How to Win a Customer Before they Google

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Duane Alverson

By:  Duane Alverson, President
MacDonald Broadcasting Company (Saginaw & Lansing)

In today’s world, consumers’ path to purchase almost always goes by way of a search engine. In fact, according to Forrester Research data, 71% of consumers begin their journeys by using a search engine to discover new products and services (initiation), and 74% report using a search engine for consideration and purchasing (research, comparison, transaction).

One of the questions we often hear from local business owners and advertising agencies is, “Does radio advertising drive online behavior?”

What Really Drives Online Behavior?

Results from a recent Sequent Partners research project answers this question.

Study highlights just released include the following revelations:

  • Radio generated an average of 29% lift in Google search activity.
  • Search engine usage as a result of radio advertising is greater on weekdays versus weekends.
  • Radio-driven search activity is higher during midday hours.
  • The quality of radio creative (messaging) has a direct impact on increased search behavior.

Now I don’t know about you, but I didn’t find anything about this astonishing.

For years, adding radio to complement another medium always created better outcomes — whether that other medium was newspaper, television or direct mail. Not even a casual observer should be surprised to learn it’s no different with digital media.

When you reach additional tens of thousands of consumers (mass media) instead of just a few hundred consumers (digital), of course it’s going to generate a positive lift in efficacy. Remember that if you are looking for a way to make your digital investment work better for you.

Note that search results were greater on weekdays versus weekends. Could it be because far more people listen to radio Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. than on weekends?

Also, midday hours were highest in radio-driven research. (Sorry, employers. There’s more search going on during the workday than you would ever want to know.)

And of course quality radio creative has a direct impact on increased search behavior. As much as compelling content drives engagement on the digital platform, it’s never been any different on radio…or any other platform, for that matter. Good messaging drives every communication platform.

Bottom Line…and Top-of-Mind

Bottom line: companies who have used broadcast media over the years to build a brand in the minds of consumers are always going to get better search engine results. Why? Because consumers buy from people they think of first and feel the best about.

How many people are doing business with your company has everything to do with how many consumers in your market think of our company first (awareness) and feel good about your business (trust) when they have a need for what you sell.

On the other hand, if you are not doing as much business as you think you should be doing, perhaps it’s because too many consumers are not thinking of your business when they have a need for the products or services you sell.

Winning the battle for the consumers mind before they have a need for your products and/or services (top of the funnel) has always been the path to winning the business category. Consumers just don’t like doing business with companies they never heard of and don’t feel good about. Would you pick a heart surgeon out of the yellow pages…one that you never heard of or had a great reputation?

If you think or have been convinced that the battle can be won just at the time of purchase (bottom of the funnel), do your own research on what happened to Pepsi and Procter & Gamble: two major firms still trying to recover from a sales slide few want to talk about. For them, targeting only the few consumers at the bottom of the sales funnel proved to be a costly mistake.

It reminds me of an old saying. “Don’t sell just to the kings. There just aren’t enough of them.”

Duane Alverson currently serves as President of MacDonald Broadcasting Company. Duane has been with MacDonald Broadcasting Company for 32 years serving in various sales leadership positions. He served as Chairman of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2012 and as President of the Michigan Jaycees in 1981-82. Duane resides in Saginaw, Michigan.
Reprinted with permission. 

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