Television Advertising for Pay Per Call


Television Advertising for Pay Per Call

Learn how to reach a massive new audience and generate inbound consumer calls with Television and Video Advertising.

About TV and Video Advertising
Pros and Cons of TV Advertising for Pay Per Call
How TV Advertising Works
Choosing a Market
Producing a Video
Negotiating Air Time
Television Advertising Examples


About TV and Video Advertising

Almost 100% of the US population watches television on virtually a daily basis. Between Fox, CBS, ABC, and NBC, television reaches 120 million households. That accounts for more than 300 million individual regular viewers. Television advertising is still the most significant medium available for advertising anywhere. It’s also one of the most prolific. Believe it or not, there’s a ton of inventory available, and it works really well for Pay Per Call. Now there’s a whole bunch of different types of platforms and networks to advertise on TV, but it breaks down to three different main ones.

That is broadcast, which is the old school over the airwaves antenna that sits on top of a house or television. Cable TV, which is like Comcast or Spectrum and comes through a coaxial cable that goes into a box on your TV. Or satellite TV like Direct TV or Dish Network that reaches audiences in the United States and Europe from a satellite in space. Now, the main differentiator that you should be aware of when it comes to television versus online is that with TV advertising, you pay the reverse of online. You pay less money to target a specific geographic area. Whereas online, if you want to target a particular geographic area, you end up paying more money for that targeting.

It’s the opposite. Now with TV, if you want to reach a vast audience that’s nationwide, concurrently at the same time, you’re going to pay a lot more money for that. It’s essential that you get your targeting correct with TV because it keeps your costs way down regardless of your conversion rate.

Pros and Cons of TV Advertising for Pay Per Call

Let’s take a look at some of the Pros and Cons of Television Advertising:


– Massive reach
– find a winning campaign and scale is almost unlimited
– Less competition than online for inventory
– Done right you can subconsciously program people
– Harder to copy your campaigns – no smash and grab affiliates
– Much higher learning curve than online advertising, this is a competitive advantage
– Higher cost to test than online advertising is a competitive advantage


– Hard to make changes if using 3rd party production
– Hard to target the right audience precisely without research
– People can record / fast forward
– Higher cost to test than online advertising
– More significant learning curve than online advertising
– Immediate campaign pausing not possible

How TV Advertising Works

The first thing you’re going to do is contact the TV networks or advertising brokers for rates. Now let’s be real for a minute. If you’re watching this, you’re probably not spending millions of dollars on TV advertising.

The direct networks may or may not talk to you. They may not be the right fit. Believe it or not, brokers and aggregators can get to better deals if they buy so much advertising. TV is super old school. If you do not have the volume, no one cares about you. You need to find brokers and contacts who can help you through that process. Now, next, after you find the people that you’re going to talk to and potentially buying your media from and it shouldn’t be one. It should be many. You can speak to a bunch of them and learn as much as you can. You’re going to determine your schedule, the shows you’re going to run your ads in and the distribution markets, the distribution areas.

The less you’re going to pay for advertising, the less control you’re going to have over it with TV. If you’re like, “I want the cheapest spots I can get.” You’re not going to determine your schedule, your show, or your distribution area. You’re going to have no control over anything, but you’ll get it super cheap. You don’t know what you’re going to get. You have no control over it, but it’s super cheap. If you can make that work and some people do frankly, you can make a lot of money. It’s going to be very challenging. You’re going to need an offer that has a massively broad appeal. You’re going to have no targeting for it.

You’re also not going to get a lot of repeat views unless you spend a ton of money. It’s vital to understand that if you want to determine your schedule, your spot, which shows it’s running in and the distribution areas, you’re going to have to spend more for each spot. There are trade-offs for that we’ll cover. Next, you’re going to want a comparison shop, different networks, and mediums and brokers. You want to get a few proposals at different tiers. You want to know what you’re going to get for 1,000, for 5,000, $10,000. Ask them where do the price breaks happen? What amount of money do I need to spend?

Remember, it is much more effective to run TV advertising to the same audience multiple times than it is to run the same advertisement to lots more people but only once. Repetition is the key to success with this. You need to make them see you over and over and over again before they pull the trigger. Now, once you know your flight date, your placement and all that, then you’re going to create your TV commercial with tracking phone numbers. That gets a little tricky.

Once you’ve created your TV commercial and I highly recommend you spend a lot more time than four hours on it. You’re going to deliver that commercial to the network. You need to make sure that you talk to your network about what format, what resolution, and the specifics about what that commercial needs to technically be so that it could run properly. It needs to be the correct length. If it’s not the right length, it won’t run properly. They’re still going to bill you for the same amount of length. If you’re going to do a 30-second or a minute spot or 45 seconds to whatever it is, if your commercial’s a few seconds short, that’s your loss, not theirs.

