Is It Time for Your Small Business to Advertise on the TV or Radio?

TV and radio ads
Many small businesses have traditionally been scared off from TV and radio advertising due to the high costs associated with each. However, with many large businesses scaling back their marketing efforts openings have emerged in both TV and radio programs. Small businesses have been able to get in and fill these open slots for much less than the regular advertising rates. Also, in the current economy consumers are going out less frequently- meaning that there are more viewers and listeners than ever before. This combination of lower media costs and increased reach make advertising on the TV and radio a smart move in this current business climate.


  • Prime-time TV slots are selling for an average of 25% less than this time last year.*
  • Many ad agencies have begun taking on lower budget clients than they have traditionally attracted
  • More media companies are now willing to take spots on test basis rather than locking advertisers into contracts


  • Figure out the viewing or listening habits of your target demographics instead of relying on your own preferences to get the most return
  • Know what you want the reach of your ad to be- this will determine when and where you advertise
  • Consider freelance companies to produce your advertisement to get the best rates or packages
  • Be willing to haggle for the slots you want- media companies are struggling to fill open slots so many times you can get a great deal if you are willing to negotiate
  • Consider advertising on cable rather than broadcast TV- it will be cheaper and you will reach your local market
  • Make sure you will have a way to measure results (be it more hits to your website, additional leads, higher sales, etc.). The easiest way to measure results is to lead customers to a unique webpage (ex. or phone number.
  • Test your message before airing it to make sure you are representing your brand and your products/services appropriately
  • Set a strict goal and only run additional rounds of advertising if that goal is met

*BusinessWeek- Small Biz Smart Answers. 14 April 2009. “Time to Buy TV, Radio, and Internet Ads?” Klein, Karen.

-Kate Pierce eCommerce Specialist

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