We’re heading into Fall ratings and it’s an exciting time indeed. A time of begging, bribing, cajoling and forcing people to listen at insane appointment times in the hopes of increasing our listenership. And we’re so good at it that we get up to 4% of our audience to participate.
Now, I’m not a mathematician but if you could get…5% to play, wow. Wouldn’t you be #1?
1%. That’s all you need to do to be historic. So, what you need to do to grow your engaged contest players by one freaking little percent?
First step is to stop thinking like Radio People because whatever we’re doing isn’t that great.
Second, look at the imaging as the Marketing for our Marketing. Have some fun. Be topical. Have characters. Change it every few days and don’t just stick some stopwatch piece of wallpaper in rotation and run it for six weeks. In fact, here are some examples where stations decided to, shudder, have some fun.
And then look at what your competitors have done and not just don’t do it, but do the opposite. For instance, we’ve dumbed down “free money” and “win $1000” to the point that it really doesn’t mean anything. So “The $1000 Free Money Text” is going to be destined to be background noise.
Then, finally, think of it as more than just money. Money doesn’t have to be money. It could be “stuff” or an “experience”.
The Last Contest is probably the biggest promotion in U.S. Radio history. They took $10,000, which was a lot in those days, sat down and created a couple of hundred prize packs, like “Last Contest Prize Pack #258, the Arnold Palmer….”, which was followed by a 60 second description of the greatest golf weekend anyone in this planetary system would ever experience. They took $10,000 and made it sound like they had 700 billion is prizes to give away. Kind of like Last Prize Standing. When they finally PLAYED the contest and took a caller, it literally shut down phone service to a significant portion of the market.
Newcap in Edmonton once had $2500 a week to give away. The competition had more, so instead of getting into a pissing match about it they figured out that you could pretty much cover your fuel costs for a year, so they did “Win Free Gas For A Year”, which frankly sounds huge. And it was.
93.1 The Wolf had $300 to give away three times a day, which is kind of a weird sounding amount. So we figured out that it would pay for school lunches for a kid for a year, presented it that way and the phones melted. “School Lunches For A Year” vs “$300”. Which sounds bigger?
It’s inevitable that many many stations will be do a group contest with $1000 multiple times a day.
Repeat after me: “They ALL fucking sound the same”.
Because they do. And we want to bump that number up 1%, right?
So, with these promotions you are given things that you have to do and you have to say. Outside of that you’re usually allowed to name or frame at your leisure. Like KLUC/Las Vegas where they call it what it is: a bribe.
But what if you presented it as something other than money? Something that the winner could take their $1000 and buy if they chose to. Like “Win $1000 In Beer…or the cash equivalent.” Or “Win $1000 In Sod…or the cash equivalent.” Or “Win $1000 In Three-Ply Toilet Paper…or the cash equivalent.”
It would stand out from all of the “$1000 Free Money Birthday Text” and “Grand In Your Hand” contests. And that’s the Essence Of Promotions: standing out.
In fact, coming very soon to an Alpha station is “Win $1000 In Ceramic Cats….or the cash equivalent”. How do you think that will compare to “The $1000 Workday Jackpot” which inevitably will be across the street? Right.
Money can be more than money. Expand your horizons and think of something that $1000 could be that might possibly get you that extra 1%.