What is a billboard, and what are its benefits?
Billboards are outdoor advertising media found along major roadways and highly trafficked areas. We all see them daily – at the side of the highway, downtown, or even in our neighborhoods. They are a popular form of outdoor advertising because they can reach large audiences very quickly. Each year over 180 billion dollars is spent on billboard advertising worldwide. Billboards have been an effective marketing strategy for decades and will continue to be so for many years to come.
The purpose of billboards is to attract the attention of onlookers and get them interested in your product or service. Whether it’s a billboard along a highway or one posted downtown, you want people to notice it and take action because of the billboard’s message and will influence the cost of advertising on billboards. There are numerous methods that you can keep your audience engaged with your sign; here are just a few examples:
1) Offer Something Free (Tactic: Generates Interest)
One way for businesses to successfully get their desired results from outdoor advertising is by offering something free. It could be an incentive, discount, coupon – anything that causes potential customers to take note and investigate further. This tactic will surely increase foot traffic, which will lead to more sales opportunities and cover the cost of advertising on a billboard.
2) Offer A Deal (Tactic: Generates Interest)
Be sure to offer deals for people willing to act on the billboard. It could be something like this; “Act Now, And You Will Get 5% Off Your Next Purchase!”. This will surely get more customers involved and make your sign more effective.
3) Use Exclusivity (Tactic: Creates Urgency)
People love feeling special, so why not offer only available items through your outdoor advertising? Exclusivity is another great tactic that can help you get more customers in-store. For example – “Only Available At Our Store!” This gives viewers a reason to investigate instead of just driving/walking by.
4) Be Creative (Tactic: Generates Interest)
Using creativity to your advantage can be an excellent way to capture onlookers’ attention. It could be something as simple as making your message stand out with colors or maybe even adding a picture of the product you are selling. Using simple signage can also help get people interested in what you offer.
5) Use Humor (Tactic: Creates Urgency & Reminds People To Act)
Another great tactic that is used by companies today is humor. Making someone smile when they see your sign is all it takes for them to take notice and investigate further. Think about how effective advertising would be if everyone were frowning at each sign they saw? I’m sure it wouldn’t be very effective. Humor is also an excellent method to remind people that action needs to be taken soon!
6) Use Personalization (Tactic: Creates Connection & Reminds People To Act)
Using personalization in your advertising can help you get noticed by potential customers. It could simply be your name or logo on the sign, whatever helps users relate to your business on another level. This is something that many companies forget about when it comes down to getting their message across.
7) Be Consistent (Tactic: Creates Awareness & Trust)
When using outdoor advertising, consistency plays an important role. Whether you are trying to increase exposure for your brand or sell products – consistency will help you gain trust and build a following. People need to know that your company is reliable and will deliver what you promise. Character builds confidence, which in turn leads to more customers.
8) Stand Out (Tactic: Creates Excitement For The Product/Service)
People must notice the sign you are advertising, whether billboards or posters. You want people driving by or walking down the street to take note of your sign/billboard and share with others what they saw. Outdoor advertising works best when it creates excitement for the offered product or service. So always remember to use bright colors, eye-catching designs, etc…any tactic you can think of to get potential customers excited about seeing your billboard again!
Cost of Advertising on Billboard
Billboard advertising rates may be skyrocketing, but the cost of buying your billboard can be as low as a few hundred dollars per month. While it’s certainly not the most effective way for an indie band to promote their latest single, buying a billboard can provide an excellent image for press photos and videos which will help sell your brand to a record label or music publisher.
Here are some general guidelines to help you figure out what kind of sign to buy and how much it should cost of advertising on a billboard:
Location Matters – Billboard location determines price – An ad on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood will cost more than one on Santa Monica Boulevard. In addition, billboards along major highways at freeway entrances or exits command higher rates due to their power to reach thousands of conceivable customers.
Size Matters – Size of the billboard factors into cost – Billboard sizes are measured by their length (measured in feet), followed by their height (also measured in feet) which is how they’re priced. For example, a six-foot-tall, four-foot-wide sign will cost more than a ten-foot-tall, five-foot-wide sign. Buying a giant ad costs more because it’s seen by thousands more people who are at or above eye level when driving or walking along the road. Also, if you sell ad space on your band’s website, don’t forget to factor that into your advertising budget since this is where you’ll be directing traffic from your ads.
The following chart lists average costs for small business advertisers by major U.S. cities:
City Small Billboard Large Billboard New York $812/month $1,830/month Los Angeles $775/month $1500/month Chicago $395/2 weeks* $695/2 weeks* Houston, TX $325 monthly
$650 monthly Philadelphia, PA $200 monthly
$400 monthly Phoenix, AZ $125 monthly
$250 monthly San Antonio, TX $125 daily rate or a flat fee of about a month Atlanta, GA flat fee of a few hundred dollars to rent for a week Dallas / Ft Worth, TX flat fee of a few hundred dollars Miami, FL up to about a grand for sporadically placed digital billboards throughout the city *Billboards located in highly trafficked areas can charge higher rates for two-week bookings.
