Tap Into An Easy Free Way To Promote Your Business On Radio

(Last Updated On: December 7, 2022)

Promote Your Business On Radio

Getting a free radio advertisement can be a great way to promote your company, product, or event. Radio advertising is excellent for reaching many people and piquing their interest in your services or products. 

Fortunately, there are some ways that you can get free ad time on the radio – if you know where to look! This article will provide tips and advice for securing free ad time on the radio.

You need to get the word out. You need to advertise for your business to grow and do well. Advertising is the “lifeblood” of any business that wants to make money. 

Good advertising is the main thing that makes a business successful and keeps it going. The most successful companies in the world spend millions of dollars each year on advertising. Obviously, if you’re starting out in a garage, basement, or on the kitchen table, you can’t match their advertising efforts right away.

But there is a way to do something similar to what they do without spending as much money as they do. And they do that by using “PI” advertising. 

“Per inquiry” is what “PI” stands for. This type of advertising is most often associated with broadcasting, where you only pay for the responses to your ad. It’s popular and is used by many more advertisers than most people think. The benefits of PI Advertising are good for the advertiser because, with this type of advertising, you only pay for the results it brings. It’s like trading.

Start with a loose-leaf notebook and about 100 sheets of filler paper to participate in this “free” advertising. Next, either go to your public library and start reading the Broadcast Yearbook about radio stations in the US or the Standard Rate and Data Services Directory about Spot Radio. These books will tell you almost everything you want about licensed stations.

You could also call or go to one of your local radio stations and ask to borrow their current copy of either of these volumes, which you can then take home with you. The full price to buy them is between $50 and $75.

Once you have one of these books, choose the state or states where you want to work. Most of the time, it’s best to start in your own state and go from there. If you have a book on making money, start with the states with the most people out of work.

Use some good old-fashioned sense. You wouldn’t try to sell de-icing spray for windshields in Florida or suntan lotion in Minnesota in the winter, would you? Who is most likely to buy your product, and where do they live? 

Once you’ve chosen your first “target” area, look through the radio listings for the cities and towns in that area and write down the names of the general managers, the station call letters, and the station addresses in your notebook. Make sure to include the phone numbers, too.

At first, you should only list one radio station per city. Choose the station where the people most interested in your product are listening. This can be found in the Broadcasting Yearbook or the SRDS Directory by looking at the programming description in the date block about the station.

First, introduce yourself and ask if they’re interested in PI Advertising. You tell the station manager that you have a product you think will sell well in his market and would like to test it before starting a paid advertising program.

You should tell him that your product sells for $5 and that you’ll give him half of that amount for each response his station gets for you during this test.

Tell him you take care of everything for him, including writing the commercials, keeping the books, and handling any refunds or complaints.

In other words, all he has to do is put your commercials on his schedule and do his “best” with them.

When the responses come in, he keeps track of them and sends them to you to fulfill. You write a check to him for the money, and everyone is happy.

If you talked to him on the phone and he agreed to look over your work, thank him and tell him you’ll send him a complete “package” immediately.

Write a short cover letter, put it on top of your “ready-to-go” PI Advertising Package, and mail it to him right away.

If he says no and doesn’t want to “take on” any PI Advertising, just thank him, note his name in your notebook, and move on to your next call. Getting in touch with these people by phone is the fastest, cheapest, and most effective way to “explore” which stations might be interested in your PI proposal. Sometimes, making this first contact by letter or postcard might be cheaper.

If that’s the case, just send a card or letter to the person you want to talk to. Your letter should have a positive tone and be clear and full. Give all the information on one page, type perfectly on letterhead paper, and send it in an envelope with letterhead on it. (Letterheads with rubber stamps won’t get past the first glance.)

Ideally, you should include a self-addressed, postage-paid postcard with spaces to check yes or no to your questions: Will you or won’t you use my material and think about a mutually profitable “Per Inquiry” advertising campaign on your station?

