Every radio station owner has the same questions, “Why is our site(s) not getting traffic?” and “Why is it so difficult to sell ads on our station website?”.  While one question has to do with visitors and another with advertisers, in fact the solution is the same for both.  Let’s look at some likely reasons for your lack of visitors and sales and show you how to increase both.

1) Your content is not fresh.

Would you buy a newspaper ad from a publication that only changed every couple of months?  Or never?  Gosh, I hope not.  This is why good/fresh content is so important for both visitors and advertisers.

Believe it or not search engines and especially Google have become very efficient in recognizing good content.  So, if your content is not good enough and your website is not of high quality, the chances of ranking high in any search result are minimized.  Getting onto the top pages of search engine results is not an easy task and takes time. However, if you work to improve your ranking, the resulting increase in traffic can be a game changer for your station.  This is why “tags” or “keywords” are important in all of your posts and pages.

Besides search engines, let’s not forget about the indirect influence of social media on rankings and traffic.  Content that is not of great quality is very unlikely to perform well in the various social media channels.

Users want to read fresh content and so do the search engines and social media.  If your website never or rarely changes, then this is this single most determining factor of why you’re here.

2) Your website doesn’t perform well.

Online visitors are a demanding bunch and have high expectations of the websites they visit. Here is a list of the things they will expect:

– Your site will load quickly. If it doesn’t, visitors will leave and likely never return.

– Visitors can find what they want easily through menus and search bars.

– Visitors can read the site easily, no matter what device they are using.

– Your website is fresh and attractive.  Different audiences like different things, make sure yours works for your target audience and demographic.

3) You’re not promoting your site and/or its content.

If you’re not hammering the benefits of your website on-air, the smart advertiser will know that you’re not very interested in promoting it (or their purchased ad on it).

Websites should not just rely on search engines to get found.  Besides organic traffic, you can also get direct traffic (people who type in your web address) and referral traffic (from links on other websites or social media). However, if no-one knows your website is there, no-one is going to visit.

You operate the most proven method of advertising, so why not promote the website content as often as possible on-air?  Listeners are past the old, “for more info visit xyz100.com”.  Instead, give them specific reasons to visit like, “A downtown bakery exploded today, discover at xyz100.com why you might want to check your creme filled donut before taking a bite.”

The same can be true on social media.  Rather than simply posting a link to whatever story is on your station website, generate a proper tease there as well.  Then, keep up with your content as it circulates and be sure to participate in the conversation.

You can also use more traditional methods to promote your website, such as online advertising through a pay per click (PPC) ad campaign using services such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads.  You can also run a PPC campaign on some social media sites which is often less expensive than with Bing or Google.

Finally, make sure your web address is on every piece of literature or advertising you send out, put it on your t-shirts, on stickers in your station van and have it displayed around your lobby.

4) You’re not tracking the effectiveness of your website.

If you’re producing good content and promoting it well, over time you will learn what works well and what doesn’t.  If you’re not tracking the effectiveness of your content, then you miss out on this opportunity.  Once you can see a trend, your content producers will have a guideline to go by and produce more of what the audience wants.

On the sales side, nothing speaks to advertisers like black-on-white proof that your site is worth their investment. All advertisers want up to date metrics and if you don’t supply the information they need, honestly, they will move on.

You can keep the media kit for when you talk to potential advertisers, or you could publish it on your site on a spot where advertisers can find it after clicking a link that says, “advertise with us.”  A great place to put this is on your “Market” company website.

5) Your sales people are not trained to sell the website.

We’ve all seen the sales person who grew up listening to our station and can’t wait to get out there to start promoting and selling it.  They’re excited because they know all about the DJs, the music, the shows, who’s on each weekend, etc.  Unfortunately, they don’t know all of the little nuances about your station website, so it becomes unimportant or irrelevant to them.

You can move beyond this by showing them how important and relevant the station website is to you.  If it is not just as important as the on-air signal, then this is where you can start.  Emphasizing digital assets is a must have mentality for any radio station that wants to survive the next 5+ years.

Once your sales team is engaged, instead of just focusing on banner ads, have them give advertisers other, more indirect ways to promote their brand through your site.  Guest posts, giveaways, sponsored features, articles and videos are a few examples of things that may be more attractive to advertisers than a simple banner ad.  Just remember to disclose to your readers if you have a sponsored article on your site.

6) You have too many links away from your website.

Radio stations that display RSS feeds that lead to other websites is one of our biggest pet peeves.  We understand every station wants format news on their website.  However, it’s important to ask yourself if the links away from your site, and the advertisers you sell to be on it, is really worth it.  What’s most likely to happen, the visitor will bookmark their content site and go straight there next time bypassing your site altogether.

If you want format news or other content on your station site, it’s best to find a news service that offers importable full content that keep visitors on your station website.

Conclusion

Having more visitors and advertisers for your station website ultimately comes down to how involved the management team is with it.  The station website should be considered an integral part of the radio station, not something separate.  It needs to be promoted at every level and a primary focus for sales, marketing and goal setting.  When you have followed the steps we have outlined here, you’ll definitely see increases in both visitors and sales.

If you’re having trouble with your station website, please reach out to us for help.