Small business owners often don’t see TV advertising as a good fit for their needs, or they assume it’s too expensive. Yet experts say it can help small companies increase their brand awareness, build credibility and sell more products and services. And it’s not as expensive as you might think.


As more businesses flock toward online advertising, TV can also help companies stand out from the crowd.


“Television is a great medium for connecting on a visual and emotional level with viewers,” says Kelly Hawthorne-Smith, media director for Twelve Three Media, a digital marketing agency in Golden, Colorado. “It offers space to push sales and to tell a company’s brand story—to talk about why they do what they do. And despite some networks’ declining ratings in recent years, TV still offers larger numbers of viewers than you can reach with any other media.”


“Television is a great medium for connecting on a visual and emotional level with viewers.”


The important thing is to be strategic and smart about how you use TV advertising. Here are four expert tips:


1. Target your demographic.

 To make the most of TV advertising, make sure you know your target audience, especially what programming they like to watch and when.


“Research is a must,” says Stephen Light, co-owner and chief marketing officer of Nolah Mattress, an online mattress company based in Denver. “Targeting the perfect demographic online is based on piles of data and rests on the shoulders of algorithms. But with TV, there are often chances to hit your target market with more certainty—using, for example, channels that are focused on one market, like Food Network or HGTV.”


Another benefit: Compared to online advertising, Light says TV offers a less-saturated platform that grabs people when they’re at their most attentive and engaged with the content they’re consuming.


2. Buy smart. 

TV advertising can be bought in “dayparts,” and if you can’t afford prime time, advertising executive Robert Barrows recommends buying time on weekends or in the “late fringe” space between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. A 30-second spot can cost as little as $50.


“Buy a ton of frequency, and pound your message home,” says Barrows, president of R.M. Barrows in San Mateo, California. Cable TV in particular offers inexpensive advertising options, he says. (As an example, check out Spectrum Reach, which helps businesses create effective targeted TV advertising campaigns and reach their target audiences.)


As for the commercials themselves, most local TV network and cable stations have production departments that can create a 30-second ad for a few thousand dollars. Working with an ad agency is another option.


3. Think digital. 

Advertisers today can easily expand their footprint by adding a digital feature to a TV commercial that will take viewers to other platforms, says Kimberley Ring Allen, founder of Ring Communications in Boston.


Her best advice? Throw a QR code on the TV ad. Here’s how it can work: A restaurant runs a commercial advertising a Mother’s Day brunch. Viewers can then scan the QR code with a smartphone, leading them to a landing page where they can make a reservation.


“You’re going to convert the viewer immediately this way,” says Ring Allen. “The dangle for the business is the TV ad, but this allows you to cross channels into the digital space as well.”


4. Focus on getting attention—and sparking action. 

Ultimately, the best and most impactful TV commercials—regardless of the company’s size—capture their audience’s attention, entertain or educate, Hawthorne-Smith says. Moreover, they have a clear call to action, such as directing viewers to visit the company’s website or call by phone.


“The cost of TV advertising can be worth it to small companies because, if placed properly, the impact can be big,” she adds.


Want to see firsthand how TV advertising can benefit your business? Spectrum Business is now offering new customers up to eight weeks of free TV advertising through Spectrum Reach. To learn more about this opportunity, contact us at 855-299-9353.

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