Should You Be Advertising Your Storage Facility on the Radio?

Jon Fesmire |

Decades ago, businesses knew how to advertise. They would get their service or products on television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and in the yellow pages. Advertisements could be funny or touching, bold or even humble, as long as they made a good impression and told customers what to buy.

As the Internet and its related technologies have advanced, we’ve added websites, social networking, and review sites to the mix. Many people find self storage facilities with a Google or Yelp search on their smartphones. So, is radio still a viable advertising channel?

The short answer is, “Yes.” However, it’s important to use it well.

Advantages and Drawbacks

Advertising your self storage facility on the radio offers some big advantages over other media, especially over television. First, it costs much less to produce a radio ad than a television commercial, since the ad will be audio only. Second, time to record the ad will be much shorter than a polished video. Third, buying ad time on the radio costs significantly less than for television.

By carefully choosing which stations to advertise on, you can focus on a specific demographic. For instance, if you want to advertise to college students returning from summer break, create an ad for a college radio station. Or, if you want to attract parents, both renters and homeowners, who need extra space, advertise on local news or music radio.

There are also drawbacks. People often have the radio on at home or work, and it becomes background noise. They’re likely to ignore many advertisements. The best times to advertise are usually during the morning and evening work commute, but those ad spots often fill up and cost more. Also, radio has the disadvantage of being an ephemeral medium, by which I mean potential tenants hear your advertisement, then have to rely on memory if they want to call your facility or visit your website. Unlike print media, nothing is written down.

The good news is that some careful planning can minimize these negatives.

Radio Advertising Tips

How can you get around the disadvantages of radio advertising? While many people do listen to the radio while driving, and are more likely to listen during their commute time, many also have the radio on all day at work. Instead of buying one spot per day, buy several. If your commercial repeats several times, people will start to realize they’ve heard it before, and will be more likely to listen.

Repeat your phone number or website address three times or more during your advertisement. Short ads run about 15 seconds, and longer ads between 30 and 60 seconds. If you’ve listened to many radio ads, you’ll know that they often repeat the most important information immediately. “Call 555-1212. That’s 555-1212. Call now! We’re at 555-1212.” You can also say things like, “Got a pencil handy? Then write this down,” before giving your contact information for the first or second time.

In fact, listen to a couple dozen radio ads before writing yours. You’ll quickly notice some things that you’ll want to emulate. In your ad, get to your key points, like why your facility is a great place to store, what benefits you offer, and how friendly your staff is. Use informal language. In other words, write the way you speak. Try for a friendly, not pushy or overly sales-like approach.

Another key point is to make sure that your advertisement fits the tone of the station. To that end, you may need to record a unique commercial for each station. The music and even dialect should be a match for the station’s listeners. Again, listen to the other advertisements on the station. Contact the station manager and ask if they have any recommendations.

For the best audio quality, rent a studio space with a sound engineer. Unless you or someone at your facility has great acting chops, hire a good voice actor. Poorly spoken advertisement copy can turn customers away and make your business seem unprofessional, and a voice actor will make fewer mistakes, which can save you time.

Advertise locally. This should go without saying, but there’s no point in advertising on a national station if you have a local facility or self storage chain.

Now, check out the radio stations in your area and figure out which ones cater to your customer demographic. Get the details from them on how to get your advertisement on the radio waves, make your ads, and get some new tenants!