Giving listeners the flexibility to listen when they want at any point in time is what gives you an advantage, but you must promote, promote, promote. Otherwise, how will they know? You need to consistently remind them and offer interactive ways to listen. I look at stats every day from stations that have a streaming application, players, mobile apps and all, yet aren't promoting them and have a scant handful of listeners. In this case, if you build it, they will come . . . but only if you tell them about it. And like everything else that we know to be true about radio, repetition in the market equals credibility!
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The great thing about streaming your broadcast online is, anyone, anywhere can listen. With the tremendous number of listener sites, Pandora, competing stations, etc., you can't expect your listeners to always remember they can listen to your broadcast online or on-the-go, so you have to constantly remind them. It's just like anything else; you have to promote it if you want to reach market penetration. So, what are some ways to get the message across about your online streaming? Oh, and are you promoting your iPhone and Android apps? If not, you need to be hard at work promoting mobile, which is set to overtake desktops in the very near future.
On-site banners and buttons - Don't make your online player link hard to find, or it will never be heard. Create engaging banners/buttons that aren't lost down below the fold of your website. Make sure they are close to the top, as part of the header, or obvious navigation and not crowded out by clutter. Every time a visitor lands on your website, you want to make them want to click that listen live button, and have the opportunity to download your mobile apps. It should literally jump out to greet them and be one of the first things they see. I've come across many station websites that display their 'listen live' button way at the bottom of their site, or embedded in a row of navigation links too small for the naked eye to see...and as the saying goes, "out of sight, out of mind."
On-air mentions - Have the DJs consistently mention your online streaming and your mobile apps as part of station ID and promo. Run :15 second promos and special news updates ROS. Run contests and promotions, like having weekly drawings to win concert tickets displayed only on your player, or chat live with the DJs on air, and even promote song requests via your players. Consistently doing this will create habit for your listeners, and may listen online more frequently once they experience the interactivity. Promote not only your online stream, but your ability to stream to all devices, like Androids, iPhones, etc. (assuming you have them, and if you don't, you should). And hey, driving traffic to your website doesn't hurt either! You want all your air listeners to know that they can listen online simply by going to the station's main website and clicking on your 'play now' or 'listen live' button that's prominently displayed.
Promote your streams on social network sites - You shouldn't hide the fact that you have an online stream, so post it everywhere you can. Social network sites are a great, fun way to share stuff with listeners. Use your station's Facebook page to promote your online stream, put the link in your bio, and occasionally include the link in status updates to remind 'likers' that they can listen to their favorite morning show anywhere from any desktop or mobile device. Tweet about upcoming guests on the show and share the link in case listeners won't be near a radio. Social networking is a great way to extend your listener base, as I've stated in previous articles. You can gain listeners from across the country . . . or across the world! It's great catering to your local listeners, but it's even better when you can extend your reach around the world. Friends will see friends sharing your live player, and those friends will see those friends . . . well, you get the picture.
Whether you are AM, FM, or internet, having your own customized streaming apps are powerful tools in promoting your station, show, or content. Not only are you catering to your listeners, but you are also positioned to generate revenue from yet another source that's in demand and is here to stay....online and mobile advertising. Make sure you get your own iPhone and Android apps if you haven't already.