Every Small Business Owner Should Act Like a Radio Broadcaster

There’s a lot of effort today by big businesses to “engage” their customers in conversations.

Small business owners haven’t quite adopted that approach – yet. But I suggest that you think about what might happen if you actually stop selling so hard and start communicating with prospects one-to-one. Try forgetting occasional one-way push marketing and remembering two-way attraction. See what happens when you devote your efforts to first becoming a trusted adviser and friend.

Let’s Look at the How Radio Industry Does It

Radio hosts engage their listeners in many ways. They strive for ongoing, two-way, give and take communication. To do that, they not only answer phone calls, but they get opinions through online surveys and polls. They converse through Twitter tweets and Facebook posts. And listeners send e-mail and text messages whenever they want to.

(By the way, this strategy helps the station, the listener and the radio program’s advertiser because all have greater access to each other).

Expanding Exposure

The conversation is ongoing and multi-channel. Listeners communicate using multiple kinds of handy devices. It’s clear that we can be connected at all times if we want to be.

The Dennis and Callahan Show originates on WEEI radio in Boston. You can also catch a live stream on the station’s website. And to expand exposure, the program began simulcasting on NESN cable TV earlier this year (which is good for both WEEI and NESN).

Listeners communicate with the hosts through traditional phone calls, but they also tweet and send e-mail and text messages.

Don’t Stop Innovating

Engagement won’t end there. Innovations will continue to develop that provide greater access to programs and involve listeners.

For example, Jelli is “100% user-controlled radio.” Listeners control the playlists of their favorite local programs through “real-time voting and game elements.”

Jelli turns listeners into “active users.” It’s designed to “drive engagement” with the audience, build a “social community” around the station, generate “excitement” in the market, and produce higher ratings as a result.

One radio station owner, Gerry Schlegel, president of the LKCM Radio Group, told FastCompany, “We want to transform the market in Las Vegas by engaging with our listeners directly through the web and mobile, and building a strong community around an amazing music experience.”

Have the Same Objectives As a Radio Broadcaster

Aren’t they, or shouldn’t they be, the objectives of every small business owner – to have a following of active users, to drive engagement, to build a social community, to generate excitement, and to produce higher ratings (more sales)?

All of the tools that broadcasters use are available to every small business owner. All are inexpensive and, used together, have a compounding effect and measurable ROI.

A small business marketing strategy should include mechanisms for communicating with followers regularly (depending on the product or service). That means a website that engages (not a static brochure or billboard site), audio and video podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and text messaging at a minimum.

Act like a radio broadcaster. Start conversing with individuals. Develop your following. See what happens.