Business owners know that advertising, in its many forms, is key to gaining clients. Consumers can’t buy from you if they don’t know about you and the value you offer. Digital marketing ads (e.g., on Google, Facebook), direct mail, and print ads in local magazines and newspapers are among the key advertising options for local businesses. Another, very effective form of advertising comes in the form of word-of-mouth, or referrals, as research shows 74% of consumers report that it’s a key influencer in purchasing decisions. (Therefore, treat your clients well, so they’ll tell their friends!)
But in a marketplace where many consumers begin their purchasing research online, it can be hard to compete with the Amazons and big-box retailers which tend to top search results due to their size – both of the businesses themselves and their paid, digital advertising budgets.
So, what’s a local business to do?
One “secret ingredient” savvy business owners add to their advertising mix is outdoor advertising. Billboards are a highly effective advertising tools, as they reach a larger, “captive” audience. That is, they can’t be blocked, turned off, or ignored in the way that digital and TV ads can be. In fact, a recent report demonstrated that billboard ads return an average of $5.97 for every dollar spent. That’s an ROI of 497%! If you’re thinking, “Well, that sounds great, but those huge billboards must be way too pricey for my marketing budget,” stick with us.
Billboards Are More Affordable than You Think
We get it. Small businesses are often walking a budget tight rope, balancing advertising spend against the profit ads will bring in. But in a world where people are suffering from digital advertising fatigue, more traditional advertising methods are actually rebounding in their ability to help establish business’ unique brands and make them more visible in the market. (And did we mention that 497% ROI?)
Obviously, we believe billboard advertising is possibly the best option for small to medium businesses, especially those with a local customer base. As business owners ourselves, we’re dedicated to helping our local business community thrive and grow, so we have locations and budgets for everyone. If you’re not yet convinced, here are ways that billboards can increase your company’s profits – without breaking your budget.
Billboard Ads Build a Loyal, Local Customer Base
Whether you’re a service- or product-based company, your first objective should be to leverage advertising to gain a solid customer based in your local area. From there, you can build that foundation to reach beyond your immediate area and expand your target marketing. Using locally themed billboards grabs your community’s attention and keeps your business top-of-mind when local consumers are ready to make a purchase. Building that foundation of loyal, local customers will become invaluable to your business when those clients recommend your business to their friends and family members. As we mentioned above, word-or-mouth advertising is perceived as exceptionally reliable – and doesn’t cost you a thing!
Billboards Make It Easier to Target Your Demographic
Not all advertising is created equal. Some forms allow for limited customization options, including available space and cost. Billboards, especially digital billboards, allow you to tweak and refocus on your message, permitting you to experiment with layout and focus more closely on your target demographics. Billboards allow you to show your expansive knowledge of your product or service while being far less expensive than a television or radio spot. Use the location of the billboard to help design your message to get the maximum effect, so that your ad will influence the people most likely to need your product or service. For instance, if you own a gym, placing your billboard ad near the traffic to your local health food or vitamin store would capture the attention of your target audience. A good billboard location is an essential part of targeting your specific sales demographic.
Use Customer Insights to Customize Your Billboard Message
You know your business’ customer avatar – a profile of the type of person you want to attract to your business. That is, the individual who is the ideal “match” or the best-case scenario for your business. Typically, you know some things about the people you’re marketing to, which may include factors like:
- Married, single, divorced
- Age group
- Past times or hobbies
- Personal values (e.g., environmentally conscious)
- How many children they have (or if they’re child-free)
- The types of things they read or watch
- Big spenders or bargain hunters
If you don’t already have a customer avatar, marketing experts would recommend that you create one. At the same time, your avatar shouldn’t be thought of as something prescribed and fixed, but rather as something you discover over time by observing who’s buying. As you uncover more details about your “perfect match” audience – through customer feedback (reviews, suggestions, and testimonials) – you can develop billboard ads with messages tailored to that audience. That is, you create ads based upon what your ideal customer likes and/or dislikes so they notice and connect with your brand.
Your billboard is more likely to persuade viewers when they can connect with you through something relatable, such as showcasing a local celebrity, incorporating regional slang, or another personal connection. Patronizing a local business that aligns with their tastes and values builds a connection between you and your audience – and they’ll be proud to be your client and recommend you to their friends and family.
Billboards Lead to Valuable Local Partnerships
Alliances within your local community, including other organizations and businesses, are the lifeblood of local businesses. When you place your ad in a high-traffic area, where many people will see it, or select a spot within a few minutes’ drive to your location, it pushes some of that traffic directly to your location. Often, visitors to your business will also pop into nearby establishments while they are in the neighborhood. The more traffic through your business area, the more your community prospers. Other businesses in the area benefit from the increase in customer traffic.
Billboards Are Free to The Consumer
A large portion of today’s advertising media is seen by consumers through something they’re paying for, such as cable TV or a subscription (digital or analog) to a newspaper or magazine. But billboards are one of the few mediums that provide advertising impressions beyond what people pay to see. When people are bombarded with ads for things through media they’re already paying for, they may see it as less trustworthy or may be more likely to tune it out. When you advertise with a billboard, you’ve asked nothing in return from your audience.
The other great thing about being outside a paid form of media is that less guesswork goes into your ad placement. That is, there’s no need to guess which local magazine, radio station, or TV channel your audience tends to tune into.
Billboards Are “Big”
Outdoor advertising is “big” in more ways than one! On top of being able to display big, can’t-miss visuals, they’re used by some of the biggest names in business. When major brands, with huge advertising budgets, in tech, automotive, entertainment, and finance invest in billboards, you can guarantee that they know their ROI and that the medium is working for them!
You Should Add a Billboard to Your Advertising Mix
Billboard marketing may not be the first idea that comes to mind when planning your marketing strategy, but as you can see, there are many benefits to adding outdoor advertising to your marketing mix. Our billboard locations are widely seen by hundreds of thousands of people around our region, and you don’t pay for the advertising by the person, making billboards one of the most affordable advertising options around, in terms of both overall expense, as well as cost-per-impression. Although you may be tempted to focus only on digital marketing channels, adding off-line marketing to your mix expands your local brand awareness, reaches people beyond the digitally savvy, and provides you with an option that can’t be ignored.
Penneco Outdoor Advertising has locations perfect for any Southwestern Pennsylvania business, and we’re here to help you select the right spot and the right message – and do it all within your budget. Give us a call today to learn about our affordable packages for local businesses.