- Comments: 13
- 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.
- Comments: 7
- Written on: April 17th, 2011
A couple years ago I wrote a post about how to get the best possible deal from your Yellow Pages sales representative.
As the Internet gains more and more influence at the expense of the Yellow Pages, I thought it would be a good idea to revise my old post with the latest and greatest strategies to maximize your Yellow Pages investment.
Go Yellow, Go Web, or Both?
Before the days of the Internet and Google people turned to the yellow pages when a service provider was not top-of-mind. Over the past 10 years use of the yellow pages has been declining as people using laptops, smart phones and computers have turned to online searches for real-time directions, reviews, and pricing – things the Yellow Pages can never offer.
As a general rule (that is becoming less and less applicable after each passing day) there is a generational gap between people who use the Yellow Pages and people who use the Internet when they are looking for a business. Generally speaking, people 40 and younger will turn to the Internet first for information while those over the age of 40 tend to look toward the yellow pages instead.
As a general rule if your target customer is under the age of 40 your advertising dollars might be better spent on a digital medium such as Google or Facebook ads.
Likewise, if your target demographic is over 40 years of age the Yellow Pages can still bring new customers through the door, although the book’s days of dominance are in their sunset years.
Three Ways to Get the Most From the Yellow Pages
If you decide to add the yellow pages to your marketing mix, there are three iron-clad tips you need to know before you sign on the dotted line.
1. Use Your Sales Representative
In some cases your Yellow Pages sales representative is a regional traveler that you will never see again who is only interested in the immediate sale. If your sales representative is a temporary transplant, don’t plan on a lasting relationship.
On the other hand, Yellow Page companies like Dex are beginning to realize that their sales representatives need deeper relationships with individual business owners to maximize annual sales results.
If you are lucky enough to have a local rep, they are probably one person in an office of three or four people. This is an ideal situation for the small business owner. In a small office, a sales representative can negotiate special deals, arrange bonuses and genuinely look out for the best interest of your business.
For example, I recently signed a contract with my DEX sales representative, (Joy Brummer) for my computer repair service center in Omaha, NE. We purchased a full-page advertisement that ensures we will be placed at the very beginning of the computer section of the book.
Joy and I really hit it off. We met a second time for lunch, traded stories about our industries & clients, and Joy really got to know what makes Schrock Innovations’ business engine tick.
Joy felt Dex’s online tools would really benefit our business, but I wasn’t terribly interested. We already dominate the Google search results in Omaha, we will soon have the most prominent advertisement in the phone book. After talking about it for a bit she made me an offer I could not refuse.
She was so convinced that the Dex online product was right for us that she offered us $900 per month of free advertising in DEX’s online yellow pages listings. She said if we like the results, buy it next year. Now that is faith in your product!
It pays to be nice to your sales representative. If you have a local rep, don’t start off your conversation like you are hard-ball negotiating at Kris’ Used Car Sales.
Your gruff and domineering attitude will deeply offend your sales rep. Sales people have a stable of incentives and bonuses they can offer – or withhold – at their discretion.
If you act like a jerk who needs an anger management class she will not give you any of the bonuses she can – even the ones she pays for like a gift card to the local Indian restaurant.
2. Ask for First Time Advertiser Status – Even if you are not one
Yellow pages representatives usually have 2 fee structures. One is designed for new advertisers and the other is designed for repeat customers. Repeat customers actually get charged more, so you want the same rate schedule the new guy gets whenever possible.
Yellow Page sales representatives typically can’t lower the pricing structure unless they are against the deadline with unsold inventory. However, in some cases that can adjust which rate schedule you are given.
For example, Schrock Innovations has been in Omaha, NE since 2003 and we did have a yellow page ad in 2004. Technically we were not a new customer. However, because of the great relationship I have with Joy, she was able to convince her sales manager to give us first time advertiser status.
3. Pay your bills on time.
When you do not pay your Yellow Pages invoices on time it creates a massive obstacle for your sales representative.
“Deadbeat” businesses (those who pay 90-days or more late) and businesses who consistently show they are having trouble paying for their obligations don’t get the best deals from their ales representatives.
Why would a sales manager give a sweetheart deal to a business who is already showing they can’t meet their obligations?
Asking your sales rep to go to her manager for a special deal when you are behind in your payments is asking her to do the impossible.
The bottom line is that playing hardball works when you have a regional representative who doesn’t care about you or your business.
If you are lucky enough to have a local sales representative in a small office treat her with respect. If you don’t you not only poison the well with her, but you also poison the whole sales office. Local people talk, and a local sales office is a breeding ground for “you won’t believe this guy” kind of stories. If you treat one rep badly, getting anything from anyone is the office will be a challenge.
- Comments: 3
- Written on: March 24th, 2011
My wife needed to replace her Buick Rendezvous so we visited Rusty Eck Ford in Omaha, NE to look at what Ford had to offer. Four hours later we had to literally fight our way out of the dealership and once we got out we never looked back. It was easily the single worst service experience I have had in my entire life.
