On November 1, 1940, KENO signed on as the first radio station in Las Vegas, Nevada. Since then, local business owners have depended on radio advertising to successfully market their goods and service.
Using any advertising metric, despite the inundation of new media options, radio remains the most potent medium for fulfilling the marketing objectives of Las Vegas area business owners of every size.
In the age of all things digital, is advertising on Las Vegas radio still effective? Meet five local small business owners who say, YES!
1. Aaron Taylor - The Real Estate Guy
"Radio, by far, is my biggest source of advertising," says Mr. Taylor. "We have sold more homes and made more money since I started advertising on the radio than I have at any other time before then."
Mr. Taylor had been a very successful real estate agent prior to advertising on Las Vegas radio stations. He established O48 Realty in 2003 and quickly expanded to 116 agents.
"In 2008, I lost everything," says Mr. Taylor. "When the real estate crash happened, I wasn't prepared. The company's expenses were far greater than what little money was coming in."
"I needed a home run to turn the business around. A base hit would not do," says Mr. Taylor, who is very fond of sports analogies. "Advertising on Las Vegas radio was a home run."
In 2010, Mr. Taylor's business consisted primarily of short-sales This is when a home is sold for less than the remaining amount of a mortgage.
"Sellers mistakenly thought they needed an attorney for this type of transaction and were paying out thousands of dollars for fees," says Mr. Taylor. "So, I put a full-time attorney on my staff and started offering free legal representation with every short-sale. Nobody ever did that before."
To let people know about this offer of a free attorney, a friend advised Mr. Taylor to invest in radio advertising on two Las Vegas stations.
After the first month of radio advertising, Mr. Taylor did not see any results. "I knew it would take time to work," he says. "So, I committed to myself to stick with it for a year."
During the second month, Mr. Taylor received his first phone call from his commercial. The third month a few more came in. "During the fourth month," he says, "we closed a sale. Then the radio advertising really gained momentum."
"When I saw how successful how our radio commercial was doing, I added a third station, then a fourth, then a fifth, and so on."
"After our first year on the radio," says Mr. Taylor, "we had gone from selling 50 homes a year to 300." By any measure, a home run."
Today, out of 16,000 agents in the Las Vegas area, The Real Estate guy ranks sixth with home sales exceeding $80,000,000 per year.
Mr. Taylor continues to advertise on Las Vegas radio stations. "We are on 24 different radio stations, 52 weeks every year. "I know that every $1.00 I invest in radio advertising will pay back $5.00 in sales," he says.
2. Anthony Woods - Centennial Toyota
Last year was a huge year for Centennial. According to Mr. Woods, his team sold 6281 new and used cars setting a new record. "This volume makes us this 64th largest Toyota dealership in America out of 1,238.
"Las Vegas radio is our primary source of advertising, " says Mr. Woods. "We do a bit of digital and direct mail. Our television advertising is limited to the Hispanic market. And, we never use newspaper advertising. But, we have been advertising consistently on Las Vegas radio stations since I came to the dealership 12 years ago."
Mr. Woods is well aware of the positive effect radio advertising has on his business.
"We have advertised on Las Vegas radio stations for two weeks every month since 2007. I can tell when our commercials are running because we have a substantial lift in phone calls. Our web traffic increases. And the number of leads increases," says Mr. Woods.
"But most importantly we sell more cars when we advertise."
"Advertising on Las Vegas radio stations is a staple of what we do. It contributes to our year-over-year growth. As long as we are profitable, I am sticking with it. I am a firm believer that the more we spend in advertising, the more cars we will sell."
3. Justin Pulliam - NuMale Medical
"A lot of businesses grow by word of mouth, but that doesn't work for us," says Justin Pulliam, one of the founders of NuMale Medical Center. "Our patients are very private about the services we provide to them, so they aren't going to tell anyone they've been to our office."
NuMale Medical Center provides treatments for erectile dysfunction, hormone replacement, bioidentical testosterone replacement; hair restoration, and other services for men.
"Because we can't rely on word of mouth," says Mr. Pulliam, "we depend on advertising to educate men in Las Vegas about who we are, what we do, and how we can help them."
