By Scott Lindy, Futuri Partner Success Team
Hi, you’re caller six, try again.
Hi, you’re caller seven, try again.
Hi, you’re caller eight, try again.
Hi, you’re caller nine! What’s your name and where are you calling from?
It’s radio’s contesting Groundhog’s Day. Been there? Still there?
Although fading from the radio landscape, caller nine contests continue to be the go-to contest method for many stations. Too many. A shift to ‘text to win’ started happening in recent years, which does make things easier for the station and for listeners who play — but at what cost to the rest of the audience?
Smart Program Directors understand why contesting is important: it’s an incentive to listen, much in the same way Nielsen incentivizes diary keepers and to a much larger extent, PPM Panelists. The more savvy PD’s know that contests are also a brand-building opportunity and can help build a database of loyal listeners.
And then, there’s the rare air of radio contest creation.
Listener: “I love listening to that contest on your station!”
DJ: “Do you ever call in so you can play?”
Listener: “No, I just like to play along and hear what happens at the end.”
These are the contests that create a moment in time designed to entertain and engage the entire audience, especially the ones who love your brand but will most likely never play your contests. (BTW, that’s usually north of 90% of your total audience.) They create tension and the need for closure. They make listeners stick around when they’re teased. They pay off for everyone.
Creating a contest that triggers those coveted ‘lean in moments’ comes from the combination of a prize that shows you truly understand your target’s life and your wild imagination. (Or re-imagining a clever contest you may have heard on another station. Amateurs borrow, professionals steal!) Yet, it was a technology that moved radio contesting from unanswered calls and busy signals to a quick text entry resulting in a polite but unmoving opt-in reply. Hardly innovative and emotionally hollow.
Enter the station mobile app. The ever-evolving personal technology sitting in the palm of your listener’s hand. The digital lever to dispatch contest moments that increase tune in, one on one listener engagement, database building, and revenue opportunities all while showcasing your creativity and differentiating your brand image. The technical basics of mobile app contesting include:
Flash Contesting: Push notifications that share info for short-duration contests. (Pro tip: The vast majority of Flash Contest entries happen in the first few minutes no matter how long you leave the contest open.)
In-App Notifications: Contest info seen only when users open the app. Promote them on air or use for surprise and delight.
The contest info shared can set appointments, drive tune-in, offer contest entry in the app, direct link listeners to your web, socials, or even a physical location.
That’s just the technology. The memorable engagement and entertainment happen when your imagination combines with your app’s capabilities. Consider these examples:
Drive downloads, curiosity, and tune in:
‘In 25 minutes, we’re going to ask one question about the video clip you’ll see when you open our app. Oh and a warning: If you’re around people when you watch the video, turn the sound down.’
Give listeners an insider’s edge:
‘The 7:30 Thousand Dollar Minute just got easier. Correctly answer ten questions in sixty seconds and win a grand! Open our mobile app now and get the answers to today’s last two questions.’
Contests that put listeners on the air:
‘Wanna crank up the AC for free? Record the sweltering forecast we’ve posted on the Open Mic page in our mobile app, then listen at :20 after all day. If you hear your forecast call us back and we’ll pay your power bill.’
When you combine audio, video, user-created content, your creative contesting design, well-authored push and in-app notifications, a user-friendly experience, and consistent on-air promotion, your mobile app will become a highly powerful component of your digital engagement strategy. The importance of learning and understanding what’s possible with a dedicated station mobile app has transitioned from being just a ‘cool extra’ to a critical element of your station’s success. When it comes to your app, whether you want to get better or just get started, reach out anytime. We love this stuff, and I assure you, we at Futuri can help.