The concept of marketing has undergone a huge evolution in recent times, ever since its perceived inception back in 1895 (when psychologist Harlow Gale engaged 200 businesses Minnesota to gauge their perspectives on advertising).
This evolution has included numerous stages, while we have also seen a marked transition between offline and digital techniques since the turn of the century.
While marketers may spend an estimated 60% of the time on digital techniques in 2016, however, they also understand the continued importance of offline tactics such as billboard advertising.
After all, this is a tactic that helps brands to optimise their reach across multiple channels, while it also enables them to tap into alternative (and potentially older) consumer segments.
If we accept the continued value of billboard advertising in the modern age, leveraging this to create an effective campaign is another matter entirely. To ensure that you maximise your ROI and create a billboard campaign that can drive sales, consider the following ideas: –
#1. Remember that Location is Everything
While the are numerous elements associated with a successful billboard campaign, location is arguably the single most important. After all, for your outdoor advertisements to engage customers and drive sales, they must effectively target large and motivated groups of people. This means that they must be ideally located in line with your audience profile and the outlets where they tend to congregate on a regular basis.
Outdoor advertising companies such as Airoutdoor, consider location to be one of the most important triggers for successful billboard advertising, and this will hold true so along as you think strategically and select destinations based on the behaviour of your customers.
While it may be tempting to simply advertise in high-traffic areas, this will deliver little return if you subsequently target customer groups that have little or no interest in your product.
So, be sure to prioritise specific consumer demographics when selecting a location for each individual billboard campaign, before identifying high-traffic regions that offer you access to these groups. You should also plan this in accordance with your existing stores and outlets, as this may allow you to increase the number of impulse buys among customers.
#2. Use Concise Messaging and Visual Storytelling
Most billboard adverts will be located in a space that reaches both motorists and pedestrians, and this can create a challenge in terms of successfully targeting customers. While you have far greater scope for creativity when dealing with pedestrian customers (who have more time to digest advertising material), for example, there is an urgent need to capture the attention of motorists in a few seconds.
In order to optimise the profitability of your billboard, it is therefore important that you focus on achieving the ideal balance between written and visual messaging. You should take a concise approach to the former, for example, using five or less words to convey a primary message. This can then be augmented with a striking but simple visual, which maintains the consistency of your message and has an instantaneous impact in the mind of customers.
In some cases, the product featured in the billboard can also be used to drive visual storytelling, particularly if it is recognisable or has an iconic selling point. This adheres to the show, don’t tell school of advertising, which is something that billboards remain extremely well-versed in.
#3. Typography is a Small But Incredibly Important Visual Element
Sales conversions can often hinge on the smallest of details, regardless of which marketing channel you are leveraging.
The typography that you use on your billboard advert provides a relevant case in point, as even the slightest misjudgement can cause consumers to overlook your primary, secondary or tertiary messaging and the crucial details that enable them to make a purchase.
There are three central elements to this, namely font, size and colour.
In terms of size, you clearly have a larger margin for error when creating larger and thicker text, as this allows your message to be seen clearly by customers at a distance of 1,000 feet or further.
It should not be so large as to take up a disproportionate amount of room on the board, however, so you will need to balance this against the other graphical elements on your advert.
The font and colour of your typography is also crucial, particularly when you consider the nuances that exist within digital lettering and the contrast that exists between variable shades. It is worth testing different combinations with your design team, before scaling these to see which will perform better through the billboard channel.
#4. Leave Room for the Call to Action
There are some who will argue that not all billboards require a call to action, but this represents a misunderstanding of advertising as a whole.
While it is fair to say that not all outdoor adverts require a direct call to action, for example, every billboard must sign-off in a way that solicits further interaction between the brand and the consumer.
This depends primarily on the purpose of the advert that you have created, and whether your goal is to sell products, highlight a specific promotional offer or simply raise brand awareness.
In the first two instances, it is crucial that your billboard features a concise and direct call to action that drives customers to on or offline outlets where they can make a purchase. This must be both persuasive and relevant to the content of the advert, and it is central to successfully driving sales conversions through billboards.
Conversely, billboard adverts that are designed to raise brand awareness do not need to feature a direct call to action, but they should use text that implores them to learn more about the brand and provide basic contact details such as a company website and email.
The Last Word
While there may be several rules to successful billboard advertising, the examples listed here are particularly important when looking to optimise sales conversions and achieve a viable ROI in relation to your marketing spend.