Advertising on Las Vegas radio stations is NuMale's primary form of marketing. "I wouldn't have a business if it weren't for radio advertising," says Mr. Pulliam. NuMale began advertising on Las Vegas radio two weeks before their office opened in 2013. "I know our radio advertising worked because we had a full slate of patients from day one. Radio was the only way they could have heard about us."
Since then NuMale commercials have been on Las Vegas radio stations seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.
Mr. Pulliam says frequency is key to Numale's success advertising on Las Vegas radio, especially among his target audience.
"Look, most men avoid going to a doctor unless they are dying. But when there is an issue with the 'nether regions' they want a solution right away," he says. "So, I need to make sure when a man realizes he has a problem, we need our radio ads to be there for him."
"I know every time one of our radio commercials run because we see an immediate spike in phone calls and web traffic," says Mr. Pulliam. "That's why we need frequency. No matter how good our ads our, nobody is going to call us until they need us."
Another reason Mr. Pulliam needs to invest in frequency is because of the transient nature of Las Vegas. "People are always moving in out," he says. "We need to make sure that the new people know we are here if they need us."
Mr. Pulliam believes that of all advertising media, radio provides the most affordable way to build frequency. "We know," he says, "that when we invest $1.00 in radio, we will consistently get a $6.00 return-on-investment."
4. David Mizrahi - Best Mattress
"We are firmly committed to radio advertising," says David Mizrahi, owner and President of Best Mattress. "For the past two years, we have been advertising on Las Vegas radio stations three to four weeks every month of the year."
Best Mattress is the number-one locally owned chain of sleep shops in Nevada. The company operates 17 stores in the Las Vegas area.
"We started the company 25 years ago with 6 locations. In all, if you count our stores in Mesquite and St. George, Utah," says Mr. Mizrahi, "we now have a total of 22."
Two years ago, after all his time in the mattress business, Mr. Mizrahi decided to aggressively invest in advertising on Las Vegas radio stations.
"Up until then, we had been depending on direct mail and newspaper advertising. But because we have stores just about everywhere, Valassis, the company we used for direct mail, just became too expensive. I could no longer justify the expense of sending out 700,000 pieces of mail that most people just throw away."
"So I took that money and invested it in advertising on Las Vegas radio stations," he says. "Now that I had cut way back on direct mail, I could afford to do radio the right way."
When Mr. Mizrahi says he wants to do radio right, he means he wants to reach every listener in the market who is planning to buy a mattress.
"A conventional approach to buying radio advertising is to cherry-pick the stations you buy. Usually concentrating on the ones that are most popular," he says. "I advertise on 18 different radio stations so I can make sure I reach everyone. Even the smallest radio stations have unique audiences that I can't reach anywhere else."
Two years ago, when Mr. Mizrahi began investing in radio advertising, he was not sure if it would produce results. "I committed to myself that I would try it for six months regardless of what happened."
If anyone asks Mr. Mizrahi if his radio advertising worked, he replies, "I'm still on the air, aren't I?"
5. Scott Chatley - Panda Law
"Advertising on Las Vegas radio stations has been an integral part of the firm's growth," says Scott Chatley who has been handling the marketing for Panda law since 2010. "We bought our first radio commercial in 2011 and have been on the air ever since."
Market research affirms Mr. Chatley's use of radio advertising to expand the firm's caseload.
Each week, Las Vegas radio stations reach significantly more local consumers who are likely to hire an attorney than are reached by local TV, local newspapers, or streaming audio sites such as Pandora and Spotify.
To advertise Panda Law successfully, Mr. Chately believes in using multiple media to build both reach (the number of consumers who hear a message) and the frequency (the number of times a consumer hears a message).
To achieve this, Panda Law invests, depending on market conditions, between 50% and 75% of their traditional media budget into advertising on Las Vegas radio. The remainder is used for television advertising.
"This synergistic approach, really produces billable hours for us," says Mr. Chatley. "That's the only metric I really care about. I am not interested in the cost-per-lead (CPL) or other key-performance-indicators (KPI). I just want to know what my return-on-investment is (ROI)."
"With TV alone I generate $3.00 in billing for every $1.00 invested. I expect radio to deliver the same."
"But," Mr. Chatley continues, "when I use both media synergistically, we earn $5.00 for every $1.00 invested.