When we first arrived we wanted to look at the Ford Flex. My wife liked the marketing pieces and reviews. They had several 2011 models, but as a rule I don’t like buying brand new cars.
Instead they showed us a used 2010 model that was about $6,000 less expensive than a brand new one.
Anyone who knows anything about cars knows that the value of a vehicle drops SIGNIFICANTLY once it has been titled to someone else. Even if it is only driven 100 miles, the fact that it was titled to someone makes it a used car. The price difference between new and used should have been more than $6,000.
Rusty Eck’s Service Experience Begins to Show
They have a wall of hand-written customer testimonials outside of their rest-stop like bathrooms. They all brag about the favorable deals and great service experiences.
Never mind the fact that they were all written on the EXACT same cheap Wal-Mart stationary using the same pen… Hmmm…
We left the crazy price in the used Flex simmer on the back burner for a bit figuring they would offer us a favorable trade-in allowance to make up for the difference.
My wife’s Buick has a trade-in value according to Kelly Blue Book of just over $8,500. Rusty Eck offered us $3,000. That’s when things started to slide downhill.
The salesman got gruff with us about expecting more for the trade in. We told him we could sell it easily on Craig’s List for over $9,000.
Then he left us in his uncomfortable office chairs for over 30 minutes listening to the searingly awful 80’s music they are pumping into the whole showroom using a single plasma TV. He was “checking with his manager” to see what they could do for us as a “special exception.”
We took the opportunity to look up used Flex’s with similar features at other dealerships and on Craig’s List. Almost everyone else had identical 2010 Flex vehicles priced $10,000 or more under the cost of a new one – right where they should be.
Prisoners to Rusty Eck’s Horrid Service
When he came back in to his office and told us that his boss was giving us a good deal and they couldn’t do any better, we got up to leave. Maybe he thought we were bluffing.
We told him that while his manager could not do better, we used the afternoon we wasted in his office to do some research. Guess what – other dealerships have better offers than what you manager can do. The Internet is a bear isn’t it?
As we put on our coats, the salesman hobbled around his desk to get between us and the front door. He informed us that no one leaves without talking to the sales manager. We started walking for the door.
At the last possible moment a slick looking man stops us and asks us if there is anything he can do to help us get into the car we wanted. We briefly told him that he was trying to low-ball us on our trade and his vehicles were overpriced to begin with. We then LITERALLY pushed through him and out the door.
Have a Look at What Other Say About Rusty Eck Ford
Apparently our experience was not that unique. Take a look at these online reviews of Rusty Eck Ford:
Top 10 Reasons Not to Buy Your Car from Rusty Eck:
#10. Lacking the comfort feel- doesn’t feel welcoming
#9. Uniformed salesperson- Lacking information about financing and rebates
#8. A feel of “Buy Today”
#7. They don’t back up what they say
#6. Unprofessional finance manager #1-Talking about he and his wife “getting effed up”
#5. Unprofessional finance manager #2-Discussing how hungover he is from the Christmas party the night before
#4. Unprofessional finance manager #2-Watching a live football game on his computer while working with us
#3. Unprofessional finance manager #1-rushing through paperwork and avoiding explaining anything and then tacking on an $1800 bumper to bumper warranty without our consent.
#2. Stating the vehicle would be picked up from Iowa Monday morning and failing to do so. Then neglecting to make things right and NEVER receiving a call from a manager.
#1. There are other Ford dealers in Omaha that truly care about their customers and will work to do everything in their power to make you happy.
Or this one from Dealerrater.com:
This has to be one of the dealerships that movie makers copy when they want to show a scumbag type dealership. They have no morals and absolutely no professionalism. They will try to milk you out of any money you might have and then some. We bought a used 1999 Chevy Blazer from them about 3 weeks ago. It was on a Sunday night and at closing time so everyone was in a hurry. When we asked about everything working o.k. (especially the 4wd) the salesman said yes just hit the button and it works. Well the first time it snowed, my daughter pushes the button for auto 4wd and tells me it is just blinking, well I take it out for a drive and sure enough, it never kicks into 4wd. I take it back to them and want to see if there is anything we can do to fix it. To make a long story short, a new salesman tries to get me to purchase a lesser priced vehicle and charge me more money for a “trade-in” when I get angry and tell him that this must be a joke, they tell us to leave and as I am telling them what I think of their dealership, a manager comes around the corner and starts telling me how I am the piece of sh*t customer and I need to leave. Then about 6-7 “salesman” come outside with me and one of them starts taking his coat off and rolling his shirt sleeves up like he’s wanting to fight!! What a joke, this is truly the SCUM of the dealerships. I hope Rusty Eck is proud of what he has built out there. Ford should take their name off of the signage because this is very much a used car lot filled with lot lizards looking for a next victim. They probably sit around and joke about how bad they screwed their last customer. Truly despicable.
