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    John Melley - Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Part One

    The Sales Department is going to kill me for saying this, but….

    This series of articles will provide you with a few tips for crafting your message when you are using radio to promote your business. Radio can be very effective when trying to reach your market. It can make your phone ring like mad if done properly and it can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth if done poorly and without an understanding of how it works.

    In this first article I’ll spend some time discussing the importance of keeping the listener in mind when crafting your commercial and how doing so, builds the foundation for effective radio advertising.

    How Does Radio Advertising Work?

    When I sit down with a new client of our radio station I try to get an idea about their business and what they want to accomplish with their ad. I also want to know who they’re targeting with their product or service.

    The next question I ask frequently generates an uncomfortable silence and some nervous twitching from both the client and salesperson.

    “What was the last commercial you heard on the radio today?”

    “Huh?” (Picture a perplexed face and a mind racing to remember ANY ad.)

    Nine times out of ten they can’t remember. At this point they may be thinking, “What did I just get myself into? This is going to be a waste of money.”

    The salesperson is thinking something like, “Thanks, John. You are going to kill this deal for me.”

    Then I ask a more focused question. I pick out a particular product or service and ask them to name a company who provides it.

    A very successful business in my area is Jordan’s Furniture. If you live anywhere near Boston, you know about Jordan’s Furniture. The owners of Jordan’s are two brothers who built their business from scratch and they are on the radio and television consistently.

    The question I pose goes something like, “If I asked you to tell me where you could buy a new sofa, what would you say?” More often than not their answer is “Jordan’s” or one of Jordan’s competitors.

    This exchange demonstrates that advertising does indeed work. Everyone relaxes. More importantly, it shows the client HOW radio advertising works.

    From the client’s point of view their ad is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing on the air. This is understandable. They’re paying for it. Clients want to know the spot times so they know when to listen for their ad. They want copies of it to play at home and at the office. If they’re relatively new to radio they are excited by the possibilities. They should be. It IS exciting. The problem is the client forgets HOW people listen to the radio.

    Asking the client “What was the last commercial you heard on the radio today?” forces the client to put themselves in the ears of a listener and not an advertiser. Do YOU listen to the radio for the commercials? The answer is most likely, no.

    In my next message I’ll discuss the importance of focusing your message and making it clear to the listener.

    John Melley is the Production Director for Boston’s award winning Mix 98-5 (WBMX). His commercials and voice have been heard in commercials across the country. John is known for creating effective radio commercials that sell for the station and its clients. He’s also known for the great character voices he uses in commercials, promotions and announcements. John’s family ran a retail business for many years and he has first hand knowledge of what it takes to run a business. He applies that knowledge to developing commercials for clients. For more information and to contact John visit

    John Melley 2005 - 2007. All Rights Reserved.


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