Radio Works

In my many years as a practitioner of dental marketing, I have learned to appreciate what radio can do for a dental practice. In fact, few mediums offer the ease of use, accessibility, and ability to connect with your target market as our old friend, the radio.

A good radio spot offers several distinct advantages, including:

  • Personal touch. Radio delivers a much greater level of intimacy than either print media or TV. It allows you to make an instant emotional connection with the listener.
  •  A captive audience. With radio, your audience can be driving to work, lying by the pool, sitting in front of the computer or doing household chores. Regardless of the situation, your audience hears the message loud and clear. With other media, people have a tendency to flip the channel, turn the page and tune out your message.
  • Dual results. Because radio is very local, it builds awareness of your practice name while also serving as an effective vehicle for generating new patients (as long as your messages include a call for action).

The challenge with radio, however, is making sure you get the appropriate bang for your buck. Radio sales reps often don’t understand dentistry or they lack good copywriting skills — sometimes both. As a result, you often end up with generic spots that fail to give a distinctive and professional voice to your marketing message.

How to Succeed in Radio Dental Marketing

To get the most from your radio advertising dollars:

Get the listener’s attention fast.
If your spot doesn’t grab the listener within the first eight seconds, you’ve lost them for good. A good opener serves as an “auditory headline” for the rest of the story and allows you to focus the audience’s attention on what they need to know about your practice.

For example, I once created an ad campaign for a general practitioner who decided that focusing on periodontal condition prevention and treatment would be an effective tactic to attract procrastinators. The first part of the message went something like this:

“Today I want to talk to you about something personal and confidential, about something that we shy away from discussing even with our closest friends and loved ones…”

We then proceeded to describe the specific symptoms of gum disease and urged listeners to call and schedule a treatment today. It worked beautifully! Not only did the number of phone calls from our radio ads skyrocket, but so did the number of new walk-in patients who mentioned the message.
Target your audience.
Radio makes it easy to connect with a specific audience. For example, if you want to reach out to mothers (a good idea since they make the majority of dental decisions in American families!) you can advertise on radio stations that have strong appeal for female listeners in the 18- to-49 age group.

Usually this format is called “adult contemporary” or “soft hits.” Due to the strong demand for this type of audience, you will typically find two or three stations competing for this segment in any given market. Remember — female buyers control the purse and the checkbook in the U.S. and all over the world.
Spend your dollars wisely.

Contact the adult contemporary radio stations in your town and ask for the ratings or number of listeners. The #1 station will gladly share this information with you. Less successful stations may try to convince you that ratings don’t matter. Don’t listen to them because ratings make a big difference! Once you have the inside scoop on who controls the airwaves in your market, ask for their advertising rates for the morning and the afternoon drive shows. You’ll sound like a pro!

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