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Online Businesses: Think Outside the Monitor

Is every potential customer for your web-based business already surfing online? How can they be searching for you if they don't know they need you?

Why wait for people to search for you (and possibly find your competitor instead) when you can tell them who you are, and establish that connection even before they go online?

According to a recent survey by ForeSee Results, despite a push by retailers to increase their social media footprint, only 5 percent of online holiday shoppers in 2010 reported being influenced by social media to visit the retailers' websites. The winner? Traditional marketing techniques: 38 percent of those holiday shoppers cited familiarity with the brand as their reason for shopping at retailers websites. A portion of respondents cited TV specifically, and often, brand familiarity is a result of a consistent and positive TV presence.

Before people buy a product, they need context and background. They need to feel that your company is substantial, and intends to stay in business. People are far more apt to buy a name brand product than an unknown brand. Advertising proposes a need, and offers a product to fulfill it. Branding takes that one step further, creating a positive feeling of greater trust in YOUR product and YOUR company, than that of imitators and competitors.

Once you lead your customer to your website, you can go into detail with articles, photos, and video demos. You can let them buy online, or find you in a retail store. The first step is getting them to look for you - and television is a great way to call them to your website.

NOT REAL: "I'M WEB ENABLED, PEOPLE WILL FIND ME"

REAL: If you build it, they will come ONLY after they find out about you. Television, through broadcast, cable and satellite, offers hundreds of channels and entertainment choices, and doesn't wait for people to search for a product. The internet, with its billions of sites, has nearly infinite "channels." This is what people mean when they talk about the "noise" of media, and the time-starved consumer.

Only a few websites in the entire world are popular enough to reach the majority of web surfers. Customers are everywhere, not just online. They're at home, in restaurants, in waiting rooms, traveling and staying in hotels. Online advertising has its place in sales, mainly to draw attention away from other, similar businesses, or to attempt to catch an impulse buyer.

TV enables you to engage your customers while their minds aren't cluttered with articles and other simultaneous information (including other ads). TV tells your story in the full screen experience of TV. This way, the next time they go online, they're not surfing randomly; they're looking for YOU.

NOT REAL: TV advertising is not targeted like the internet.

REAL: TV invented targeting! This mistaken notion about TV not being targeted is pure urban legend. Besides, how often have you seen an online ad right next to a very unflattering article about the company, or the kind of products it sells? That's not targeting, that's crazy.

Television preceded the internet with targeted advertising by many years. A. C. Neilsen has been measuring audiences for decades, and the data is readily available to advertising agencies. With today's more sophisticated cable television landscape, with DVRs, time shifting, and on-demand programming, the viewing habits of likely buyers for a product can be located readily, and customers can be presented with products, services and offers that they are likely to be interested in.

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