There is a common misconception among small business owners that they can’t afford to be on television. But television stations price their commercials based on the ratings for the show, and on the available inventory. If the station hasn’t sold enough of their inventory, the rate will often drop. If the day-part is less desirable (midnight to 3am) the rate may be very low even if the programs have good ratings and a good audience.
Television is arguably still the most powerful advertising medium for reaching a large audience, so small businesses should investigate what it really costs. Here are 10 Ways for your small business to use television as an advertising tool.
- Buy late night on local TV or local cable channels.
Take a look at the size of audience watching late night TV programs. Sometimes the audience is large and the price per commercial is as low as $10 per :30 second spot.
- Check the audience in early, early, morning news.
Some commuters get up early (4am, 5am) and many have the TV on while they get ready. Take a look at the audience size for early morning news and the rate for a commercial.
- Investigate zoned cable in your market.
If your market has more than one cable zone, sometimes you can buy commercials in just the zone that surrounds your business. Find out how inexpensive commercials are in your zone.
- Dominate one TV show.
Frequency is the secret to consumers taking action on your offer. If you can’t afford to dominate television in your market, then just dominate one show with commercials. People are creatures of habit when they watch TV. You might be able to reach the same group of people over an over by purchasing spots in just one show.
- Shoot footage for your commercial and then make a website video too.
Think multi-use when you shoot for a commercial. If you can make a commercial, a corporate video, a YouTube video and a demonstration video all at the same shoot, you can get many uses from your footage.
- Use a semi-famous person as your spokesman on TV.
Consumers listen to celebrities and respond. But you don’t have to use celeb that is currently hot if they are expensive. Take a look at the local teams former coach or former famous player after they are done playing or coaching. What matters is how well known they are, and how well liked, not whether they are hot at the moment. Find a celeb that is fondly remembered and trusted.
- Make your own show.
Silly as this sounds, sometimes you can create a two-minute program and buy a two-minute break every week in the same show. Shoot your own two-minute cooking show or auto repair show including your own commercial in the show and buy the airtime each week to run it.
- Talk your vendors into co-op advertising.
If you spend a lot with a product or service vendor, ask them to kick in on the cost of your advertising schedule because your commercial sells their products. If you sell washers and dryers, ask the washer-dryer manufacturer to pay for part of your television airtime.
- Create your own sponsorship.
Try asking if you can sponsor something on a television station. It’s possible they may sell you a sponsorship of a program, or a section of the news, or the morning traffic reports, or the late night shows. “Tonight’s midnight movie is brought to you by (your company name.)”
- Use TV promos to advertise a free download on your website.
One way to get more traffic to your website is to offer a free download of a useful white paper, ebook, or article. If you run commercials on TV offering the free download, you will increase the number of people who visit your website.
While television is a powerful medium, and you can buy it yourself, sometimes it is easier to get help from an ad agency that is experienced in using television to promote small businesses.