chapter 40

Advertise Outdoors

If you're really hungry for that first sale and traditional online methods aren't yielding any results, offline methods like billboards can be your holy grail. Not only can they persuade the public that your brand is large and well established, it can target large amounts of potential customers on a daily basis. However, Internet marketers are usually afraid of outdoor advertising because it’s hard to track its effectiveness with web analytics. But in some cases, and if you have the money, it could be worth a shot.

Billboards 101

Since no one is going to take the time to stop and examine your billboard message in detail, you’ll have to remember these things:

  1. Limit your word count  – Don’t write sentences and definitely don’t write out paragraphs. Make your message quick and concise.
  2. Focus on branding – More than anything, billboards are a branding strategy. Your logo and domain name should look good and readable.
  3. Emphasize your domain name  – Make it big as possible so grandma can read it. Lose the “http://www.” Everyone knows how to use the internet these days. Even grandma.
  4. Don’t try to be clever  – There is nothing wrong with a “genius” billboard. We’ve all seen them. But if passers-by don’t “get it” right away, then you’ve lost them.

Location, Location, Location

A poor strategy would be to randomly advertise on billboards around your city. Ideally, you want some geographical context when picking your location. For example:

  • An Online Kayaking Store – In this case you would want to try to find outdoor advertising next to kayaking launch sites and roads that approach bodies of water. 
  • An Online Hi-Top/Sneakers Store – Here you would want to advertise near parks, basketball arenas, and possibly city centers.
  • A Fashion Related Online Store – For this case, you would want to advertise next to major shopping malls and college campuses. 

As you’ve probably guessed: you want the kid going to the basketball court every day, the girl that hangs out at the mall, and the kayaking fanatic who’s always driving to the local stream – to see your message on a regular basis. It’s all about maximizing impressions.

Mobile Billboard Advertising

A new form of outdoor advertising is mobile billboards. The beauty of these is that they solve the problem of not being able to get the location that you desire. You can hire mobile billboard services to drive around the locations you want to be seen at or simply park on strategic intersections.

Not only that, they can cruise around major events that may be perfect targets for your brand. If you run a sporting related website, you might want to have them lurk around the local sports arena during playoff season. 

You can also wrap your own automobile in an advertising skin and drive around to conduct some tests. Try parking in strategic locations and see if you get any lift in website traffic.  Be careful of letting the vehicle wrap companies do the wrap design for your car. Sit down with your graphic designer and come up with some concise, uncluttered vehicle wrap concepts first.

A Final Word on Advertisement Design

Tacky graphic design can do damage to your brand image. Good looking design can instill trust and authority towards new prospects – so don’t skimp on the design of your outdoor advertising. Remember, you’re not just building a business, you’re building a brand, so think about how you want to look to the rest of the world.

Hopefully, at this point in your business journey you’ve partnered or hired a good graphic designer or someone with a good eye for design. This is a key secret that most small business owners fail to realize and what could mean the difference between you making your first sale or not making any sales.

Next chapter

41. Tell Family and Friends

3 min

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