Don’t Waste Your Breath

Allow me to stand on my soapbox for a minute and speak to something I am very passionate about, or should I say, very passionate against!

Regardless of what size market we drive through, while listening to the radio we still hear the dreaded seven-digit, or worse yet, ten-digit phone numbers.

Yes, it is still happening! Is it happening on your stations?

The ONLY thing that could possibly be an even bigger waste of breath is when they do the unthinkable and repeat the ten-digit phone number.

In recent weeks while driving to see clients, I went through small, medium and even a major market. I would guess that approximately 15-20% of the ads I heard included unmemorable seven and ten-digit phone numbers. Why?

I realize that the business owner is usually the one that says, “I need my phone number in the ad, that’s how people reach out to me”. As media reps, it’s our job to explain to them how our medium is used and instead show them a better way to use those, seven, ten, or twenty words.

The listeners of your stations do not stand by, pen in hand, waiting to write down a phone number from an ad they previously heard that may or may not air again in the next commercial break. It’s simply not how people listen to the radio.

If the message is strong enough and creates enough desire, the interested consumer will find them. Nine times out of ten they will google the business name or speak into their phone and simply say, “Call Joe’s Pizza”.

There are only 5 times we should use phone numbers in radio or TV ads:

1)   When the number is very easy to recall –

Example (prefix) – 1-2-3-4 or (prefix) – 20-20 (I’m still skeptical)

2)   It’s said in a unique way that makes it very easy to recall –

Example 541- twoooo – sixxxx….seven – eight! (Still skeptical!!)

3)   A vanity number –

Example 541–BEDS, or 1-800 – GOT JUNK

4)   Direct Response ads – The rule of thumb is to repeat the number 4-6 times.

5)   When a business doesn’t have a website or social page. (Shame on them)

Let’s make the world a better place and eliminate phone numbers in radio ads!

O.K., I am now off my soapbox! Thank you for allowing me to vent!