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We all know what commercials are, and what their intent result is. No matter how you call it, an add, commercial, book trailer or anything else, the result it is supposed to have is always the same. An increase in sales. Now, as with everything else, there is a science behind commercials which is based on human psychology/behavior pattern. Most of this I only learned myself recently as I tried my hand on my first commercial. Which by the way I pretty much half-assed and never thought through in the first place.
Now, here are some things that are working according to studies.
Commercials should be short, about 30 seconds long and moving, (no static pictures that just stand there like a poster)
They should not present a load of articles but only one to three.
Interactive… this means whatever you present you should present in a way that speaks to your audience and praises the product you have to offer. Talk to the watcher so to speak.
Music should reflect the emotion you want the watcher to feel.
These are some pointers that I was given not so long ago and then researched to learn a little bit more about them. However, I have always been someone going against the grain, making up my own mind and most of all judging things rather by observation then statistics. The thing with statistics is that they are compiled using a broad range of people. When 80 out of a 100 react the same way, it is considered working that way and only that way. But, what if I want to reach those 20 that weren’t affected? How do I know it’s those 20 I want to reach?
You don’t. Chances are you will never find out if you are trying to reach those 20 or those 80 with your products, and you don’t have to. Use common sense rather then statistics and most of all observe others during commercials, talk to people about it and make up your own mind then add whatever is useful from statistics.
How do you react to commercials, and what do they do for you?
Me—I ignore TV commercials almost completely. Sometimes there is one I look up at because of a good song, cute animals, or funny animations. However, they never made me want to buy anything, not even as a kid. And since we have a PVR I often skip them unless I need to use the bathroom, need a drink or some food.
By the way, watching others and talking to them I learned that many of them react to TV commercials the same way I do. Totally and utterly bored and unimpressed.
Online commercials, like on Facebook, on the other hand can in some cases hold my interest. Some of them show me new and innovative products from health care, or new technologies. Some will present me with new kitchen tools and others inform me about science in general, new computer software for designers or the next best way to publish my next book. By reading this you should already realize why I am more inclined to watch those commercials rather then the ones on TV. Because an algorithm handpicks them according to my interests.
It’s all about TARGET AUDIENCE.
No matter if you are a writer, designer, artists or business of any other kind knowing your target audience is key. Easy. Right?
Well yes, and no. I guess it depends on what you are doing. A romance writer has romance readers as target, a carpenter someone who needs furniture or a house. A designer needs someone who needs a design. And an artist needs someone who likes to look at pretty pictures.
Sadly, it’s not that easy and I don’t have a recipe or road map to success. Believe me if I had I would be sitting in Bora Bora and not in front of my computer with a view of a winter vista. Still, I do have some tips and theories and sometimes it seems they even work.
First of all, even as it sounded like you should disregard the science behind commercials, don’t. Pick and choose with common sense. For example, most people have a short attention span, so keep the advice of keeping it short. People want to be entertained, so keep the pictures moving, don’t have just a poster, and call it a commercial.
If you have the budget hire a company specialized in promotion and your area. However, I know that few do have that kind of budget, neither do I.
Meaning we are on our own, from start to finish. So, what is step one.
Step one is accepting that promoting your work, business or product is going to be hard, time consuming and headache creating. If you think it helps bang your head a couple of times against the door frame in advance.
First you determine WHO is your target audience and narrow it down. I’m going to use my own business as example.
Business = Nicole Kiefer Design
Brought spectrum target = art lovers, people who need an individual and unique design for private or business, Stores that might sell my art on shirts and other merchandise.
Now, this first target audience is for your whole business. You can create a commercial that simply promotes your business, (business name, contact ways, goals) and no specific articles. If you’re not shy make a video of yourself introducing your business and yourself. Keep it short, point out what you can do, and what your goals are.
Second tiered/ more specific targeting = T-Shirts with: aliens, fantasy, pattern, nature, animals, fun phrases, comic, humor, love, sexy, sarcastic, and so on.
This is still a brought target group. Here you can make a commercial pointing out that you do T-shirt design, showing the genres you specialize in, and one or two examples. Make sure all text and pictures are sharp and clear in any resolution. Again, if you can do a video shoot of sort use it, if not use something like PowerPoint or similar program.
Third tiered/get down to product = T-shirts with aliens, targeting sci-fi lovers, believers in aliens and such.
Here is the true hard work, deciding which designs you want to use to represent this category. To me that’s the hardest part because I like them all, after all, I designed them. If you have sold any of your artwork already use those you sold, or if you had some that won competitions, prizes, and awards use those. If not, listen to your guts and hope for the best. If it doesn’t work do it again with different designs.
If you can afford to buy some shirts, do so and ask friends, family, or the guy at the bar (but be careful) to model them for you. Take pictures and assemble them into an animated slide show with some fun copyright free music. (Copyright free music can be found and downloaded on YouTube)
If that isn’t an option try creating 3D models with DAZ or Poser if you have either of those, then dress them in your designs. I only started using those myself and know it’s not easy so don’t get frustrated when the first results don’t look so great. It takes practice. If you don’t have those programs or can’t manage to create what you need go to public domain photo sites like pixerby and download a model you like, then dress that one.
I know I said earlier that you should follow rules like playtime, keeping it short, and that’s still the case. However, animation takes time and if it happens to fast it get’s annoying to watch. If everything just flashes by I personally tune it out. If text vanishes too quickly I tune it out. Stay under one minute if you can. Present only a few examples of one category and choose music that reflects the mood you want to create, matching your designs. (Meaning if you want to sell a Valentine’s design don’t play death metal music.)
When you put your commercial/slide show together show it to friends, family, or the guy at the bar if you liked him. Ask them how they liked it, if they could read all the text you had in, if they liked the music or if they think you looked good in that shirt. Then make changes as needed or don’t depending on the outcome. If you don’t have anyone to ask, well, you can always hope and pray. Or you can present your commercial to groups and friends on Facebook, MySpace and such to help you find out what is liked and what’s not.
When you think, you’re done put your commercial on YouTube, your website, blog, send it by email to your friends, family and customers and promote it on Twitter and Facebook. Zazzle for example has an area where you can link and promote them. So, do many others, including Amazon for authors on their author page.
It doesn’t matter what business you are in; the basics are always the same. Know your product, determine your target audience, and narrow it down, then make short promotional videos, slide shows or recordings of yourself. Distribute that commercial as far and wide as you can. Don’t be generic, be your extraordinary self, be unique while sticking to some of the science behind promotion.
But most of all, don’t give up just because it didn’t work the first time. Go back to the drawing board, do some research into your genre of business and try again. I don’t believe that there is a single working road map to success, or that only one way works. What I do know is, you’ll never succeed if you give up. Keep on trying, experimenting, and retrying. Don’t give into frustration, don’t despair over a sale missed or not made. Celebrate each sale no matter for what amount of money, every sale is a success, even if it is a small one. Keep on going, be stubborn, be determined and keep on learning. Most of all, try to have fun while never giving up or giving in.
Here are two of my recently designed commercials on YouTube. They are still not perfect but better than my first, second or third.
Good Luck and have fun.