The invention of the radio commercial came at 5pm August 28, 1922. The Queensboro Corporation, a small business in New York City, purchased time on radio station WEAF for $50 to advertise its apartment complex development in Jackson Heights, Queens.
Radio advertising came to Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1939 when Wall Christian Ewing and Harry Layman put WFNC on the air. Ever since then, Cumberland and Robeson County small business owners have depended on radio advertising to market their goods and service.
Is radio advertising effective in the 21st Century? Meet five North Carolina small business owners who say yes.
Radio Advertising Has Been A Big Part Of Our Growth
Joe Quigg began advertising on Fayetteville radio shortly after buying Ed’s Tire and Auto service from the original owner, Ed Melvin.
“Ed, who served as my mentor for the first few years, had been a huge in yellow pages and newspaper advertising,” says Mr. Quigg. “He feared that if we quit advertising 4 days a week in the newspaper, then the world would end.
“I knew, though, that advertising on Fayetteville radio was right for us,” continues Mr. Quigg. “When I was in corporate sales, I was spending a lot of time in the car. My radio was always on. So, I knew it could reach the customers of Ed’s Tire.”
As his advertising strategy began to show positive results, Mr. Quigg stopped newspaper advertising all together and started adding more Fayetteville radio stations into his mix.
“Every week that goes by,” says Mr. Quigg, “five or six customers tell me they came in because they heard us on the radio.”
“When it comes to spending money, I am very conservative,” continues Mr. Quigg. “I don’t like spending money I don’t have to. Our sales have grown every year since I have owned the business. Radio has been a big spend for us, but it has also been a big part of our growth. I wouldn’t be willing to do without it.”
Fayetteville Radio Brings New Customers To Heritage Small Business
Kimbrell’s Furniture, a small business that has been in business in North Carolina since 1915, has only recently discovered the value of advertising on Fayetteville radio.
According to Cheryl Parker, General Manager of Kimbrell’s Person Street, Raeford Road, and Ft. Bragg Boulevard locations, up until now, the company’s use of radio has been sporadic.
This year, however, Ms. Parker convinced her district manager to advertise on Fayetteville radio continually for a 6-month period.
Ms. Parker knew to increase sales in her stores she would need to reach beyond Kimbrell’s core customers. “To grow in Fayetteville, we would need to branch out to include Hispanic customers, cash customers, good credit customers. Also, with Ft. Bragg right here, we needed to reach out into the military community. Using local radio was the best way to pinpoint those new customers.
“We increased the number of Fayetteville radio stations we advertised on to pinpoint the new audiences we needed. Our commercials were designed to match the content in our store circulars. For the Hispanic audience we made it clear that for credit, Kimbrell’s customers just needed a tax-identification number and not a social security number.”
After just three months, Ms. Parker has seen remarkable in-store results. “Our overall store sales have increased,” she says. “The only thing we’ve been doing differently is advertising on Fayetteville radio.”
“Since we started the current radio plan, our cash business has grown, our Hispanic business has grown, our good credit business has grown, and our military business has grown,” says Ms. Parker. So much so, that Kimbrell’s district manager has approved continuing Ms. Parker’s radio budget.”
Advertising on Fayetteville Radio Creates Lifetime Customers
Carolyn and Tony Barbour are the owners of Budget Rooter, a Fayetteville based small business with a long list of commercial, residential, and industrial customers. “I can testify,” says Ms. Barbour, “our radio advertising has created lifetime customers for our company.
Mr. Barbour started Budget Rooter in 1998 as a part time job. He worked nights and weekends out of the back of his Geo Storm. By 2000, word of mouth helped expand the business to a point where he could make it his full-time pursuit.
By 2002, Budget Rooter hired a second plumber to keep up with customer demand. This is also when Ms. Barbour quit her job as a nurse to take on the mounting administrative duties of the firm. This included advertising and marketing.
The company continued to grow based on referrals. It’s also when the Barbours began to buy double-trunk ads in the phone book. “These were insanely expensive,” says Ms. Barbour “but not all that effective.”
In 2007, the economy took a downturn and many of Budget Rooter’s competitors began to fail. Not wishing to succumb to the same fate, the Barbours decided to expand their advertising efforts.
“We thought about using TV,” remembers Ms. Barbour, “but when we started asking other Fayetteville small business owners what type of advertising worked best for them, they all said radio.”
So, in 2007 the first Budget Rooter radio campaigns started airing on 2 Fayetteville radio stations. These commercials featured the company’s now iconic slogan, “Don’t flush your budget on high repair bills.”
“For the first several months, our radio helped us keep our nose above water,” says Ms. Barbour. “I promise you, it was advertising on Fayetteville radio that kept us afloat.
As Ms. Barbour tells it, after being on radio consistently for nine months, the business started to takeoff. “In the deepest part of the downturn,” she recalls, “we were growing.”
Since 2007, Budget Rooter has not missed a single month of advertising on Fayetteville radio. “Our radio ads have been so successful,” says Ms. Barbour. “we have increased the number of stations we run commercials on from two to five.”
Fayetteville Attorney Uses Radio Advertising To Build Brand
Local attorney Nicole Cotton began advertising on Fayetteville radio in 2010 shortly after opening her first law office in Robeson County. “In every radio commercial she included her slogan “Cotton is my name, but I’m no softy”. “Within 3 months,” she recalls, “people were coming up to me every single day and repeating that slogan.”
I used my radio advertising to build my personal brand,” recalls Ms. Cotton. “Based on the billings she generated from her current clients, her radio advertising, and her personal drive to succeed, Ms. Cotton was able to open her second office in Fayetteville a year later.
“Advertising on the radio,” Ms. Cotton concludes, “helped give my law firm credibility.”
Fayetteville Radio Delivers Excellent ROI For Local Flooring Store
Cape Fear Flooring in Fayetteville started out as a carpet cleaning company 19 years ago operating out of a tiny house. This year, the company moved into a brand new, 6000 square foot showroom and warehouse along with their 28 employees
“We began advertising on Fayetteville radio in 2000, a year after we opened,” remembers co-owner, Amie Crouter. “We had just expanded into water mitigation a few months earlier. I had just set up an account with Mohawk, one of the largest manufacturers of floor coverings in the world. And, we had just sold our first flooring job even before we had hired an installer.”
After 18 years, Cape Fear Flooring still advertises on Fayetteville radio. “Radio advertising has really driven our growth from the beginning,” says Ms. Crouter. “We have always asked new customers how they found out about us. Overwhelmingly, we are told they heard our radio commercials.
“Since we started advertising on the radio, we’ve never stopped,” she says. “Advertising on Fayetteville radio has provided an excellent return-on-investment for us.”
Ten years ago, Ms. Crouter asked a recording studio in Fayetteville to produce a jingle for Cape Fear Flooring. “Although we have freshened up the music in it a few times over the years,” she says, “the message has remained the same. The words ‘together we make it home’ are always how the jingle ends.”
“The car I drive has a Cape Fear Flooring logo on it.” says Ms. Crouter. “When people see me in it, they always sing our jingle…word for word. Clearly, our radio commercials are working like they are supposed to.”