So you’ve landed yourself on the air on a talk radio station in your community and developed a show format that positions you as an expert in your field. You have developed a listener base and found a few sponsors, but the $64,000 question is how will you turn this broadcast exposure into clients?

One thing is for certain: Having a radio show does not automatically generate prospects or revenue. There are dozens of financial and insurance professionals who deliver an information-packed radio show each week and receive listener questions via email or on-air calls, but they are still not able to trace a penny of revenue to the effort they put into the show each week. So what’s the missing piece?

You must give the audience reasons to contact you and then repeatedly ask them to do so. Marketing people refer to this as a “call to action.” And if you follow the three-step approach outlined below, your listeners will trust you, reach out to you, and actually want to do business with you.

Step 1: Give them reasons to trust you and value your input
Your biggest problem right now is that, whether they’re right or wrong, your audience does not trust you. Don’t take this personally — it’s our whole industry and headline after headline of Ponzi scams and six-figure bonuses for corporate executives who have decimated shareholder value. So your first order of business is to show your listeners that you can be trusted.

I was in Florida last week and, as I drove to a Sunday brunch with friends, I tuned into a local talk station to see what was going on in the Tampa Bay area. I tuned in to a financial advisor who was explaining the revisions to the mandatory distribution rules in such a way that even a 5-year-old would understand the options and suitability. Then, he segued to a little self-promotion, the refrain of which was, “Never, never, never have I lost a penny of my clients’ money.” He said this over and over. Well, I was ready to call the guy myself, and I’m in the business.

Now — here’s the best part — the next words out of his mouth were, “Call me right now and Sophia will set up an appointment so we can discuss what we need to do to protect the money you have put away for your retirement.” This guy gets it. He has mastered the call to action.

Here’s the formula:

  • Offer valuable content to your listeners — something they need to know.
  • Show them you are honest, an expert, and interested in solving their problem.
  • Ask them to call you now.

The ones who call are known as the “low-hanging fruit.” Add them to your database of prospects and commence your sales process.

Step 2: Solve their problems with something free
Radio is a one-to-many marketing strategy: There’s one of you talking to many of them. Your job is to get as many of them as possible to do something known as a “touch back.” A touch back is when the “many” reach out to you in some way — via telephone, email, or a Web site visit. If they call or email, they are low-hanging fruit; you have captured their contact information, and they become a prospect. But some of the “many” need an incentive to touch back.

Each week on your show, you will be presenting important information that will help your listeners make good financial decisions. Some people need validation or reinforcement of this important information. Because you are an expert, you have the ability to create and produce a free report on the subject that will give your listeners additional information that will solve their problems. If you ask them to call and request this free report or visit your Web site and download it, you have incentivized the touch back — you have “name squeezed” the prospect. They don’t get the free report without giving you their contact info. Commence the sales process.

Step 3: Reach out and touch over and over again
Just because you have squeezed contact information out of your listeners does not mean they will instantly do business with you. The “many” are fickle and sometimes need to be wooed. The most efficient mechanism with which to do this is a monthly newsletter.

The newsletter allows you to reach out and touch the “many” at least 12 times per year, reminding them of the value you bring to solving their problems. It also keeps your name, your contact information, and descriptions of your product and service offerings in front of them, sprinkled liberally with calls to action. “Call for a complimentary one-hour consultation.” “Call for my free report on financing nursing home care.” “Visit our Web site to access our free retirement income calculator.” There is a direct relationship between the consistency of your outreach to the prospect and their response rate to your calls to action. The newsletter is your key to converting the prospect to a client because, as much as we would like it to be otherwise, it does not always happen on the first shot across the bow.

If you incorporate these steps into your broadcast strategy, you are likely to see a corresponding relationship to lead generation and sales. Radio can be an effective way to increase your visibility in your community and validate yourself as an authority on financial planning. It opens doors to other media opportunities, speaking engagements, and local celebrity. All the exposure in the world, however, does not benefit you if you do not have a strategy in place to convert this visibility into clients. Using a combination of Internet technology and good, old-fashioned direct marketing techniques, you can get radio marketing to pay off.

Dennis Brown is a former career agent and chief marketing officer and co-owner of M&O Marketing. He can be reached at 800-228-5964.