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Larry Julius


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Charlotte Small Business Update: Auto Parts Sales Accelerate

Sep 18, 2020 7:11:34 AM / by Larry Julius

There are more than 1,700,000 vehicles registered in the Charlotte area. Many need new windshield wipers, shocks, struts, brakes, air filters, ignition coils, and the hundreds of other items that fill the shelves of local auto part dealers.

Despite the pandemic induced slowdown, business at auto parts stores has grown nearly 13% since February, according to the US Census Bureau.

This explosive growth in auto parts sales directly relates to the  average age of cars on Charlotte's roads.

"Per the latest study from IHS Markit, the current combined average age of vehicles has hit a record of 11.9 years," Rimmi Singhi wrote this week on NASDAQ.com. "The aging vehicles are a boon to auto parts, replacement, and repair companies. In a bid to ensure long-term functioning of the aging vehicle population, customers are making investments to replace faulty vehicle parts and components."

Also contributing to the rapid aging of cars on the road is the current demand for used versus new vehicles. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) for used cars is 25% higher in August than it was during the same month last year.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, small business marketing, small business advertising, retail spending, retail, used vehicles, automotive, used cars, used trucks, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, auto parts

Banks and Credit Unions Reach ReFi Customers On Charlotte Radio

Sep 11, 2020 2:40:58 PM / by Larry Julius

There are approximately 335,000 households in the Charlotte area with existing mortgages, according to the US Census Bureau, American Housing Survey. The median amount owed on these homes is $123,000.

Yesterday, there was extraordinary news for many of these borrowers and for Charlotte area banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies

According to The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), mortgage rates have hit an all-time low of 2.86%.

 
With interest rates at this new level, 20 million American homeowners can now refinance their existing mortgage, according to Black Knight, a data analytics company specializing in homeownership life cycles. 
 
By refinancing an existing mortgage, a Charlotte area homeowner could considerably reduce the length of their loan or lower the amount 
of their monthly payments.
 
Local banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies create a great deal of revenue from refinancing. 
 
Generally, a lender can expect to earn two to five percent of the loan principal amount in closing costs, according to BankRate.com. For a $200,000 mortgage refinance, for example, closing costs could generate between $4000 and $10,000.
 
For local financial companies to claim a significant share of the expanding refi market requires advertising. By any metric, advertising on Charlotte radio is the most effective way to reach homeowners.
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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, homeowners, mortgage, mortgage rates, refinance, bank, mortgage broker, advertise on radio, credit unions, banks

Now Open: Political Advertising Window on Charlotte Radio

Sep 8, 2020 11:43:58 AM / by Larry Julius

On September 4, the political advertising window opened on Charlotte television and radio stations.  This is a 60 day period leading up to a general election when broadcast stations licensed by the Federal Communication Commission are obligated to offer candidates for national office the opportunity to buy commercials at the lowest unit rate (LUR).

For example, if a high-frequency advertiser like McDonald's earns the lowest rates on a particular Charlotte radio station during morning drive-time, then any candidate for federal office must, during the 60-day political window, be offered the same rate for morning drive time on that station, regardless of frequency.

If, however, the McDonald's rate is contingent on the radio station's ability to pre-empt commercials without notice, then qualified candidates must agree to identical terms to receive the same rate.

To facilitate the purchase of commercials on Charlotte radio, stations will supply candidates with a political rate-card.  This card will show the LUR by time of day and by preemption parameters.

Here are other important facts about political advertising on Charlotte radio.

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Topics radio advertising, political advertising, issue advertising, political rates, lowest unit rate, advertising on radio, LUR

Advertising In Charlotte: OTT & CTV Viewing Soars

Sep 4, 2020 2:46:01 PM / by Larry Julius

Advertising on Charlotte television and cable is becoming less attractive to local business owners as viewers rapidly defect to alternative video entertainment sources including, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon and Disney+.

Collectively these streaming services are referred to as Over-The-Top Television (OTT) and Connected-TV (CTV). Viewers can only access this OTT and CTV content via smartphone, tablets, computers, smart-TVs, Amazon Fire Sticks, and Roku Sticks, Nielsen reports that 92.3% of Charlotte adults own at least one these devices. Furthermore, they are using them.

According to Nielsen, OTT and CTV networks now reach 43.4% of all Charlotte consumers every week.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, television advertising, small business marketing, small business advertising, OTT, streaming media, television, pay-tv, cable television, advertise on radio, CTV, streaming video

B2B Advertising In Charlotte: Reaching The Decision Makers

Aug 27, 2020 6:45:00 AM / by Larry Julius

New data from the US Census Bureau has optimistic news for Charlotte companies that sell business-to-business.

There are approximately 57,000 businesses in the Charlotte area, according to the Census Bureau. Indeed, many of these businesses have suffered since the onset of the Coronavirus, especially in April.

Census information is now showing positive indicators that the fortunes of area companies are improving. This includes those with 500 or fewer employees. These small businesses account for 91% of all Charlotte area firms.

During the week of April 26, 31% of Charlotte area small businesses reported temporary closures.  By July 1, the number dropped to 7%.

Also, during that same week, 74% of Charlotte small business owners were reporting decreases in revenue versus the prior week.  By the end of June, that number fell by almost half.

In both June and July of this year, national data shows all retail and food services spending significantly outperformed the prior year by between two and three percent.

As the business climate improves in the Charlotte area, the fortunes of B2B companies will accelerate as well. These include those businesses that sell office supplies, restaurant supplies, cleaning services, legal services, accounting services, transportation services, banking services, technology, and commercial real estate.

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Topics best way to advertise, small business, small business owner, roi, return on investment, small business marketing, small business advertising, charlotte radio, b2b advertising, business-to-business advertising

How Has Working From Home Affected Charlotte Radio?

Aug 24, 2020 6:45:00 AM / by Larry Julius

Before COVID-19, most listening to Charlotte radio happened outside the home. Consumers were tuning-in to their favorite stations from the car on the way to their job. Then, they tuned-in when they arrived at work. They listened again during the commute back home.

Nielsen recently surveyed consumers who worked from home before and during the novel coronavirus outbreak. The results show, as of June, 66% of respondents now work from home full-time as a consequence of the pandemic.

As consumers are compelled to work from their houses and curtail their commutes, the share of at-home listening to Charlotte radio has grown by 19%, according to Nielsen.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, advertise on radio, radio listening, pandemic, listening location, time spent listening, work from home

Advertising in Charlotte: The Radio Century

Aug 20, 2020 7:02:00 AM / by Larry Julius

Charlotte radio reaches more area adults every week than any other medium. During a typical seven-day period, according to Nielsen, 1.9 million local consumers tune-in to their favorite AM and FM stations. This is significantly more than those who watch broadcast television, subscribe to pay-TV, browse social media, read a newspaper, or stream music from Pandora and Spotify.

Radio's omnipresence in the life of Charlotte consumers is remarkable, considering today is the medium's 100th birthday.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, roi, reach, return on investment, advertise on radio, radio commercials, first radio station in Charlotte, radio history

What Is The Best Way To Reach Charlotte's 2.1 Million Consumers?

Aug 17, 2020 11:09:38 AM / by Larry Julius

Despite all of the media options available for small business owners to market their goods and services, advertising on Charlotte radio is still the best way to reach local consumers.

Adult consumers are spending 741 minutes per day consuming electronic media, according to a new study by Nielsen.  This is 7.8% more time than they spent last year and 11.2% more than in 2018.

The typical daily media diet consists of radio, live TV, time-shifted TV, DVD/Blue-ray devices, game consoles, internet-connected devices, as well as internet via computers, smartphone apps, and tablet apps.

According to Nielsen, despite all of these media options, local radio reaches the most consumers every week.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, roi, reach, return on investment, small business marketing, small business advertising, retail spending, retail, reach & frequency, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, advertise on radio, advertising reach, effective advertising

What Charlotte Consumers Need To Know Now About Your Small Business

Aug 12, 2020 7:26:44 AM / by Larry Julius

There is good news for Charlotte retailers and restaurants.

As a result of the pandemic, one-third of consumers indicate they will pay a premium for local brands and products, according to a recent study by Ernst & Young

However, before consumers will buy from a local business in Matthews, Davidson, Rock Hill, or any town in-between, they must know they can do so without risking their health.

Advertising is the only practical way to let local shoppers and diners in the Charlotte area know about the precautions and practices your small business has taken to reduce potential health threats.

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Topics best way to advertise, small business, small business owner, small business marketing, small business advertising, retail spending, retail, restaurant, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, corona, coronavirus, covid 19

Advertising In Charlotte: Radio Listening Unchanged From Year Ago

Aug 10, 2020 7:01:00 AM / by Larry Julius

During July, 943,600 adult radio-listeners spent two hours per day listening to their favorite Charlotte radio stations, according to Nielsen. Although local consumers had spent fewer minutes listening at the onset of the pandemic, the current time tuned-in remains unchanged compared to a year ago.

Some advertising experts had predicted that as consumers spent more time at home because of COVID-19 concerns, the hours devoted to radio listening would decrease. That, however, was not the case.

In July of 2019, according to Nielsen, 29.6% of radio listening occurred at home. During July of this year, in-home listening jumped to 35.2%. Despite the reduction in out-of-home activities, though, consumers still spent the exact amount of time listening to Charlotte radio.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, spotify, pandora, small business marketing, small business advertising, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, advertise on radio, sirius/xm, podcasts

Advertising On Charlotte Radio Reaches Pay-TV's Cord Cutters

Jul 30, 2020 2:10:23 PM / by Larry Julius

More than one-third of Charlotte area households are 'cord-cutters' or 'cord-nevers'. This means, they have fired their cable or satellite television providers or never subscribed at all. Instead, these consumers are choosing to find their video entertainment elsewhere.

The number of local homes that subscribe to pay-TV services began plummeting in 2013. New technologies has allowed viewers to bypass cable and satellite for more compelling content at lower prices. These cord-cutters now depend on services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime to fill their multiple screens.

For many years, Charlotte small business owners have been investing a significant portion of their advertising budgets into cable-TV.  The medium had proven to be a low-cost, high-reach alternative to buying commercial on over-the-air television stations. 

Now, because of cord-cutting, there are 748,000 adult consumers with unconnected TVs. This profoundly diminishes the value proposition of advertising with local cable systems.

There is a powerful and affordable solution, however, for small business owners to reach both the diminishing cable audience and the expanding number of cord-cutters.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, television advertising, small business marketing, small business advertising, television, pay-tv, cable television, advertise on radio, radio commercials, cord-cutter, cord-never, satellite TV

Charlotte Retailers Prepare For $288 Million Back-To-School Season

Jul 23, 2020 6:30:03 AM / by Larry Julius

Based on projections from the National Retail Federation, Charlotte area parents are expected to spend $288 million to equip K-12 kids for the upcoming school year. If so, then this shopping spree will be 29% bigger than last year's and the biggest take since 2012.

“By any measure, this is an unprecedented year with great uncertainty, including how students will get their education this fall whether they are in kindergarten or college,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay says.

“Most parents don’t know whether their children will be sitting in a classroom or in front of a computer in the dining room, or a combination of the two. But they do know the value of an education and are navigating uncertainty and unknowns so that students are prepared."

Along with pencils, paper, pens, and knapsacks, the NRF survey says 63 percent of K-12 families expect to buy computers and other electronics this year, up from 54% last year, and they expect to spend more at an average $274.44, up from $203.44 last year. The $71 difference accounts for the largest share of the overall increase in average spending of almost $93.

Also, because many parents are unsure if learning will take place at school or at home, back-to-school spending this year is expected to include home furnishings such as desks, chairs, and lamps.

To claim a meaningful share of this year's booming back-to-school economy, local retailers will need to advertise to let parents know that their stores are open, it is safe to shop, and the needed supplies are in stock.

By any metric, the best way to reach these parents is on Charlotte radio.

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Topics radio advertising, small business, small business owner, millennials, small business marketing, small business advertising, retail spending, retail, store traffic, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, advertise on radio, back to school, millennial parents

Drivers Hit The Road Taking Charlotte Radio Along For The Ride

Jul 21, 2020 9:35:48 AM / by Larry Julius

Car radios came to Charlotte in June of 1930. For just $120, about $1200 in present dollars, local drivers could install these early mobile devices into their Fords, Studebakers, Packards, and DeSotos, 

The first car radios were built by the Galvin Manufacturing Company of Chicago. They named their invention, and eventually their company, Motorola.

Today, more than 1.7 million car radios fill ears of area drivers with music, news, sports, and information. As a result, local radio reaches more consumers than all other media.

In a typical pre-COVID-19 week, according to Nielsen, 89% of adult consumers would tune-in to a Charlotte radio station. This is significantly more than were reached by local TV, cable, social media, newspaper, or streaming media sites Pandora and Spotify.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, small business marketing, small business advertising, advertise on radio, vehicle traffic, in-car audio

Advertising On Charlotte Radio: What Consumers Want To Hear

Jul 16, 2020 2:09:25 PM / by Larry Julius

If you were one of the 1.8 million adults who tuned-in to a Charlotte radio station last week, then no doubt you heard multiple commercials that included phrases like 'troubling times', 'uncertain times', 'unprecedented times', 'new normal', and 'we're in this together'. 

In March, as the pandemic began to disrupt consumers' lives, using these phrases was a powerful way for North Carolina small business owners to acknowledge the severity of the crisis and to exhibit empathy. But 120 days later, these words have become cliche and have lost potency.

A cliche, says the Oxford Dictionary, is "a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought." 

According to the Writing Center at The University of North Carolina, the dependence on cliches could create a harmful perception of a business that uses them. For instance, these overused phrases can make an advertiser's message seem boring. They can be perceived as vague. They can be interpreted to be a sign of laziness. They can also result in a lack of credibility. 

The words a Charlotte small business chooses for its advertising will have the most significant effect on sales. That's why eliminating cliches is critical.

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Topics radio advertising, small business, small business owner, small business marketing, small business advertising, advertise on radio, commercial length, write a commercial, writing a commercial, effective advertising, radio commercials, creative, scripts

Advertising In Charlotte: Consumers Will Pay More For Sustainable

Jul 14, 2020 7:01:00 AM / by Larry Julius

This year, according to Nielsen, 2.1 million Charlotte area consumers will spend $1.2 billion on eco-friendly goods and services. Sales for sustainable products have grown 20% since 2014, a trend expected to continue into 2021.

Tensie Whelan and Randi Kronthal-Sacco of the New York University Stern Center for Sustainable Business write in the Harvard Business Review, "Consumers are voting with their dollars against unsustainable brands. The legacy companies that will thrive are those that accept this shift and are willing to pivot.” 

For Charlotte small business owners who are skeptical that sustainability affects purchase decisions, retail analyst Stacey Widlitz provided this advice, recently, in Forbes.

"Retailers only need to look to IBM's recent study, in association with the National Retail Federation, to understand just how fast consumer priorities are changing," says Ms. Widlitz. "Findings from the study revealed nearly 60% of consumers surveyed are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact. For the nearly 80% of respondents who said sustainability is important to them over 70% would pay a premium of 35% on average."

To compete for a share of consumers' spending on green goods and services requires local small business owners to advertise.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, millennials, small business marketing, small business advertising, retail spending, retail, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, advertise on radio, sustainable, green products, eco-friendly

Charlotte Furniture Retailers Expect A Post-Pandemic Rebound

Jul 9, 2020 4:15:12 PM / by Larry Julius

Before the onset of COVID-19, more than 420,00 Charlotte area households were planning to spend $794 million on furniture, according to Nielsen. Unfortunately, many of those plans were put on pause as consumers sheltered in place to help slow the spread of the virus.

A recent study by Elevate | SmithGeiger suggests that the fortunes of home furnishing retailers, however, are about to improve.

According to the study, 32% of consumers who had been planning to buy furniture will do so within three months of the pandemic easing. Fifty percent will do so within six months. The numbers for mattress shoppers are even stronger.

To capture a significant share of the post-pandemic sales of furniture and mattress will require retailers to advertise. The most effective way to reach the customers who are ready to buy is on Charlotte radio.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, small business marketing, small business advertising, retail spending, retail, furniture, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, advertise on radio, mattress

Political Advertising On Charlotte Radio Sways Voters

Jul 7, 2020 3:05:51 PM / by Larry Julius

There are more than 1.8 million registered voters in the Charlotte radio metro. Here is the number by county:

  • Anson, NC: 16,119
  • Cabarrus, NC: 141,766
  • Cleveland, NC: 63,751
  • Gaston, NC: 142,410
  • Iredell, NC: 122,498
  • Lincoln, NC: 58,579
  • Mecklenburg, NC: 656,499
  • Rowan, NC: 92,556
  • Stanly, NC: 41,315
  • Union, NC: 104,583
  • Chester, SC: 20,500
  • Lancaster, SC: 63,046
  • York, SC: 182,926

According to Nielsen, Charlotte radio reaches significantly more of these registered voters than all other media, including local television pay-TV, newspaper, social media platforms, and streaming audio sites like Pandora or Spotify.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, political advertising, issue advertising, advertise on radio, voters, registered voters, candidate advertising, election advertising, likely voters, political rates

Facebook Advertising: Why Charlotte Business Owners May Be Pausing

Jul 3, 2020 8:31:40 AM / by Larry Julius

Following the lead of many national marketers, some Charlotte area small business owners are considering canceling or, at minimum, pausing their advertising schedules with social media network Facebook and its co-owned photo-sharing platform, Instagram.

According to the New York Times, "more than 400 companies, from Coca-Cola and Adidas to Ford and Lego, have vowed to halt advertising on the social network, in a growing protest over how it handles hate speech and other harmful content".

With the pandemic figured in, Charlotte small business owners were expected to spend $131 million on Facebook and Instagram advertising in 2020. This is according to Borrell Associates, a firm that specializes in the collection and analysis of local marketing expenditures in every city across the United States. But these expenditures could shrink if the protests become louder.

Every type of Charlotte business imaginable, including clothing stores, plumbers, HVAC repair, funeral homes, restaurants, dentists, and nonprofits, has come to realize how powerfully social media can contribute to their bottom lines.

Part of what makes Facebook and Instagram attractive to small business owners is the enormous reach these platforms have among consumers. Locally, the audience size for these two social media sites now rival Charlotte radio, TV, cable, and newspaper outlets.

For small business owners considering a hiatus from social media advertising, there is a viable way to redirect these dollars into a different medium without losing the marketing equity or momentum built-up on Facebook.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, social media advertising, instagram, small business, small business owner, facebook, social media, facebook advertising, advertise on radio

Why Charlotte Banks & Credit Unions Need To Advertise Now

Jun 30, 2020 7:21:53 AM / by Larry Julius

Based on statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, before the COVID-19 crisis, Charlotte households were putting more than $6.5 billion in the bank every year. 

Since February, however, Charlotte area banks and credit unions noticed that customers' savings accounts were beginning to swell to record levels.

According to the Federal Reserve, for many years, the personal savings rate has hovered well below 10%.  The PSR is the percentage of personal disposable income that remains after taxes and all other spending.

In April of this year, the PSR hit an all-time high of 33%. The rate remained at stratospheric levels in May, as well. The previous record high was 17.3% in September of 1975 at the tail-end of a deep recession.

There are more than 2819 banks and credit unions in North Carolina that would love to earn a large share of this infusion of new savings. To compete, though, requires advertising.  By almost any metric, the best way to reach new depositors is by advertising on Charlotte radio.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, advertise on radio, credit unions, banks, savings accounts

Real Estate Advertising in Charlotte: Starter Home Sales Are Thriving

Jun 25, 2020 3:45:29 PM / by Larry Julius

From Davidson to Indian Trail (and every point in between), Charlotte area real estate agents see a robust, post-pandemic market shaping up. Home sales are being driven by record low-interest rates.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate in June is 3.17%, according to Freddie Mac. This is down from 3.99% June of last year. That difference could save a Charlotte area home buyer close to $30,000 over the term of a loan.

Data from the Federal Reserve indicates that one of the fast-growing segments of the current real estate market is starter homes. Sales in May for these modest price houses have risen above pre-COVID-19 levels and have hit a three year high.

Feuling the starter home market is demand from millennials. This generation now comprises 37% of all home buyers, says the National Association of Realtors Research Group.

To claim a large share of the market for starter homes, local real estate agents will need to advertise to attract these buyers.  By almost any metric, advertising on Charlotte radio is the best way to reach millennials planning to buy a house, condo, or co-op over the next year.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, home buyers, real estate, real estate agent, mortgage rates, home sellers, advertise on radio

Charlotte Small Business: Appliance Stores Prepare For Rebound

Jun 16, 2020 3:57:07 PM / by Larry Julius

During lockdown, Charlotte consumers have been postponing the purchase of major appliances.  Despite the pause in buying, however, local shoppers are still expected to spend $146 million this year on ovens, stoves, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.

Here's how appliance sales in the Charlotte area will breakdown by category:

  • Cooking: $39,000,000
  • Refrigerator/Freezer: $36,000,000
  • Laundry: $30,000,000
  • Other: $39,000,000

Based on traditional buying patterns, at least 60% of all major appliance sales will occur between now and December.

To capture a larger share of all this spending will require local appliance dealers to advertise.

“Think you have a great product?” asks the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Unfortunately, no one’s going to know about it unless you advertise.”

The SBA goes on to say, “Advertising, if done correctly, can do wonders for your product sales, and you know what that means: more revenue and more success for your business”. 

By almost any measure, advertising on Charlotte radio is the best choice for local appliance store owners.

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Topics best way to advertise, consumer spending, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, roi, return on investment, retail spending, retail, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, advertise on radio, appliance store

Advertising In Charlotte: Time For Local Jewelry Stores To Shine

Jun 12, 2020 4:34:53 PM / by Larry Julius

Despite the pandemic, Charlotte area consumers are expected to spend $139 million on fine jewelry this year. Based on projections from IBISWorld, here's what will be purchased:

  • $58 million worth of diamonds
  • $20 million worth of watches
  • $13 million worth of gold
  • $16 million worth of pearls and gemstones
  • $29 million in other goods and services

Charlotte area business owners will now have an easier time capturing a bigger share of jewelry expenditures as a monster competitive force disappears.

This week, Signet, the largest jewelry retailer in the country, announced that by December, it would be closing over 380 stores.  Signet's brands familiar to North Carolina consumers include Kay, Jared, Zales, and Piercing Pagoda.

To successfully compete for the void created by fewer Signet stores, local retailers will need to advertise, especially between now and the end of the year. This is when 63% of all fine-jewelry sales traditionally occur.

By any metric, the best way to reach local jewelry buyers is by advertising on Charlotte radio.

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Topics best way to advertise, consumer spending, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, retail spending, retail, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, advertise on radio, bridal, wedding, jewelry store

Charlotte Radio Listeners Will Power The Post-Pandemic Recovery

Jun 10, 2020 1:29:20 PM / by Larry Julius

At the dawn of 2020, Charlotte small business owners were expecting the area's retail economy to expand by 4.1%. This optimism was stoked by the National Retail Federation's chief economist who said, "Consumers remain upbeat and have the confidence to spend, and the steady wage growth that has come with the strong job market is fueling their spending. The state of the consumer is very healthy."

By February, however, the country entered into a COVID-19 induced recession. Then, to slow the spread of the pandemic, on March 30, the Governor of North Carolina locked the state down. This brought the Charlotte area's $54.1 billion retail economy to a standstill.

As stores, restaurants, and offices in the Charlotte area begin to re-open, consumers' appetite for spending is returning. According to Nielsen, loyal radio listeners are very likely to be first in line at the cash registers.

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Topics best way to advertise, consumer spending, small business, small business owner, retail spending, retail, automotive, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, reopen, advertise on radio, recovery

Best Way A Charlotte Small Business Can Be Re-Introduced To Consumers

Jun 5, 2020 1:16:53 PM / by Larry Julius

Charlotte small business owners are learning that 're-opening' may not be an appropriate word for the challenges they face as the Coronavirus crisis winds down.  A better term might be 're-introducing'.

Since the Governor of North Carolina shuttered the state on March 30, to slow the spread of COVID-19, Charlotte area consumers have discovered new ways to buy the goods and services they need.  It's now the burden of local business owners to lure these customers back. The first step is re-introduction.

On March 18, 1922, WBT signed-on as the first radio station serving Charlotte, North Carolina. Since then, local business owners have used radio advertising to introduce themselves successfully to new customers. Radio has also helped these businesses survive recessions, depressions, world wars, hurricanes, and floods. By any metric, advertising on Charlotte radio remains the most effective tactic a small business owner can use post-pandemic, as well.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, roi, return on investment, time of day, daypart, retail spending, retail, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, reopen, budget, commercial length, write a commercial, writing a commercial

Traffic In Charlotte Is Picking-Up. Is Your Small Business Ready?

Jun 3, 2020 12:08:34 PM / by Larry Julius

More than 95% of Charlotte area households own at least one vehicle. 

Pre-pandemic, 86.5% of workers spent, on average, 58 minutes every weekday in these cars commuting to-and-from their jobs.  

On their way to work, many of these drivers would contribute to the Charlotte area's $49.6 billion retail economy by visiting the convenience stores, coffeehouses, auto repair centers, gas stations, daycares, grocery stores, or hundreds of other businesses they passed.

At lunchtime, these same cars would take their owners to restaurants, dentist appointments, nail appointments, barbershops, and on an infinite number of other errands.

On the weekends, these vehicles filled the parking lots of hardware stores, furniture stores, car dealers, appliance stores, bowling alleys, movie theatres, and nightclubs, 

Then on March 30, when the Governor of North Carolina shut down the state to slow the spread of COVID-19, traffic came to a standstill and so did the spending.

There are strong indications, though, that in the Charlotte area, roads are filling up again.

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Topics best way to advertise, consumer spending, radio advertising, small business owner, roi, return on investment, retail spending, retail, store traffic, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, vehicle traffic, in-car audio

What Happens When A Charlotte Small Business Stops Advertising?

May 28, 2020 6:51:08 AM / by Larry Julius

Charlotte small business owners may perceive the continuation of advertising as a luxury right now. This is especially so when compared to the necessity for covering the costs of utilities, inventory, payroll, and rent.

Before pulling the plug, though, business owners from Huntersville to Rock Hill must consider the consequences of 'going dark', a marketing term which means to stop advertising.

"According to our analysis, short-term decisions to go dark create significant risk for long-term revenue," says Ameneh Atai, Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy at Nielsen. "This affects both incremental revenue and base sales."

"Our database of long-term effects models suggests that cutting ad spending for the rest of 2020 could lead up-to 11% revenue decrease in 2021," says Ms. Atai. "It could take three to five years of solid and consistent brand building to recover from an extended dark period of media."

"We have a ton of evidence in our historical analysis," adds Nielsen's Tsvetan Tsvetkov, Senior Vice President of Agency and Advertiser Solutions. "Companies that step away from advertising efforts for a period of time, whether it's a couple of quarters or a full year or longer lose the momentum they have built over time the minute they stop. To recover takes a long, long time."

To avoid the economic risks of going dark, local small business owners need to make sure every dollar spent on advertising produces solid returns.  By most marketing metrics, advertising on Charlotte radio could prove to be the best option.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, roi, reach, return on investment, retail spending, retail, reach & frequency, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, advertising reach

Why Charlotte Real Estate Agents Need To Advertise Now

May 22, 2020 2:25:50 PM / by Larry Julius

Type "CHARLOTTE REAL ESTATE AGENTS" into Google. In slightly over a half-second, the search will deliver 350,0000,000 results. Similar searches for Matthews, Mount Holly, Huntersville, Indian Trail, Gastonia, or Rock Hill produce a proportional number of returns.

Despite the economic hardships imposed by the Coronavirus crisis on Charlotte area consumers, the demand for real estate is booming. 

The Wall Street Journal published a trend yesterday indicating that mortgage applications for purchase a home have achieved levels equal to last year.

According to redfin.com, home buying demand is 16.5% higher now than it was pre-COVID-19 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Redfin attributes this explosive growth in real estate shoppers to two factors, including record-low mortgage rates. The other primary driver is a migration trend from expensive metropolitan areas as buyers hunt for more space at lower prices.

To capture a larger share of the robust market, local real estate agents need to stand apart from the millions of Google results.  Advertising on Charlotte radio will help accomplish this.  Here's why.

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Topics best way to advertise, social media advertising, small business, small business owner, television advertising, newspaper advertising, online advertising, small business advertising, home buyers, real estate, real estate agent, streaming audio, pay-tv, home sellers, advertise on radio

Who'll Be Buying When Charlotte Small Businesses Reopen?

May 19, 2020 7:16:00 AM / by Larry Julius

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the Governor of North Carolina shut down all but the most essential businesses in the state on March 30. This public safety measure inflicted a severe disruption to the Charlotte area's $54.1 billion retail economy.

As local small business owners prepare to reopen, each must concentrate on supercharging their cash flows to compensate for weeks of consumer abstinence. Turning the lights back on and hanging out a welcome sign might not be enough, though, to bring even the most loyal customers back.

Some customers may not return because of personal safety concerns. Other customers may have discovered alternative sources to purchase goods and services.

But, there is one thing every Charlotte small business owner can be assured of. Consumers will not return if they aren't aware that a business has reopened.

Advertising is a potent tactic for any North Carolina small business that needs to reintroduce itself to local consumers.

“Think you have a great product?” asks the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Unfortunately, no one’s going to know about it unless you advertise.”

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Topics best way to advertise, small business, small business owner, retail spending, retail, store traffic, retail sales, retail stores, retailer, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing, reopen

Should Your Charlotte Small Business Continue To Advertise?

May 16, 2020 7:21:00 AM / by Larry Julius

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on cash register receipts in the Charlotte area. Every day small business owners from Ballantyne to Davidson are being challenged by the pandemic induced recession.

Just yesterday, for instance, the US Commerce Department announced that April retail sales were down by 20% vs. the same month last year. This is sure to take a massive bite out of the $49.6 billion in annual consumer spending Charlotte area businesses had been expecting in 2020.

“April was the cruelest month,” Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, told the Wall Street Journal. "Retail spending likely bottomed out in the first week of May with spending picking up due to Mother’s Day and gradual state reopenings.

“It’s going to be less worse with each month,” said Mr. Johnson, “as people slowly come out of the foxhole and enter the mainstream of American consumerism.”

The ability of a Charlotte area small business to survive past the lockdowns will depend on the steps it takes now.

WARC, a company that collaborates with more than 50 respected marketing organizations, including the Advertising Research Foundation and the Association of National Advertisers, has identified ten tactics that businesses should implement immediately. The #2 step on this list: Keep advertising if you can.

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Topics best way to advertise, small business, small business owner, recession, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing, WARC

Does Cable TV Advertising Make Sense For Charlotte Small Businesses?

May 12, 2020 10:10:28 AM / by Larry Julius

Pay-TV is struggling to survive COVID-19.

Before the onset of the pandemic, Nielsen reported that 61.4% of Charlotte area households received their television programs from cable systems, telephone companies, or satellite operators.  That number, however, is plummeting.

Pay-TV providers in the Charlotte area include AT&T TV, Dish, Spectrum, Google Fiber, and DirecTV.

"Cord-cutting, people dropping their cable and satellite TV subscriptions, pre-dates the onset of Covid-19. But the pandemic is exaggerating the trend, creating deeper issuers for programming that relies on those services for distribution," Eric Savitz wrote last week in Barron's.  This includes non-premium services like ESPN, TBS, TNT, USA, CNN, and Discovery.

"LightShed Partners analyst Richard Greenfield counts a loss of 1.96 million subscribers to cable, satellite TV, and virtual cable services combined in the first quarter," Savitz continued. "This is the worst combined quarterly drop ever, down 6% from a year ago."

Greenfield said in an interview with Barron’s that what is especially sobering is that most of the first quarter activity pre-dated the virus. The numbers are likely to get considerably worse in the second quarter.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, television advertising, millennials, pay-tv, cable television, direcTV, dish network

How To Bring Employees Back To Your Charlotte Small Business

May 8, 2020 5:03:52 PM / by Larry Julius

In January, Charlotte small business owners were in a panic. The unemployment rate was at a record low 3.2%, and there were not enough workers to fill their open jobs. 

As of today, though, North Carolina is reporting that at least one-in-five of the state's workforce have lost their jobs for COVID-19 related reasons. Yet, many small business owners are still struggling to find employees.

According to The Wall Street Journal, "For some workers, unemployment benefits are now paying more than their old jobs did. For others, safety concerns or a lack of child care, as most schools and day-care centers remain closed, are making them hesitant to go back."

“That’s going to get in the way of any real recovery,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of American Action Forum and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, told WSJ.

The struggle to hire employees creates an additional threat for those Charlotte small business owners who received loans under the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program.  

To qualify for the loan forgiveness provision of the PPP, business owners must restore its workforce to pre-Coronavirus levels. This must be accomplished within eight weeks of receiving the monies.

So, just like in January, local small business owners are under pressure to fill open jobs. Advertising on Charlotte radio is a potent way to attract and hire the needed employees.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, online advertising, digital advertising, employment advertising, recruitment advertising, job posting sites, white collar, online job boards, blue collar, help wanted advertising

Charlotte Small Business Advice: Facebook Advertising During Pandemic

May 6, 2020 3:01:50 PM / by Larry Julius

Facebook usage has swelled since the onset of the Covid-19. 

According to Nielsen, before the current chaos, 75% of Charlotte area adults used Facebook each month. This was significantly fewer than were reached by local radio each week.

According to the New York Times, however, since the start of the Coronavirus, daily Facebook traffic has increased by 27%. This compares to 33% growth in the amount of time consumers spend listening to local radio during a similar period.

Based on the surge in Facebook consumption, Charlotte small business owners might be tempted to purchase advertising on the social media platform to augment their regular, free postings. Here are are few facts these businesses should consider before investing.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, social media advertising, small business, small business owner, facebook, online advertising, digital advertising, social media, facebook advertising, trust

Reclaim 'Top Of Mind' When Your Charlotte Small Business Re-Opens

May 1, 2020 10:34:33 AM / by Larry Julius

Business was booming in Charlotte. Then it was not.

Before the chaos brought on by Coronavirus, it had been predicted, based on estimates from the National Retail Federation, Charlotte area consumers would spend 4.1% more in 2020 than they did in 2019. On March 30, however, when North Carolina's Governor shut down the state, the expectations of growth for many small business owners were replaced with fights for survival.

As the state prepares to reopen, Charlotte area small businesses will learn that turning the lights back on and hanging out the welcome sign might not be enough to bring even the most loyal customers back.

Some customers will not return because of personal safety concerns. Other customers may have discovered alternative sources to purchase goods and services.

More likely, though, customers will not come back because a business has lost a valued parcel of real estate: the position at the top of a customer's mind. This is the place where purchase decisions are made.

There is a way to regain top-of-mind status. First, though, it's important to understand why a business can be forgotten so quickly. 

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, frequency, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, recall, recency, top of mind awareness

Who Do Charlotte Consumers Trust During A Crisis?

Apr 27, 2020 1:26:35 PM / by Larry Julius

For Charlotte small business owners, marketing and advertising are crucial to surviving any crisis, including Coronavirus. The business literature has an abundance of case studies from depressions, recessions, natural disasters, and, yes, pandemics that affirm this existential conclusion.

Advertising, however, may seem extravagant right now to North Carolina businesses that are struggling to make rent, purchase inventory, and meet payroll. Henry Ford, though, is often quoted as saying, "Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping a clock to save time."

Therefore, as business owners from Rock Hill to Davidson (and every point in between) are cinching their belts tighter-than-ever to stay alive, the dollars invested in advertising must be spent in the most effective manner possible.

During periods of uncertainty, advertising works the hardest when placed in within media that consumers trust.  During the time of COVID-19, advertising on Charlotte radio has earned that trust among local consumers.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, reach, recession, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing, context, recall, trust

Web Traffic Is Soaring For Charlotte Small Business Owners

Apr 24, 2020 10:49:53 AM / by Larry Julius

Since the onset of the Coronavirus crisis, consumers are not flocking into the showrooms, storefronts, offices, or dining rooms of Charlotte small business owners. It turns out, though, social distancing has not proven to be an impediment to shopping.

North Carolina consumers are still spending money despite the chaos imposed by the pandemic, according to Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell & Associates. His company specializes in the collection of marketing data from business owners across the country.

"During depressions, recessions, floods, hurricane, earthquakes, fires, and, now, pandemics, commerce goes on," Mr. Borell told members of Charlotte's small business community during a recent teleconference.

To prove his point, he shared research from IBISworld  which, indicates spending continues despite a plunge in consumer confidence.

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Topics best way to advertise, consumer spending, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, online advertising, attribution, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, web traffic, website visitor, e-commerce

Who Listens To Commercials On Charlotte Radio?

Apr 22, 2020 10:32:49 AM / by Larry Julius

Every week, 1,827,300 adult consumers tune-in to a Charlotte radio station. That is way more than are reached by other media, including local television, newspaper, social media, or streaming audio sites like Pandora and Spotify.

A more significant number for thousands of North Carolina small business owners who advertise on Charlotte radio is how many of these listeners stick around when their commercials come on.

A 2011 Nielsen study discovered that, on average, 93% of listeners stayed with the radio station they are tuned-to when the commercials come on. That number amazed many advertisers at the time who believed that audiences were far more likely to defect when the music stopped.

A lot has changed since 2011. Charlotte area consumers have many more media options and can instantly connect to each  with a button-push, mouse-click, screen-tap, or voice command. With all of these choices, do radio audiences still stay tuned during commercial breaks?

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, social media advertising, instagram, small business, small business owner, television advertising, newspaper advertising, facebook, spotify, pandora, online advertising, social media, streaming audio, button pushing

Advertising On Charlotte Radio Remains Best Option During Corona Chaos

Apr 15, 2020 6:02:15 PM / by Larry Julius

The chaos created in North Carolina by the onset of Coronavirus has been a disruptive force among consumers. 

Work routines, buying habits, family life, and media consumption have all been palpably affected. These are all factors that need to be considered by small business owners who continue to advertise their goods and services during the crisis.

Before the current chaos, advertising on Charlotte radio, by any metric, was the best way a local small business could advertise.

For instance, pre-Coronavirus, 1.8 million adult consumers tuned-in to a Charlotte radio station every week. This is significantly more than watched local TV, read a newspaper, accessed social media, or streamed audio from sites like Pandora and Spotify.

New research released from Nielsen indicates that amidst the current crisis, listening to local radio remains little changed. This is great news for those Charlotte small business owners who are depending on advertising for their long-term survival.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, social media advertising, small business, small business owner, television advertising, newspaper advertising, online advertising, digital advertising, facebook advertising, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing

ROI: How Charlotte Small Business Owners Turn Dimes Into Dollars

Apr 13, 2020 9:02:00 AM / by Larry Julius

Suppose a Charlotte small business owner woke up one morning and found a 100-year-old machine in the basement of her store. She soon discovered that every time a dime was put into the machine, one dollar came out.  Imagine, now, how profitable that business would become.

Good news: such a contraption exists,  and every business owner probably has one in their car, in their store, in their home, even on their phone. It's called Charlotte radio.

Over the past few years, Nielsen has conducted more than 20 studies to determine what type of return-on-investment (ROI) a business owner  can expect from radio advertising.  Although the results varied by industry, the average company generated $100 in sales for every $10 invested. Turning dimes into dollars.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, social media advertising, small business, small business owner, television advertising, newspaper advertising, roi, return on investment, wine, winery, facebook advertising

Charlotte Small Business Advice: Marketing During The Corona Crisis

Apr 8, 2020 6:40:48 AM / by Larry Julius

In 'normal' times, Charlotte consumers would be expected to rack up $49.6 billion in annual retail sales. Of course, since the onset of the Coronavirus crisis, nothing has been normal.

But as Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, explained to members of the Charlotte area small business community via teleconference, consumers are still spending. This, it turns out, is normal.

Mr. Borrell shared research from Ibis that demonstrates during every type of crisis, including depressions, recessions, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and, now, pandemics, consumers still spend.

The business literature contains an abundance of examples of how continuing to market and advertise during an economic crisis can help a company survive and emerge from the episode even stronger than before.

Charlotte small business owners who do continue to advertise and market, however, should consider modifying their pre-crisis strategy.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business owner, retail, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing, borrell

Charlotte Radio: Who's Listening During The Coronavirus Crisis

Mar 27, 2020 2:49:14 PM / by Larry Julius

In a typical week, 1.8 million adult consumers tune-in to Charlotte radio stations.  But, since the onset of the Coronavirus, the weeks have not been typical.

Before social-distancing and work-from-home orders, 1.2 million Charlotte-area consumers would drive to-and-from work each day. More than 90% of these commuters could be reached by radio.  

Charlotte small business owners who depend on radio advertising to market their goods and services, therefore, might be concerned that the disruption in commuting patterns could depress the amount of time consumers spend with local radio.

According to market research, however, radio listening remains an important part of the daily life of consumers. Even amid the current chaos.

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Topics best way to advertise, radio advertising, small business, small business owner, retail, corona, coronavirus, covid 19, crisis marketing

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