Buying billboard space is about so much more than just putting your message out there for people to see. To craft a successful campaign, you need to consider other elements unique to the format you want to deliver your message in.
An effective outdoor marketing strategy encompasses four main touchpoints:
Read on to learn how you can incorporate all these things into an outdoor marketing campaign to achieve your goal, whether that means getting out the word about a new album release or selling a product.
1. Coverage: Make Smart Choices About Where Your (More Than One) Billboards Go
Have you heard the one about the guy who bought a single billboard in Poughkeepsie and used it to revitalize his brand? Of course you haven’t, because that would never happen.
You generally need more than one billboard to succeed with any campaign, and they must enjoy widespread deployment across a well-chosen market to get you the sort of exposure you desire. This is where an agency can help you figure out the right placement.
You can only expect something to come of your campaign if you choose the right number of billboards and place them in optimal locations. Consider:
- Cost: Know how much you can afford and have a realistic idea of the market’s costs.
- Traffic: What type of exposure to passersby does this billboard get? Buying a cheap board on a deserted road may save you money but you won’t get the return on investment you’re looking for. Ask for real measurements of the outdoor ad.
- Competition: What else do you see in the area? You want your billboard to stand out from the rest.
2. Targeting: Find Who You Want to Reach Based on Who Wants Your Product
There’s an old joke that a great salesman could sell ice to Eskimos, but of course that’s not really true. For someone to want to purchase your product, you have to reach people who want what you have, and that means targeting your outdoor advertising to the right demographics. You wouldn’t run ads for parkas in Los Angeles because no one needs them. You’d be wasting your money.
You need to know who will have the most interest in your product, then find out where they live. That means doing the market research, which is one way an agency like ours can ensure you find the right placement. It’s not just about the right town. It’s also the right neighborhood. Come up with a demographic profile of your target user, and find the billboards near them with the best visibility.
You can target people using a range of different factors, including:
- Household income
- Race and ethnicity
Other things you will want to consider to bolster your targeting include:
- Support: Are you going to run transit or street furniture ads in addition to billboards? You need to target those, too.
- Commutes: Target people in their communities as well as on the roads they drive to work. Seeing your message more than once makes it more memorable.
- Shareability: Think about it—if your target audience shares something from your campaign, you will likely reach others in the target demo who are friends or followers. Make your campaign shareable.
3. Creativity: Deploy Smart Billboards That Are Easy to Digest
Billboard creative should be snappy and get its point across quickly. That still leaves room for clever executions. Visuals often work better than words on billboards. You want your message to be clear and immediately recognizable.
While cryptic messaging works for some brands, such as music and entertainment, for others it simply annoys the audience. They don’t know who you are, and they won’t try to find out if you’ve confused them in the ad. You want people to smile over your ad, not try to puzzle out its meaning-that’s too frustrating.
Though you need people to notice your billboard, don’t make the mistake of turning it into a rainbow of colors unless you’re selling Skittles. Stick with one bold shade. Make the rest more muted. You should have only a handful of words, too. Let imagery do most of the talking.
Other things to address related to creativity:
- Consistency: If you have another media campaign running at the same time, such as TV or digital, you want the creative to be similar to assist with branding. Don’t throw different messages at potential customers – that will only confuse them.
- Clarity: Make the messaging easy to identify. Think simple but smart.
- Call To Action: Include one somewhere, whether it’s a website or a command (“eat here”).
4. Patience: Success Doesn’t Come Overnight
Outdoor advertising is all about the long game. If you expect your board to provide overnight success, well, you’re going to feel disappointed. Billboards build recognition over time. This is one reason you should deploy more than one of them. It may take weeks for your messaging to sink in, but once it does, it’s pretty effective.
Out of home not only delivers an impressive return on investment, with an average $5.97 spent on product sales for every dollar, but it also boosts results for campaigns run in conjunction, such as digital or print. And 75 percent of travelers say they’ve seen billboards, so clearly they draw eyeballs.
But you have to be willing to wait for it. Don’t treat outdoor advertising like a digital advertising campaign. It’s traditional media, and a lot of your return will come through branding and recognition. Knowing how to measure your campaign, based on those two factors, is a key piece of your success.
Other things to consider:
- Focus: Keep your campaign’s aims in mind when taking measure of its success.
- Growth: Building awareness of your brand is just as important as advertising a sale, and outdoor is the perfect way to accomplish that.
- Reach: You need to buy enough inventory to meet your campaign goals.
If you follow these four tips for the most effective outdoor marketing strategy, you will have a realistic idea of what you can achieve and a clear path to reaching your goals. And you can always consult with us at DASH TWO to learn more about out-of-home strategizing.