Average Billboard Costs – Here is a list of average billboard costs by city:
Avg Billboard Cost Per Month (Small) Avg Billboard Cost Per Month (Large) New York City $812 $1,830 Los Angeles $775 $1500 Chicago -Illinois $395 $695 Houston, Texas $325 $650 Philadelphia, PA $200 $400 Phoenix, AZ $125 $250 San Antonio, TX $125 Houston, TX flat fee of about a month Atlanta, GA flat fee of a few hundred dollars to rent for a week Dallas / Ft Worth, TX flat fee of a few hundred dollars Miami, FL up to about a grand for sporadically placed digital billboards throughout the city.
Tips for Creating an Effective Billboard Ad
Creating a good billboard design is not an easy task; however, there are some tips that you can follow to make sure your time and effort will pay off. Working with a creative agency like Ms. Sakamoto will help you know how to create the most effective billboard ad for your specific product or service, but what about planning it all out before that?
Here are five simple rules for making the best billboard design possible:
- 1. Know your audience. People’s biggest mistake when creating a cool poster/billboard/print is providing information nobody cares about. One of my favorite samples is from a wine store in Ottawa near my house. I look at their billboard out front on the way to work, which says “Open” in giant letters. Nobody will see it as anything other than a random store opening up if that is all you write. Nobody cares! People care about the wines inside the store, what they should buy, how much they cost, etc.… If you want to create an effective billboard ad for your business, find out what your audience wants to know about your product/service and give them that information. Let’s use Pita Pit as an example since this was one of our clients: Pita Pit has a highly focused demographic – college students who enjoy healthy meals on the go – so we focused on something that their demographic would be interested in, Feta Cheese. Instead of just writing “Pita Pit” on the billboard, we used a clever design to say “Feta Please .”This tells people who are passing by what they are about to get themselves into if they enter the store, and it gives out free information without being too pushy or spammy.
- 2. Use your space effectively. Most billboards you see have much dead space since there is more white than one side. If you fill up this space with cool stuff, then you’ve got yourself an effective billboard ad! However, most marketing teams tend to neglect these bits, and your poster becomes messy and hard to read within seconds. An excellent example of this was when we worked with the Ottawa Senators to promote back in town.We used the main slogan “Unleash the Fury” and then surrounded it with all sorts of little slogans like: “Bring your Dad,” “Go Big O,” and “Black Aces .”This created a relaxed and inviting feel to the ad without making it too complicated for people who just wanted to see if their favorite team was playing or not.
- 3. Be original! I’d say most billboards you’ll ever see are for car dealerships, roofers, lawyers, restaurants (burgers/pizza mostly), clothing stores, supermarkets (businesses that only exist in malls), etc.… The point I am getting at here is that you can’t tell these apart. A fantastic poster isn’t made by sticking to the rules; it’s made by breaking them and doing something new! One of our favorite examples was when we worked on marketing for a new pet grooming/boarding service called Manic Dog. They were utterly different from any other business in their industry since they only took care of dogs instead of cats & most boarding places don’t do full groom sessions – they give baths. To communicate this with their customers, we wrapped the dog pictured in the ad in—you guessed it—bandages! It caught people’s attention immediately because nobody had ever seen anything like this before. It also lets people know that this is an exciting and unique business that you won’t find anywhere else.
- 4. Find the right balance. Like I mentioned earlier, too much information can be just as harmful as not enough…even if it’s excellent information! We recently worked on marketing for a fantastic company called Black Squirrel Books. They sell used books online and let people rent them at their store (basically like Netflix for books). Here is what we came up with: When designing this poster, we had to make sure that our main title, “Black Squirrel Books,” was big enough to stand out since they didn’t have any other advertisements around Ottawa yet; however, we also wanted to show off all of the great things they offer such as the rental system, their cool logo, and how much people are willing to pay for their books. So what did we do? We added an extensive “Rent Our Books” banner at the top, which featured some exciting facts about book sales over time along with their logo to make it all blend in nicely while still attracting customers’ eyes.
- 5. Support your main idea with smaller ideas around it. The point of any billboard is to create an image that will stick in someone’s head while they are driving past, but if you only have 1-2 sentences on there, nobody will be able to grasp it or know why they should care enough to come into your store. This is where supporting marketing comes into play! If I were to make a billboard about my business, I would put the main title at the top, some lovely imagery below it, and then some supporting sentences or slogans around it. Try to think of relatable things for your intended audience, so they don’t have any problems understanding what you are trying to communicate.
So there you have it! Now get out there and create something extraordinary and the cost of advertising on billboard won’t be much! If you follow these five steps when designing your next advertisement, then people will be talking about yours just as much as they’re talking about ads on TV or billboards in city centers.