Television Advertising for Local Business

We recently reviewed using radio to promote your business, and took a look at developing a radio ad campaign for your local business. Like radio, TV advertising may be more affordable than you think and it could make a significant impact on your sales if you plan and execute it correctly. It helps to understand the television advertising process and use it to your advantage. 
Like all advertising, for TV you will need to specify your customer profile and identify demographic information. Essentially, you want to know who you are talking to and what common traits they share. What are the demographic and psychographic traits of your audience that make them a likely fit for your product or service? This information will identify the benefits and drive the messaging you should include in your commercial, as well as target the TV stations, shows, and air times that you choose for your campaign.
Broadcast and Cable Advertising Options
To get started, let’s look at the options. You can advertise on television using a local broadcast station, which is your local station for NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX. To advertise on shows that appear on these stations, you need to buy the advertising from your local affiliate station (even if viewers watch the channel using cable or satellite). Broadcast television has the largest reach and also the largest cost. Broadcast television stations can sell you commercials on a specific show at specific times.
You can also buy television advertising through your local cable company, for example Charter or Comcast. You can meet with a representative from the cable company and choose the cable TV shows that you think are the best fit. Broadly speaking, cable television reaches about a third of all homes. The cost per commercial will be lower on cable than broadcast. Cable television stations may focus on selling you “rotator” advertising spots which are less specific in regards to when and where your commercials will air.
And, you have the option of buying advertising from community and public-access stations. These stations can now accept advertising within specific limits. Viewership will most likely be low, but if this audience is a fit for your business, it may be worth looking into.
Understanding Advertising Costs
To evaluate the cost of your advertising take into consideration the “cost for reaching a viewer.” On broadcast television the average cost per viewer is one cent, and on cable television it averages about seven cents per viewer. Broadcast television may cost more but could bring in more leads per dollar spent, or it may turn out that your cable advertising provides a more efficient cost per lead.  To really know what works better you will need to run your ads and track your results to see where the best leads come from. Remember to include a way to track what leads are coming from your TV advertising, so consider what call to action to include. The call to action can be a specific URL for your website, a phone number to call, a coupon code for a special offer, or an invitation to visit your store or business.
The cost for TV advertising is based on how many people watch a show, the show’s demographics, and the time of year (especially holidays and election times). The cost is also affected by the number of other advertisers that want to run during the same shows and TV advertising has a limited amount of inventory.There are usually four commercial breaks, two minutes each, in a half-hour show. Plus, TV advertising is often sold to the highest bidder and the TV station can run other advertisers that have agreed to pay a higher price, even if you have a contract.
To be effective on TV you need frequency, so consider focusing on one show to start if you have a small budget. In a half-hour show you will want your commercial to run at least twice. For a one-hour show you will want two to three commercials. By repeating your commercial during the same time slot you increase the chance that the show viewers will notice and remember it. Keep your commercials repeating on a show, or shows, and keep them running for as many consecutive days as you can afford.
Television Commercial Production
You have two options for producing your TV commercial. The first option is to let the TV station produce the commercial for you. If your advertising contract is large enough, the production cost can be highly discounted or included for free in your package. Take a look at the ads the station produces to be sure they can produce the style and quality that you want. Commercials created by the TV station can only be run on the station and you are not able to use them elsewhere.
The other option is to hire a commercial production company to create your ad. The best way to identify a good choice is to see what local ads you like, and then track down the company that produced them. The TV station may let you know, or you could call the company in the ad and ask. Local production companies can provide an affordable price for your TV commercial and you may need their expertise to produce a quality commercial that will generate leads. A commercial done by a production company should be yours to use wherever you want, including on your website. 
The Elements of a Good Commercial
Of course you need a great commercial to make it all worthwhile. You have three seconds to grab the viewer’s attention! Here are some tips for creating an effective TV commercial. 
• Use the right production company to get the quality you need.
• Start your commercial with a strong intro and powerful visuals.
• Include an offer your target audience will want and give it a deadline.
• If appropriate, put yourself in the commercial to create a relationship with the public.
• Have a unique URL or stand alone website to track web traffic from your commercial.
• Include a unique phone if possible, again to track response.
• Have a clear call to action at the end of the commercial.
Thanks to “TV Advertising Guide” by Marc Prosser for portions of this article.

Go back