Outdoor advertising - making a big impact

Billboard - Outdoor advertising

Outdoor advertising on billboards, bus stops, in taxis and at train stations is well within the budget of most small businesses and can be highly effective. Rachel Miller finds out how small firms can make an impact with outdoor advertising

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

For any small firm with a local clientele, outdoor advertising offers the chance to spread the word about your business to your target market - local people.

Poster advertising is ideal for small businesses because you can target geographically. So a fish and chip shop situated off the high street could advertise at a bus stop directing people to the shop - or a small taxi firm could advertise outside a train or bus station. You can target the right audience when and where they might need your services.

Affordable advertising

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 an affordable medium for almost every firm. The average cost of outdoor advertising is around £200 per week for a standard 48 sheet billboard. An ad on the side of a bus stop on a busy high street could cost about £300 for two weeks’ exposure.

Effective outdoor advertising

So what makes a good outdoor ad? There are certain rules when it comes to creativity - the message should be concise, unlike a press ad. 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 super-creative. If you’re a plumber, that is what you do - just give the information and you'll get a good response.

If you want to raise awareness, then the more sites the better. But if it’s directional, you can be more tactical with a few well-positioned ads. Stations are a great option because they offer more dwell time than other sites.