Added by on 2012-09-28

The most important goal of a radio or television commercial is to get the audience’s attention so that they can participate in the commercials. Good radio and television advertising uses simple, clear language.

The best commercials create and reinforce a positive attitude toward the advertised product or company.

There are several things you shouldn’t do when it comes to radio or television commercials. You don’t want to offend or alienate the listener.

You don’t want to create suspicion or disbelief. Also, make sure that there is no confusion about the message of your radio or television commercial. If the message is unclear, the listener will quickly lose interest.

A radio or television commercial must be creative, especially if you don’t have a big enough budget to flood the marketplace for an extended period of time.

You need to create an advertising campaign that repeats the same message over and over again. Because of that repetition, you want to make sure that what you tell people isn’t boring or dull; otherwise, they’ll switch to a new station.

Using radio to advertise

Advertising on major radio stations presents the same problems for small-business owners as advertising in metro newspapers.

Such advertising may reach an audience far beyond the limits of a small business’ trading area and the cost may be too high.

To get the complete story on a radio station’s advertising costs, meet with one of the station’s salespeople and examine the rate card.

Radio ads can work for the small-business owner, especially if he supplements it with other advertising. Radio is great if your product has mass appeal and especially if you have exclusivity on the product in the marketplace, or if your competition isn’t using the radio.

Radio advertising can be fairly inexpensive, and it will reach a different market segment than metropolitan newspapers.

You can also add more value to your dollar by working out merchandising packages or sponsorships with your salesperson.

You might, for instance, enlist one of the station’s disc jockeys to give away samples of, or coupons for your products on air.

You could also sponsor the station’s weather or traffic reports or other features which relate to your business. The disc jockey would say something like, “Today’s weather report has been brought to you by (name of your business).” These on-air mentions – separate from your scheduled radio campaign – give you additional exposure.

Always negotiate the cost per radio spot with your salesperson, you should never have to pay rate card rates.

Put together a “package” of spots that you would like to use as your schedule. A good one might be something like this:

Weekday Spots Per Week Time of Day Listening
Monday-Friday 5 6am-10am Drive Time
Monday-Friday 4 10am-3pm Daytime
Monday-Friday 5 3pm-7pm Drive Time
Saturday 2 6am-10am Drive Time
Saturday 2 10am-3pm Daytime
Total 18

The largest audience tunes into the radio during morning commutes; a large number of people also listen to the radio during afternoon and evening “drive time”, and it may be cheaper to advertise at this time than in the morning.

Use your ideal schedule as a reference when negotiating with your salesperson – he may throw in some “overnight” spots (midnight – 6 a.m.) which reach a small audience, but give you a lower cost for morning drive-time spots if you take them.

Your ideal schedule will give you a point from which to negotiate. Tell your salesperson what you can afford to spend, put together your package, have your salesperson put together what he wants to offer you, and go from there.

Television advertising

Television advertising has a reputation for being expensive. Far too many small-business people are intimidated by stories of the high cost of television time.

Major corporations spend millions on their advertising campaigns, but they plan to reach millions of viewers.

On a smaller scale, TV costs can be surprisingly low. The price of television time depends on several factors: the size of the market, the length of the ad, the time of day the ad appears, the rating of the program during which the ad appears, the number of spots to air and a handful of other factors.

It’s up to the advertiser to decide just how much money is available for television advertising, then to shop around for the best deal.

One additional cost is the production of a commercial. This can range from a few hundred dollars for a station-produced announcement to thousands of dollars for an ad produced using professional studio techniques.

Local stations often package deals designed to give the smaller business an opportunity to use TV effectively while keeping costs low.

There are programs to fit any advertising budget. A local station’s advertising salesperson can be the small-business person’s best friend; a call to these people will usually answer all your questions.

They can tell you what options and opportunities are available to smaller advertisers.
As with radio, you should put together a schedule of programs during which you would like to advertise.

If your target audience is children, your best bet might be advertising during Saturday-morning or weekday early morning or afternoon cartoons. If sports fans are your target, try Friday Night Football or weekend sports.

Your salesperson will offer other suggestions, and together you can come up with a schedule that fits your budgetary and advertising needs.

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