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Radio and TV Advertising

Turn up the volume on your ad campaign by adding radio and television spots to the mix.
August 5, 2004

Many entrepreneurs believe that TV and radio advertising is beyond their means. But while national TV advertising is out of the entrepreneur's price range, advertising on local stations and, especially, on cable television can be surprisingly affordable. Armed with the right information, the small-business owner may find that TV and radio advertising can, in fact, deliver more customers than any other type of ad campaign. The key is to have a clear understanding of the market so the money spent on broadcast advertising isn't wasted.

Planning is especially essential for the businessperson approaching broadcast advertising for the first time. When you're first starting out, it's important to educate yourself about the media, and the only way you can do that is to talk to a lot of people. This includes advertising representatives from TV and radio stations, other business owners, and your customers.

Experts suggest an entrepreneur take the following steps before diving into broadcast advertising:

Compare the various proposals. Look at the CPMs and negotiate the most attractive deal based on which outlet offers the most cost-effective way of reaching your audience. Buying time well in advance can help lower the cost. For TV ads, stick with 30-second spots, which are standard in the industry. And keep in mind that the published rates offered by TV and radio stations are often negotiable. Generally, rates vary widely during the first quarter of the year, and sometimes during the third quarter or late in the fourth quarter, traditionally slow seasons for many businesses. But expect to pay full rates during the rest of the year or during popular shows or prime time.

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Book You'll Ever Need, by Rieva Lesonsky and the Staff of Entrepreneur Magazine, © 1998 Entrepreneur Press