- 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.