My sister-in-law and I were at a family event recently and she asked me, “Why are radio station websites so crappy?” But she could have asked the same about loyal listener email. Do you get those exciting emails that have no logo and only an ad from Ticketmaster? What about the generic no-value emails that scream, “We don’t care about you – take our crap?”
Suppose you send a loyal listener email once a month. Maybe instead of the generic stuff, we could reform our love for listeners and give our most loyal listeners content that is of interest and value to them. You can do this as “brief or bullet-point content” with some design to it. How about some content examples:
1. Listeners love people (believe it or not). They don’t warm up to brands first. So, if you still have a morning show or high-profile personality, use them. Let them have a few words of welcome at the center of the page on your loyal listener email. Big festival this month? Something high-profile happening (that will involve a ton of people and probably many of your listeners)? Put it in the greeting! Post a picture of the personality and include their signature.
2. Publish a quick reference concert calendar for the upcoming month. If you are a music-based station, fans love concerts. This can be shows in your market or in the region (remember: fans will travel). If you want to do so, take an extra step and see if you can secure an extra pair or pairs of tickets to give away. Tell these “loyal listeners” you are going to draw names only from those who receive this email and hit you back at a special email address you include in the email below the concert info!
3. Each month you have ways listeners can “escape” in the coming month. Most people don’t love their jobs. Most people are stressed. Given even a moment of silence, most people begin immediately to think about these questions: What can I do after work? Where can I go or what can I do this weekend? You know, me time or family time. Time when you don’t have to be bound to work and responsibilities. So, give them “options” in your loyal listener email.
4. Focus on what you own. If you know me at all, you know I encourage that in everything you do you must point people back to the on-air product and the digital products that you own. If you have a loyal listener email with this much content, include an on-air feature with great value and where listeners can find it on your station.
5. Include a community engagement calendar featuring about three charity events and/or activities where you know the cause is excellent and the community or charity action matches up well with your target audience. This should be a very brief feature, but it is a “plug in” for active and caring listeners of your station.
6. Publish a link where listeners can find a feature (like Ten Questions) focused on one of your personalities and where they like to eat, relax, spend family time, and what they enjoy doing on the weekends. Remember: People connect with people. If your personalities are engaging and fun, use them to draw listeners closer to your brand.
7. Include an opportunity to receive a reward just because you emailed these listeners. That’s right. Tell them that you know they are busy and stressed and you know that you are not the most important thing in the world. Tell them just for pushing this email into their busy day, you are going to select several loyal listeners to receive tickets to a concert/movie tickets/dinner for two/some other “reward.” Tell them this is not a contest; only someone receiving this loyal listener email will even know about it. Ask them to email you back at a special email address if they want to be considered for the “drawing.” Not sexy, right? Well, that’s the point. You are just saying you value them and you want to reward them just because you intruded into their day.
It should go without saying that you should include every possible way for listeners to connect, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, website, e-mail, on-air studio line, and text. We are in the connection business.
Of course, you can include ads from the sales department. I think all parts of the radio business, including loyal listener email and all digital assets, should have a proper business plan that includes generating consistent advertising, sponsor or placement revenue. That is the point of this business. At our best, radio personalities are the local connectivity experts with their fingers on the pulse of what is important to listeners (this is you, right?).
If Ticketmaster comes calling for a “blast” to loyal listeners, make something special for that “blast” that includes a variety of value and your own branding. Don’t just “do the easy.” Don’t simply blast out a piece of content for Ticketmaster only with no soul, connection to your brand, or extra benefits to people who might not like whatever act they are selling. Take that extra step or two.
It may be difficult to see how working smarter will always pay off in an environment that rewards cutbacks, but smart work always pays off. Do these things and you will stand out to listeners, maybe management, and perhaps an even better employer when your career goes “next level.”
*Content originally appeared @ RadioInk.com. For more content on radio, go to RadioInk.com. Look for my column on social media and radio on the left-hand side of the homepage behind my picture and the word “Engagement.”
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Loyd Ford is the Direct Marketing, Ratings & Social Media Strategist for Americalist Direct Marketing. He works with media brands all across the country to improve ratings and participation with custom contest strategy, telemarketing, strategic direct mail and social media for radio clients. His interests include social media, digital local-direct revenue and non-traditional revenue for radio. And, yes, he believes you should be receiving more share of digital revenue in your local radio market along with higher ratings. Contact him directly @ 877.475.6864 or Americalist1@aol.com.