360 Degree Media Group Blog

Radio Advertising for Small Business

Posted by Amy Baker on Jun 2, 2015 2:00:00 AM

Radio advertising is one of the most popular forms of advertising. Businesses often put a 60 second message on during commercial breaks to try to convince listeners that their product or service is worthwhile. However, there is a misconception about radio advertising. Small business owners tend to think that radio advertising is reserved for big businesses, and that there is no way they could compete. Many small business owners think that there is no possible way they could afford radio advertising. This could not be further from the truth. There are plenty of small businesses that have had successful radio advertising campaigns, and have been able to do so on a budget. Here are a few reasons to advertise on radio, and some tips on keeping it cost effective.

Radio advertising


Investment not Expense

The first reason to radio advertise, even for small businesses, is that advertising needs to be seen as an investment, not an expense. For more clarification, an expense is the cost incurred or required for something. Rent is an expense, it is the cost required to maintain an office or a factory. Advertisement is an investment, which is an asset or item purchased in hopes that it will generate income in the future. Investing money into advertising should be seen as a way to grow your profits in the future, not a cost that you will never see return on. This is particularly important for a small business owner to understand.


Loyal Listeners

Radio advertising provides the perfect target audience of your choosing. How is this possible? Radio stations attract specific types of listeners. If you are looking to reach middle-aged adults, a classic rock radio station would be a better fit to advertise on than, for example, a hip hop radio station. For small businesses, if you buy an advertising block from a local radio station, you can be sure that local listeners will hear your advertisement and are therefore more likely to remember your business.


Low Cost

Take that heading with a grain of salt. Business owners must realize that any form of advertising can be expensive, and that includes radio advertising. The reason radio advertising is listed as low cost is because it tends to be a cheaper alternative to other mass media advertising, specifically television. The reasoning behind this is lower production costs. Not only are the production costs lower, but the actual production process is much quicker than television advertising.


How to keep radio advertising cost effective:

Shorter Commercials

A typical radio advertisement could last anywhere between 15 and 60 seconds long. Although this is a sufficient amount of time to get your message across, if you are trying to buy radio advertisements on a budget it might be more prudent to buy a shorter time slot. Some radio stations allow businesses to advertise in 10, 15, or 30 second time slots as well. You will have to get your message across quicker, but it can be a cost effective alternative.


Fringe Days/Hours

A fringe day or hour is a time of day that is not considered “prime time” for radio listening. Prime time for radio listening is Monday-Friday during the morning and evening commutes. Typically, any time or day that is not during those hours are called fringe hours. Although you may not get the same reach of audience as during prime time hours, fringe hours tend to be a cheaper alternative.



Cross-promotions are a way of promoting two business at the same time for a symbiotic relationship. For example, a mobile phone company plays an advertisement that obviously promotes their own company. Within the advertisement, the mobile phone company mentions that for every phone contract you sign, a customer receives a discount coupon for your store. That advertisement effectively advertised for both companies, but only one time slot needed to be purchased. If you can find another company to do a cross promotional event with, it could save both companies money.



Spending money on radio advertising can be a scary prospect for small business owners with tight financial situations. However, it is an excellent opportunity to expand your business through connecting with loyal customers and a relatively cheap cost compared to other forms of mass media advertising. There are a few ways in which small businesses can radio advertise on a budget. Look for fringe days and hours, cross-promotional opportunities, and be open to the idea of a shorter duration commercial.


For information about alternative forms of advertising, check out the link below:

Billboard Tip Sheet by The 360 Degree Marketing Group

Topics: Sydney radio advertising, advertising on radio, radio advertising for small business, radio advertising, cost of radio ads