Lights, camera, action! Here’s your chance to be a part of one of the most exciting and influential mediums – television. A commercial on television can leave a lasting impression on your audience by using humor, emotion, drama and any other sensory effect. It’s your chance to create an image, or brand, for your company or service that a large audience in your market will see. Especially if your produce or service is visual, TV will work for you. TV uses sight, sound and emotion, which is a powerful combination.
But TV’s main advantage is its reach.
Most likely, in any given quarter-hour of the day or night in your market, the most people using media at that time are watching TV. This is especially true during prime time. Because of the technology of cable signals, television stations now outreach any signals sent through airwaves. Mountains, state lines and even oceans can’t deter a television signal through a cable line. You can target your TV buy to reach your particular customers by choosing to run your commercial in the programs they most likely watch. Each TV station runs a wide variety of programs that appeal to various audience groups but you should consider buying only the ones that your potential customers are watching to ensure you’re reaching the right demographic for your business. For example, if your customers are stay-at-home moms between the ages of 18-49, they probably watch daytime talk shows, such as Oprah or Dr. Phil, so look to buy spots in those programs.
Look for the TV station in your area that airs those programs, but also take a look at each program you’re buying to determine if it appeals to your potential customers. Feel free to mix and match with more than one TV station that airs programs for your target audience.
With new technology like Digital Recording Devices (DVRs) where viewers record their favorite programs and watch them at their leisure, viewers have a tendency to fast forward through commercials. But there are still programs that viewers want to watch live. Have you heard of “appointment TV” – shows that people plan their day or week around to watch? Because many primetime network programs are highly rated, plan your campaign on a yearly basis to ensure your commercials are in the season premiers in the fall and finales in the spring. Even if you are on a limited budget, you can plan your campaign to take advantage of these opportunities, but plan early because the commercial space for these seasonal shows sells out far in advance. If you’re already working with a TV station, they’ll keep you apprised of the premier programming on their station that’s available to purchase.
Use our TV evaluation worksheet to determine which stations have the programming in your market to target your potential customers. It will help you evaluate and plan your TV media buy so it will create and build the brand image of your business with the right audience.
Another advantage of advertising on TV is it can add instant credibility to your business, if done properly. If you’re on TV, you must be big, right? Regardless of the size of your business, having your ad run on TV makes viewers perceive you as a big company. Now for the “done properly” disclaimer: if your commercial looks cheap or poorly produced, it will look even worse alongside the expensive, slick national commercials. This will cause the opposite effect of making your business look unprofessional. Before considering buying television advertising, make sure you have the budget for a well-produced commercial.
Television stations have production teams on staff to help you conceptualize, write and produce a commercial for you for a fee. Depending on how much advertising you are buying with the station, you can sometimes negotiate production credits, or a discount on production cost. We’ll explain more about this in our Negotiating Tips section.