Too many radio station managers think they are limited by the number of advertising opportunities on their websites. In fact, the opportunities that exist are nearly limitless. Please take some time to review your station website noting all of the possible opportunities you are able to sell. Think of your website as a new radio station you have just acquired. How many commercial breaks per hour and how many commercials per break will you allow? These can be equated to website ad blocks and ads. How many shows will your new station have? Equate these to pages on your website. What sponsorships exist within these shows/pages? Hopefully, you get the point by now. A best practice is to note all of these places in a “Digital Inventory List.” Once you have your list, take note of these sponsorship opportunities that you might not have listed yet.
Run of Site (ROS)
This is likely what you have in mind already when you think of online advertising opportunities on your website. I mention it here to set it apart from the other options below.
Banner advertising comes in many different shapes and sizes, and each shape/size is often referred to by a specific name (button, inline, leaderboard, skyscraper, etc). A “run of site” (ROS) banner ad typically can appear on any page/post on the website – top, middle, bottom, or side. Most stations charge their lowest rates for ROS ads because they typically rotate with other ads in a specific area.
Specific Page Sponsorships
You may have many pages on your station website. Sometimes, the content on these pages can be so popular that clients will want to sponsor the page specifically instead of being tossed into the ROS pile. Charge a premium for these opportunities. Examples are…
- Weather Page (storm shelters, weather radios, building supplies, TV stations, etc)
- Personality Page (a client who sponsors show on-air, a client who can’t sponsor show on-air due to it being sold out or too much for their budget, etc)
- Obituaries page (funeral homes, flower shops, etc)
- Team Sports Schedules (schools, sporting goods, etc)
- Mugshots (gun stores, personal protection classes, etc)
- Weather Closings (building supplies, weather radios, storm shelters, food stores, etc)
These are just a few examples. What specialty page can you create for your market and then specifically target for sponsorships?
Typically your pages will have multiple banner ad locations, each with a different banner ad size rotating multiple ads. Take your page sponsorships a step further by allowing for specific page takeovers. A takeover is where one client takes over every ad location on the page. So, their ads are the only ones on the page and each location does not rotate in other advertisers. An additional premium should be charged for this type of sponsorship.
Post Category Sponsor
Each information website will likely have multiple post categories. For example, a news website might have local news, local sports, health, etc. Take the “health” category for example. The category page where all health stories are listed can be sponsored by a local hospital, doctor’s office, etc.
Have a client that writes their own blog posts for their business? Allow them to write for your website as well and sponsor their business in the post. This puts them on a platform you are promoting heavily on the radio and it makes them look like a thought leader in their community.
Here are some examples of some potential clients and the topics they may discuss…
- Local Tax Preparer: “How to Get the Most Benefit from Filing your Taxes early this year”, “Top 5 New Tax Deductions”, etc
- Garden Center: “Picking the Best Topsoil for our Area”, “The best plant food for your ______”, etc.
- Doctors Office: “5 Best Practices to Prevent the Flu”, “What Specific Aches Say About Your Well Being”, etc.
- Building Supplies: “Picking the Best Plywood for Your Project”, “Kitchen Makeover Tips”, etc.
The list goes on and on. Research local businesses that update their websites with blog-type content and offer sponsored posts to them. You may consider throwing in recorded or non-recorded on-air mentions of the post as well.
Polls can be effective because they invoke a response from the visitor. Everyone wants to give their opinion on a topic. The poll may or may not have anything to do with the sponsor but it’s good for them to have an ad in close proximity to an engaging poll. One of our station clients created an entire campaign around polls that involved listeners picking the “Best of” for their area. Each week a new poll question would ask voters to pick the “best (town) barbecue”, “best (town) car wash”, “best (town) burger”, best (town) pharmacy”, etc and award winners each week with a plaque/poster to display in their business.
Since there are so many ways for visitors to listen to your radio station, your stream should be a reason visitors come to your website, but certainly not the only reason. You might be unable to put a sponsor message inside some streaming platforms, so having a streaming sponsor on your website just makes sense. This can be an ad in close proximity to the stream play button, their name in the play button, or perhaps they are the “Studio Sponsor” in which you mention “Steaming from the (Client Name) Studios”.
Take live spots to another level by videoing your talent at the client business talking to the client and patrons. Add these videos to your Youtube channel and create a page for them on your website. The videos last forever on Youtube and they are easily sharable by the client, the people the personality interviewed, etc. Best of all the client AND the station win from the exposure.
Nearly all big station contests are sponsored. Online contests provide more opportunity for submissions and the data can be cultivated for the client’s e-mail database, etc.
If your station sends out a periodic newsletter, hopefully, you have at least one sponsor message inside each one. Adjust the pricing of your newsletter ads according to how many subscribers are in your database. Growing your database means charging more for the sponsorship, so promote sign-ups at every turn.
Popup Banner Ad Modal
Pop-ups that appear in new windows without interaction from the visitor are blocked by nearly every modern browser. However, modal popups are not. Modal popups appear front and center within the page over a darkened/blurred background. In addition to the content of the modal popup, there will be a close button to exit out without engaging in the content.
These popups should come with a high premium cost to the advertiser and not appear on every page on the website. They should also be set to not appear on every visit as this can get very annoying for the visitor and actually reduce the overall amount of traffic your website receives.
If your station does a “swap shop” type show, then adding an online component to that makes sense where listeners can submit their listings online for a period of time. Or, you can create a directory of “shop local” area businesses. Both of these present opportunities for sponsorships including page sponsorships and promoted featured listings.
Banner advertising can sometimes get a bad rap, but it can be very effective as part of any overall paid media campaign that you promote to your advertising clients. The key is designing these ads with an effective message. Get started with a creative, finely-crafted value proposition, throw in a compelling call to action and some descriptive design elements, and you’ve got a powerful and memorable communication. A simple banner with the client logo, address, and phone number is not going to be effective for your client.
If you are promoting your website and the numbers are good, then the impressions sell themselves. Getting people to click on the ads is another story. Review the click data with your clients each month to see if their ads are working and adjust accordingly.
These are just some of the unlimited possibilities available for sponsorships on your radio station website. What other opportunities can you think of? Let us know.