Some dealerships shy away from television advertising, thinking it’s too expensive, but the truth is it’s extremely affordable and costs far less, on a cost-per-viewer basis, than other forms of advertising. What’s more, television advertising gives your store the look of a bigger more successful business, making you look as big as the manufacturer(s) you represent.
Before you dive in and start spending money on television, you need to understand some things about the industry; then you will be ready to craft a script and begin buying time. If done successfully, both the audio and video (if run separately) should be able to convince the potential customer to come to your dealership. That gives you a double edged sword that makes your campaign even more successful. Make sure both elements are super strong, so even if the viewer is exposed to only one element, you’ll still motivate that prospect.
Make sure you have money in your budget to produce a good commercial. The days of calling the station to produce a spot are over. Yes, they produce spots for free, but the quality is usually worthless. A production house can produce an effective, professional TV spot for your dealership for around $3,500. If you cut a deal and ask for an all-inclusive arrangement from your advertising agency, however, you may be able to get them to do spots for far less. Look for companies that can give you a package of services including media buying, print art, internet services, and TV and radio production for a flat price.
As for placing ads on television, TV buying is strictly a matter of supply and demand. You will usually pay per rating point, which is known as a cost-per-point. The higher the ratings of a show, the more you will pay. I always like to get “heavy frequency” (more spots for less money). I would prefer 10 spots that reach 10,000 viewers each, to one spot that reaches 100,000 viewers. Same amount of viewers, just a matter of hitting my audience more times. All this is assuming that the costs for all are the same.
Daytime and late-night spots in local markets are usually less expensive than prime time (8-11pm) or prime axis (6-8 pm and 11pm-midnight). In a medium-sized market, five dollars per thousand viewers is about what you should expect, depending how well you negotiate and the inventory level of a particular station. Normally a 30-second slot in daytime that reaches 10,000 viewers will cost about $50. Very often these rates will vary depending on the size of the buy and a long-term annual commitment. I always try and get my clients bonus spots if I can guarantee a station a larger percentage of the buy.
Television advertising is by far the strongest of all the mediums available to dealerships. Find an expert to help you through this process, as you can save thousands of dollars if you maximize your efficiency. 2010 should be a better year, but only if you understand how best to use television.