Turn your radio on

We recently started a radio program, and I thought it would be a good idea to explain the tradeoffs and why we decided to do this.

At the end of the day, communication is about influencing behavior in others. A basic tradeoff in commercial communications is between the quantity of communicants, the quality of influence, and the cost and benefit of the effort. So let's look at some of the tradeoffs.

Time is money - lost or earned

If I want to make $1 per hour, every hour of communication I participate in that doesn't generate at least $1 of net revenue is losing me money. But on the other hand, if I measure this for each hour I spend, I will not invest the time required for more valuable communications that produce $10/hour. And so the tradeoffs go. I have to generate more money per hour of communication for every hour I spend not communicating. And for every hour I spend communicating without generating net revenue at all, I have to spend more hours generating net revenue to compensate for it.

If I am selling a commodity, like off-the-shelf clothing or food, I cannot normally afford to bring in customers one at a time by taking my time to get to know them in order to have them decide later on to visit my shoe store or even my commercial Web site. Building commercial relationships is inherently limited to customers with enough value to justify the time and effort.

Relationship building

The process of building relationships is usually a slow one that involves many steps. Larger contracts with larger entities tend to take more time. Smaller contracts with lower value and potential for customer retention can be faster and take less time and effort. But every relationship starts with a first contact. And you cannot make a second first impression. So how do you make a good first impression?

There are many psychological factors in making a good impression. How you look, what you say, the words you use to communicate, the circumstances surrounding the meeting, who introduced you and how they did it, and so forth.

Regardless of how my mechanisms work, I need to find my audience and reach them. In the language of a sales sieve, I have to generate communications to turn leads into suspects into prospects. And to do this I need to get into a marketplace with enough suspects or I cannot get enough prospects out of it.

So in simple terms, the problem is how to get enough information to enough people to generate the necessary number of potential deals at a cost low enough to make enough money in a feasible time frame to generate the required margins to succeed.

Does Radio Work?

The advantages of broadcast media are essentially in the numbers of people of the desired demographics you reach and the credibility generated by being in the public airwaves as opposed to other venues. At the end of the day, people listening to the radio are doing specific things and not doing other things. During drive time, most of them are driving to or from work. During ther work day, most of them are at work or on the way to shop, deal with chores, etc. During weekend days, most are recreating. At night, most are sleepless in bed or otherwise awake but not usually all that carefully listening.

In our case, we chose 0900-1000 on weekdays - the end of drive time - the beginning of work time and chore time. The numbers say we reach about 1 million listeners, and the location implies that lots of them are the right demographics for the sales sieves of potential sponsors.

Which reminds me... radio is paid for by sponsors! Businesses in most cases pay a station to put their name and opportunity in front of the audience to get the audience to engage with their business.

These are physical action threshold examples. Then there are the cyber-related action threshold issues.

Depending on what you are selling, the presence on the air also brings some other things of value. There is an inherent distrust of the Internet increasing daily. But there is an increasing trust of on-the-air broadcasts because they involve a trusted party (the host of the show) who has a vetted ad from an actual source, and who is using their presence to tell you about the opportunity in front of you. In many cases, they even use the product or service they describe and tell you what they think. They are in a trust replationship with a large audience, and if they screw up they will ultimately pay a price for it.

Our preliminary results

We will know over time how well this approach works for your situation, but we have some early results on companies presenting on the air on The Cyber Show. These are after being on the air for one month (5 shows).

Correlation is not causality, and before is not because... however, after appearing on The Cyber Show:

A call to action

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In summary

Turn the radio on and see how it works to help grow your company!

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