You want to confirm your flight dates with the rep. What the TV networks will sometimes do or the brokers will do they’ll move around the schedule. If you don’t ask them for confirmed flight dates, they assume you don’t want them. They move the schedule around. They may do it last minute. Confirm your flight dates a couple of days before the commercial’s going to air so that they lock you into their schedule and someone else gets bumped. Someone else gets bumped because they’re lazy. Great. Not my problem. All right? Once it runs, I want the viewer’s statistics. I want to know at what times, on what networks did it run to see if it delivered — if they delivered on my flight dates. Because if they didn’t, and the results were good, I’m going to use that to negotiate next time. I’m going to be like, “You all owe me, okay?”

Next, we’re going to review the results with conversions. We’re going to go into our call tracking. We’re going to monitor this. We’re going to see if people call. It can take up to 24 hours or 36 hours. Sometimes, depending on the scale of your campaign, you might get calls that trickle in for weeks because people TiVo. We’re going to determine the placement ROI. If you’re smart and you put a different tracking number in for each placement, then you will know which placement got you the ROI you want.

You’re going to go back to the network. You’re going to add more spend and negotiate the rates down based on results. Longer commitments, more spending. Lower prices for the spot. Higher profit margins for you if you achieve profitability.

Choosing a Market

You need to know who your customers are. You need to know what they want. You need to know where they live. You need to know what they watch. Your broker or your network should be able to help guide you with this. That’s why I highly recommend that you talk to multiple so that they all can give you the answers to the same questions. Now, three different networks give you suggestions and answers to the same questions that are the same.

You can probably assume with a high degree of confidence that the information is accurate. If it’s your first time, you need to trust the account reps a little bit. Because they want your money, but to a TV account rep, $5,000 is absolutely nothing in commission. If they’re giving you information, they need to provide you with information that will help you be successful because frankly, to them, you’re not worth anything yet. Keyword there is “yet.” If they serve you properly, then you can become a valued account. I chose some Fox News viewers again because they’re fun to watch. They’re amusing people. You need to understand your market. Where do these people live? What cities? What geographic areas?

What zip codes? If you need older people, Florida and Phoenix. Where are those retirement communities? If you want people who are rich in the 1%, San Francisco and New York City are great locations to advertise. You need to think about who your customers are and where they geographically live. That’s first and foremost. What you need to understand is what do your ideal customers watch? If it’s senile older people, late-night TV is an excellent place to start, so is the game show network. What networks run reruns of TV shows that were popular when they were younger? Who is watching Nick at Nite still? Old rerun episodes or my dad. My dad loves Star Trek: The Next Generation.

If I were going to market to my father who is 68 or 70 years old, I’d be like, “All right. Where’s the Star Trek at?” I would hit that audience, and I know that the audience watching Star Trek reruns are probably similar to my dad. Older adults watch game shows. Business people and the 1% watch CNBC. Republicans watch Fox News. Think about who your audience is and what they want. Next, you think about gender. Who watches The View? It’s probably not men. Maybe a few depending on the demographics of men you’re going after. Who watches hunting shows? Who’s watching fishing on Discovery Channel? Probably male. Probably in a specific age range.

It is not an exact science. It’s never going to be an exact science with TV because we don’t have the granularity we do with online advertising. If you think about what you’re doing and write it out and figure out where your demographic lives and what they watch, it’s not hard to target these people, it’s pretty easy to find the people that you’re looking for. If you go super targeted that’s interspaced unlike cable or dish, you’re going to pay a lot less for it. Because a lot fewer people watch the specialty shows, you can hit your demographic for a lot less. Once you move from the major broadcast networks like ABC down to A&E or The Fishing Channel or whatever it is, the rates get more reasonable.

Because the viewers shift is less. The coverage is less. That’s how it works. You should always ask your network representative for demographic information and show suggestions. Before you talk to them, you should know who your audience is and then ask them suggestions for spots to reach that audience. You’re like, “All right. I want to hit Texas. I want to hit influential 1% type people that buy and are interested in outdoorsy stuff. What networks and TV shows do you suggest?” It’s that simple. You don’t even know a lot about it. You can ask a few simple questions. They’ll give you the answers and then you’re off to the races.

Producing a Video

Producing a video can get a little tricky. Professional production is usually going to cost about 2500 bucks on the cheap if you can find some local kids that are trying to make music videos and get them to do a commercial instead. You get what you pay for, of course. Up to about $25,000 so a professionally produced commercial for a local brand like maybe an auto dealership or something is going to be in the range of $25,000. Now the beautiful thing behind this is, you have a lot of options. Don’t let these numbers scare you. If you’re smart and you’re willing to put in the work, you don’t need a lot of money to do this.

Now, national brands will spend 50,000 to half a million or more for big campaigns like Super Bowl ads. We don’t need to worry about that. If anyone watching this is producing Super Bowl ads for their Pay Per Call campaign, hit me up. I’m taking you out to dinner because you need to teach me. We’re doing this backward if that’s the case. Let’s say you’re on a shoestring budget and you’re like, “Adam, how do I get away with making a TV commercial that’s creative and not spending any money because I want to conserve as much as possible?” I’m like, “Great.” That’s the type of thing I want to tackle because it requires thought process and effort.

