A Quick Guide to Outdoor Advertising for Business


Have you ever considered signs and billboard advertising for your business? With all the digital trends nowadays it may surprise you that outdoor advertising is still on the rise. Here's a quick guide to outdoor advertising for business:

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Despite slumps in TV and print ad budgets, outdoor advertising revenues are on the rise and grew at a healthy 2.7% in 2017. So called out of home advertising is set to grow at 4.6% globally (compound growth rate) to reach $45.37 billion in 2019.

And yet individual costs for these high-impact promotional materials are surprisingly affordable. A single vehicle wrap can cost just a few thousand points of marketing budget and have a 5-6 year lifespan, equating to just a few pounds a day. For small or local businesses with a geographical presence in particular, sign and billboard advertising remains a highly effective means of advertising, which shouldn’t be ignored or neglected.

In our digital age, it is all too easy to forget the impact of a well-designed piece of physical signage that has been strategically placed for maximum visibility. Yet research shows that there is real value in developing this marketing channel as part of your broader, integrated brand awareness campaign.

The value of signage to your business

Storefront signs work by immediately telling passers-by how your business can solve their problems. Even if a potential customer isn't yet at the buying stage, good signage can provide all the incentive passers by need to walk through the door and browse. This is because good signage appeals to our natural curiosity and intrigue. You can use physical signage outside your business premises (both fixed and moveable), at a nearby billboard or on your vehicle fleet.

This form of advertising dates back to the 50's, and it still works as a reliable method to attract customers. Research carried out by the University of Cincinnati found that 76 percent of customers had entered a business after seeing a physical sign. Furthermore, 68 percent of customers said that they made a judgement call on the business' quality based upon the sign itself.

Perhaps most interestingly of all in today's world of viral marketing, 75 percent of customers actually told their own network about a business after seeing a piece of physical signage. This isn't surprising when you consider that the average UK person is outside for around three hours daily and spends about 10 percent of their day in the car or walking.

Signs are permanent and affordable

In addition to being impactful in messaging and awareness building, sign, fleet and billboard adverts are also:

  • Permanent and cannot be turned off
  • A great way of reinforcing other brand awareness and marketing campaign activity
  • Affordable when compared to digital ads in terms of ‘impressions’
  • Can be regularly changed as required
  • Flexible, especially where signage can be relocated such as with pop-ups, A-boards, tied vinyl signs and digital signs.

Vehicle billboard advertising 

A company with a branded fleet automatically has a powerful marketing tool at its disposal. It is easy to add branding to vans, trucks, cars or even lorries with vehicle wraps, which are highly visual, impactful, can be easily changed over time and extremely cost-effective.

Vehicle wraps and storefront barriers exist specifically to attract local customers, with evidence showing that physical businesses tend to have 85 percent of their customers within just five miles of their premises.

Vehicle wraps work for all vehicles, but especially for fleet and delivery. Their large sides provide a perfect blank canvas and advertising studies have shown that a simple, cost-effective vehicle wrap can generate over a million ad impressions every year for a very modest budget. How? Because they are designed to last for at least five years and are fully mobile - reinforcing existing relationships through repeated customer views, and allowing the business to visually reach out to new customers.

Interestingly, some studies suggest that vehicle wraps even outperform DM advertising and radio to a significant degree and can even produce 10 times more views annually than billboards used as a standalone advertising channel.

Design tips for your outdoor advertising

1. Consider visibility

When it comes to designing outdoor signage, consider the visibility aspect. The content needs to be seen from a distance and should factor in the speed of travel. For example, a 50-metre visibility radius is necessary for a 30mph speed zone. Specialists recommend using the 1-10 guide, which says that an inch of text generates 10ft of readability. So from 60 feet away, you'll need 6 inch sized letters at a minimum - which can also be read by foot traffic at 200m away.

2. Consider location

Consider location too. One third of respondents in a study by the International Sign Association said that a quality piece of signage had drawn them into an unfamiliar store.

3. Keep it simple

Choose bright and contrasting colours and keep the design simple so that readers can rapidly assimilate the messaging. Sans serif fonts are modern and crisp - avoid italics which can be harder to read.

Ideally, use less than 16 words, and adopt the industry's 3 x 5 rule, which recommends 5 words per line for 3 text lines, and 3 words per line for 5 text lines.

If you're an SME or local business, especially with a physical store or fleet of vehicles, signage should be a pivotal part of your overall marketing and branding strategy. As an affordable and impactful addition to your other marketing channels, it’s an absolute no brainer.

Over to you now. How have you used signs and billboards for your business? Tell us in the comments below. 

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Tuesday, 19 November 2019
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