Unfortunately, most radio ads for car dealerships are the same. There’s always the screaming announcer urging listeners to ‘GET THE CAR NOW!!’
In the United States, the automotive industry is among the biggest advertisers, followed closely by the food industry. It’s such a shame that marketers aren’t taking the time to get the radio ads right.
Before creating and running radio ads for car dealerships, the first step is to conduct research. The best automotive radio ads represent the brand as well as engage the consumer.
Besides, priorities among car buyers are not the same, and even buyers in the same market may want different things.
So you have a dilemma, what makes a radio ad for a car dealership stand out as well as perfectly fit the audience it was intended for?
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This post has been updated in October 2021.
Where Automotive Radio Ads Go Wrong
The hard selling automotive commercial is a little bit overplayed, don’t you think?
Most hard-hitting radio ads pack so much information and practically yell at listeners in an attempt to promote the next event or product.
Usually, radio ads for car dealerships use a high impact voice to imply urgency; a tactic that undoubtedly works to increase traffic for time-sensitive promotions, but…
Buyers often have a hard time differentiating between car dealerships because they all use the same radio advertisement techniques. Hard-hitting radio ads work, but it is not the only proven method for car dealerships to advertise. Customers don’t just care about getting discounts and deals on their next cars, they also want a real connection to the dealership.
And how can you give them this?
By advertising to your customer experience rather than your extensive list of discounted products.
Use visual storytelling to get more people to connect to the radio ad. Tell listeners to close their eyes and imagine driving their dream car, and then tell them how your dealership will make the dream come true.
Automotive radio ads go wrong because they often lack brand identity and consistency.
Consider taking a friendly approach when pitching your products to buyers. Take the emotional route and write your car dealership radio commercial for the senses. Don’t rush your ad even if the message behind it is urgent. There’s a difference between creating a sense of urgency and making listeners feel rushed.
Besides, using an extremely fast-paced tempo will make your commercials sound too much like a sales pitch. You should mix up the energy in your spot, slowing down and building up when the moment calls for it, but always holding the attention of your audience.
And choose a voice talent that sounds believable, and excited even, about your deals.
But even when automotive radio commercials get the voice right, they tend to get the radio ad script wrong.
It’s not about changing the script format. For a good sell, a radio ad script should convince listeners to act by explaining the value of the product and then giving a call to action.
However, is the ad more focused on the call to action than it is focused on your brand?
80% of your copy, give or take, should focus on explaining to listeners what your brand is about. There are a lot of creative ways to present your brand to consumers without making your marketing efforts obvious.
Focus on what adds value to the buyers.
Only the remaining 20% percent or so of the script should be reserved for the call to action.
Make it About the Customer
You should always craft radio ads for car dealerships with the target audience in mind. While a hard-hitting radio ad might work for some, other listeners respond to friendly or laid back ads.
Different audiences have varying needs and listening behaviors.
With that in mind, don’t run the same radio ad for your car dealership on multiple radio stations.
Really do your research before developing a radio ad script and find out which attributes are the most important to your listeners. All you have to do is ask.
It’s not had to get customer testimonials for your car dealership. Ask buyers what they think about your website, your sales process, or about your radio advertisement. You can then use this information to craft your next ad, or should we say ‘personal testimonial’ radio spot.
Basing your research on customer reviews is the best way to make your audience feel represented in a radio ad.
Let the ‘real people’ narrate their real experiences with the car dealership.
By ‘real’ we don’t mean you should pick a random customer and have them read the radio ad. Hire professional voice actors that understand both your brand and your audience.
Buyers have come to expect certain things from radio ads fro car commercials. Some of these things include high-pressure tactics and misrepresented prices. Both you and your competition have probably used these advertising techniques before, but if you really want to stand out, you need to step away from the crowd and do your own thing.
Effective radio ads for car dealerships defy stereotypes, and they don’t sound like advertisements at all.
Customers appreciate authenticity, creativity, and originality as these are some of the factors that represent the uniqueness of a brand.
You’ll find that it’s easy to make a memorable radio ad if you focus on what your listeners want.
Represent Your Brand
A memorable radio ad doesn’t have to be funny, and it doesn’t need to have a jingle at the end. There is no rule book here, it’s all about what appeals to your audience the most.
So if your listeners respond to jingles, use this information to craft the perfect ad for your car dealership.
But, any creative input towards the radio ad should match your brand.
Creative input could be in the form of pauses, sound effects, and ad-libs. If you’re going to elevate your script in any way, make sure the message doesn’t get lost somewhere in the middle.
You may think consumers forget about your ad immediately after they hear it, but this isn’t true. When making purchasing decisions, buyers often depend on unaided recall.
It is more likely that your customers will remember your radio ad if it contained unique messages about your brand. In fact, when advertising on the radio, the chances that a consumer will recall your brand are five times higher.
Avoid misleading radio ads.
Don’t tell lies about your prices and products (a habit that radio ads for car dealerships can’t seem to quit fast enough). Piling on the incentives in your radio ad only works if said incentives are not deceptive to buyers. Otherwise, be straight forward and get to the point quickly in your ad.
Getting the Most Out of Radio ads for Car Dealerships
Radio ads for car dealerships can go very wrong, or very right depending on a number of factors. Among them is the frequency of your radio spot. One of the best times to run your automotive radio ad is of course in the morning when your listeners are stuck in traffic, driving to work, and listening to their favorite tunes on the radio.
But be prepared to pay a fortune for a spot if you want to advertise to the many people sitting in traffic.
You can also run radio ads for car dealerships at night. Who is listening to the radio at night, you ask? We have night shift workers, long-distance drivers, hospital staff, and that lone employee pulling an all-nighter in a 24-hour gas station.
Consistency is the key to winning in radio ads for car dealerships.
Before advertising, you should understand the power of radio ads and take full advantage of this information. Unlike other advertising mediums, radio provides unique advantages for car dealerships.
For starters, radio personalities are trusted by listeners.
This means deciding to create a radio ad for your car dealership already puts you one step ahead of the competition. The audience is present and captive, don’t waste the opportunity. Check the following items off your list:
- Write a radio ad script that emphasizes the unique selling points of your brand, as well as highlights what is important to your customers.
- Choose a voice talent that can bring the script to life.
- Incorporate a call to action that will get listeners off the radio and into your car dealership.
It might also help to incorporate radio ads with other marketing platforms like websites and social media. We are in a digital age, after all, and buyers consult the internet before they make purchasing decisions. If it’s easier for your consumers to visit your website or Facebook page first, then include this call to action in the radio ad.
Finally, keep it simple.
Don’t cram too much information into one radio spot. After all, you’re trying to get buyers interested enough to visit your dealership or website where they can learn more about your products. To avoid overloading the listeners, choose only the things that appeal to your audience the most.
Sometimes, it’s the little details that make all the difference.
Like adding music to the radio ad, or using a slightly unconventional approach to reach out to buyers.
It’s not about thinking outside the box, it’s about realizing that there was never any box to begin with. Radio ads for car dealerships don’t have to sound the same, and they all don’t have to adopt a hard-hitting format where the voice talent rushes through the script with one breath.
Start your own audio ad today with Bunny Studio!
Do what feels right for you, your brand, and your customers.
As a rule of thumb, always trust what your market research says. If you follow the guidelines discussed in this article, the radio ad for your car dealership cannot go wrong.
All the best.