What you need to do that at this point is an iPhone. An iPhone is a fantastic camera. You can do great stuff with it. You can get 4K video out of it. Most TVs and networks aren’t going to require a 4K video even so you’re good to go. I highly recommend that with the Smooth. A Smooth is like a little camera mount. It’s a gyroscopic stabilizer that attaches to your iPhone. It allows you to twist and turn and move without getting bouncy footage. If you need to do some real-world footage, I recommend Smooth in an iPhone.

If you’re doing stationary where you need someone talking like me right now, do not have someone hold the Smooth or hold the camera like this. You’re going to get jittery. You’re going to experience bumpiness. What you need is a tripod! You can go on Amazon and get a tripod for $15. It’s Amazon. Return it when you’re done. I don’t care. Do whatever you need to do. That’s all you need. Now if you want to raise the professional level of your footage, what you need is a simple light kit. If you’re going to be doing like I’m filming right now, I don’t care about my video’s production quality. You do for a commercial; you need a simple light kit. These can be about 150 bucks. They’re super easy to set up.

You don’t need any skill level. Just set up the lights. Look through your iPhone on the tripod, and you’re going to have a basic idea of what it’s going to look like. You’re already ahead of a lot of really crappy local TV commercials. You want to see some bad commercials, watch local TV or local evening six news or whatever it is. You’re going to see some terrible commercials, but they still work. You don’t need to be a professional production crew to make a TV commercial. Now, if you don’t want to be in the TV commercial and you don’t need to record any humans, I highly recommend some stock videos and some royalty-free stock music. What you want there is royalty free.

That means you don’t have to pay anything when it airs. You own it. You can use it for whatever you want. It’s cheap. For a couple of hundred bucks, you can get a whole bunch of footage. Some sites even give crappy but free footage. You can cobble together some advertisement for what you want to do. Now there are also some companies that will record testimonials. You can find them on Fiverr. Some companies will also even have a person dressed in a suit with a white background say your message for you. You’d get that for maybe four or 500 bucks or sometimes, even less. That with a little bit of editing, you can do this on your own reasonably cheaply.

For editing, if you have a Mac, I recommend Final Cut Pro. Nice and easy. Not expensive. If you own a PC and you don’t know how to edit any video at all, you’re just diving in, Camtasia Studio is pretty idiot proof frankly. They got some tutorials on there. I prefer Adobe Premiere. It’s a better platform. If I need to do something quick or a marketing team at Ringba needs to do something quickly, we have Camtasia licenses. It’s just real quick. You can pop out an advertising video if you have stock video in a couple of minutes. Easy text overlays. You want to keep in mind volume level balance and music level balance.

You want to make sure that the music level is low. Your volume level is high so that there’s no confusion. If you’re going to have voice recorded professionally, get yourself a Yeti microphone off Amazon for 100 bucks. It’s what I’m using right now. I’m in a drawing room with an echo. I apologize for that. If you’re going to record, you could even take your Yeti microphone and a laptop and pull a down blanket over your head on a carpeted floor in your parent’s basement and record the voice over for a TV commercial that gets put on national TV. It’s that easy. There are no excuses for this. You shouldn’t be scared of it. Everything can get fixed in editing.

You need to record the raw footage and the raw audio and then it’s super easy to layer it together. I challenge you to try it. It’s a lot of fun to do. It’s not complicated. Now, once you level up and you want to do infomercials, and you’ve proven that your product works and the way you’re approaching it works. You have all your backend buyers in order; you can go out and find companies that will produce infomercials for you. Homegrown videos are proven to be more successful. If you do your own homegrown video, you’ll probably do much better. I don’t know if you’ve seen this before.

There’s a lot of marketing research out there that suggests if the owner of a product or the founder of a product goes out and pitches it himself, that people have more confidence in that brand. They have more confidence in what’s going on behind the scenes. Because they get to meet the person behind it, when you see a lot of infomercials on TV, you could see the owners of the company. They’re like, “Actual owner or John Smith, the owner of whatever.” They do that on purpose so that you know who the owner is. The owner becomes familiar, and then a level of trust and a bond is created. You’re not going to screw it up. You can do everything in post processing and editing.

I highly recommend that you just put yourself out there, too. It works. That’s why I’m in the videos right now. There’s no secret behind this. I’m not going to have one of my marketing team people be in these training videos because I want you to trust us in our brand and to see that there are real people behind what’s going on, people that care. No one cares more than the founders or the owners of a company. That’s why putting them in the videos was super successful. If we go back in time and we think about Wendy’s commercials, they used to have Dave in Wendy’s commercials. Dave’s gone now. We’ll miss him, but that was one of the most successful marketing campaigns on TV back in the day.

Negotiating Air Time

Now that we have our video and you can produce the TV video before you negotiate for air time if you want. I think it’s essential to have your commercial ready. Most networks are going to be able to work with most video formats. If you make your commercial and have it in one of those studio programs that I mentioned on the previous slide, you can export it in pretty much any format. You can plug in that and then export it in any format they want. You should have that ready. It’s up to you what order you want to do it in.

