The 99 Cent Listener

What’s a new listener worth?

I love Holly Buchanan. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s relevant. If you’re not already subscribing to her blog, she is worth every minute spent reading her thoughts.

And her post on how women can help spread news about your web site by word-of-mouth is really useful.

It made me start thinking: Would your station pay .99 cents to get a new listener?

How about 10,000 or even 100,000 new listeners?

Lots of GMs I know would pay $99,000 to get a 100,000-person bump in cume.

Of course, I can’t guarantee that will happen if you try this, but in terms of “giving away samples,” what if you allowed your listeners to give away one of the songs you play to a friend?

You set up an account with iTunes, you set up a special link on your web site, you alert your listeners through a personalized email, and on-air promos, and you let each one of the first 10,000 give one of their favorite songs to someone they know and love. Your station becomes the conduit for the gift-giving.

Would you convert each recipient of your largesse? Of course not. Do you convert every person who sees your TV spot or billboard? Do you even have a way to accurately measure how many people see your TV spot or billboard, or who these people are? Probably not, so calm yourself.

Consider it. Consider it because it’s something new. It will be noticed. It will be appreciated.

And it might just generate some word-of-mouth for your mostly invisible station at a time when marketing isn’t even a line item in your budget anymore.

Could you expose your station to a ginormous amount of redemptions of these “free music coupons”?

Yeah, and wouldn’t that be a lovely problem to have?

After all, buzz doesn’t create evangelists, evangelists create buzz.