When advertising on a billboard you must catch the attention of the viewer and keep it at a time when there are many other pressing distractions-for instance, driving. We conducted a research study in Las Vegas, Nevada and found that 93% of billboards don’t actually drive sales. Here is an outline of the four most crippling mistakes made by billboard advertisers.
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The first mistake is that most billboards don’t stand out. You might think by its sheer size and location your billboard is sure to get noticed. However, when advertising outdoors you are competing with every other visual stimulant nature has to offer; plus the dozens of other ads. More than any other type advertisement, you only have a split second to connect with the audience. The most distinctive and innovative billboards win the game every time. When you think of creative billboards, what comes to mind? Bright colors, compelling photos, punchy copy-writing and, of course, those that truly go outside the box. A perfect example is Chik-Fil-A. Their billboards almost always make use of 3D cows with poor grammar who are negotiating for their lives by pleading with you to, “eat mor chicken!” They’re quick to read, easy to understand, and entertaining to view. Most of all, these types of billboards stand out and are truly memorable.
The second huge mistake is clutter. There can only be one message, and it must be simple and clear. Billboards are most often viewed during travel, and they must do their entire job with a quick glance. While this is the most common mistake billboard advertisers make, we’ve listed it as the lesser of two evils because if your billboard doesn’t stand out, prospects won’t notice it in the first place. The main point here is that billboards with too many words, too much information and too many graphic elements are a waste and won’t ever convert to sales. If you have that much to say, skip down to number 4, “Failing to Target the Target Audience,” and fine-tune your message.
What is an Effective Billboard Ad?
Effective billboard advertisements work when they are understood at a glance. That’s why compelling graphics, short messages and innovation serve billboard advertisers best. Whatever message you are presenting it must be delivered visually, and it must be understandable with one quick look. One billboard that accomplishes this was for a graphics company that displayed a herd of zebra’s, all black and white with one in the middle striped like a roll of lifesaver. The headline read, “In the corporate jungle, identity is everything.” The headline was great, but the visuals communicated the message without any copy.
The fourth fatal blunder is failing to target the target audience. Almost every textbook or discussion about advertising starts and ends with the consumer. If what you are doing isn’t generating sales, you are merely paying to entertain your audience. Since everyone sees billboards, too many advertisers believe that their messages should appeal to everyone, right? Wrong. Would you advertise a tractor to a big city investor? Would you try to sell a new hamburger to a vegetarian? Of course not! So why would you spend money trying to sell your company to someone who doesn’t use or need your product or service? Defining a specific audience segment, getting to know them and tailoring your message to attract them is one of the most important things you can do to improve your marketing, and return on investment (ROI).
Billboards are an incredibly effective advertising medium. Like other advertising channels, advertisers need to remember to keep it simple and directed. By avoiding these critical mistakes, any company can create a compelling billboard that will achieve both increased sales and powerful branding. Growing your business and quadruple profits, is always accomplished in coordination with your company’s Core Narrative and the other Core Profit Centers.