If I were new and the order I did initially do it in when I researched it and ran my first TV commercial, which I think was eight years ago, back when I promoted things as opposed to making software was the order I had on the first slide. I talked to people first to figure out all the specs and feasibility of it. Then I made my commercial. Once you’re ready to go, you have to negotiate air time. You’re going to have to pay upfront. You’re going to want to pay upfront. If you’re doing a multi-months spot or a multi-week spot, the networks and the brokers will let you break up payments. It’s much easier to negotiate if you can pay your entire contract up front.

Because when the money comes in is when the reps secure their commissions. What you want to do is negotiate from a place of strength and understand how your sales reps get paid. You could even be transparent with them. Just say, “Jim, you get paid when I pay this entire contract.” He goes, “Yeah.” “All right. Let’s work together. Can you hook me up on this and I’ll pay the entire thing up front?” That’s how I would do it. I would ask. You know what? They’re probably going to say, “Sure.” You’d be surprised how easy it is to get some concessions if you just set up a win-win scenario.

Because that’s a win for you and it’s a win for the account rep because you’re probably not going to ask for your money back once you’ve sent it. You may not be able to get your money back. Make sure you understand your contract before you do this. If you’re going to do the commercial anyways and you’re going to run it through, you might as well pay up front to get a discount. Cash is key. Next, you want to commit to a multi-week schedule. You want to start by pricing fewer spots. You want to ask them. “All right. Let’s say I run a few spots, what’s the pricing going to be?” Then you come back and say, “All right. What if I do a two-week flight with a spot every week now?”

“Okay. What if I do a four-week or a six-week or an eight-week or whatever it is scheduled, what are my discount levels?” They’ll discount it based on how long the contract is and how many spots you agree to buy. Once you’ve done that, pay upfront. You can secure some substantial discounts. Remember, the more you buy, the better rates you’re going to get. When you start testing, even if you break even or you lose a little bit of money, don’t get discouraged. You need to amp up the volume to make the economics work. It is just a math equation. Any time you can share that math equation with your account reps if they can work with you.

If you’re like, “Yeah, I broke even.” I can get my payouts up a little bit with volume, but I need to get the pricing down. I need to make at least a 25% margin. Let’s say I’m getting 5% on the backend, what do I need to do to get my rates down 20%? 30%? Go for it. What do I need to do to get my rates down 50%? Just ask them what you need to do, and then they start presenting you with numbers. Those are milestones. All of those milestones are negotiable. You need to get them out there on the table before you can design your plan. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when dealing with any media buy is they don’t get all their options all the way up from the get-go.

Maybe my budget’s five grand but I want to know what I get for 10, for 25, for 50, 100,000. I want to know what’s possible. Because if I find out that for 100K I can get my price down 60% and that’s fictitious, by the way. I’m going to be thinking about this in an entirely different way. If I lose half the money I make or all of it, I’m still going to be thinking about in a wholly different way if I know what’s possible at scale. A lot of the times, what will happen is you come in cheap. You pay more for the spot and then you disappear because you don’t think it works.

That can be the difference between success and failure. If you know that you can succeed at those higher commitment levels, you go back to your account rep. You see if they’ll take a flyer on your long shot. Just tell them like, “Man, if I were spending $50,000 on a contract and those rates were lower, this would be profitable for me, and we could have a long term relationship. Help me out here, man. How do we do that? Can I agree to spend a quarter million dollars with you over six to eight months? Pay in milestones? Can you put a clause in there that lets me get out of the contract at any time but gets me the discount?” I’m sure that a lot of people aren’t asking for something like this.

The upside is enormous for the account rep, too. By working and collaborating, you can get deals like this. A long time ago, there was a period in time where if you wanted to advertise with Yahoo, the account reps got paid by the amount of money committed to in the insertion order, in the contract. That’s how they got their monthly bonuses or their quarterly or annually or whatever it was. How many contracts they had signed. When I knew this, I was like, “Oh, wait a second. Are you telling me I can commit to a million dollars next month and spend for you? Get all the discounts on that million bucks and then start at a thousand dollars a day?”

She’s like, “Yeah. I’ll even get credit for it.” I’m like, “Well, hot damn. Let’s make a million dollar contract.” I didn’t spend a million dollars, but I made money. They made money. I got the discounts I needed. Anyone that wasn’t willing to figure out the game so that they can work their way through didn’t have that opportunity. There’s going to be a lot of different rules and a lot of different structures available. When you’re negotiating with a TV network, you need to figure them all out. The easiest way to do that is to ask your ad rep, to talk to them, to create a relationship. They’re going to be willing to do it.

In their CRM, when they’re reviewing what’s available, they see that game shows are on the cheap. They give you a call. You smash out a campaign. Maybe you even have your TV commercial from last time ready to go, and you just run it. There’s no work. Now, another option that you have is negotiating for mixed media. If you’re talking about local markets like a specific city, you can buy ad spots under local channels, the local distribution partners in that particular city. Most cities have their little own TV stations that do the local news and do all the other stuff. They’re responsible for a lot of the placements of advertising in those local markets.

