A couple of days ago I drove past a billboard and thought “Now that is effective billboard advertising”. So what exactly makes billboard advertising effective? I decided to ask local Lake Charles website, social media, and branding expert Daniel Wainwright, the owner of Obvious Advertising, to share with us the do’s and don'ts of billboard ads. Daniel’s wisdom:
NEVER do Billboard Advertising if you don’t have at least 4 of these 5 things…
1. A Direct Call to Action
A Billboard that states something fairly generic is a waste of money. Unless you have a multi-billion dollar advertising budget like Coca Cola and your brand is already recognized world-wide that is. I see too many Billboards that say things like “Celebrating 10 years” or “Most-Trusted in Town” and it’s a waste of time and money. Something like “Now Open” or “Now Offering Oil Changes” is better, at least this leads the viewer to DO something but it’s not enough. Let’s look at how a call to action can get stronger and stronger by adding more info:
Now Open, Come See Us Today!
Now Open, 50% off Snow Cones, Today Only!
Now Open, 50% off Snow Cones for the Next 10 Customers!
A call to action with urgency is a WINNER in billboard advertising. \This is where a Digital Billboard is superior to Vinyl/Static Billboards too, in their ability to be updated regularly and tested.
2. A Web Address or Phone Number that the Viewer Can Quickly Use
In the world of billboard ads, the ability to utilize a phone number or web address to make an immediate sale is even better. Make sure that either or both are easily memorable.
CALL NOW to reserve your Jet Ski
30% off ALL Rentals – Today ONLY
(555) 555 5555
Top Brands. Massive Savings
3. Something That the Viewer Will Recognize
Hopefully, your company brand/logo/name is recognizable in the area you’re doing billboard advertising. If not, your Ad won’t be as effective. Hopefully, you or someone in your company has a face that is recognizable. If not, you may think about partnering with someone who does and paying them to be in your Ad. Hopefully, you’re selling a product that is instantly recognizable and will catch people’s attention. If not, you may want to stop JUST selling that no-name brand of lawnmower and partner with a nationally-recognized dealer so you can put their brand on your Billboard Ad and actually sell something…
4. An Image That “Shocks” the Viewer
When I say “shocks” I don't necessarily mean in a bad way. You just need something on your billboard that will make the passing driver look up and be shaken from their thoughts. They don't call billboard advertising “interruptive” media for nothing. You also want your Ad to stick in their mind long after their drive is over. A local bakery in the next town uses photos of their naked grand baby's behind in their billboards. The baby is shown seated from behind, eating a cookie… It certainly pulled me out of my trance while driving!
5. A Color Scheme That Pops and Stands Out From Other Billboards
This is a no-brainer and follows on from the point above. A typical Digital Billboard will rotate Ads from 8 different clients. Your billboard ad needs to stand out and a good way to do this is to use colors that stand out or contrast with one another (and hopefully fit with your brand). Interstate Batteries uses a bright green on a black background and it always stands out.
The bottom line is this…Billboard Advertising is expensive. If you’re just getting started, start small. Negotiate “one in two” or “one in four” rotations for digital billboards (they do exist and the billboard rep will explain). Try one Ad first (based on the guidelines above) for a week, collect some results/data and then try a different design or layout…test, test, test.
Daniel Wainwright is the owner of Obvious Advertising. A specialist in Marketing ROI, his company's sweet spot is in Website, Social Media and Branding. Keeping your online presence pristine and relevant takes an amount of effort most business owners cannot commit to. Most business owners reach a point where there just isn’t enough time in the day to dedicate to the ever-changing world of Digital Marketing. Obvious Advertising provides an umbrella strategy where all your Digital Marketing needs come from one space leaving you focused to work on your business instead of in your business. You can email Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org