The Biggest Mistake In Local Marketing?


7 Ways To Avoid Wasting Money On Billboards

So you want to take your advertising message outside? Why? Do you really think you’re going to drive sales for your local business with billboard advertising?  
Car dealers love them. Makes sense since most of the time you’re driving when you see billboards. Doctors love them. Ego? But have youever based a single purchasing decision on something you saw on a billboard?
Do people see billboards for plastic surgery and breast augments and reach for the phone to make an appointment? Maybe so. Personally, I think billboards can be effective for raising awareness and selling hotel rooms.
Beyond that, I think it’s a pretty good way to waste marketing money. However, if you’re buying an outdoor advertising campaign, here are seven ways to avoid wasting your money:
1. Be Quick or Be Dead
You have five seconds, maybe six. How many words can a person read and absorb in six seconds? A common rule is one word per second, so you get a six word limit. Not even 140 characters! You don’t need to be that extreme all the time. My point is, chisel your message down to its essence.
Generally the worst offenders of the one word per second rule are the non-profits. And the universities. Lord they go on and on. Probably too many stakeholders to please. Probably relying on student designers and copywriters working for free.
Either way, anything more than a simple, quick message and you wasted your money. No one can read all of that copy.
It’s hard enough to drive and text. Then you want me to read your three lines of copy, web address and phone number and absorb the meaning of your really clever image? 

As I heard Gary Vaynerchuck say, “No one’s even watching the @#*+%! road anymore!”
2. Keep The Visual Simple
One picture is enough. If you feel compelled for more than that, like a picture of your building behind your huge head shot, or a picture of your pizza behind your huge head shot, just remember rule #1.
3. Kill The Small Logo Your Designer Wants
If there is one thing you really need as a local market business, it is name recognition. Billboards can be great at this. But for some unknown reason, designers love tiny logos. With your business name and logo, size matters! Go big on your billboard. Everything else can be small if your designer throws a hissy.
4. Keep To One Objective
You only have time for “Turn Left Next Exit” or a similarly concise call to action. More than that and you don’t need an outdoor advertising campaign. You then need a print, radio or TV campaign. 
5. Don’t Make It A Direct Response Ad
No one has time to capture your phone number or your web address in order to respond to your offer. So don’t ask them to.  Unless your phone number is the message! That can be awesomely powerful. If you need a phone number and a web address, then your objectives are too complex and you’re wasting your money.
6. Don’t Be Subtle
I know you always see the “award winning” outdoor ads that are crazy clever and coolly subtle. It seems like these kinds of messages always win awards from the local advertising association. But you are a small business owner. You don’t want a billboard that wins a creative award. You want a billboard that makes everyone in your market zone know who you are and why you are special.
7. Don’t Let The Designer Bully You
If you have to scratch your head even for a second to figure out what the designer has presented to you as a billboard concept, trash it. It is rare for a designer to be effective at outdoor creative. They may be brilliant with print campaigns that win award after award. But you must remain in control of your billboard art. Does the art design knock you out in five seconds? Then it’s great. 
Have you seen any great outdoor advertising lately? Leave a comment here. 
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