Jim Ackerman is a retail jewelry marketing expert who has spoken to jewelry retailers at JA New York, JCK, The Smart Jewelry Show and others. He can be reached at 800-584-7585, ext. 3 or by email at mail@ascendmarketing.com.

You can make the case that the Yellow Pages are dead, the first medium in history to go defunct. You can make the case that newspaper is not far behind--on life support, at best.

But, radio is not dead!

Used properly, radio can raise awareness for your store and more importantly, drive people in directly, to actually buy.

But to make it work, you need to do it right. Here’s how.

1. Don’t overdo it. You don’t need to be on all the time--just a few spots a month can result in a tremendous impact. Consider using three stations, three days a month, three spots a day. That’s a total of just 27 commercials a month.

2. Make sure your commercials are direct-response driven. You’ve got to specifically ask listeners to do something. That could be to buy--and if it is, it must be a very compelling offer indeed--or it could simply be to get a “suspect” (audience member) to figuratively raise a hand and self-identify as a “prospect.” You get contact information and can then proactively market to those prospects.

Once you have lead-generation commercials that work, don’t stop using them until they stop working.

3. The best way to produce a radio ad is not to produce a radio ad. Have the announcer do an ad-lib spot. Give the announcer some product or service so he or she experiences your business in a favorable way. Give him or her a collection of benefit statements to be used as talking points. Provide the announcer with a great unique purchase appeal and an irresistible offer, and just let him go with it.

The goal is to make the spot part of the program. You’ll pay a premium and a talent fee for this kind of radio spot, but it’s the most powerful and compelling kind you can do.

4. Test an “interview” spot, where the announcer actually interviews you about your company, your services, or a specific line or product. This must, however, include an offer.

5. Avoid jingles, musical backgrounds, sound effects and anything that sounds “theatrical.” Theater is the world of make-believe. You want your spots to sound “live” and immediate, with a high degree of urgency.

6. Avoid traditional “creativity.” It’s not true that “funny is money.” However, it may be true that “if they cry, they buy.” Appeal to the emotions and you’re more likely to get a response. Go for the tear or the tickle.

7. Choose 60-second spots or longer if you can get them. It takes at least that long to develop your appeal; deliver the offer and repeat your response instructions at least three times.

8. Go ahead and pay for the premium time slots; morning and evening drive times and lunch. They’re usually worth the extra money.

9. Use radio to drive people to a landing page online, where you can more thoroughly develop your sales pitch and give them a strong call to action.

10. Also, refer to your direct mail or print advertising to boost the effectiveness of those media.

In addition to the 10 tips above, there are a couple of additional guidelines.

First, don’t get sucked into the trap of a long-term contract with the station. Can’t blame them for wanting to sell it to you, but until you’ve proven that a given station delivers profitable results, don’t lock yourself into anything.

Second, test and track your results, with an emphasis on test. Do alternative spots or make alternative offers and measure the number of people who come in from the ads and actually buy. (This will require training and monitoring of your staff, to make sure information is being accurately recovered and reported.)

Third, don’t believe your radio sales reps. They haven’t read their own industry research. Your goal is to generate leads and profits. The argument for doing that is not top-of-mind awareness, it’s timing. Do not worry about frequency until after you find a commercial that works. Then you can ramp up your buy, but not before.

Follow these guidelines and you may find you get astonishingly good results from radio.

Marketing speaker Jim Ackerman has addressed jewelry retailers at the nation’s biggest trade shows including JA New York, JCK and the Smart Jewelry Show. National Jeweler readers can receive a free report with more details on how to use radio in promoting their store by emailing Ackerman their contact information at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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