Discounted Gift Cards and Testing Results

I have never been a fan of ‘testing’ radio. “Tell ‘em Jack sent ya” just doesn’t provide a listener with incentive to visit the business and announce “Jack sent me”, and leads to “I tried radio and it didn’t work.”

So get radical! If your client offers gift cards, then offer the gift cards on-air: “WXCK listeners get 20 percent off gift cards” Make it a minimum of a $50 face value, WXCK listeners pay $40.00. But wait, you say, that costs the client money. Nah, at the very least they should break even ‘cause 20 percent of gift cards are never redeemed, and of those that are redeemed, more than 60 percent also include a purchase amount above the value of the gift card. That also means nearly 40 percent of the cards leave money on them, as well. Plus the client should earn interest off the money paid for the gift cards until the cards are redeemed, and may be able to claim the 20 percent discount as an advertising expense every April (consult with a tax professional).

For sure the ”test” would be a home run if you offered every listener $100.00 cash just for coming to the client (client pays, naturally). But no client will do that to test the station. Discounted gift cards for station listeners is the next best thing, a win for the station (client on the air and word of mouth with listeners), a win for the listeners of the station (a decent discount they can buy now and use later), and a win for the client with new customers – especially when the gift cards are actually given as gifts. Just make sure that the gift cards are valid only on subsequent visits; and make sure that restriction and any expiration date are both clear in the on-air ads. Don’t hide these details, be up-front and everyone wins.