Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Pandora's Radio Ad (Not on Radio) Can Help Your Marketing

I listen to Pandora all day in my office, via an iPhone app that runs through my Sony sound system.

About two weeks ago, I started noticing a commercial between songs about 3 times a day.

It starts like this: "As a music lover, how would you feel if you lost the music on your PC or Mac?"

It goes on to describe a service called Carbonite, how it can back up my files automatically, and restore them should my hard drive ever crash.

This radio-type commercial does 5 things very well -- much better than any radio spot I can remember.

Every ad you run for your business should do these 5 things.

They are:

1. Get Attention
The ad plays on Pandora, which has almost no ads. So it can't help but get my attention.

Also, addressing me as "a music lover" while I'm listening to music is a direct hit. You have my attention.

(Where are you advertising? Does your display ad or sales letter stand out among the surrounding communications?)

2. Appeal to Emotion
Burn this into your brain: People make decisions based on emotion, then use logic to justify their decision. This applies to all people everywhere, from Supreme Court Justices to soccer moms.

By asking an emotionally charged question, "How would you feel if you lost the music on your PC or Mac?" the Carbonite commercial asks a painful question that I want an answer to.

(What's the emotional appeal of your product or service? Example: If you sell weed killer, the emotional appeal is NOT dead weeds, but neighbors envious of your lovely lawn.)

3. Solve a Problem
Carbonite backs up my files remotely while I do other things. Even if the house burns down, my music and other data are safe. Problem solved.

(What problem does your product or service really solve?)

4. Make a Special Offer
The Carbonite ad says: "As a Pandora listener, you get a free 15-day trial, plus a free month of you choose to buy.

This singles me out and makes me feel special -- Why, yes. I am a Pandora listener -- and mentions the word "free" twice. Sounds good to me.

(How could you make an offer that singles out and makes your ideal prospect feel special?)

5. Call to Action
The ad ends with "Click the banner to get started now."

It can't get any more direct than this.

(What's the call to action in your advertising? It must be clear and obvious: "Pick up the phone and call 202-555-1212 now" or ... "Click the banner to get started now.")

Now. Because I've heard this radio-type spot on Pandora for nearly two weeks, it is likely paying off for Carbonite, which is one of the savviest marketers online today. No smart advertiser reruns an ad that failed. (If it suddenly goes off the air, I will update you here.)

But rather than show you how well Carbonite markets, why not see and judge for yourself?

Below, according to affiliate marketing service Commission Junction, is the top-performing banner ad for Carbonite, as of today.

Click on it to see what they're doing.

Full disclosure: I had to join Carbonite's affiliate program to use their ads, so if you end up using their service, I make a couple of bucks. But just take a second to look at this ad for points you can adapt to your own, then visit their site for more marketing ideas.

UPDATE: It's November 2 -- nearly three months later -- and I just heard the Carbonite ad on Pandora again, with the same wording, but read by a different guy. Interesting. They must be testing the voice of the ad, above and beyond the wording itself.

Also, the ad says, "Go to and enter Offer Code: Pandora."

All of which tells me three more things: 

1. Let your winners run
This ad is running after three months, so it's still profitable for Carbonite.

2. Tracking eliminates guesswork
By telling listeners to use "Offer Code: Pandora" they are tracking their response. Smart. Tracking lets them know -- to the dollar -- how much revenue their Pandora ads are pulling.

3. Multiply your media
Carbonite has likely rolled this ad out other media, like radio. Because the earlier version never mentioned "Offer Code: Pandora" -- it just said, "Click the banner to get started now." By tracking Pandora specifically in the new ad, it must mean they are using media beyond Pandora.

All in all, this is an ad campaign worth watching ... er, listening to.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

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