Gaining Leads Through Radio

Radio is a great way to reach an older demographic. Here’s what you need to know. 

January 13, 2020
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thompson creek windows employees with Mary Walter

Mary Walter, a local radio on-air personality (center) visits the Thompson Creek factory.

Thompson Creek is a family-owned company with an annual revenue of about $75 million. We manufacture and install windows, gutter systems, and other home improvement products. Our company serves Maryland, Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Virginia Beach. 

We try to keep our marketing efforts diversified—as if it were an investment portfolio—and we generally don’t want any single area to account for more than 20% of our total lead flow. The blend changes at different times of year, but it’s never much higher than that. (We once hit a high of 45% from field marketing, but we felt that was too much and scaled back a bit.)

Currently, approximately 10% of our leads come from radio ads—down from 22% at our highest point, which was in 2008-2009. We have a long history with radio, and while listeners have several other options than traditional radio, we still find it a highly efficient way to gain quality leads.

Back when we started advertising on radio, we were a smaller company. We began with adult contemporary stations without much reach, but it was pretty inexpensive. At one point, we switched over to AM—more of the political talk shows—and that started getting some traction. Those stations have loyal fans who listen all day long. The listeners are mostly an older demographic, and because that’s our target, it works well for us. 

In the early to mid-2000s, we looped in Chris Core, a well-known radio personality. He’s seen as a trustworthy and even-keeled, so when he spoke about our company, it was a good endorsement. With Core, we found that the cost-per-lead was higher, but so was the closing rate and average sales price. It was worth it. Back then, Core was on a talk station that’s now on the FM dial. He was there for a number of years, and ended up leaving, and going over to a news, traffic, and weather station. (Back then, people relied on radio for traffic reports.) 

Today, we advertise on news, talk, weather, and sports. The beauty of sports is that people will call in to give an opinion whether the team wins or loses. Fans are passionate and engaged regardless of how the team performs on the field. 

As for online broadcast options, we’re talking about exploring that, but haven’t done so yet. Traditional radio is very local, and that helps us. We’ve run some targeted recruiting ads on Pandora, but with very little success. There are still enough listeners on the radio to make it worth it for us.

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