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4 Mistakes made when using Radio Ads for School Marketing

Posted by Ralph Cochran on Apr 27, 2014 7:00:00 PM

When planning your private school marketing, some mediums are more effective than others. A medium used by many private schools is radio advertising and if used correctly, it can be a useful part of a broader strategy for building awareness of your school and its branding. However, if implemented incorrectly or without concrete goals in mind, a radio advertising campaign can cost you a lot of money and generate very disappointing results. Here are four mistakes that schools make when using radio ads and how you can avoid doing the same.

radio advertising

MISTAKE #1- Assuming radio ads are just as effective today as they were 10 years ago

Like it or not, radio advertising simply does not have quite the reach and impact it did 10 years ago. The exponential growth of MP3 players and smartphones delivers thousands of songs, podcasts and internet radio services like Pandora and Spotify at the touch of a button. The ability to connect these devices directly into a car's stereo system has lessened the impact and audience that radio used to command.

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MISTAKE #2- Not choosing the right radio station

Radio ads are only effective if the prospective parents that fit the buyer personas of your marketing strategy are listening to the radio station you advertise on. An excellent and cost-effective way to gauge what stations your targeted demographic listens to is to poll parents on their listening habits in your school's pickup lane or via an online survey. This can save thousands in your marketing budget.

mothers doing when listening to radio

MISTAKE #3- Not choosing the right type of radio ad copy to match the goal of advertising

Just because radio advertising in 2014 is no longer as effective as it was in the past does not mean that it's not worth using. How you mesh your ad copy with the particular goal of your private school marketing is very important. If you're promoting an event like an Open House or Prospective Parent Night, your ad copy should be specifically honed in on converting listeners into attendees. Your ad copy should not try to do too much. If your goal is event promotion then do it well and get the RSVP. Don't try to bombard the listener with every achievement that your school has accomplished. Use your website to do that, unless your ad is a branding ad. Then your purpose is different.  

Branding ads give the listener an impression of the school and its culture and mission. They are more in line with traditional radio advertisement focused on raising awareness. In contrast they are not focused on getting the listener to take action such as downloading a free eBook that is relevant to them. In my opinion for a school time and money is limited to short slots so the goal should be to drive that listener to investigate your branding and message further on your website.

Another radio strategy is offering free content through your website. This can be a complimentary eBook available for download on your website on a topic that appeals to your targeted demographic or an invitation to a free informational seminar.

MISTAKE #4- Using radio ads as the end and not the means

In this era with technology at our fingertips, your private school marketing should not end with the radio ad. Again, time constraints limit what your message can bring to your potential clients. Good radio copy for private school marketing should include a call to action and ultimately drive traffic to your website. Don't expect listeners to just hear your ad and flood your office with phone calls and visits. Almost everyone wants to get the bulk of their preliminary information online and having an easy to navigate website will ultimately lead to you getting more of the leads you want

Topics: Enrollment Growth, Private School Marketing, Radio Advertising