Outdoor advertising - making a big impact

Outdoor advertising hoardings, billboards and posters for small businesses

Outdoor advertising on billboards, at bus stops and train stations and in taxis is affordable for most small businesses and can be highly effective. If you walk around your local area, you'll soon spot just how many opportunities there are to promote your business with OOH (out-of-home) advertising.

Outdoor advertising for local businesses

For any small firm with a local clientele, outdoor advertising using posters and advertising hoardings lets you spread the word about your business to local people.

For example, a fish and chip shop could advertise at a nearby bus stop, or a local taxi firm could advertise at a train station. You can target the right audience, right at the place and time where they might want your services.

There are outdoor advertising spaces wherever you look - on phone boxes, at bus stops, in bus and train stations, in shopping centres and at your local gym.

Where can I advertise

If you stop and take a look around you in any town or city, you will see a range of advertising opportunities, from the sides of passing buses to shop hoardings, classic billboard posters to point-of-sale advertisements in shops, cinemas or tourist attractions - anywhere where a consumer might be induced to make an impulse purchase. These fall into four broad categories:

  • Billboards - these come in a wide range of sizes and locations and include both traditional paper billboards and, increasingly, digital billboards.
  • Transit ads - think buses, taxis and transport hubs. The beauty of these ads is they are often mobile taking your message around a town or city, ideal for local businesses looking to grow their local audience.
  • Point-of-sale adverting - how many times have you made an impulse purchase at the checkout thanks to a strategically placed advert?
  • Event advertising and hoardings - this category includes product demos, launches or tastings and exhibition stands. These allow potential customers to get up close and personal with our company and products.

How much do billboards and posters cost?

Many small firms don't even consider the idea of outdoor advertising because they think it's out of their league and beyond their budget. In fact, many people don't realise how cost-effective it is. Because big brands use it, they assume it's too expensive for smaller enterprises.

In fact, it's affordable for almost every firm costing as little as £25 per day. The average cost of traditional billboard advertising is around £200 per week for a standard 48-sheet hoarding while a digital billboard might cost £1,000 per week.

An ad on the side of a bus stop on a busy high street could cost around £300 for two weeks' exposure.

What makes a good outdoor advert?

There are certain rules for billboard and poster advertising.

  1. The messaging should be concise. Eight words maximum is a good rule of thumb. It's also good to use a picture of a person, as people are drawn to eyes. Humour usually gets a good response.
  2. Small firms don't have to be too creative. If you're a plumber, that is what you do - just list the services you offer, and give clear contact information, professionally presented. You should get a good response.
  3. If you want to raise awareness generally, then the more sites the better. But if you want people to take action, you can be tactical with a few well-positioned ads.
  4. Transit advertising, such as at bus and train stations, or at airports, is a great option. People spend a longer time there than at other sites. Any billboard that is positioned where people have to wait is more likely to be seen and remembered.

The most successful OOH advertising campaigns:

  • know exactly who the target market is
  • are placed where those people are most likely to see the messaging
  • have eye catching artwork
  • convey a simple message

Designing your billboard advert

While it is possible to design your advert yourself using graphic design software, it is probably more effective to use a freelance designer with a specialism in advertising. This could cost you as little as £150 per hour. Alternatively, you can use a full service outdoor adverting agency.

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