complement Your Other Marketing Initiatives?

The marketing rule of seven states that a consumer must see or hear your ad seven times before they’ll buy your product or service. Radio advertising should work in tandem with your other marketing methods; the same audience should also see your TV ads, billboards, newspaper ads, etc. When advertising on the radio, make sure you have similar branding and messaging that complements your other forms of advertising.


Once you decide to advertise on the radio, you should get quotes from at least 10 different stations to see where you’ll get the biggest ROI. Each radio station website has an “advertise with us” link on the bottom of the page and you can talk to a sales representative by filling out the form. It’s important to remember that prices are usually negotiable, and you might be able to get a discount for registering for a bulk package or longer contract term. As with all advertising, always track your ROI to ensure that radio advertising is right for your small business.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].