by Tracy Johnson
How much of your brand strategy is built to win loyal listeners? Passionate fans are responsible for the vast majority of listening credit, so doesn’t it make sense to focus on getting more loyalty?
A loyal listener contributes far more ratings credit than a casual listener. Did you know that about 50% of your radio station’s total cume spends only about 2.5 minutes per day with your radio show? Yet, a loyal listener may contribute 3-4 quarter hours per day. Doesn’t it make sense to focus more attention on building a loyal listener base?
Many stations have a “Loyal Listener Club” that rewards (bribes) their audience with prizes (or points) to pledge their loyalty by signing up.
These clubs are fine, if used properly, but they don’t create loyalty any more than offering a discount coupon in the newspaper causes you to become more loyal to a grocery store.
Loyalty is earned, not demanded, and certainly not bought. It’s the result of creating a product or service that relates to a community of users so that they feel it personally. It’s theirs.
Passionate fans identify themselves as a “Mac guy.” They don’t get coffee, they get a “Starbucks.” It’s not a motorcycle, it’s “my Harley.” Or a “(Your show) listener.”
Brands spend millions of dollars on loyalty marketing in the hopes of building a long-term relationship with consumers. You may be able to buy attention. And you can probably even buy usage. But you can’t buy fans. So as you invest your resources in brand values, make sure that time and attention is focused on recruiting and winning fans. Here’s how you can do it.
Listener become fans over time. It’s not an overnight thing.
Each time you turn on the microphone, impressions are being created. Many of those impressions are first impressions. Each time they aren’t engaged is a missed opportunity at best. At worst it sets the fan-building moment back. When you’re building a fan base, the audience is making judgments every time they tune in.
Think of your response if you had an ordinary experience at a restaurant. You may come back, but it wouldn’t be on a path to becoming one of your favorites, would it? And if they treat me poorly or get my order wrong, they’ve lost their chance of earning my loyalty. They may get a second chance, or they may not.
That’s why you can’t afford to mail it in. Ever.
Loyalty is earned by being consistent, dependable and excellent all the time. Every time.
Each segment should be complete by itself. It must satisfy. If the break is built on the back of a previous break and you haven’t built a bridge to connect the two, the audience becomes confused. And confusion always leads to tune-out.
That doesn’t suggest you can’t create serialized content that leads listeners through more than one segment. However, you need a storyline that stretches across breaks, shows and days.
Here’s how to approach it: Each segment should be an individual experience the way an episode in a TV series stands alone. Yet that program is also part of a larger, ongoing story arc. The combination of the two is powerful.
Listeners may be entertained by one segment (one episodes), and that one segment should be designed to get them to another break. And another. Soon, it becomes a habit. And habits turn into loyalty as they become fans of the show.
Air personalities with a small fan base are usually pretty easy to identify. They are the ones who don’t stand for anything.
Listeners will never become loyal until you give them something to be loyal to. That starts with understanding your audience and building an audience persona.
Then, when you develop personality traits in your character brand, you’ll know how to craft breaks that have a point of view that resonates with listeners. This gets you out of the Zone of Mediocrity, which dooms many personalities in the generic center.
This is at the core of my new online Audience Magnet course. I take you through the entire process of recruiting and leading passionate fans in a detailed on on-demand video course. You can check it out here.
Every show should be consistent. Yet, if that causes you to be repetitive, it can be boring. That’s why features are important ingredients in building a fan base. A great feature provides familiarity and gives you a chance to create repeat tune in occasions at specific times each day.
It also can help keep momentum moving forward.
Listeners tune in to get something. So give them an experience.
Developing listener loyalty is a process that produces value over time. It helps bullet-proof your station from wild ratings fluctuations, shields you from competitive attacks on your target audience and it can lower your cost of marketing by increasing listener retention.
What ways have you discovered that help your audience become more loyal to your show?
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