Billboards—when utilized properly—can be an effective addition to your marketing communications strategy.
It’s worth mentioning that in the advertising world billboards happen to start at fairly expensive rates, especially when you place them in the right locations. That’s why it’s important to properly evaluate your budget and get the most out of your money by doing it correctly.
Here are five tips to more successful billboards:
1.) Less is More. This concept couldn’t be more relevant than with billboards.
You only have a few seconds to transfer your message to passerby’s viewing your advertisement. Most of them are driving past them at high speeds, which dramatically shrinks your window of opportunity.
Keep the following in mind:
- Keep your use of images down (1-2 featured images max)
- Make sure your background image isn’t distracting
- Keep your use of colors to a minimum
- Or make sure your colors blend together well, contrast against your font color and don’t take away from the message
- If you can’t say it in eight words then you need to reevaluate
- People don’t have time to read long sentences–remember, they’re usually driving by
2.) Refine Your Messaging to Perfection.
Your messaging might make sense to your designers or marketing/advertising department. Ask yourself though, does it make sense to your target audience?
Make sure your message is immediately clear and the call to action is apparent–jargon will kill your messaging attempts. It’s always a good idea to support your efforts with a purpose statement. Even if it’s obvious, make sure you have a formalized declaration of why you’re doing this.
Also, as I said above, if you can’t transfer it in eight words or less then it isn’t refined enough. Go back to the drawing board and rework it.
3.) Test Your Messaging
With your formalized purpose statement in mind, test your messaging. It’s incredibly helpful to have a mock up of your billboard–maybe on a large-sized poster or an iPad. Have your employees take it home to test with their families, friends and associates. What do outsiders say about your messaging and your design? Does it make sense to them? Do their impressions align with your purpose statement?
4.) Ask Yourself, “Is This Appropriate?”
Without a purpose statement and testing, billboards run the risk of stirring the wrong emotions. This seems like common sense, but people still make egregious mistakes in this arena. Most of the time this is because, again, your organization finds it acceptable without testing the messaging.
While you’re running through testing, keep a specific notation of outsider impressions. Did someone say it offended them? Ask why. Treat it carefully and take action.A general rule to keep in mind with your integrated marketing communications philosophy–the overall consistency surrounding your marketing, advertising and public relations efforts–is to unite your audience around your organization rather than divide them.
5.) Measure Your Success
There’s no excuse for not measuring this medium. Billboard companies may give you an estimate of impressions–or how many people see the billboard–but you need to take this a step further.
Chart your billboard’s active presence with website traffic, store visits, social media engagement and other factors. Evaluate this information to make better advertising decisions and discover the old age question: did it work?