It’s pretty rare that I watch local TV Stations “real-time” . But a show was on the other day at the exact moment I wanted to watch it (OMG) so I sat down with a beverage and laptop to enjoy it. I habitually pulled out the Tivo Remote every ad, banging on the FF button, soon realizing that it wasn’t going to work. Here’s the pattern I saw on local ads:
- You should trust us because we’ve been in business for __ years.
- You should buy because we have good stuff, cheap and in-stock. (SALE SALE SALE!)
- You should buy because we’re in Lexington and/or we’re UK* fans/coaches/players.
- We’re at this location and have this nice building.
- Call us now (ps: it was 10:30pm)
*University of Kentucky Wildcats for those of you who don’t “bleed blue.”
Ideas About Using Your TV Ads To Start Engagements On-Line
These ads I watched seemed to be following a tried-and-true TV Ad script which included no integration with on-line resources. In addition to being bloody annoying (to me) they asked me to drive to their location (they were closed) or call them now (voicemail.) In the end, these ads were entirely based on consumers remembering who they are and why I care long enough for their service to align with my need (or at least long enough for them to be open!) Some may have listed a tiny URL in the last 5 seconds of their commercial, but none of them except one (a car dealership with an online inventory) gave a good reason to visit.
It struck me that these advertisers were ignoring the fact that consumers find much of what they need to know on-line before buying, and that there is a huge opportunity to fill that information need.
What Do I Mean By Strengthening The Coupling?
Reach out to customers who have interest in your product. Make a resource that is quick to review and bookmark-friendly where they can store the information for future reference:
- “We have a complete explanation of how our new service works at _______________, along with a coupon for 20% off your first visit!” (clear up confusion by running through FAQs)
- Grab our 2-page home checklist to see if you qualify for ____________ – print it from our website at __________________.
- Look at how consumers rated our services on our website at ______________________. (show consumer ratings)
- Watch videos of us installing ________________ in Lexington, and get a coupon for 20% off our service. (basic videos are fine)
- “Visit our website to see a full comparison of ________________ with other types of _________________” (save me time/energy doing research)
- “Download a free e-book about how you can ___________________ on our website at _________________, along with a coupon for 25% savings on your first ____.” (be the authority by publishing a helpful guide)
When Inviting Them To Your Site, Think “Tour Guide” as much as “Sales Person.”
Inviting people to your website implies solid, useful content at the other end of the URL (or SMS message*). It is not the time for more sales pitch (who wants to go from one ad to another?) Your job is to quench the thirst for information as an informed guide through well-organized, bookmark-able information expertly gathered on your site. Ultimately, you want them to say “not much point in wasting my afternoon on other sites, they’ve put it all together for me here.”
Do not just list the products on your site and ask them to “call for details” – if they’d wanted to call, they would have done it straight away. You want to offer enough information that they put you in the role of expert, and your call to action is simply to leverage that expertise even further – the ultimate sales opportunity.
Think about the interested consumer’s “next step” – and what do they need – then focus on providing it. If they’re buying security systems, for example, you need to be the authority and inform them of pros and cons, give them a tour of an installation or put their fears to rest with confident explanations of complex topics. It’s a unique opportunity to go beyond the 30 second-ad and mix a personal, local flavor into a tour of your offer, arranged with keywords, content and calls-to-action, all without leaving your brand.
Your content should be so good that people are afraid that if they don’t bookmark it now, they may lose out on something they really need to make a decision.
New Research On Consumer Purchase Patterns
What I’m saying is supported by new research published by PSB Research.
- 78% of participants say that TV ads for consumer products do not provide enough information to make a purchase decision.
- 92% say that they use the internet, newspapers, magazines or friends and family for consumer product purchasing decisions.
- 46% say they read product or service reviews, and 24% read consumer ratings.
These sample items may not include what you offer, but I wonder how many do significant research before buying your product and services?
Is This Advice for Everyone?
No. Some items are so simple, they don’t need additional research. “Buy one get one free” offers at the local steakhouse do not really lead to a lot more research about how to choose a good steak. But there are significant opportunities to link your ad with a coupon or other offer. I suppose the advice works best for items which require some thought – or for which there is a real chance of making a bad decision through lack of information.
About the research: Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates conducted nearly 300 interviews among US general population over 18 years of age October 15-21, 2008. Margin of error is ± 5.69%.
* SMS Marketing can also be a great way to extend engagement
TV/Laptop photo by Christopher Thomas used under Attribution Share Alike 2.0 Creative Commons License