Subsection of: Copywriting Basics
Adapted from content excerpted from the American Express® OPEN Small Business Network

You might think of television as a bastion for big company advertising. But with the growth of cable and the ability to broadcast to a specific region, it can be used effectively by small businesses too. TV must be utilized carefully, because it can be easily misused – a bad ad not only makes you look silly, but can actually lose you customers.

These tips can help you use advertising correctly.

Television is a visual medium. You need to communicate your message visually – the viewer should be able to tell what the ad is about with the sound off. Therefore, your visuals should be the most important part of your ad. Your script – the actual words used during the commercial – is the least important part.

Successful television advertising sells through emotions. Television viewers rarely remember the details of an ad, but they can recall how the ad made them feel. Make sure they feel motivated after viewing yours.

Get to the point. You have about two seconds to grab the television viewer’s attention, so use a strong opening image – the visual equivalent of a strong headline. You then have a total of maybe five seconds to say what the ad is about – if its not clear you’ve lost the viewer for the entire ad.

Keep your message simple. Stress your benefits. And remember to stress them visually. You can do this by “showing” what they are, rather than just “telling” what they are.

Be sure to tell the viewer your name visually. Put it right there up on the screen, along with your logo, and your address and phone number. Better yet, hit them twice by having the voice-over announcer read it aloud at the same time.

Don’t forget your call to action. Tell the viewer what to do – Call now!!!; Visit your local dealer; Compare the value; Come see us; etc.
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