How to Schedule Radio Ads for Your Next Event

Stephanie Theisen
Last updated by Stephanie Theisen

You did it. You hit the one year anniversary of your business opening its doors. This calls for a celebration! Time to get the word out, spread the news around town, have an anniversary sale, hire a band, the whole nine yards. Right?

There are dozens of ways to spread the word about your event. Any advertising medium will have its own best practices for event marketing. I’m going to tell you how to schedule radio ads for your big anniversary celebration.

How to Schedule Radio Ads for Your Next Event - Business Party People Mingling with Drinks

First Things First

Know your budget. This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times I’m talking to a local business owner and they can't answer the budget question.

“What’s your budget?” I ask.

“Umm … I’m not really sure yet,” they respond.

Knowing your advertising and marketing budget ahead of time works wonders in knowing how many dollars you can allocate for these kind of special events.

Scheduling Your Ads

First and foremost, choosing the right station is key. Pick the radio station(s) that best suit your target audience. Your radio rep can help here immensely.

Second, but just as important, people don’t like to commit to anything much more than a week or so ahead of time. It’s just the way the human brain works. Too far out, and we’ll forget. Too close, and we’ll have a conflicting commitment lined up. If you can get on a person’s mental radar about a week before your event, that’s the sweet spot for them to commit to attending.

Read the nine best local advertising strategies in this ebook.

When it comes to scheduling radio ads to promote your event, work backwards from the day of the event. Let’s say your anniversary event is Saturday from 8am to 6pm. You should run an ad every single hour working backwards from the start of your event. Do this until you’ve exhausted your budget, or until you’ve reached a week or so out.

This is why knowing your budget is so critical.

Tips for Budget Allocation

The above situation is the “perfect world” scenario for marketing your event on the radio. But, we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a realistic one. If you don’t have a perfect world budget, don’t fret. There are plenty of options for you still.

At the very least, you’ll want to get three days’ worth of promotion for your event. This is with running an ad every single hour from the starting time of your event.

If you can’t do that, you can look at utilizing any of these techniques:

  • Run shorter messages. Like 15 second ads, or six second High Impact Ads (HIPs). We run HIPs at the beginning of every commercial break.
  • Use weather, news, or sports sponsorships. These are 10 second live reads before or after every single weather, news, or sports announcement. They’re read live by the announcer currently on-air.
  • Choose different dayparts. Like I mentioned above, the ideal scenario is to run an ad every single hour, including overnights. Doing this nets a better rate per ad. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you can consider just running your ads during certain dayparts which might make each ad more affordable over the campaign.

Your account executive can consult with you on the best tactics to choose. They schedule event advertisements all the time, so they know their stuff. Go ahead and mix and match to find the perfect combination to fit your budget, while still getting the frequency and reach you need for success.

Keep Your Ads Timely

What I mean by this is to use language in your ads to create a sense of urgency for the listener. Don’t run just a single ad saying, “One Year Anniversary Sale this Saturday.” Instead, create more timely versions to run throughout the week.

Use the “This Saturday” version for the first few days. Then, when Thursday rolls around, change it to read “In two days.” On Friday, change it up again to “Coming tomorrow.” And finally, on the day of, your ad should say “Going on now.”

Use Radio to Promote Your Next Event

There you have it. If done correctly, radio can be the most effective way to promote your events. I’ve outlined some tips above for scheduling your ads and writing timely copy. Talk to your account executive for a more in-depth conversation about your specific event.

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