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Sep 01, 2004
Case Study

How to Test (and Reliably Measure) Radio Campaigns to Reach Small Business Buyers

SUMMARY: Now that online media costs are picking up, radio may be your best media buy to reach masses of small business owners without spending too much per prospect. In this Case Study you'll learn how GoToMyPC developed a clever radio promo entry-page for their site to convert as many radio listeners as possible into registered trial-takers. Turns out a radio campaign can take four weeks or more to really pay off in terms of site traffic, but then it produces great ROI. Here's more, including audio samples and campaign screenshots:

"When one of our team members came up with the radio idea, I was very skeptical," admits Bernardo de Albergaria VP Marketing Citrix Online (a division of Citrix Systems, NASDAQ: CTXS).

"I'm fanatical about making every dollar work for us. Measurement is paramount, and online has the highest level of accountability of all marketing channels. I didn't think we could track radio accountability adequately."

However, GoToMyPC, Citrix's lead product for the small business market, required low cost direct response campaigns with mass reach. The marketing team's campaigns had to funnel in hundreds of thousands of visitors to the pipeline... from landing page to free trial to converted customer.

At first online ads were certainly the cheapest way to do this. But then "the online market rebounded dramatically, with online costs coming up much more closely to offline media," notes de Albergaria. "Offline media was much more attractive."

Like many other formerly-online-only direct response marketers, including NetFlix and eDiets, de Albergaria found himself pressed into at least testing traditional media. But, how could he measure results to his satisfaction?


de Albergaria's team had just spent the past three years relentlessly testing landing page designs so the maximum number of clicks converted into trial offer takers. (See link to last week's Case Study on this below.)

Now they invented three further landing page tweaks, specifically to measure radio campaigns as accurately as possible, while keeping conversion rates high...

Tweak A. Pre-landing page entryway

Using what they'd learned from landing page tests, the team invented an entryway page that served as a door to the formal trial offer landing page. So, instead of landing directly on the landing page, first radio listeners saw this entrypage.

It was remarkably clean and simple. (Take a look at the creative sample below -- it's inspirational.)

Radio listeners were asked to enter their promo code, either the station ID or show host's first name, and then to click on a huge "CONTINUE" button. There was no extraneous copy, product descriptions, links, or unnecessary graphics beyond a friendly photo of a radio.

GoToMyPC's creative team came up with extra-special offers to entice radio listeners past the hump of the entrypage. For example, a radio host might exhort listeners to "Just enter my name and you'll get a 45-day free trial instead of just 30 days!"

Tweak B. Customizing landing page per radio station

Depending on which code they'd put in at the entrypage, visitors arrived at a landing page based on the best of GoToMyPC's tests plus a little note about the radio station.

For example, radio listeners who entered "Jeff" as their promo code on the entry page, got a landing page with the headline "Welcome Jeff Levy Listeners!" Plus, it featured a photo of Jeff himself next to an old-fashioned radio mike with the quote, "I love GoToMyPC!"

If the radio station was running canned ads throughout the day, instead of live host unscripted promos, the landing page was adjusted to have a headline such as "Welcome WBNC Listeners!"

Tweak C. Allowing non-coded orders to get through, too

Although the entrypage didn't say anything about this, if a curious visitor chose to click on the "CONTINUE" button without entering anything in the promo code -- or if they entered an incorrect promo code -- the form still let them proceed to the next page.

In this case, it was a generic "Radio Listeners" landing page.

Plus, to encourage more entries, the site served a small pop-under to all visitors who went to the entrypage but left without getting any further (ie. entryway abandons).

The pop cheerfully read, Forget your promo code? It's not too late!

Click here for your FREE 30-day trial


Tweak D. Adding a radio button to the home page

You never know if folks seeing your offer offline will type in the specific URL you ask them to. To catch folk who typed in the main URL instead of the special entrypage URL, the team added a small yet easy-to-see button on GoToMyPC's home page that simply read, "Radio Listeners Click Here!"

Clicks landed on the radio entry page requesting a promo code, and proceeded as before.


The radio test that de Albergaria was so reluctant to indulge in turned out to be so measurably successful that now a year later he has a full-time radio media buyer on staff.

de Albergaria says, "Radio is definitely the largest offline spend for us. We are 100% opportunistic -- that's the world of direct response marketing. We use the media that's got the most cost effective ROI for us."

GoToMyPC's radio tests have revealed three key measurements you should be aware of:

#1. Test duration

You need to run a longer test than you may think -- it takes repeat hearings for a radio listener to move off the dime and react to your ad. "Usually four to six weeks of data, with three-to-six reads per week, is enough for us empirically. We saw after that, results start to stabilize," de Albergaria notes.

"There's a little ramp up in the beginning in terms of response. Then it starts to slow, and then you can tell on an ongoing basis what the associated costs per trial acquired will be. That's the biggest indicator for us -- we don't track clicks or visits or anything like that. The trial is more important."

#2. Rest and retry

Sometimes results trail off too much after a campaign has run awhile. The team gives that station a rest for a couple of months, and then retries the campaign again. Sometimes it works and an old campaign has new legs. Sometimes it's a dud.

So never assume that once a station's bell curve of great responses has passed that it can never be revived. (Note: We've heard many other media perform the same way.)

#3. Live reads versus canned ads

As every other marketer we've interviewed has said, live announcements about your product in the radio host's own words are generally the most powerful ads. de Albergaria says live reads pull better than canned ads in the same way text-ads tend to pull better than standard banners.

However, live reads are limited and sell out. Plus, they can be far more expensive than canned ads (as can highly targeted niche shows). So you may need to add lesser responding radio media to your campaign mix to get the best ROI.

Many stations and most radio networks now offer you the ability to monitor digital versions of your live reads. de Albergaria highly recommends that you task a staffer to do this on a routine basis -- especially for stations with unusually low response rates.

Sometimes you can spot something in the announcer's delivery, perhaps a lack of enthusiasm or incorrect information, that might be remedied with a pep-talk phone call with them, or by sending them more product information.

The extra work is worth it.

"In general, visitors who come from offline media have a higher conversion rate than online-driven leads. Remember, they've had to overcome inertia, writing down the URL, remembering to use it. They might not be anywhere near a computer when they are listening. A highly interested person who remembers that promo is that much more of a qualified prospect."

Useful links related to this article:

Audio samples, and entryway and landing page samples from the campaigns:

Case study on How GoToMyPC Tested Landing Pages to Raise Conversion Rates by 400%


See Also:

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