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We each get these calls every week.  So do you.  It’s a phone message from a stranger presenting an intriguing business opportunity.  We listen, perhaps for a full minute, only to hear the caller’s phone number left as a single-worded jumble of numbers, like 3175553218extension7049.  With no repetition.

We grumble and replay the message, sitting through the same 60 seconds in hopes of getting the number jotted down correctly this time.  Then doubt creeps in and we play it yet a third time.  (Or we give up.)  In the process, a really great opportunity loses some of its luster and we start to wonder what kind of a business partner this person would make if they can’t even slow down and articulate my call to action.

Sound familiar?

Aside from these voice mail nightmares, we’re likely to encounter a similar disconnect on any given day through radio commercials.  Ten digits of a hard-to-remember phone number get articulated in a single second, followed by a super-secret promo code you’re supposed to remember to tell the operator when they answer the call.  Or a website URL you’ve never heard of gets read just once with cryptic instructions: “Visit and enter promo code VROOM.  Remember, that’s carz with a ‘z.’”


If you have a tricky, lengthy URL like “” create a radio-friendly URL landing page and use it for your radio ads.  (“” is available.)  If you lack a super-friendly toll-free number (1-800-FLOWERS) search for an easy-to-remember alternative.  (“888-939-ROSE” is available.)

To let you know how easy it is to find such alternatives, I typed both the “carz” and “flowers” examples above without any forethought.  Then I went to a domain registration site and a toll-free number search site and entered the above alternatives.  Both were available!  Total time investment?  Less than two minutes.


And above all, SLOW DOWN when presenting and repeating your URL and toll-free phone numbers.  Assume that no one has ever heard these words and numbers before.  Articulate them slowly.  Semi-sing them in a bouncy rhythm if that will make them more memorable.  And repeat repeat repeat them!

They’re the most important words in your radio commercial.

Mark Lipsky is the President and CEO of The Radio Agency. Please follow The Radio Agency’s Blog “Sounding Board” by subscribing to the email or RSS links above.Visit our website