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Fulfill the Listener’s Expectations

Tips to get the most out of your email, SMS and social database

Roughly a year ago I penned an article about e-letters. I related a story about a station sending out a coupon offer instead of the usual content-based piece. The station received 20,000 “unsubscribe” requests.

One of my readers recently questioned me regarding coupon offers sent out so successfully by Groupon, Living Social, Amazon and others. The reader wanted to know why these companies aren’t receiving massive unsubcribes.

It’s simple: Their subscribers are receiving exactly what they want. When someone opts in to get coupons, that what’s you send them. If they register to get an informative or entertaining email piece, you’d better deliver.

It’s about fulfilling the expectation.

The first quarter is a wonderful time to build or review your database collection, retention and sales plan for 2012. Your plan should be expanded to cover email, SMS and social.

Content reigns

Building and retaining a substantial email list becomes more difficult every year.

A decade ago, listeners did not need much encouragement to join radio station email lists. Now it’s vital that you prime the pump with regular and preferably large incentives, and then retain users by sending them excellent content.

You must also let your listeners know that as members of your club, they’ll receive information firstregarding items of significant importance to their personal lives. Offering several types of e-letter sign-ups can be quite useful.

iStockphoto/Milan Ljubisavljevic

For example, some people may want to receive weekly entertainment news; others might want rush hour traffic alerts; another crowd may want breaking sports headlines. It is possible for you to automate some of this information by utilizing templates that pull in RSS feeds from your website.


In contrast to gathering names for email lists, building SMS text (mobile) database lists has gotten a bit easier.

Texting has become a lifestyle choice for many people. You should be offering SMS on-air interaction and alerts. The on-air interaction comes in the form of opinions on topics, or by voting in polls.

One of the keys to successful SMS use is that the kick-back message is tailored to achieve the tactical desired result.

For example, you could be doing a poll about the best new song of the week, and everyone who votes gets a message encouraging them to go to your website to watch new live versions of all three songs, or to tune in to the station to hear the winning song in 15 minutes. Or the kick-back message might invite them to join your texting club and by doing so are entered into a drawing for free lunch for their entire office.

Although you are not building a database in the traditional sense when you utilize social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you are gathering followers who have certain expectations of your brand. Too often, Facebook and Twitter interaction is handled directly by talent, with little guidance as to frequency or content. It is essential that your personalities be involved, but they require supervision and mentoring, just like they do for their on-air performance.

Facebook and Twitter are excellent platforms for driving user visits to your website. When you link to the right content, you’ll see the clicks come your way.

Where’s the money?

Even if your lists are small, it may be possible to get one sponsor involved across email, SMS and social.

By building a package with banner ads, text kickbacks and social integration, one advertiser can have impact. These advertising messages must be short, so make certain they are understood and actionable.

Finally, remember that the point of building databases is to encourage loyalty, tune-in and generation of incremental revenue. It’s a rare station that hits all three at once, but in this case, two out of three truly ain’t bad.

Have suggestions of your own to help other stations get the most out of these tools? Drop me an email.

The author is president of Lapidus Media. Email him [email protected].