March 11, 2013, 11:14 AM

Attention, attention: broadcast media can work (even for smaller guys)

An IRCE speaker will talk about taking the plunge into TV advertising.

Lead Photo

Tyler Ackerman

Online retailers may think that advertising via TV commercials is for the big guys, but one smaller merchant will share how it worked for him at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2013.

Tyler Ackerman, CEO of  ready-to-assemble cabinet retailer TheRTAStore.com, will share his experience and process in deciding to advertise on television in a session entitled "Capturing online customers through broadcast media” on June 5 at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2013.

“As a small business owner, taking the leap into national television advertising was a scary endeavor,” Ackerman says. “Without having any prior experience we knew we were taking a chance. Fortunately, we had a good picture of who our customer was and were able to sign on with a network that caters exactly to our demographic.”

The RTAStore has been running commercials since February 2012 nationally on the DIY Network, the sister network to HGTV and part of Scripps Network, Ackerman says.

“We took one quarter off and noticed a dip in sales,” he says. “While we cannot calculate the ROI down to the penny, we can see our branding efforts working tremendously. We can see our name being searched online a lot compared to when we were not running the TV ads.”

Additionally, Ackerman says customers have said in surveys that seeing commercials from the retailer helped put their mind at ease when they had concerns about purchasing their kitchen cabinets on the web. 

“With tons of unknowns, scams, and uncertainty when purchasing online, branding plays a major role in being an online retailer, especially one that sells kitchen cabinets online,” he says. “Consumers equate commercials with legitimate companies that they can trust.”

In his session, Ackerman plans to discuss his company’s exact steps leading up to the decision to advertise through broadcast media, the importance of creating a great commercial and how television advertising saved his business. He’ll also address how he was able to foster a solid business relationship with his advertising partner and grow brand recognition in an increasingly competitive market.

“Attendees will learn what to expect when advertising nationally on TV, the importance of knowing the demographics of your customer before beginning to advertise, how advertising nationally can be affordable, and the importance of staying ahead of your competition and growing your brand awareness” Ackerman says.

Internet Retailer editors asked Ackerman to speak because of his experience growing up in a small, family-owned and -operated business—an experience that made him determined to never work for someone else. Less than a year after graduating with a business degree from Roanoke College in 2008, he launched TheRTAStore.com with an $800 loan. Eighteen months later, TheRTAStore.com had grossed more than $2 million in sales. Ackerman can relate to smaller retailers who are trying to learn about and thrive in the competitive online retailing landscape.

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