On the Radio
Using a radio campaign creates practice brand awareness.
By Emily Monson, PT
Establishing and identifying a successful marketing campaign for your practice can be complicated and expensive. With so many avenues to highlight your brand and create awareness, it can be challenging to establish a comprehensive marketing plan that has good visibility, adequate frequency, and image presence without breaking your annual budget. Social media has changed the way we connect with the public by creating the opportunity to have daily connection with a portion of our customers. There is much to be encouraged with a successful social media campaign, but have you ever considered being more than “visible” in your marketing design? The benefit of being heard by your customers through radio campaigns is one of the greatest ways to retain your image through sound. Here are a few pointers that will help you to balance your marketing budget while having successful image awareness through this audible marketing resource.
It is too common of an exercise for a practice to work hard to be part of every marketing outlet. Owners spread marketing funds by investing in a little of everything: newspaper advertisements, website design, billboards, brochures, and television commercials. Working to be everywhere with a limited budget provides short bursts of media presence, often not great enough to create lasting brand awareness, which is ultimately a waste of spending. Identifying how useful your marketing strategies really are can be difficult. A practice needs to be able to learn about the effectiveness of a campaign and the return on this investment. It is important to understand that the frequency of branding hits made is critical. It must come with something useful and be remembered by the target audience, establishing an emotional connection to the public.
So, why consider the world of radio? We offer a consumer product, rehabilitation, and this is sought out based on need. Your patient may not recognize you until they need you, and when they do, you want to have created mental awareness or mindshare that has them think of you first when that need arises. An emotional connection to the audience is critical. “What’s in it for me?” is how the consumer will interpret your campaign. Once this is created, repetition of your brand will be the consistent connection that makes you different and sought after. The message must be the same—connecting the consumer to key phrases that become your brand. You can most likely relate to common audible branding, “Like a Good Neighbor” belonging to State Farm. This is the kind of mindshare you want to implement in your market.
Radio is not a cheap solution to create an image and brand connection with the public. Structure and budgeting is important, and moving dollars from one arena to another may be required. A radio station should be able to help with details when establishing your campaign. Target your market through a station that hits the largest consumer group that matches your practice. This will be different if you are a pediatric facility versus a general orthopedic facility. You should be able to see the size of the market—how large of an area the station covers and what households are included in this market. If your marketing campaign creates mental real estate in 10 percent of 100,000 listeners, this is success! Do not forget to create a campaign that creates an emotional response. Integrating testimonials and stories that create a connection to the public is a fantastic way to show that you can meet the needs of the individual. Jingles, commercials, and other connections through the radio must say the same thing every time—this is how you create your brand. It takes time and financial commitment, having presence for at least three months to build on that audible image. A radio station should be able to bring back information following a campaign of the return on your investment.
The book Brandsformation: How to Transform your Good Healthcare Practice into a Great Local Brand (Lighthouse Communications, 2010) by Chuck Mefford is an excellent resource to help get you started. It is full of tips to help you learn how to brand your practice and differentiate yourself from your competition. It hits on common marketing blunders as well as identifies what is the return on investment. This resource was the foundation of our campaign and was actually introduced to our practice by the owner of our regional radio station. Frequency of campaigning, creating a jingle, and creating emotional ads with testimonials and stories has shown us early awareness in a short time. It is exciting to have a patient tell us that they learned of us through the radio. We are creating awareness and an emotional connection specific to rehabilitation, which is different and greater than our competition.
Sound-based memory is retained in our brain much longer and more accurately than what we see. Consider taking advantage of a more intrusive media like the radio, you might be surprised at how effective this can be for your practice.
Emily Monson, PT, is an Impact editorial board member and owner of Clear Lake Physical Therapy & Rehab Specialists. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.