Outdoor advertising - making a big impact

Billboard - Outdoor advertising

Outdoor advertising on billboards, on posters at bus stops and train stations and in taxis is affordable for most small businesses, and can be highly effective. Rachel Miller finds out how small firms can make outdoor advertising work for them

If you walk around your local area - whether you're based in a big city or a small town - you'll soon spot just how many opportunities there are to promote your business. 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.

Attracting a local audience

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

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

Are billboards and posters cost-effective?

Many small firms don't explore the idea of outdoor advertising because they think it's out of their league. In fact, many people don't realise how cost-effective it is - because big brands use it, they assume it's too expensive.

In fact, it's affordable for almost every firm. The average cost of billboard advertising is around £200 per week for a standard 48-sheet hoarding. An ad on the side of a bus stop on a busy high street could cost around £300 for two weeks' exposure.

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What makes a good outdoor ad?

There are certain rules for billboard and poster advertising - 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.

That said, small firms don't have to be too creative. If you're a plumber, that is what you do - just give the information, professionally presented, and you'll get a good response.

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. Bus and train stations are a great option because people spend a longer time there than at other sites.

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