Once your contact at the radio station says they will look over your materials and give a PI program serious thought, move quickly and send your cover letter and package by First Class mail or maybe even Special Delivery.

This means that you should organize your “radio station notebook” and your advertising package at the same time. As soon as you hear back, put everything together and get it ready to mail. Give people time to continue being interested in your program.

You’ll need a letter to follow up. Write one letter that can be used in any situation. Sending a package is as easy as filling in the business salutation and signing 250 copies. But if you talked about different arrangements or a particular topic in your first contact, type a letter with comments or answers to the things you talked about. It won’t take long to add this personal touch, and it could pay off!

You’ll also need at least two commercials that are thirty seconds long and two that are sixty seconds long. Write these up as part of your PI Advertising Package and have 250 copies printed and put together.

You should also write an advertising contract explaining everything about your show and how it should be run. This should include how and when payment to the radio station should be made, as well as special sections about refunds, complaints, and who is responsible for what. 

This can be written up quickly and printed on carbonless multi-part snap-out business forms in batches of 250 or more.

Lastly, you should include a self-addressed, postage-paid postcard that the radio station can use to let you know that they will use your PI Advertising program, when they will start playing your commercials on the air, how often, and when. Again, you just type the words you want to use on these “reply postcards” and have copies made so you can use them in your mailings.

In Summary

After reviewing the SRDS or Broadcasting Yearbook, contact the person. Phone or mail are the only ways to actually talk to the stations. When you get a “no,” just say “thanks” and go to the next nesting station on the list. If someone wants more information about your proposal, you send them a PI Advertising Package as soon as possible. Keep people from getting bored.

The following should be in your advertising package:

1. Cover letter

2. Sample brochure, product literature

3. Commercials that run for 30 and 60 seconds

4. Contract for Advertising by PI

5. A self-addressed, postage-paid postcard for the station to acknowledge your program and agree to it.

Before you ask why you need an acknowledgment postcard when you’ve already given them your contact information, remember that business is constantly changing. Conditions change, people get busy, and other things come up.

A lot of paper that seems to “cover all the little details” can impress many radio station managers and make them want to do business with your company. Your advertising could start on March 1 if the station manager signs a contract with you. The agreement was signed on January 1, but by March 1, he might have forgotten, been replaced, or decided not to run your program.

You can’t wait to start your own PI Advertising campaign right now. Before you “go off the deep end,” realize that radio station staff are as professional and industrious as everyone else in business, perhaps even more so. Make sure you have a good product or service for selling through a radio inquiry system before you “jump off the deep end.”

If you show it from the right angle, you can sell anything, and it won’t matter what method you use. “Hello, everybody! Who wants to buy a mailing list for 10 cents per thousand names?” wouldn’t even be allowed on the air. But if you have the addresses of the top 100 movie stars and come up with a way for people to write to them directly, you might have a winner and sell many mailing lists of the stars.

Ultimately, the listener’s ability to appreciate the benefits you describe matters. For example, if you have a new book about how to find work when there are no jobs:

  • You need to talk to people who are desperate to get a job.
  • You have to use words that get their attention and make them feel like you will solve their problems.
  • It’s the product and how the advertising for that product is written, that will get those responses.

Radio station managers are salespeople, and if you put together an excellent selling package, salespeople worldwide will be interested in your idea.

And if people respond to your first offer, you’ve already set yourself up for many successes. Success has a “ripple effect,” but you must start with the first. 


Getting a free ad on the radio can be an effective way to advertise your business or product. There are many different methods and strategies to get a successful ad.

Researching the market, creating compelling content, and networking with industry professionals are all excellent steps to take to maximize your success.

Additionally, understanding the legal regulations for advertising and choosing the correct radio channel for your target audience can help ensure that you have an effective campaign.

I hope you do well! You can start by looking for radio stations that offer free ads in exchange for promotional activities, like attending events or offering discounts. You should also choose a radio station with an audience interested in your product or service. 


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