I recently had a conversation with a local sales manager who works for a national group and asked him how they were doing at selling their station websites. I was blown away by his response, “We don’t unless someone asks about it – which is never.” When I asked why he said that there wasn’t much local content and really no reason to focus on the website. And then most that was done at the corporate level. I was just in awe.
So, I went back and re-read a blog post I made several months ago, titled “Why Is My Radio Station Website Not Getting Any Traffic or Sales?”. This group could benefit from this advice.
Your content is not fresh
Would you buy a newspaper or magazine ad if the cover only changed every couple of months? Or never? Gosh, I hope not. Good/fresh content is so important for both visitors and advertisers.
Search engines and especially Google have become very efficient in recognizing good/fresh content. So, if your content is not good enough and your website is not of high quality, the chances of ranking high in any search result are minimized.
Besides search engines, let’s not forget about the indirect influence of social media on rankings and traffic. Great content is more likely to be shared on social media channels and that means more clicks to your website. That’s why sharing your website content on social media is more important than simply posting it there.
The sales manager I mentioned above could take a few hours per week and update the website with local club dates, promote it on air and turn around and sell the sponsorships. This is something he wouldn’t be able to do on-air.
You’re not promoting your site and/or its content
If you’re not hammering the benefits of your website on-air, the smart advertiser will know that you’re not very interested in promoting it (or their purchased ad on it). I listened to a local station the other day and only heard the website mentioned in their top-of-the-hour ID. The jocks mentioned their Facebook page a few times, but no website promotion. That tells me right there that the station website isn’t an important tool to them. And it tells me that they need this list. I listen to Sirius XM on occasion and hear about their website and mobile app 2-5 times per hour.
Radio is the most proven form of advertising, so why not promote the website content as often as possible on-air? Listeners are passed the old, “for more info visit xyz100.com”. Instead, give them specific reasons to visit like, “A downtown bakery exploded today, discover at xyz100.com why you might want to check your creme-filled donut before taking a bite.”
The same can be true on social media. Rather than simply posting a link to whatever story is on your station website, generate a proper tease there as well. Then, keep up with your content as it circulates and be sure to participate in the conversation.
Your salespeople are not trained to sell the website
We’ve all seen the salesperson who grew up listening to our station and can’t wait to get out there to start promoting and selling it. They’re excited because they know all about the DJs, the music, the shows, who are on each weekend, etc. Unfortunately, they don’t know any of those details about your station website, so it becomes unimportant or irrelevant to them.
You can move beyond this by showing them how important and relevant the station website is to you. If it is not just as important as the on-air signal, then this is where you can start. Emphasizing digital assets is a must-have mentality for any radio station that wants to survive moving forward.
Do the people who are tasked with selling your website know every opportunity that exists and what each location costs? Therefore, a Digital Inventory List is so important. Instead of just focusing on banner ads, give them every other option that advertisers might have to promote their brand through your website. Sponsored articles, giveaways, sponsored pages, and videos are a few examples of things that may be more attractive to advertisers than a simple banner ad.
You’re not tracking the effectiveness of your website
If you’re producing good content and promoting it well, over time you will learn what works well and what doesn’t. If you’re not tracking the effectiveness of your content, then you miss out on this opportunity. Once you can see a trend, your content producers will have a guideline to go by and produce more of what the audience wants. For some it’s local news, for others event calendar, and so on.
On the sales side, nothing speaks to advertisers like black-on-white proof that your site is worth their investment. Show them metrics and be prepared to pivot if something isn’t working well, like offering new copy, an upgraded position, etc. In small markets with no on-air reporting data, the online data can be especially valuable in making more online sales.
You have too many links away from your website
Radio stations that display RSS feeds that lead to other websites is one of our biggest pet peeves. We understand every station wants format news on their website. However, it’s important to ask yourself if the links away from your site, and the advertisers you sell to be on it, are worth it. What’s most likely to happen, the visitor will bookmark their content site and go straight there next time bypassing your site altogether.
If you want format news or other content on your station site, it’s best to find a news service that offers importable full content that keeps visitors on your station website.
Your website doesn’t perform well
Online visitors are a demanding bunch and have high expectations of the websites they visit. Here is a list of the things they will expect:
– Your site will load quickly. If it doesn’t, visitors will leave and likely never return.
– Visitors can find what they want easily through menus and search bars.
– Visitors can read the site easily, no matter what device they are using.
– Your website is fresh and attractive. Different audiences like different things but make sure your website is a visual representation of your radio brand.
Having more visitors and advertisers for your station website ultimately comes down to how involved the management team is with it. The station website should be considered an integral part of the radio station, not something separate. It needs to be promoted at every level and a primary focus for sales, marketing, and goal setting. When you have followed the steps we have outlined here, you’ll definitely see increases in both visitors and (more importantly to most of us) sales.