Radio Helps Small Businesses Grow

Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

Last week was National Small Business Week. According to the U.S. Census, there are nearly 30 million small businesses. Small businesses play a crucial role in their local communities. They have a positive impact on the job market, help defray costs/taxes and provide consumers with product/service alternatives. They also help shape and influence the community – just like radio.

Small businesses are important to consumers.  According to the 2018 Shop, Buy, Give Survey from the First National Bank of Omaha, 69% of consumers prefer to support local retailers. Perhaps the reason for this preference comes down to the experience. Based upon the 2019 Cox Business Consumer Survey, 53% of consumers state that small businesses deliver greater customer service.

As a broad reach medium, radio reaches business owners – 81% of self-employed business owners listen to AM/FM radio over-the-air or via a stream. And when it comes to audio options, broadcast radio dominates.  Broadcast radio reaches 93% of self-employed/small business owners compared to Pandora (31%), Satellite radio (18%) and Spotify (17%). But the relationship between radio and small businesses is deeper than just business owners listening. It’s the relationship of a local radio station driving awareness for those businesses and influencing residents to visit, shop and buy from local small businesses. And each deliver a very personal experience.

Radio stations and the personalities on those stations are part of the community – like small local businesses. The connection between the listeners, stations and personalities on those stations is unique to radio.  83% of listeners value and trust their favorite personality’s opinions because they consider them like a friend or family member. They can influence a listener’s choice in service, brand or product, with 77% of listeners considering it if recommended by that personality.

Radio is effective for small businesses.  Radio advertising can drive a 22% lift in store traffic, on average, and can generate a 29% lift in Google search activity.  Radio can also help drive a high return on investment according to BIA Advisory Services. Radio helps drive brand awareness and successes for businesses – large and small.

Local businesses believe in radio’s value:

More than anything, I think radio gives me the direct response that no other form of advertising has given me. Even if someone doesn’t need my service today, if they trust my brand, they’ll tell their friends, family, and co-workers. No other form of advertising has shown me the impact that radio has.” – Shawn Matian, The Matian Firm, APC

“Radio is the core of our influencer strategy.” — John Alfirevich, Dealer Operator of Apple Chevrolet and President of the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chevy Dealers Association

“About 13 percent of our total advertising budget is dedicated to radio. People come in mentioning the station’s call letters. We feel it has been a good return-on-investment.” — Tammy Oreskovic-Geraci, Peter & Co. Jewelers

The relationship between radio and small businesses is a strong one. They are both local and connect with people in the community, providing a unique personal experience. Small businesses matter to local communities and radio matters to small businesses. Why? Because radio works.

Do you know of a business that has experienced success with radio? Share the story.


Sources: GfK MRI Doublebase 2018; Scarborough USA+ Release 2 Jul ’17-Nov ’18); Katz Media Group, Our Media 2019


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