Copyright (c) 2008 Brian Baumann
Just as you handle your own newspaper advertising, you can use those same concepts to create and handle your own television advertising campaign to attract new customers and increase store traffic. Here are 7 tips to do it yourself television advertising.
Tip #1 Research successful TV advertisers in your business category.
Find out the names of other businesses, just like yours, in other markets who use television advertising. You belong to state and national associations in your business category, correct? Ask your associations for names of businesses who use television advertising. Then, call them up and ask them what has worked and what has not worked for them to increase store traffic. Also, ask all of your vendors for names of businesses in other markets who use TV ads successfully. Call up those business owners and ask them the same questions. You’ll be surprised at how willing they’ll be in sharing their successes with you. This is incredibly valuable market research that didn’t cost you a dime in real dollars.
Tip #2 Pre-Plan your television advertising campaign.
This tip will save you time and money. Take time to analyze your marketplace and develop your unique benefit statement. Some people call this the USP, or unique selling proposition. Simply put, it’s a statement that tells prospective customers why they should do business with you over your competitors. Next, pre plan your creative. You’ll want two types; a.) Market Awareness with a call to action and b.) Promotional or Sale with a call to action. Now, pre plan your schedule to roll-out your creative. Do you want to air your market awareness add 12 months of the year? Do you want to alternate market awareness and promotional through out the year?
Tip #3 Write your own :30 second television script.
You don’t need to hire an advertising agency to do this for you. Save money and do it yourself. If you’ve ever have had a hand in writing an ad for your business in any form e.g. newspaper ad, yellow pages ad, radio ad, you know the basics of how to write a :30 second television script. You just don’t know that you know how yet. Let me give you some help. What ads have worked well in the past to increase store traffic? Convert them to TV ads. Like any good ad, you need the following ingredients: Attention, Interest, Desire/Conviction, and a strong Call To Action. Remember to ad benefits, benefits and more benefits. Do you want to appear in the ad as spokesperson for your business? If so, you’ll make your TV commercial even more affordable. After you’ve included all these elements, it’s important that you begin with the end in mind when writing your script. What is it you want your prospective customer to feel after watching your commercial and what is it you want them to do after watching it? Keep those thoughts in your mind as you write and you’ll have an effective ad. Do not let the television station write your script under any circumstances.
Tip #4 Produce your :30 second television script.
I don’t mean you’ll have to physically hold the video camera or adjust the lights–you won’t. I’m referring to you taking control and overseeing the production process. Now, don’t get all paranoid on me here. It’s a very easy process that anyone can follow. Plus, you’ll be receiving assistance from a television station’s production department. Show the Production Director your script(s) and review the look and feel you want in the commercial. You’ll give instructions regarding location, dates, and talent. The Production Director with select staff, camera, lights, audio, teleprompter and all other equipment necessary to get the job done per your script. On the day of the “shoot”, you’ll be able to approve all of the video shots throughout the day. So, you’ll get exactly what you want in the final edit.
Tip #5 Edit your video footage into a finished :30 second TV commercial.
Here again, you’re not operating the editing equipment. You’re overseeing the edit session at your local television station. When you enter the edit suite, your editor already has a copy of your TV script and a copy of your video footage. All you do now is cut down, or edit, the footage as per your TV script. It’s kind of like painting by numbers, everything is pretty well defined. Note: Before you leave the edit session, have them email you a copy of your TV commercial. You can use this file format on your website, add it to YOUTUBE or add to your email newsletter you send to customers and prospects. You’ll also want to have them burn a DVD of your commercial to take with you.
Tip #6 Buying TV airtime.
You’re in the drivers seat. You might be thinking to yourself, “what do I know about buying TV airtime”. I’ll give you some help so you’ll appear like a pro. Your greatest negotiating advantages are three fold. One, you are a new business with new TV ad money to spend. Two, each station knows that there are four other stations in the market that you could spend 100% of your money on. Three, you have insider TV buying knowledge from a 25 year television advertising veteran (me). Trust me, having worked inside television stations selling airtime, some of the best deals were had by business owners who knew nothing about buying TV airtime. Here’s what the TV reps. don’t want you to know: a.) They’ll take less for ads that air in January, February, March, July, August and December 15Th through the 31st. b.) They’ll take less for ads that run in the first week of the month. c.) There’s a Federal law that forces every TV station in America to keep a file of the lowest rates they’ve charged for their airtime, by program. Further, the law states that ANYONE-that means you- can view this file with 72 hours notice. This is enforced 45 days prior to political elections. Buying more commercials on lower rated shows is better than buying fewer on higher rated shows. You want consistent exposure month in and month out.
Tip #7 Continue to learn.
Call up successful TV advertisers in your market who are NOT similar to your business. Ask them what strategies work well for them in terms of script writing, production and airtime buying. They’ll help a fellow small business owner, all you have to do is ask. Read all you can, as you’re doing now, on the subject. Admittedly, not much exists in the bookstores on do it yourself TV advertising. But, information is out there, keep searching. Do it yourself television advertising is the key to attracting new customers by the bus load and increasing store traffic. Follow my 7 tips and you’ll be well on your way.