You’ve only got about 3 seconds to catch someone’s attention with your radio spot before they tune out and mentally move on.
Don’t bury the lead.
Give them a reason to pay attention, make it painfully obvious that you’re a car dealer from the get go and that you can solve the listeners car problem right now!
Writing the actual copy is maybe the most underrated skill in advertising. We all took English in high school. What’s so hard about writing a couple of paragraphs for a radio spot?
But writing radio copy is probably closer to writing a Japanese Haiku than writing a high school paper. There are rules and rhythms that most most folks don’t even know about, much less follow.
Mention the name of the dealership at least 3 times, preferably 4 or 5 times in the spot. We don’t have 60 second attention spans in America anymore. People need to be reminded what they’re listening to.
Highlight the 2 or 3 major offers/messages in a way that’s entertaining and memorable. Being funny helps, but you’re not writing for Saturday Night Live, you’re selling cars. Never forget that.
Be sure to include a call to action. What do you want the listener to do and when do you want them to do it? Now is always the best option.
Of course, you have to do all of that in the allotted time, and no matter how many times you tell the sales rep to have them “talk faster” or “just speed it up a little.” You can only fit so many taters in a 10 pound bag. Keep the copy to under 3 words per second. Yes, that does include the disclaimer and remember that $19,995 isn’t one word, it’s eight: Nineteen Thousand Nine Hundred And Ninety Five Dollars.
Terry Lancaster is the Vice President of Making Sh!t Happen at Instant Events Automotive Advertising, a Certified Radio Marketing Consultant and has been helping car dealers stand out, get noticed and sell more cars via radio since the Reagan Administration.