What you can do is buy the placements on TV and ask for a discount. If they don’t give you a discount, ask them for mixed media placement instead. What they can do is get your banners, your ads on the local news websites and other properties they have on the internet as a bonus. You want to ask if they can hook you up with any mixed media. Now you never want to make your purchasing decision for your TV spots based on a mixed media play. If they’re like, “Yeah. You got to pay full price. We’ll throw on this mixed media.” You’re like, “Great. That’s three calls.” You need to assume that whatever mixed media they offer you to sweeten the deal is going to produce zero dollars.

If they don’t produce dollars and you’re still happy with the deal, the mixed media is gravy. You should run with it. If they try to throw in mixed media instead of bringing the cost down and you think, “Well, maybe if I get some calls from the mixed media placements, I’ll make this work.” You’re making a mistake. Now, going through an agency can sometimes yield you cheaper spots. Do not be scared of brokers with TV networks. Brokers can help you out in this space. They’re not always a bad thing because if your advertising budget can’t command a direct relationship and even if it can, it’s probably not more significant than these brokers and agencies spend on an annual basis.

What they’re doing is going to the TV networks and saying, “You know, we spend 100 million a year for our clients. We’ll set that as the minimum. We want to set a percentage discount to whatever preferential terms. You are never going to get anything like that.” A lot of the times, the brokers, including their markup, which can be substantial, is still cheaper than getting it anywhere else. You need to do your due diligence and your research and talk to a bunch of brokers and agencies. You can make more money. Now you also need to negotiate primetime versus off hours. You need to figure out what the difference in viewership is between primetime and off hours.

For some of these more obscured TV networks, the differential isn’t that big. The price difference is enormous. You need to take a look at it at least. It’s not always going to be that way. It’s not a rule of thumb. Just make sure you do your research and ask about primetime versus off hours. Different networks and brokers may have different definitions of what primetime and off-hours mean. Ask them how the flow throughout the day changes the pricing for the spots. You’ll find out, “In the morning before people go in their commute, it’s one spot. During the day, daytime TV is another. Evening time, that dinner time-ish is another.”

“You have night TV and then late night TV and then late, late night TV and then the infinite infomercial time,” which is my favorite. It may not work for you unless you have already proven campaign.

Television Advertising Examples

Miss Cleo Commercials

Now one of my favorite campaigns back in the day was Miss Cleo. I think they’re hilarious. We’re going to play them. We’re going to talk about what she says in these videos. First, let’s take a look at the phone numbers. These are two separate commercials that ran concurrently but on different networks and different spots. What you’ll notice is she has different phone numbers in different ads so she can track what’s going on. Now Miss Cleo is defunct. It’s gone now. The advertising at the time was absolutely genius.
Let’s take a look at it:

TV Ad Example: “Miss Cleo – Call Me Now!”

Now, one thing I want to note about that is the voice at the end. They had the male voice do it with the deep announcer style voice. The reason they did that is that it’s authoritative. What you’ll notice is it was entirely a call to action. He was like, “Call now.” When he said it, it was even a little bit forceful, but his tone of voice didn’t make it scary. It made it authoritative. That’s why they put it at the end. It bumped their conversion rate up when they did that. You’ll also notice in the frames towards the conclusion that they had a call now, so a call to action and then they used the word free, which is very useful if you can. The phone number was on there the entire time. The guy said the phone number in an authoritative fashion, and that boosts the conversion rate. All of those tactics still work today even though this was from the 1990s.

Miss Cleo Commercial (1998)

I want to clap. That’s art. All right. You’ll notice at the bottom that they said for entertainment purposes only, which means that the caller was completely full of it. So full of it, that she even laughed at herself while she was doing it. Like, “I can’t believe that people are going to take this seriously.” She does her whole run through. There’s a call to action. She tells you to call and then on the screen, they ask you to call. The announcer voice guy tells you to call in such an authoritative way. This was an incredibly well done and super successful campaign. They even had the person call in over the phone to record it so that it sounded like she was live on the phone while on TV.
Now all of this would cost all of about $50 — nothing to produce this. You need a table and an iPhone or whatever camera phone you got. Tripod, mic, record the phone call part through Ringba. This is just a fantastic commercial; they made millions of dollars with this. I’m not talking about a few millions. I’m talking about yacht money with these commercials. There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t do this with auto insurance and payday loans and every vertical that we’ve talked about in this program. These are great examples of what used to work, what still will work today and will work in any industry. You have to follow the structure.
The structure’s real simple. A phone number that’s authoritative on the bottom. They make a pitch. They put a real client testimonial in it. Real client testimonial and then they use calls to action. They don’t have a ton of text here. They leave the phone number up the whole time. It’s just a very simple formula. Notice that it applies to other campaigns as well.

