Website owners are constantly looking for ways to increase website traffic and reach new customers without spending thousands on advertising. Whether you have a large advertising budget, or you’re starting on pennies, Internet radio is a unique medium well worth looking into.
Knowing Your Demographic
Radio stations, even Internet stations, typically provide you with information on their average listening, peak listening times and which shows get the most traffic. This creates a powerful advertising tool for you, because you’ll know exactly who your ad is reaching, or at least their general profile information, and how many people you are reaching for the money.
Traditional radio may reach more people overall, because most listen to the radio on a commute to and from work and possibly while at work, but Internet radio has the ability to target a specific group of people who want to listen to a specific topic, such as amateur golf tips or quick cooking tips.
TargetSpot, an Internet radio ad agency, estimates that there are around 42 million people listening to Internet radio, and the number keeps climbing.
In a research study conducted Harris Interactive for Radio Ad Effectiveness Lab , people better retain what they hear on Internet radio stations and see in an ad at the same time. When a visual ad is combined with an audible ad, the recall rates rise to 27 percent versus only 6 percent for sound only ads. This is powerful information for businesses who utilize radio advertising, because Internet radio offers the opportunity for complimentary banner ads.
Traffic Behavior Patterns
In the same Harris Interactive study, researchers found that out of those who listened to Internet radio, a whopping 57 percent visited a website mentioned during the program. Even better, the site was visited almost immediately. Internet browsers are getting better and better at multi-tasking, which means a user might listen to the radio, open a new tab to visit a site mentioned and check e-mail all within a span of a few minutes.
So, What Does This All Mean for You?
If you’ve overlooked Internet radio and felt uncertain how it all works, don’t despair. Getting involved in online radio is quite simple. There are several ways to utilize online radio to increase website traffic:
Buy an Ad – Most radio shows sell advertising space. Find a show that compliments your product or service and inquire about advertising rates. Remember that combining a graphic ad with a spoken ad is most powerful, so inquire about the possibility of a banner and radio ad running simultaneously.
Be a Guest – Radio shows need material. If you’re an expert in something, contact radio talk show hosts with your information and try to book an interview.
Start Your Own Show – Starting your own online radio show is quite easy through companies like Live365 and BlogTalkRadio.
Have a Lot to Say?
If you have a lot to say about a particular topic, starting your own radio show could be your best option. Although you may have to pay a small fee for airtime, there are many advantages. You can sell advertising to others to help pay for the fee and you’ll be able to run your own ads for free. In addition, you’ll build a listening audience and can plug your product or service here and there as you chat about related topics. You can also record the shows and offer them for download, so you reach people listening on MP3 players or who want to listen at a specific time that is most convenient for them.
Best Sites to Help You Host Your Own Show
I have used all three of the following Internet radio services listed below either as a host, guest or station owner. Where possible, I’ve offered my semi-unbiased opinion.
Live365 offer a truly affordable option that starts at about $3.95 a month. Other than that, all you’ll pay for is your time and effort in uploading your radio segments to the site. Users listen via media players (various ones work with their software). You can also air live shows online and record them at the same time, so you’ll reach live listeners and those who prefer to download the show later.
Live365 has more of a learning curve than the other two options. For Internet savvy website owners, picking up the recording process should be fairly easy.
BlogTalkRadio offers a simple solution for those just getting started in radio hosting. Their free package isn’t big on features, but is a great place to start for newbies. Try it out to make sure you understand how everything works and if you need more features, packages start at $39/month and go up from there as of July, 2012.
I have been on BlogTalkRadio as a guest in the past and the system was very simple to use. The host provides the guest with a phone number to call and a pin number. The guest phones in and the host will see a note on their dashboard that the guest is calling in and can easily accept that call. The system also allows you to very easily add in music and transitions.
Global Talk Radio uses a platform where you call in and record the show via telephone (landlines work best for call clarity without static or dropped moments). I worked with this company quite a while back and the thing I liked as someone just starting out was that they did hold my hand a lot and teach me the business. Someone tech savvy can likely get a cheaper rate, but you also need to consider built in listeners you might gain with any of these services.
A monthly fee at Global Talk Radio will run in the hundreds of dollars, so decide if it is worth the cost to you or you prefer to do a bit more study and go with a less expensive option. No matter which program you choose, or if you just put a few ads out on other hosts’ shows, Internet radio is a unique advertising medium that can reach potential site visitors you might not otherwise have reached.
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.