In 1796 lithography was invented by the German actor and artist Alois Senefelder. Lithography enabled art or text to be printed on paper, or anything suitable in replace of paper. Although originally made for theater pieces, lithography gave birth to banner marketing and eventually billboard marketing.
Banner marketing and billboard marketing are related, the principles used for one can be applied to the other. Lithography literally gave birth to both. Both are connected.
Billboard marketing is as traditional as it gets. Over the years billboard marketers have learned many valuable marketing principles that have kept this form of marketing moving forward into the digital age. If you’re designing a banner it would be wise to pay attention to these principles, especially if you’re a business – your next banner can bring stronger returns.
Relevance to the Area
When placing a billboard you can’t just throw up even in a heavily populated area and expect magic to work. Very few brands can get away with it, even then they’re just branding which is costly. Offering a relevant message to the passing by community can make the billboard draw in visitors, leads, or even sales. For example, look at the In-N-Out billboard image below. In-N-Out which is a famous California born restaurant, doesn’t just throw billboards up for branding, they strategically place them by their restaurants to display where the restaurant is and how to get there. This notifies the hungry people passing that there’s a restaurant, it reminds people where In-N-Out is located, it also brands IN-N-Out and it brands their location. Now instead of just branding In-N-Out the billboard is serving a purpose to get people in their restaurants. This is highly relevant billboard marketing, and it should be applied to banner marketing.
Less is More – It Really Is
Six words or less is the ideal word count for a billboard. It’s easy to think the public needs more direction so you want to jam as many words as possible into a billboard. However less is more. The average person might see that ad for 3 seconds if you’re lucky. In three seconds you will most likely read two words, sometimes six, to then remember those words and reflect on them later is unlikely going to happen unless the relevance factor kicks in. Companies have learned this the hard way over the years, if you’re making a banner you should pick up on this. The big difference with banners is the fact that banners are sometimes placed in positions where people will be very close to it. Banners can also be used to give guidance, and may not be for branding, in cases like this less is still more, but getting the full message across takes priority.
Don’t be Annoying – Don’t Overdue it
If you think about it, some companies that engage in billboard advertising can buy all the billboards in the area and place their ad on every single one. They don’t though, it’s not only a waste of money but it would kill their brand in the area. People don’t like things that are annoying. In billboard marketing you want people to appreciate your ad not be annoyed by it. If they’re annoyed you’re doing it all wrong. You want to please the eye with billboards, something positive that offers value to the local community. Anything unprofessional, or of a low quality can damage the brand because it’s just annoying advertising. With banners, don’t just overdue it, keep it positive and use moderation no one likes a spammer.
Double billboards are a great idea when they’re creative.
Don’t Just Advertise Be Smart
Wise one liners work very well with capturing attention. Billboards are learning from Twitter. On Twitter you just can’t throw up boring lines and expect people to retweet them. If you throw up profound and inspiring quotes it not only captures peoples attention it gets shared as well. Don’t just advertise, make someones day with an inspiring word, or something clever that just captures that attention.
With banner advertising, don’t be shy or afraid to use wise quotes, have fun with the wording it will make a difference.
Location – So Important
Great billboards are in great locations. Great locations have unlimited amounts of traffic. The billboard serves as a powerful brand asset. This is the most well known and most basic rule in billboard marketing, without the massive amounts of traffic the billboard really has no power. Banners should be placed in areas where it will be viewed the most, and relevant to the area. Location is so important in billboard marketing and if you’re trying to sell, it will be just as important in banner marketing.
Creative is Awesome
Billboards have been around for so long, longer than the internet, longer than digital ads, longer than your life. A billboard with no creativity is just a dime a dozen. Due to the fact that there are so many non-creative billboards, the creative ones make a big impact. Banner should not be shy, creative should play a serious role in the creation of a banner.
Use Big Font Sizes
It’s a rule in billboard marketing to use BIG FONTS. Big fonts help it stick out and make it so much easier to read from a distance. Banners should focus on bigger fonts, smaller fonts can be difficult to read.
Target a Specific Audience
Even though billboards display themselves to everyone in the area, there’s a specific group that’s most likely going to be impacted the most by that billboard. The billboard is designed to impact that specific group. Banners should be targeted towards a specific audience.
Banner marketing is as close as it gets to billboard marketing, in fact billboards are just larger banners. For hundreds of years marketers have learned how to get the most out of each billboard, businesses that are buying custom banners should get the most out of each banner by following the principles that we’ve learned from billboard marketing.