How to Advertise on TV Without Breaking the Bank

LoriWeiss by Lori Weiss on July 17, 2014
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If you have assessed your advertising budget, and you’re trying to determine where to allocate the funds, you might want to consider TV ads. Though you might have considered television to be too expensive, it may be time to reconsider this medium. While a national ad during a popular program may be out of your price range, there are ways to make this a financially viable option for your business.

First, you should step back and analyze your brand. Does it have a visual element or something that can be best displayed through images? If so, television advertising should certainly be considered, as it may benefit your audience to see your product or service in this way.

Once you have decided that visually featuring your brand is a great way to proceed, the next step is figuring out the best way to reach your target market. For this, you want to analyze the 5 W’s: Who is your target market?What are their demographics? Where are they geographically? When is the best time to reach them? Why should they care about you? Conduct market research to find answers to these questions, which will help you determine the best placements for your ads and allow you to get the best bang for your buck.

After you have carefully crafted the appropriate answers to the aforementioned questions, it’s time to figure out a way to make TV advertising a financially viable option. The following are important points to consider when trying to minimize your TV ad spend:

1. Consider the Season

Television advertising rates change with each quarter, and rates typically run higher when new seasons for shows start in the fall. Furthermore, if a big election is approaching, it can cause demand for TV spots in that region to rise. Also, for certain products and brands, some seasons are more appropriate than others. For example, a company that manufactures surfboards would be best-suited for summertime ads, whereas a brand that specializes in outerwear may want to focus on wintertime spots. Pursue advertising when it makes the most sense for the product or service you’re trying to sell.

2. Consider the Current Economic Period

How is the financial climate? When financial times are tough, the best deals can be struck. As stations scamper to find advertisers to buy media spots, they will be more willing to strike up deals. The same goes for different parts of the country or even the world. If a particular region is facing financially tough times, those local stations will be happy to have your business. Just make sure that the market will be receptive to your campaign; you don’t want to spend cash in a region that’s unwilling to buy your product.

3. Arrange Finances and Schedules Early On

If you pay the television station at the onset, they’ll be more attentive to your business and will know that you’re a valuable customer who should be treated accordingly. Additionally, the transactions that are most cost-effective are bundled in a 10- to 13-week period. By engaging with a cable company that manages multiple stations, you can work out an agreement that allows you to advertise during various programs. Stations should favor your business because, when possible, they want to arrange scheduling in advance. In helping them to fill their ad spots ahead of time, they will be more apt to work out a deal that’s effective for both you and the media provider.

4. Fire Sales and Auctions Can Supplement Your Regular Media Plans

Fire sales, though rarely accessible, can be a great way to gain access to TV spots that might otherwise be unavailable. Fire sales allow you to purchase media space well in advance, and they can be significantly less expensive than making a last-minute media buy. Auctions are also a great way to save on ad spend due to the timing of the payments. With an auction, you pay at the beginning, but you may not know exactly which time slots you are receiving in return. Therefore, this is a route you may want to take in addition to your basic ad strategy.

5. Try Different Stations, and Reassess Your Efforts

Based on your findings with different ad spots, you should be able to determine which ones make the most sense for your business. You can then alter your ad choices accordingly and pursue the stations that are best-suited for your company. As you build a stronger relationship with this station, you may be able to find savings down the line as they start to recognize you as a loyal partner.

TV advertising should certainly be on the table when deciding the best way to promote your brand, service or product. Go here for an example of one of the many companies that does TV advertising on the cheap. If it makes sense for your business strategically, then the aforementioned points should be reviewed to help you spend the least but get the most out of your television advertisements.

LoriWeiss

Lori Weiss is an MBA graduate who specializes in marketing and outreach.

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