Through economic boom and financial bust, TV advertising remains an effective and far-reaching way to get your message to consumers. But before you get out your checkbook, here are five things to consider before advertising your business on television.
1. It Can Be cost-effective, If Done Right
Unless you’re advertising during the Super Bowl, you can find cost-effective advertising rates in most markets outside the biggest cities. Even in prime time, many stations will run your commercial for $1,000. Smaller cities will often halve that amount. Rates can get even lower if you advertise via a cable service. But remember, cable TV reaches only a third of the homes in any given market, so your reach will be more limited. The result: A lower cost-per-airing—but higher cost-per-customer-reached.
2. Buying Air Time is not The only Expense
To air a TV commercial, you have to have a commercial ready for telecast. A good production company will generally charge thousands of dollars (and up) to make a quality commercial for you. Yes, local broadcasters will sometimes make commercials for a cost of anywhere between $500 and $2,000—but the production value is typically low. Ask yourself: Do you want your brand associated with something of low quality? In addition, some stations will even cut a commercial for free if a business agrees to a three-month to six-month advertising term. Yet the commercial then becomes station property and can only air on the station that made it. So if you want to advertise elsewhere, you’ll have to start all over again.
3. Pick Your Spots
Realize that not every show is watched by the same amount of people. More popular shows naturally have more viewers but that drives up the cost of advertising during that time slot. Try to find a balance between maximum reach and overstretching your budget. And be sure to think about your business’ demographics, too. A sports bar would be much better off advertising during a football game than The View, so know your target audience and that of the show you’re considering.
4. Use The right Message
When making your commercial, consider how to effectively get your business’ message across in 30 seconds. Every good commercial clearly states how to contact the business (a combination of website, phone number and/or street address), and it gives a reason to utilize the business (if you have the best pizza in town, people need to know that). Reminder: In today’s digital world, it doesn’t hurt to show your website address numerous times or continually throughout the commercial.
5. Be Memorable
Make sure your commercial hits home and gets the message across in a memorable way. Of course, it should be memorable for the right reasons. While your commercial can be funny, you don’t want to mock your own business. And concentrate your ads. A viewer is more likely to remember your business if they see the ad three times in an hour-long program than once every two weeks. If you can afford to advertise multiple days, make your spots close together to further maximize your impact. Buy a few, then buy more if and when you see business expand.
To learn more about TV advertising, check out TV Advertising Guide: How TO Get Started Today!
Michael McNulty is a staff writer for Fit Small Business. Previously, Michael co-founded the extremely successful website Opposing Views.