Coupon Sampling with a Megaphone

Bob Leighton
Last updated by Bob Leighton

“Caller number 11 will win free concert tickets! Call now at 555-RADIO! Good luck!”

Have you ever wondered where radio stations get all those prizes they give away on-air? I know I did. That is, until I started working in radio. We get those prizes from local businesses like yours who want to get their products and/or services into the hands of local consumers.

Coupon Sampling with a MegaphoneRadio, as a platform, is like a giant microphone for your business' message. Add your coupons, products, or services to the mix for sampling, and you’ve got a powerhouse giveaway machine with eager listeners waiting for the next contest cue-to-call.

Size Does Matter

What’s the best “value” or “size” of prize to giveaway on-air? Obviously, the bigger the better. Free cars are the stereotypical summer giveaway for radio stations. But what about free oil changes, massages, tanning certificates or jewelry?

If you were to ask us about sampling your product via giveaway on one of our stations, we would ask that your prize be worth at least $25, and you be willing to have at least five available so we can get a weeks’ worth of contesting out of it. That’s the minimum for us. Other stations might be different.

Of course, you could always tie into an existing or upcoming contest. Radio stations will put together contest packages and the sales reps will ask clients to get involved with the contest. That involvement typically includes a small buy for the exposure, plus some product giveaways.

Here’s an Example

The past two summers, our stations in St. Cloud, MN ran a contest called “Tea it Up!” We partnered with Lipton Iced Tea and Oak Hill Golf Club. Listeners entered online for a chance to win 18 holes of golf at Oak Hill, plus some Lipton gear.

The contest itself was straightforward: just register online for a chance to win. The name of the contest makes it memorable. Golf. Tea. You get the idea.

Lipton provided the swag, and Oak Hill provided the golf certificates. Both got to sample their goods and services to our listeners, which was a direct benefit to those businesses. The contest benefited the listeners because they get something out of the deal, and it benefited our radio stations because it gave us a contest to promote as a way to send listeners back to the station website to register. It was a win/win for all parties involved, and the investment for Lipton and Oak Hill was minimal.

Things that Don’t Work

If you’re going to give something away, actually give it away – no strings attached, no purchase necessary. It’s not really free if you’re required to purchase something, as is the case with BOGO (buy one get one) deals.

Also, don’t require the recipient to jump through hoops to claim your offer. Don’t make them sit through a sales presentation, or sign up for an in-home consultation as a condition of the “free” offer. If it’s free, then make it free.

Finally, opposite of the above, your offer should be easy to claim. Even if your offer is extremely valuable, but hard to claim, you won’t get anyone to redeem it. In fact, you’re more likely to alienate those potential customers if they view your business as difficult to work with.

But I Don’t Want to Lose Money!

In the above example, do you think winners went to Oak Hill and just golfed 18 holes without purchasing anything else? Hardly. They likely rented a golf cart, and bought drinks on the course. They might even have had burgers and beer in the clubhouse afterwards for lunch. Plus, who goes golfing alone? A twosome or foursome would have been extra rounds of golf, more golf carts, and more food and drinks purchased.

Finally, it gave the golf course a chance to provide remarkable service and earn a repeat customer. This is all cash in the pocket for the golf course. And at what cost? A single round of golf. That’s a great return on investment if you ask me.

Getting Started

If the idea of using radio as a megaphone to sample your products or services sounds neat to you, you’re not alone. Allowing people to actually use your products or experience your services is one of the best forms of marketing.

Talk to your radio rep and ask about ways you can do it for your business. Get creative together, and find a way to get listeners excited about what you offer.

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