It’s your morning drive to work, its a Monday. You are tired. You zone out to your music while you sit in traffic. You change the station on your Pandora to something more peppy like Florence and the Machine, so you can get through the day. Then… something catches your eye. Something about your morning drive is different and you can’t pin down what it is. You look up a bit more and you realize it. Someone changed the billboard!
For six weeks the billboard for pest control was a mainstay in your morning commute. Now, what happened? It’s a thrift store ad for Halloween costumes! You’re reminded to call pest control for the spiders in your basement, and you’re geared up for Halloween! Outdoor marketing works! But…is it working for you?
My insights about outdoor marketing come from my time and training in property management. All those who have work or have worked in property management know, that signage outside the property is the best way to drive traffic. However, outdoor works for nearly all industries. A poorly made sign for a roofing company is what inspired this post. Humans are creatures of habit and typically take the same driving routes regularly. So, drivers/walkers/bus riders will see your signage over and over again. However, there are a few things to keep in mind, to make sure your ads are working for you!
Rule 1: Three lines of text
In property management we use this rule primarily for bandit signs. (Bandit signs are signs you can put out on your property to entice people to come to your business. ) You have a little more wiggle room with billboards, but its still very important to limit your text. I know how hard it is to figure out what to put on the sign, because there is so much important information! However, you have one goal in mind, get them in the door. So, what can you write to get them in the door? You have less than a second to get a customers attention if they are zooming down the road, what will get them to turn into your parking lot?
Obviously, that’s from property management, but you get my drift. Something like this can be seen when you are zooming down the street. It gives the customer incentive with a month of free rent. It also creates a sense of urgency by stating its limited time. They don’t want to miss out 🙂 You can arrange it around too to your liking as well. But, you want to get them in the door! Today!
If you were using a billboard it would be a bit different. Since said billboard is not likely right next to your building, you may want to have some contact information. I would go with an easy to remember website over a phone number just because someone rushing down the freeway, will not have the time or patience to remember a phone number. (Unless its something snazzy like CALL-HOME) Something like this may be more effective on a billboard.
Location on top, website is easy to remember, and of course first months rent free! The picture is nice too ( aren’t you imagining yourself relaxing in that pool now 🙂 )Not an information overload when your viewers have less than a second to see the see the billboard. You could even make the letters bigger if you wanted. Mainly, I trying to emphasize writing only vital information when your time is so limited.
Rule 2: Bright colors
See how on the bandit sign, I used a bright red background with white letters. The blue of the water on the billboard picture, and the red to show the promotion. Primary bright colors tend to grab the eye quicker than muted colors. Many fast food chains are great about this rule! Why do you think you suddenly need that cool refreshing coke? or that scrumptious looking burger (which looked a lot better on the billboard).
Rule 3: Location, Location, Location
So, you have have your awesome signs, now you just need to make sure they are being seen! You don’t want all that hard work to go to waste 🙂 If you are using bandit signs, try to place them near the busiest street or intersection close to you. See if the city code will allow you to post your signs on public property. Maybe you can strike a deal with the business on the street corner. Your customers need to know you are there! When I first began at my third property, the most common comment I would hear from prospects was “I didn’t even know you guys were here.” Not encouraging! The building was 12 years old too 🙁 The building was right behind a large corporation which everyone knew. But, the corporate building was so large you couldn’t see my building behind it. I needed customers to know I was there! Outdoor was the way to go.
If you have a billboard try to make sure its not to far from your physical business. (Unless, you are an online business with no retail location). Maybe within the next exit or two, or left or right on a main street. You need to be easy to get to. You don’t have long to keep your potential customers attention!
I hope this helps you grow your business to its full potential! These are my insights and opinions regarding outdoor, but I would love hear what has worked for you!