- Comments: 3
- Written on: March 23rd, 2011
I am a big believer in radio advertising. If you have a business on a tight budget, or if you just want to get the best marketing deal around, radio can get your message out there quickly at a cost that is much lower than television or print media. If you decide to use radio […]
- Comments: 3
- Written on: March 11th, 2011
This week Schrock Innovations launched a new commercial in Lincoln and Omaha promoting the PC Preventative Maintenance Checkup Sale that is running through March 20th at both Schrock Innovations’ locations.
In the commercial you will see a computer’s processor fan that is almost 50% constricted by dust.
While Schrock does a lot more than a physical cleaning during a Maintenance Checkup, there is no disputing that the 8 hours of work that goes into a checkup is worth the $29.99 sale price!
Contact Schrock Innovations today for more information about the sale.
- Comments: 8
- Written on: November 29th, 2010
Today Schrock Innovations is changing out the 2010 Holiday Special computer commercial airing on ESPN 1480 and replacing it with a more feature-focused version.
The new commercial will begin airing November 29, 2010 and will air through Christmas Eve or until the 2010 Holiday Special is sold out.
This version is similar to the previous ESPN spot that aired throughout the month of November, but includes more specific information about what makes the computer so special.
Features like the 120 GB solid state hard drive, the 6-core processor, and its amazing 12 GB of DDR3 memory are specifically mentioned.
- Comments: 5
- Written on: November 8th, 2010
Schrock Innovations has produced and released a new commercial featuring the 2010 Holiday Special on ESPN 1480 in Lincoln, NE.
The new ad will begin airing on November 8, 2010 and will run through November 28th, 2010.
Click here to download the commercial or play it using the player below:
[podcast]http://www.schrockinnovations.com/audio/HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2010-NOV.mp3[/podcast]
Schrock does not do a lot of advertising on Lincoln’s only full-time sports talk station, so the ad has been scheduled in heavy rotation to achieve maximum awareness before November 28.
What is the 2010 Holiday Special?
The 2010 Holiday Special computer is a special system offered once a year in very limited quantities. This year’s Holiday Special features a 120 GB solid state hard drive, a 6-core processor and 12 GB of RAM.
For $1,499 purchasers receive the tower, a full 1080p HD display, wireless keyboard and mouse, and speakers. If the purchase is made before November 28, 2010 customers receive a $100 instant rebate, bringing the cost down to an amazing $1399.
The 2010 Holiday Special computer is only available at Schrock Innovations, and can not be custom built at any price on the Dell or HP websites.
- Comments: 19
- Written on: November 2nd, 2010
As tonight’s historic election results come in, Schrock Innovations thought it would be a great opportunity to run a commercial thanking our Lincoln customers for voting us Best of Lincoln for the 9th consecutive year.
This spot was actually the second shooting of the commercial. We shot the first attempt in the Lincoln Service Center but due to a camera error, we had to re-shoot the entire spot again. Because of schedule conflicts, we had to shoot it in our brand new Omaha Service Center.
The commercial will air on Lincoln’s Channel 8 throughout tonight’s coverage. Take a look at the spot below:
- Comments: 3
- Written on: July 22nd, 2010
The new show will be called Compute This (the same as the show they currently air on KFOR 1240) and will feature myself and Grant Mellor in a call-in style format.
Why 1110 KFAB?
It will be interesting to see what the Arbitron ratings say when they come out, but as of the last book, KFAB has a 9.6 share in Omaha.
A 12 share means that of all of the radios active in the Omaha metro area, 9.6% are tuned to KFAB at any given point in time (KFAB pulls a 3.5 share in Lincoln as well). This is HUGE. In fact, KFAB is the highest rated radio station in Nebraska and can be heard all the way across the state.
In comparison, our Lincoln weekly radio show on 1240 AM pulls a 7.1 share. When you factor in that Omaha’s metro population is 3 times larger than Lincoln AND the fact that KFAB is heard in Lincoln as well, the promotional power of the station is second to none.
Schrock Innovations is re-launching its second location at 168th and Burke in Village Pointe South in September 2010.
Omaha is the logical expansion location for Schrock Innovations because we already have a customer base there, it is a mere hour from our Lincoln location, and there is a skilled talent pool to select from.
The radio show is starting August 1 so we can gauge the listener response and hire appropriate staff to handle our grand opening sale (hint hint!)
Can I Listen Online?
Absolutely! In fact I do three radio shows a week right now, and you can listen to all three online if you would like:
Compute This on KFOR 1240 AM with Chris Goforth and Thor Schrock (10-11 AM Saturdays)
The Living Digital Show on 1240 AM with Thor Schrock (2-5 PM Saturdays)
Compute This on 1110 KFAB with Thor Schrock and Grant Mellor (7-8 AM on Sundays)
- Comments: 21
- Written on: May 6th, 2010
The KZKX morning show is one of the most highly-rated morning shows in Lincoln, so you can understand how THRILLED we were when Schrock Computer Company was featured during their show today!
Carol and Mick said some kind words about us as they introduced us to their listeners and kindly mentioned that we give a free hour of labor to all new customers so they can experience what real service feels like.