Peter Popoff Ministries Commercials

I think these are incredible commercials. Now the Peter Popoff Ministries make tens of millions of dollars a year in profit. He lives very, very well. This stuff is on late night TV. It is essentially a Pay Per Call campaign. When you call the number, he takes your information.
He gets you into a direct mail cycle. They continue to call. His competitors have live prayer lines that are Pay Per Call. Effectively, people call in. They listen to people’s problems. They ask them for donations. Say, “God’s going to help.” Now, this is a very predatory campaign. This is for illustrative purposes only. My point here is that you literally can sell anything Pay Per Call on television. It is a fantastic medium.
Now takes a look at some of these marketing gems:

Peter Popoff Ministries Example Commercial #1

It’s obscene, and it’s incredible. The fact remains that these TV campaigns have been running for almost 20 years. They’re Pay Per Call campaigns. If you can sell this on TV, you can sell anything. The same process applies. He’s got the phone number up the entire time. Beautiful phone number. It’s a repeater, 9383. He uses different phone numbers for different markets to track his online advertising. He uses real client testimonials and then great music. Changes the volume around, and he’s excited in those commercials like, “I’m excited to watch it.” People get all jazzed up, and they call, and they get his free miracle spring water. Only God knows what happens after that.

Let’s check out another one:

Peter Popoff Ministries Example Commercial #2

You’ll notice on that one that there was no phone number. The reason there was no phone number is because this was the pre-edit version. I managed to find it on the internet. I wanted to use it to display to you that basically, what they do is take that blank and they put a bunch of different phone numbers on the bottom and render 10, 20, 50, 100 different versions of the TV commercial, each with varying phone numbers. They use a platform to track their calls. Now, unfortunately, the Popoff Ministries is not a Ringba customer.
They are using some call tracking to track where their phone calls and their TV placements are coming from because these guys are highly sophisticated marketers even though their product is, well, you saw it. The same tactics apply to the creation of the videos. You’ll notice that part of that video was done using just text moving and an editor. They do the overlays and post-production using maybe even Adobe Premiere or iMovie. You can do it with any of those software packages we mentioned.

Medical Alert Commercials

One is from a while ago; a long time ago. The next one is more recent. This is one of the most iconic TV campaigns for Pay Per Call that I believe has ever aired.
I remember seeing this as a kid, like a little kid. I recently saw one of these commercials at a trade show on TV. The reason I say that is because I don’t actually have cable TV at the house. I don’t watch commercials. It’s a shame. Whenever I go to a trade show, my partners and I usually lock up for a couple of late nights in the hotel room instead of partying.  Instead, we watch TV commercials to see how people are doing their advertising. Lame? I know, but we’re very into advertising.

LifeCall Commercial “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

In the end, we have the authoritative announcer voice, the call to action. She said, “Call now.” He said, “Call now.” The screen said, “Call now.” The phone number was across the screen for most of the advertisement. This is from the early ’90s, I believe. These companies and there’s a bunch of different brands that do this. They make hundreds of millions of dollars a year;  and they built the whole business on television Pay Per Call advertising, essentially. It’s a powerful thing.

Now, the next one you can see that medical alert is a Connect America company established in 1977. That’s how far back this goes. It still works today. What you’ll notice is the tactics used in this are virtually the same as the ones in the Peter Popoff commercial and the ones in the Miss Cleo commercial. It’s the same format, the same style. It doesn’t matter what vertical or industry. Everything functions the same way. New or old, the process works the same.

Medical Alert Commerical

You have to wait for grandma to pick up the phone so you have that extra time in there. You’ll notice the same thing. Phone number across the bottom. Deep, authoritative announcer voice that says, “Call now.” Customer testimonials. Realistically speaking, you could create this commercial for under $1,000 no sweat. You got a bunch of stock video in there. You got some royalty, free music that overlays these actors. You can hire on Fiverr. If you want to send them the actual product or some product material to use in the video, mail it to them. If you want it back, give them a return label. They’ll ship it back to you.

You can absolutely have them do that and then use some of the stock videos and then create the overlays and then hire a voice over artist to do the announcer voice thing on Fiverr even. I don’t even think $1,000. If I had to make this exact commercial in five days, probably could get away with it 200, $250 if I wanted to push the cost envelope. I’ll perhaps try and get the quality up a little bit. Call it at worst case, $500, and you’re running a professional TV commercial on TV. You may need to hire an actor. They have the announcer lady with the testimonial person. This is more complicated. Recruit your grandma and get your sister and look at someone else’s advertising.

You can produce something very similar, pretty quickly.

Debt Relief Commercials

Debt Help Center USA – Debt Settlement Commercial

The thing I loved about this commercial when I saw it was it’s two commercials in the same spot. They did that to repeat their message, and the break in between the two signaled to the listener or the person watching the TV show that it was a separate advertisement. Cognitively, their brain picked it up as two advertisements. They got two full impressions and watches in this same advertisement, which is genius. Most of this was done using stock footage, though. There’s nothing to this advertisement. The other thing that I found interesting, too was the fact that they had the scroller on the bottom. They laid it out like a newscaster.

