8 EASY STEPS TO MAKE A GREAT BILLBOARD AD
In the 21st century billboards lost the allure they once had. So if you are an advertisers and you implement the same tricks people implemented 50 years ago chances are you simply throwing your money away. However, OOH can be more effective than digital if you have the secret sauce. In this article we will delve into the techniques that will turn your billboard from a boring and wasteful medium to a profitable and viral marketing campaign.
1. THE SHORTER THE BETTER
Turns out that you have only six seconds of attention from an average consumer. This translates into a copy of roughly six words in length to get your idea across. This means you have a space for a headline and maybe one or two bullet points. In other words, choose your words carefully.
2. THINK BRAND AWARENESS
The only role OOH has is brand awareness. So I better not see you put call to action on any billboard you buy from now on. If you want to actually convert your target audience then use print advertising, television, radio, flyers, websites and direct mail. The only time you should use a call to action is when your website or phone number IS the headline.
3. BE SMART, BUT DON’T OVER DO IT
This is a public service announcement to copywriters “You are NOT your billboard.” Copywriters tend to attach themselves to the message they create. So they a headline to intelligent that even Einstein won’t understand. Or they go the other way and they create a headline so dumb that even a Jerry Springer’s audience member will it laughable.
So how do you create a billboard headline that is just right?
A rule of thumb is that billboards can’t be too clever. Complex visual metaphors should not be used either. In general advertising should be like a puzzle to solve, it gives the audience a sense of fulfillment to know they figured it out. But billboards should be much simpler than that.
4. QUANTITY IS EVERYTHING
Because billboards are for brand awareness it is your job to make people aware of your brand. So you should use only if you are ready to buy lots of them. These billboards have to be everywhere. To make sure your reach is effective there you have to know your Cross Ratings Points (GPR) score.
The GPR scale is between 1 and 100. If it’s 50, it means that at least 50% of the population in the area would see one of your boards at least once a day. If you have only one board, your impact chances are obviously less than if you have four or five.
Ideally you want a 100 showing, but that’s not going to be cheap. In reality you can expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a score of 50 showing for one month. With a typical 3 month flight a score of 30 is more than fair.
5. A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
No one reads but everyone watches videos. So the more visually appealing your ad is the more effective your marketing campaign be. The visual can be as simple as a really eye-catching image to something more elaborate like a 3D Billboard. For example, at Ads For Carts we are pioneering 3D billboards and let me tell you they work wonders. Just a small campaign for HINT Water got news coverage by a major PR blog CommPro.
6. DON’T REPEAT
Billboards aren’t cheap so use the space wisely. Be clear about what message you want to convey and make sure that every single element of the billboard is responsible for a respective part of that message. If your billboard has a headline that explains the visual, you’re wasting precious billboard space. If your imagery is dull, or doesn’t reinforce the product, you are throwing away potential effectiveness.
7. BEWARE OF THE LOGO SIZE
The size if the logo is also a balancing act. On one hand you must have a logo. On the other hand, the logo cannot be too over powering. There are campaigns don’t use a logo at all. And there are campaigns where the logo is the only thing you see.
It all depends on what is more important, the message or the brand? If the message is more important then think smaller logo or no logo at all. If the brand is more important then think bigger logo.
8. THE OLD “ARM’S LENGTH” TEST
So, lets say you followed every single step to a tee. The message is awesome, the visual stands out, and the color contrast works. Will people see it? Will people read it? And more importantly will people understand it?
Here’s a quick test to ensure you are not wasting your money and your prospect’s time. Print out your billboard to the size of a business card. Now, hold it out at arm’s length. See if you are still getting everything you were when it was displayed on your 27″ monitor. If not, go in and change it.
Remember that a billboard is a quick read. Most of the time, people see it as they drive past it at 55mph in the car. Billboards are not the place for art directors to experiment with complex concepts, or for copywriters to become the next Walt Whitman. The billboard is a medium to quickly build brand awareness so that the prospect can be converted at a later time with a secondary message.