Buying a TV advertising schedule is a significant investment. It’s normal to wonder whether the return will be worth it. Only experience will tell, and there are several ways to minimize the risk.
Make it Sell
The first thing to do is make sure that the ad sells something. The TV sales rep and the station’s production director may want to produce a creative, edgy, attention-getting spot. Creativity and attention are vital, but most of all, the ad must sell.
Selling something is the only chance for a return on the investment. A spot that spends 25 out of 30 seconds being creative instead of selling products or services may earn the station an award from the local ad club. But the real test of the ad’s value is whether it increases traffic and sales.
Do a Break-Even Analysis
Consider very carefully which product or service appeals to the broadest segment of the station’s viewers. Then, do a quick analysis to quantify how many units must sell to cover the cost of the advertising.
If it seems realistic to believe that many units will sell as a result of the ad, and if the business can afford to take the risk that the ad won’t pay for itself, the next step is creating an offer to the potential customer.
Make a Compelling Offer
Is the business introducing something new? Is there a special discount promotion on a product line? Ask what would compel a viewer watching the ad to visit the store or call the office.
Better yet, ask existing customers. Do an informal focus group on the sales floor. Pick a regular customer and ask them. For example, “We might close out this line of products and pick up a new brand. If you were in the market, what discount would it take to interest you?”
Repeat that with 10 or 12 customers, and they will provide a strong sense of what kind of offer they’ll consider compelling enough to take action on after seeing the spot. And, if it’s a sufficient offer to interest current customers, chances are it’ll interest other viewers and convert them into new customers.
Provide a Copy Platform for the Creative Concept
Next, rough out a first draft of what the spot should include. This will give the TV sales rep and the station’s copywriter a good platform for constructing a creative spot that emphasizes the product or service and the offer. This needn’t be breathless prose – it’s just a starting point.
Suggest to the sales rep that they draft three creative concepts for the ad. The rep will work with the station’s copywriter and production director to come up with three different versions of the proposed spot. Then, evaluate all three and choose the one likely to work best.
Control the Content
Once a script is chosen, stay involved with the production. Observe the process to be certain the spot stays on track as it goes together. Trust the professionals on their mastery of the technology, but retain control over the content.
One specific tip: Be certain that the business phone number, location, Web site or other contact information runs throughout the spot. Potential customers have to know how to find the store! Make sure it’s on-screen as long as possible so they can easily write it down.
Scrutinize the Ad Schedule
Check that the ad is scheduled in programs with adequate ratings so the message reaches significant segments of viewers. Watch for overnight placements, which have less value.
Make the first ad sell, and discover the potential of TV advertising.