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Pros and Cons of Radio Advertising for Pharmacies

radio advertising pharmacy

July 13, 2021

In an age of Spotify and Pandora, terrestrial radio may seem old-fashioned. But it still has the potential to be a powerful marketing vehicle for your pharmacy.

Nielsen Media Research found that 83 percent of Americans ages 12 and older listened to the radio every week. Chances are, whoever you want to reach with your marketing, you can make contact with them using radio ads.

Read on to learn the advantages of running radio ads (and find out about some of the pitfalls, too).

Pros of Radio Advertising for Pharmacies

Here are three reasons to advertise on the radio.

It’s inexpensive

Compared to other forms of advertising, radio spots are relatively inexpensive. If you’re in a small rural market like Topeka, Kansas, running a 30 second ad will only cost you around $25, while if you’re in a larger market like Atlanta, Georgia, a 30-second ad is still affordably priced at $363.

The time you broadcast will affect the price. If you want to broadcast your ad during rush hour traffic, it will cost a little more, but if you book multiple ads you should be able to negotiate for a discount.

You can target through station choice

Radio advertisements offer you the chance to target the audience in your local area so you’re reaching exactly who you intend to reach. There are many types of radio stations — current hits, oldies, news, talk radio — and they all have a different demographic breakdown of listeners.

You just need to figure out which local radio station has listeners that best match your pharmacy’s ideal audience and take out ads with them for some low-effort target marketing.

Quick and easy to produce

If you need to get a message out fast, radio advertising is a good bet. Television ads take a long time to film and produce, while radio ads can be recorded and turned around within a couple of days.

Once the ad is finished, it doesn’t take long to get it playing on the radio. Unlike print advertising, you don’t have to wait for an available slot in the next issue — which could be in a week or in a month.

Cons of Radio Advertising for Pharmacies

Here are three drawbacks to advertising on the radio.

Hard to be memorable

Radio ads are usually only 30 seconds — 60 seconds at the most — and people usually hear them while they are doing something else, like driving to work or preparing dinner.

That means they aren’t 100 percent tuned into the ad and they’ll have to hear it a number of times before the messaging really sinks in. If you don’t want to run an extended campaign, radio ads might not be the right marketing medium for your pharmacy.

Audience is fragmented

The large number of radio stations can be a pro if you’re targeting a very specific demographic, but it can also be a disadvantage, depending on your advertising goals.

If you want everyone in your community to learn about your pharmacy via the radio, you’re going to have to take out many different ads on many different stations in order to reach people. Even though radio advertising is relatively inexpensive, that kind of extensive campaign can become pricey quickly.

No visual appeal

The fact that there is no visual element to radio advertising can create a special challenge. If you have products that are easier to market with a demonstration — like compliance packaging — you may have to get creative to get those ideas across on the radio.

It also means that you can’t take advantage of visual branding recognition. A distinct logo can go a long way in helping people recognize your pharmacy, and you miss out on increasing that awareness when you advertise on the radio.

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Tips for Creating a Great Radio Advertisement 

Use these tips to create a professional-sounding and compelling radio ad that will encourage listeners to check out your pharmacy.

Write a compelling script

Think about how you address your audience in other marketing efforts — what demographic you’re targeting, what the tone of the ads is, and more — and try to incorporate those elements into your radio ad.

Remember, you only have a few seconds to catch listeners’ attention, so your ad should make a clear, concise argument for why they should visit your pharmacy. Focus on the benefits they will receive rather than simply on what your pharmacy offers.

Include a call-to-action that connects people to your store. Invite them to visit or go to your website to take advantage of all the awesome things you mentioned in your ad.

Get creative with sounds

Because there isn’t a visual component, you’re going to have to think outside the box when it comes to using sounds in order to make your ad more memorable. Look for opportunities to incorporate sound effects in addition to the spoken script.

For example, if your ad is focusing on pet medications, include a dog barking or cat meowing.

Also think about music. If your pharmacy has a jingle, include that in your radio ad. If not, you can take advantage of royalty-free music options to play behind the ad to give it more texture and make it easier to identify.

Don’t DIY it

With all the technology contained in a laptop or phone these days, it might seem easy to record a radio ad in your basement. But people will be able to tell that something is off.

You won’t be able to replicate professional sound quality or edit as seamlessly as an audio engineer, so paying a professional is worth the investment. They’ll be able to polish the ad so your messaging comes through crystal clear when it plays on the radio.

Consider hiring a voice actor

If you’ve done promotional work before, like appearing in TV ads for the pharmacy, and you’re a recognizable figure in your community, you might be the right person to narrate your store’s radio ad.

But if the idea of performing makes you nervous, that will come through in your radio ad. Potential patients aren’t going to be sold by someone with a shaky, unconfident voice.

In that case, it’s a good idea to bring in a professional voice actor. Pick a narrator who mirrors the demographics of your target audience in order to get the most enthusiastic response to your ad.


A Member-Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The member-owned company serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.

An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.

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