Do you wish your auto repair shop’s name was on the lips of every potential customer in town? Automotive radio ads can bring that vision to life! Spark brand buzz, generate conversations about your fantastic services, and increase profits through consistent, memorable radio advertising. Here’s how:
5 Keys to Automotive Radio Ads
Before you invest, make sure your strategy for automotive radio ads will:
- Focus on Branding
- Hit your Target Market (and not much more)
- Frequently Hit Your Target Market
- Be Memorable and Repeatable
- Generate an ROI
Focus on Branding
Radio is a branding tool—no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
When an ad comes on the radio, drivers are busy driving. They can’t dial a phone or write a note, and they’re unlikely to swerve off the road and drive right to your shop.
Instead, radio works best to drill your message into drivers’ minds over a long period of time. Consistent messaging becomes so ingrained in their mind that the next time they need an oil change or tire rotation, they automatically think of your auto repair shop!
ShopOwnerMag talked to Mike Upton with Upton Tire Pros about radio’s effectiveness for branding.
“The reason we started doing so much radio advertising two or three years ago is we had just rebranded ourselves and opened a fourth store,” he explains. “We added Tire Pros as an affiliation, so we had become Upton Tire Pros. We were trying to build brand awareness. It was more of a branding thing – we didn’t talk about the week’s sales. […] I feel like we got a lot of new customers by doing it,” Upton says.
Upton Tire Pros had a clear, specific strategy: create buzz around their new name. By running frequent and memorable radio ads, they successfully rebranded and generated new customers.
If your goal isn’t to create a stronger, more recognizable brand for your auto shop, then you should check out these direct-response advertising options.
Hit Your Target Market (and not much more)
When evaluating radio ads (or any advertising for that matter), you should ask two questions:
- Where is my target audience?
- Where will the ad be distributed?
For advertising to be effective, there should be as much overlap between the two as possible.
For that reason, we don’t recommend radio advertising for single-location shops. Most likely, your customers are coming from a small radius around your business. While radio ads would definitely hit your target market, they’d also be broadcast to thousands of other listeners who are too far away to use your services!
Instead of spending your ad budget to reach people that aren’t likely to become customers, look into hyperlocal advertising options such as register tape advertising.
If you have multiple locations – especially if they’re spread out around a large city– radio can be an effective and profitable option. In one fell swoop, your message is broadcast to thousands of listeners. And no matter where they live or work, these potential customers are just a few miles from one of your shop locations.
Frequently Hit Your Target Market
Studies have proven that the more frequently an ad is seen (or heard), the more likely someone is to take action. While there is no magic number per se, studies have shown that exposing one person to an ad 5-9 times has proven most effective in lifting brand awareness.
Radio is a great medium for repetition because you can advertise multiple times a day, every day of the week. While that may not be realistic based on your budget, you should at least run your ad 3-4 times per week to get the best results. LeadsRX found this level of repetition generated a 10% growth in website traffic.
Create Memorable Radio Ads
Your radio commercial needs to stick in the driver’s mind until they can take action. Here are some tips for creating memorable, actionable automotive radio ads.
Decide on One Call-To-Action
After hearing your ad, what is the ONE thing you want listeners to do? We recommend driving listeners to your website.
Websites are easier for people to remember than a random string of numbers (aka, phone numbers). And since your website domain includes the name of your business, it helps to reinforce your brand. Plus, everyone owns a smartphone! So following through on your call-to-action is achievable from a vehicle.
Choose Your Words Carefully
In just 150 words (or less), you need to connect with your audience and incentivize them to carry out your call-to-action. To get all of this done in just 15 or 30 seconds, you need to be extremely picky about what you say!
Anything that doesn’t support your call-to-action should be removed from your ad. Try to stick to three points:
What experience can the audience expect when they visit?
Are there any great deals or promotions they should take advantage of?
Website, Website, Website!
At Auto Repair Shop, every customer is treated like family. Enjoy our free 24-hour shuttle and no-hassle warranty included with every repair! And since you’re family, claim your 10% off friends and family discount only at autorepairshop.com. That’s right, go to autorepairshop.com to get 10% off your first repair at Auto Repair Shop. See you soon!
Focus on Authenticity
The most successful automotive radio ads tend to be the most authentic. Luckily, radio gives your auto repair shop a voice. Literally, you can use your own voice! Recording your own radio ads will only add to your brand’s personality.
As consumers hear you on the radio, in your social media videos, and on TV, they will begin to recognize you and trust you.
You can also work with radio influencers to do live endorsements instead of pre-recorded ads.
Brian Walker, with ShopMarketingPros, has a wonderful article detailing how this radio strategy kept producing for their auto repair shop. It all started by providing an out-of-this-world experience for a local radio show host. The host’s experience was so great that it became natural for him to talk about his love for their shop on air! And because he was speaking from real experience, listeners trusted and followed his recommendations.
You can still get authenticity with a pre-recorded ad by asking your customers what they love about you. Take some of their feedback and add it to your commercial script.
Name Swap Test
Read your script out loud, but replace your auto shop’s name with the name of your biggest competitor. Does the ad work? If it does, you haven’t clearly conveyed your brand. How will potential customers remember that your ad is your ad if it sounds like it could be from any auto shop?
Once you can read through your script, and only your name makes sense, then you’ve got a winner.
How to Evaluate ROI
Evaluating the revenue generated from automotive radio ads may take months. And that’s okay! Because radio is a branding tool, you may not see an increase in sales right away. Only after prospective customers have heard your ad multiple times and become familiar with your brand will they start to take action.
One way to track your ads’ effectiveness before sales roll in is to track the days your radio ads are broadcast and the corresponding website traffic. LeadsRx found a direct and almost immediate impact on website traffic for radio advertisers, as shown below.
Are Automotive Radio Ads Right For You?
Larger auto repair shops that are looking to establish their brand can see measurable success with radio advertising. By integrating your branded radio ads with online search, your auto repair shop will be the first name drivers think of when they need an oil change, and you’ll be able to track ROI through website traffic and conversions.
However, radio ads are not for everyone. So if you’re looking for a quick, highly-targeted direct-response campaign, look toward unconventional print advertising or social media to get the best results.