There’s certainly no shortage of articles out there giving tips on designing a billboard. However, few offer much in the way of coming up with your billboard’s message. Most simply advise to keep it short, simple, and to the point. But how exactly do you do that? After all, you’re a business owner, not a writer. If you can relate, then keep reading because this week, we’re sharing tips on how to come up with your billboard’s message.
So you’ve decided to advertise your business on a billboard. You’ve updated your advertising strategy, found a great location, and signed a contract with an outdoor advertising company. Great! Now it’s time to come up with your billboard’s message.
But if you’re like most entrepreneurs, coming up with the copy for your outdoor ad is one of the most challenging parts of designing a billboard. After all, you’re a business owner, not a writer. You could talk for days about your business and it’s amazing products and services. How in the world can you say all that on a billboard?
How to Come Up With Your Billboard’s Message
1. Decide On 1 Thing You Want Your Billboard to Accomplish
The first step in creating a message for your billboard is setting a clear goal for it. What is it’s primary purpose? Is it to generate brand awareness? Attract people to your establishment? Call for an appointment? Visit your website?
Too often, advertisers try to reach several goals with a single outdoor advertisement. This results in a cluttered ad with a watered down message that isn’t as effective as it could be. Instead, focus on a single objective for your ad and craft your message to support it. This will narrow your focus and make it much easier to write a compelling message.
Actionable Tip: Write out one thing you want viewers to do once they see your ad. Next, list out reasons why they would want to do that. Don’t worry whether your items are in perfect English, grammatically correct, or compelling. Just jot down as many reasons a consumer should take action.
2. Think of Your Billboard as a Conversation Starter
Have you ever been introduced to someone who said ‘hello’ and then immediately launch into their entire life story without taking a breath? It’s an overwhelming experience, to say the least. Not to mention pretty boring. Often, you walk away not remembering much of anything the person said.
The same thing is true when it comes to your billboard’s message. Billboards are most effective when they include just enough info to pique viewers’ interest and prompt them to take action. This can’t be accomplished if you include so much content that viewers are left overwhelmed and confused. Instead, think of your billboard’s message as a conversation starter – not an entire conversation – and you’ll be well on your way to crafting a memorable message.
Actionable Tip: Pull out the list of reasons you created. If you had to start a conversation with someone, what would they be most interested in? What would make them want to learn more? Focus on crafting your message from one of these.
3. Remember Context
Imagine you’re on your daily run when you see someone jogging towards you. As you approach, you hear them saying something to you in a normal tone of voice, but between your breathing, beating heart, and music, you can’t make it out. You smile politely and continue on your way, barely registering the interaction.
Further down the trail, you approach someone else. They too are saying something to you, but unlike the first person, they’re shouting. You clearly make out their message – there’s a hungry family of bears straight ahead. You grind to a screeching halt and quickly change course.
That’s what your billboard’s message should do. It should be so loud, so obvious, and so direct that a person passing it at 65 mph should know exactly what it’s saying and why.
Actionable Tip: Start editing your list of conversation starters. Cut out any words that don’t add to your message. Keep your copy focused on what’s in it for the viewer rather than centered on your business. Use action-oriented verbs and clear language that leave no room for confusion.