They most likely ran this campaign on CNBC or Fox News or MSNBC or some news related station that would let them do it. It almost feels like an endorsement. They used Obama footage in there. They had a disclaimer at the top. They used every trick in the book virtually to try and make this convert. They did an excellent job with it. They have a robust and authoritative announcer voice in two different ways — two different themed commercials. People are smiling, customer testimonials, the phone number across the entire time. Sound effects to keep people engaged. It was an outstanding commercial.

The Consumer Debt Legal Network – 3-Step Debt Relief

After you’ve seen all these fantastic 800 numbers, and you see that one, you’re like, “There’s a difference.” It just feels a little different. There’s a little cognitive dissonance there. That alone can generate a few more phone calls. A couple more phone calls can be the difference between success and failure. Now, these guys spend a little bit more money in production value. You can tell that this is not an actual courtroom; this is a sound stage of some kind. They simply have this background; it may even be a green screen. I’m not sure, but they paid some professional actors to do it. They had a script that was pretty well written. They used some royalty free music in the background.
There was nothing to that. In the end, when it was time, you noticed that they raised the volume and the music after the announcer voice guy. There was a crescendo that brought the end of the commercial to a head. They did a great job with that. That commercial produced a lot of money for them; I have no doubt. It probably didn’t cost that much. If you have time and you could do a little bit with your editing software and learn the ropes, you can save a lot of money by doing the editing yourself. For a couple of hundred bucks, you can hire someone to do the editing for a one-minute commercial if you don’t want to do it yourself.
These guys probably spent a few thousand dollars on the production of this. The results perhaps showed maybe less. Maybe they’re equal. I don’t know which one wins out. You can see the merits of both options. That’s why testing is essential. You can see it. If you want to test two commercials like this, you got to make two commercials like this. You have to test it in a bunch of markets to see how it’s going to work. It is a process.

Legal Commercials

The Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour – A Lawyer for Disability Applicants

What I like about that is when he used the testimonials who were paid actors, there was a little text piece in there that said, “Dramatization,” which means that it’s fiction. He only has to disclose that once. The first time you saw the people, it said dramatization and then when they came back, they were like, “Call Bill. He’s the best.” They gave their real testimonial; it didn’t say dramatization on it. He’s a lawyer. He did a very excellent job following the rules and getting it as close to deceptive as possible. Again, it was excellent. He’s got a good phone number. He was in the video. He used his credentials to promote himself.

Obviously, if you’re doing a legal campaign, you can’t use the lawyer’s exact name. You can do a very similar general commercial, and it will come across just as good. That was a great example of a quick short spot for a legal.

Here’s another one:

1-800-CALL-KEN – One Call, That’s All!

What I like about Ken there is he has the one call, that’s all. You should put jingles and different sounds and repetitive sounds inside of your commercials if there’s audio. I host a Pay Per Caller show, and we had a rap group write a Pay Per Caller song for the show. We play a part of that song in the beginning. The audio is a little bit off. It’s a little bit slow-paced. It’s not what you’re used to hearing. Two different types of reactions come from that. One thing is for sure. Everyone remembers it. The key here is creating something memorable that it fits your audience. That’s something different or a jingle or a tagline at the end that people can remember.

That’s one way to get in people’s heads, especially with repetition. If it’s going to get repeated over and over and over and over and over and over again, then you want to end with a tagline like that. Now you’ll also notice that the people in this commercial were very urgent. They were like, “Call now. Go. Go, go, go. Hurry.” What they’re trying to do is elicit a fight or flight response from you. If you get that little jolt of adrenaline, you’re like, “Pick up the phone and call.” You want some urgency depending on the type of campaign if you want people to act immediately. They emphasize all the words that were related to urgency like, “Go and now.” That actually works. That’s how humans think.

If you can jolt them a little bit, that’s where you’re going to get that little extra in your conversion rate.

Auto Insurance Commercials

These are big brands. These are not specifically Pay Per Call campaigns. I will say that I like what they did here. I just wanted to show you guys why this is excellent advertising.

Geico – Unskippable Preroll

The reason I love this ad and if you want to use a tactic like this, you should. This one’s specifically for digital TV, so YouTube. On YouTube, people can skip the ad. What they did is they made a five-second commercial that said, “You can’t skip this ad because it’s already over.” Do you know what happens? Even for me, with my guard dropped down. “Oh, my God. It’s over.” They just told you the ad was over, and then they’re like, “GEICO, save money.” You drop your defenses, and then they walk right in and give you their pitch. That was brilliant advertising by whatever agency they used. You can use a very similar tactic in just about any type of video advertising. I wanted to highlight that.

