Big Results on a Small Budget

You can advertise with effective reach and frequency, even if yours is a small enterprise with a very limited budget.

Small-business proprietors often view advertising with frustration and a sense of futility. “I have so little money for advertising it wouldn’t do me any good” is a common lament. These businesses forgo advertising and rely on word-of-mouth to tell their stories. Growing your business through word-of-mouth can be the last gasp of a company that has dribbled away its limited budget on an unproductive media campaign.

Keys to Small-Budget Radio Advertising

If you operate a small business that meets a need or fills a market niche, and your business is growing slowly without advertising, I can promise that radio advertising would be effective for you. The instructions are simple:

1. Concentrate your budget on radio.
Don’t be seduced into using other advertising media or promotional gimmicks that could fragment your limited budget.

2. Advertise on the one or two radio stations that talk to your most likely and profitable customer. 

3. Commit to a long-term budget you can sustain.
You should be comfortable paying the bill every month without counting on your advertising to immediately increase your revenue.

4. Prepare a strong and effective Value Story campaign that sets you apart from your competition. 

5. Use a PFP (Planned Fixed Position) schedule designed to assure effective reach and frequency. Over time you will achieve the magic snowball effect that multiplies your schedule exponentially.

6. Allow time to effectively reach a station’s total audience with sufficient frequency to be remembered at buying time.  Think in terms of months and years—not days. The smaller the budget the more time required to communicate your Value Story. The larger the budget the less time required.

7. Increase you budge as your enterprise grows. Asses your growth percentages annually. Use a percentage that fits your comfort zone.

In summary, you must let the element of time work its magic; carefully select the radio station that targets your most profitable customers; stay within a reasonable budget; prepare dynamic messages; and schedule the ads so that they reach the station’s total audience. These instructions apply to larger budgets, too, with the difference being the time or patience required. As the amount of money spent intelligently on advertising rises, the time needed to achieve reach and frequency with a station’s audience decreases.

The Magic of Budget Expansion

In time, radio’s powerful “magic snowball” will magnify listeners’ perceptions of your ads and your advertising budget will seem six to eight times greater than it is. Take, for example, the story of Bill and Shirley Naill and Artistic Cleaners in Wichita, Kansas. Their success at their small 12.5-footstorefront building enabled them to establish several branch locations in the Wichita area, as well as a highly-profitable tux and bridal gown rental business.

When Bill and Shirley visited me a few years ago, Bill shook my hand and said, “Here’s the man who made me rich.” But he was wrong. What enabled his enterprise to prosper was the entrepreneurial spirit and teamwork of Bill and Shirley, a great marketing bridge, and hard work. I merely executed the radio campaign that told his story through the exclusive and effective use of one radio station.

Bill and Shirley’s story should be encouraging to all small businesses. It demonstrates how the power of radio amplifies the smallest of budgets, making it the only advertising medium whose benefits are available to every enterprise in America, regardless of size.


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