TV Advertising Blog

How to Create Radio Advertising That Drives Online Sales

February 6, 2017
4 minute read

David Ogilvy is indisputably one of the best marketing execs of our time. TIME Magazine touted him “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry” at the height of his career, so it’s only natural for others to want to replicate his success.

Many of his fundamental principles are still relevant today, but like with any successful strategy, they have been adapted to fit in with today’s advertising world. But what’s the best way we can glean his advice to create radio advertising that drives online sales?


“It pays to boil down your strategy to one simple promise and go the whole hog in delivering that promise.”


Ogilvy talks about advertising campaigns being too complicated and in many cases, they are. With radio advertising, it’s simple: sum up the message in a clear, concise, and convincing way. Time is money and there’s none to waste on content that doesn’t positively affect the goal, a.k.a. convert.

Taking it a step further, in order to create a radio advertising campaign that drives online sales, there must be a balance between giving the audience enough information to allow them to make a decision, while also prompting a reason for them to visit the website. Make sure your website’s URL is easy to remember. And make sure your website is properly functioning or redirecting to the intended landing page. If there are any hiccups at any point in the process, your chance for conversion diminishes.

Then, once they get to the website, is the call to action clear? Is it easy to sign up or check out? These pieces must fit seamlessly together to result in a conversion. It’s not enough to hook ‘em; you’ve also got to know how (and where) to reel them in.


“Start trends - instead of following them.”


One of the key reasons to expand radio advertising to online objectives is to reach a broader audience. We want as many people tuning in as possible from any and all mediums that make sense for the campaign. We adhere to direct advertising basics to ensure success. But we rely on our innovation to continue our edge up on our competition.

We put radio stations first and advertisers second. Through our partnerships, we’re able to achieve prime placement and offer exclusive rates, which sets the stage for the content being created. If it sounds non-traditional, it’s because it is. And, as a result, our clients can count on a consistent stream of high-performing ROI.

Direct response radio advertising is designed to get listeners to take a requested action. That is and always will be the goal. It’s a tried and true recipe, which doesn’t need much alteration. But it can be optimized to simultaneously reach an online audience as well.

If you’re optimizing a campaign to drive more online sales, repeat the URL more than once and let listeners know what to expect when they get there. We believe in the “extra” that our unique approach provides clients. Think of it as the a la mode to the brownie, the cheese to the burger.


“Any good agency knows how to position products for demographic segments of the market.”


Targeting. Audience reach. Segmentation. What do these words mean and why do they matter? Without identifying your target market and segmenting the message, it’s more difficult to get them to convert. Why? Because what you’re saying most likely doesn’t apply to them. Whatever you’re selling has to create value for the listener.

For starters, do you know where your listener likes to shop? A 2018 online global shopping report from PwC shows 54 percent of U.S. adults shop online weekly or monthly; 34 percent say their mobile phone will become their main purchase tool. Adjusting a campaign to meet the needs of an online audience can be as simple as adding in a website call to action to the traditional radio spot.

In your campaign’s strategy stage, ensure you are targeting an audience for where they are most active. Alter the message and medium to allow people to convert where they feel most comfortable. You can control segmentation and track growth on a larger scale by linking your direct response messaging online.


“Nobody was ever bored into buying a product.”


The call to action is the part of the message the person engages with, but everything leading up to it must grab audience attention first or you’ll never get to the chance to ask.

Making content that’s engaging may seem obvious, but do you know what it takes to make someone sit up and actively listen? When a person is sitting in their car on the commute home or at work getting through their day, what’s going to cause a reaction when listening to your radio ad?

It’s providing a solution to a problem they have. Make the solution worthwhile. Make it easy to get. And, make sure they know who to call or where to go to get it.



The metric we measure most in direct response advertising is conversions. Who is converting? Where are people converting? What is making them convert? Rather than treating these questions like a guessing game, make sure you have solid answers to support the outcomes.

Testing isn’t a complete overhaul; it often involves tweaks, minor changes to get your campaign to the best it can be. While we’re certain Mr. Ogilvy had plenty of methods for testing which of his advertising tactics worked best, he didn’t have access to the kind of data, technology, and platforms we have today.

Our suite of solutions is geared toward testing every step of your campaign and how it affects its growth. For example, if a campaign is performing well through radio advertising, the next step might be to bridge the efforts online. And then, test again. Testing is essential for running successful campaigns and making the most out of your marketing dollars.

Learn from the Past, Make It Your Own

In today’s digital world, not everyone is ready to pick up the phone as soon as they hear a commercial or see a print ad. Most people like to research a product further by reading consumer reviews, learning about the company, and other details that may not be able to fit into a short radio ad. Marketers must be prepared for this transition online. Because even if a customer first heard about your brand through radio advertising, they may not convert until they get in front of a screen. And, it’s that last action that matters most.

Chuck Hengel

By Chuck Hengel

Founder & CEO

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