Let’s look at another one:

Geico | Unskippable #1

They tell you it’s over so you don’t skip it and then you keep staring at their brand. I do not doubt that people watch that commercial to the end once they said, “You can’t skip it. It’s already over.” You’re like, “Oh, can’t skip it. Oh, GEICO. I’m still watching. Wait a second. The ad’s still running.” That may seem ridiculous. You may be watching this going, “Adam, I would never fall for that.” I’m like, “Maybe you but I did the first time. I noticed my defenses dropped. It was an incredible feeling because I was watching for it. Our goal here is not to convince you that this is good. It’s large groups of people. When you have large groups of people that see advertising, they’re no longer people. They’re a statistic. You can mathematically prove the success of campaigns like this.

Health Insurance Commercials

If you keep seeing an advertising campaign, whether it’s online, on TV, on YouTube, on wherever; it’s working. Otherwise, they wouldn’t keep running it. When you see ads running and running and running and running, pay attention because that is a recipe for success. – Promoting Health Insurance Options For DC Residents

These guys put up a phone number. There was no call to action in there that wowed me. This campaign ran for a while in some local markets. It must have been successful, or they weren’t monitoring their metrics. Both are preferably true. They could have improved that process. Here’s an example of a well-produced video that didn’t understand marketing that well. Conversely, here is a fascinating commercial where they had some marketers produce it.

AffordaCare Insurance TV Commercial – Don’t Care

They did a great job with this because it’s very engaging. Now clearly, millennials made this. The millennials don’t understand the call to action very well. They had a phone number. It was very small. It was at the end of the video. They didn’t repeat it over and over again. They didn’t repeat the website over and over again. What they missed was the opportunity to get their viewer to show up at their door. However, the creativity inside that video is excellent.

If you can combine the production quality and creativity of this guy’s video with the experience of a digital marketer putting your calls to action in the mix, that your message gets conveyed well, I would even add the phone number across the entire time. I would have said even in text like a flash, “Don’t call to buy crossbows.” If your audience is young and you want to make them laugh, do it but give them the information to contact you actually to buy. These guys screwed that part up, but they made a great commercial regardless.

Financial Commercials

These are some pretty great ads. They’re higher production value ads. They had more money to do it, but they’re well done.

NerdWallet – Turn to the Nerds – Smart Money Moves

That was a concise spot. They have on the bottom. They showed nerd all over. They’re like, “Turn to the nerds.” That will get in your head. “Turn to the nerds.” You Google turn to the nerds; they’re going to show up number one in Google. You can also do something like that where someone Googles it and the keywords around it. You can get your site listed for that because they’re non-competitive. It doesn’t make any sense. Who Googles turn to the nerds? It drives traffic to their website. They get their conversion. There are no phone numbers in there. I like the tactic of branding that way. Just getting it in people’s heads and face unexpectedly, that’s how you build a brand. That’s how you get people to take action.

Credit Karma: Bad Roommates Commercial

These ran online. They ran on TV. They’re great advertisements. The way they rely on you finding them is then Googling Credit Karma. They spend a lot more money creating that brand and getting into their viewer’s heads than a specific direct response campaign. The tactics they used were to tell an extremely relatable story. It was funny. I giggled the first time. I remember it. That’s the key when creating a brand campaign is recognizing it. Now, this same type of thing will work if you put a phone number on the bottom and then drive people to a call to action at the end. I think Credit Karma could have done a better job of getting their brand into people’s heads.

This is what happens when you don’t combine direct response with creativity. You get something very creative and brand-able, but it doesn’t get the results necessarily that the agency wanted to achieve. Because they’re trying to be too passive about remembering the brand. With direct response, you want to be extremely careful with that. If you don’t do the call to actions and you don’t put the information directly in front of the people that are seeing it, you’re not going to get the results you want no matter how creative you are. Don’t be afraid of your calls to action. You have to put them in there. That’s why I said, watch Fox News for an entire day.

Because you’ll see nothing but call to action after call to action again. Because if you don’t tell people what to do, they’re

Travel Commercials

trivago – Find your ideal hotel at the best price

The Trivago guy has been fascinating. I saw these commercials come on. I didn’t know how successful they were going to be. Over time, what they did is build a brand. They have a colorful logo and this very casual guy. He’s super casual. He’s non-threatening. He has a deep, authoritative voice. He’s like, “Go to Trivago.” That’s it. He keeps telling people “go to Trivago,” over and over again in all the commercials. Very casually with his deep, authoritative voice, and it ended up being a very successful ad campaign.

With trivago you can wake up to this…

The same type of thing. Colorful logo at the end. It’s a branding campaign. I put this in here to illustrate that you could do most of this with stock video and recording on your screen a little bit and a bit of editing. A commercial like this isn’t going to cost $10,000 to produce.

You could theoretically produce this commercial or something very similar to that with a couple of hundred bucks or even less than 1,000 for sure depending on what you want to do. It’s just some royalty free music, some stock video, and some editing. You may have 250 bucks in editing if you use an outsourced editor on Upwork. Maybe 250 dollars in stock footage. $15 in stock music and you’re out the door for 500, 550 dollars.

It’s not that complicated to make great TV commercials without a considerable budget. Even as a major brand, they probably spent more than this. I’m just trying to illustrate that you don’t have to.

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