(By Loyd Ford) The stress of our time is weighing on local business owners and it is the most significant challenge all of these people have faced in their lifetime. It is well known that no one has seen anything like the voluntary turning off of the national economy happening now. You will see some local businesses go “out.” Much of what is happening has broadcasters scratching their heads in terms of the best path to take to help local business owners and save their own business. So, let’s talk about potential best path to take with how you communicate with advertisers and the local business community.
First, radio’s major role with clients is to show empathy and to be open to creative solutions for helping your best clients weather this significant storm right now. This is serious and it feels dark. As difficult as this is, your first concern facing clients cannot be revenue. It has to be their survival and making sure your relationship with them is clearly focused on their benefit in a very tough time.
But what about your business of being a broadcaster and the images you place on the air about this crisis related to business owners and local economy? Here is actual copy I am recommending for my clients and then I will talk about ‘the why’ I am recommending this.
(1) In (your market), we are facing unusual times. We are waiting to ‘flatten the curve’ of the Coronavirus. This time will forever be marked by the term ‘social distancing.’ A lot of folks are concerned about the consumers, but this is temporary. The economy is coming back as soon as we get the ‘all clear’ for safety. Research shows advertising in a crisis strengthens your brand. If you own a business in the (your market) area, I want to talk to you about your brand. That demand is coming. I’m (your name). If you want to increase your opportunity for when the economy returns, call me. XXX – XXXX. We want to serve you and strengthen your business for return of customers because they will be returning soon. If you don’t believe me, ask your neighbor what they miss about going to a local restaurant.
(2) Are you a (your market) business owner concerned about the future of your business? Now is a time when people are thinking about how we’ve turned off the U.S. economy for public safety. I’m (your name) from (your radio brand) and I have another question for you. Are you missing the advertising opportunity of a generation? This isn’t the great depression. The government has temporarily turned off the economy and sent people home. Once the all clear comes, the economy is going to be wheels up. If you question this, think about who we are as Americans. We’re having trouble getting people to stay home now for their own health. When the all clear comes, the American consumer in (your market) will come back. Smart advertisers who have taken advantage of low rates and higher consumption of all media right now will benefit from strengthening their market share when consumers return to the retail economy. If you want to increase your opportunity for when more customers return, call me. XXX – XXXX. We care about your business at (your radio brand).
These local business leaders won’t only focus on what is happening now. Of course, they are worried about the present. They have to also focus on timing and getting their business up and rapidly generating revenue again as consumers turn back to spending. Sound familiar? And these business owners have focus on bringing customers into their business like they did before the crisis, but now the speed of reconnection is even more important to them. That’s radio’s specialty. You can’t keep Americans down (or home for long). This curve will flatten soon and the world is very unlikely to end with Coronavirus. That means all business owners will need to have a plan and that should absolutely involve advertising on radio for the return of these important customers. So while you are focused on hand-holding and doing whatever you can to help your clients now, your on-air imaging may should focus on what comes next: How to rapidly and best engage returning customers.
Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral and strategic programming to radio with RPC. Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected]