Local Network TV Advertising Strategies

  • Comments: 15
  • Written on: May 7th, 2011

Last week I wrote a post about how to get the most from your Yellow Pages advertising. Yellow Page advertisements are expensive and you only get one shot to make it work each year.

However, TV advertising is even more expensive and is often overlooked by small business because of its costs. I am a big believer in the power of radio advertising,but there is definitely a role for television in most markets – if you do it right.

How to Buy Television

Like any advertising, TV spots do not typically pay for themselves as they air.  They are an investment in the growth of your business.  This chicken and the egg paradox is why many small businesses don’t use television.  It is simply too expensive to pump money into without pulling out immediate benefits that equal or exceed the investment.

Sometimes the only way to get the TV gravy train rolling is to start small and build up exposure over time.  With television you can get big results fast with a large spend, but you can also get big results over time with a much smaller spend.

No matter what you have for a budget, plan on putting a consistent schedule together and then maintain it.  It does you no good to pop in on viewers for a month and then go away.  You need a sustained presence over time to get the best results.

When you meet with your TV representative ask if there are any monthly packages or specials available.  Be up front about your budget.  Even if you can only afford to sponsor a couple weather casts a week, committing to a consistent annual buy qualifies you for bonus spots that the station will give you when they have leftover inventory.

For example, we buy about $8,000 a month in advertising on KETV Channel 7 in Omaha, NE.  Because we committed to a monthly spend we get a few bonuses that others do not receive.

While we are paying to run our commercials, we also get:

  • Ffree web ads
  • Free bonus spots from unsold inventory
  • Free coverage on the station’s digital weather channel

Some of our other competitors actually pay for the digital weather spots as their primary advertising.  Digital TV is still so new that these spots are incredibly unproductive, but since they are free we accept them if for no other reason than it makes our competitors call their KETV sales reps to whine about the fact they are not the exclusive PC repair company on the channel (that has really happened – can you believe it?).

How to make your Television Ad

Almost all TV stations have a production department.  Some are good and some are not so hot.  You won’t know what you have until they produce a spot for you, so ask your sales rep to get it included for free with your spend.  Otherwise you can get hit with a $400+ tab per commercial.

When your ad is done, ask your sales rep to email you a copy for review.  When you have approved your ad, upload it to YouTube and use it on your website too.  The ad is yours, so get the most out of it!

Do not spend big money with an ad agency making a spot for you.  You need the budget to get your message out, and no matter how awesome your ad is, if you don’t have the cash to run it you are dead in the water.

What to Put in Your Ad

Remember that you only have about :30 of your viewer’s time to work with.  That is barely enough time to get one idea across, so don’t try to do too much.

Also, viewers will have to see your ad about 10 times before they remember it.  Keep your message clean and simple.

Television is a visual medium, so your images can tell as much as your words can.  For example, Schrock ran this commercial to promote a Computer Maintenance Checkup sale:

As you can see, we wanted to communicate to the viewer that your computer is dirty and clogged up.  My words said bring it in to be cleaned on special.  Note that I did not give our exact address or phone number in the audio of the spot.

When people watch TV they are not sitting there with a pen waiting to write down your important message.  Instead we gave the cross-streets for each of our Service Centers and then the website URL along with an image of our Omaha Service Center.

After 10 impressions, people will get the idea.  Don’t waste precious seconds with unnecessary words or details.  Keep it simple with powerful imagery.

Track Your Results

When your customers come in to do business you should ALWAYS ask them where they are coming from.  Measure how many responses you receive (phone calls, emails, and foot traffic) form your commercial.

If after 6 months you are not seeing a measurable result from your efforts, consider changing things up.

  1. Vapor Smoking said on May 9th, 2011 at 4:43 am

    I had a big confusion on TV Advertising Strategies but after this post there is no doubt.It is really a well sharing.

  2. Buy Cycling Jerseys said on May 25th, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Nice article Thor – I know sometimes nation wide cable tv advertising can be pretty cheap especially if you have a media buyer who can buy spots in bulk – I think we were paying $40 or so for a 30 second spot.

    I have also run into (but never used) a company that specializes in buying unused air time and running ads super cheap in those spots – something to keep in mind

  3. college textbooks said on May 25th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I have always thought that television, was a bit too expensive to even try out. I am going to have to look into this more now. Thanks for the info.

  4. Clayton Rice said on June 4th, 2011 at 12:06 am

    My favorite local TV ads are always the really funny ones that are entirely overdone. There’s a used mobile home company in my area that did this and they ended up going viral on youtube.

  5. tickets to pakistan said on June 8th, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Television advertising is amongst the hardest strategies used when advertising, obviously you need to make your ad effective within a short time with a huge bill at the end of it. A good smart post and very informative. thanks!

  6. Komodo Dragon said on June 16th, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I agree Clayton, those are always ones to watch out for. Some of them are pure genius sometimes, lol.

  7. Number Stencils said on June 18th, 2011 at 2:05 am

    I’m looking to start a business which will be supported by local advertising revenue. I’m looking for individuals who sell local advertising for local tv network affiliates and am interested in hearing your thoughts on the current trends in the industry. Would love to have a 10-15 minute conversation if you’re available, but any insight provided would be very helpful. Thanks!

  8. used tires said on July 2nd, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Thats great that you have been able to get TV advertising to work for you Thor! I am kind of shocked at the numbers but if you have the consistent available funds to do it, and have done the math it can certainly work wonders!


  9. Russel said on July 4th, 2011 at 5:30 am

    It’s good way to earn a broader brand image and make your business in touch with the your favorite audience.

  10. windows 7 said on July 4th, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Great way to recycle old computers and be the part of latest one.I appreciate your
    idea.Good job done….

  11. Simon From TimesNewsToday said on July 7th, 2011 at 12:28 am

    well written article thanks for the tips I will Subscribe to your RSS Feeds to get all the latest updates from your blog…

  12. Dean @ Car News said on August 2nd, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Hi Thor when you will update your blog? it’s more then 1 month you never update, are you ok?

  13. college textbooks said on August 5th, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Radio is a great way to sdvertise, some people even remeber the info even though they are not really listening. Its kind of like you know all the words to the song you hate.

  14. Durable Medical Equipment said on October 15th, 2011 at 4:14 am

    Its good to do advertisement over radio.We can see people are so busy in their work they even donot have time for watching TV but while driving and doing any other thing one can listen radio and he can have the knowledge of the add that are advertised on radio.

  15. Burn Candles said on October 24th, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    People do generally try to do too much with 30 seconds. A good ad uses symbolism to support the messaging. Punch as much as possible into those seconds.

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