Wondering if billboard advertising is a viable marketing strategy for your self storage facility?
The good news is that billboards can be effective when used correctly.
Albeit, if your website can rent units online, there may be more cost effective ways to garner new tenants with digital advertising.
An Arbitron National In-Car Study that examined Americans’ in-car media experience and exposure to outdoor advertising revealed four important findings related to billboard advertising.
Travelers notice billboard advertising
According to the study, 71% of respondents look at messages on roadside billboards, and 37% report looking at an outdoor ad each or most of the time they pass one.
If your self storage facility offers online rentals, you can capture a larger audience.
Is your facility near an interstate?
You are already getting free advertising from your location. Boost it with a billboard!
Viewers often take action using information from billboards
Billboard viewers recalled seeing a wide range of information that later inspired them to take action—including visiting stores and restaurants, attending events, watching entertainment, or sharing something funny with friends.
Self storage is a needs driven industry. People don't shop for storage unless they need it.
Capture more people who are looking for self storage.
Billboard advertising is one of the last messages a consumer receives before making a buying decision
Almost 75% of billboard viewers shop on their way home from work—with more than 66% making their shopping decisions in the car and more than 33% making the decision to stop at the store while on their way home.
These are all times when billboard advertising can influence the buying decision.
Don't rely solely on a billboard
This isn’t to say that billboards can’t be an effective marketing strategy for your self storage facility.
However, knowing what billboards do best is critical when deciding whether to use one.
When you are coming up with marketing ideas for your storage facility, it's clear why billboards will come up sooner or later.
The most important thing to understand is that billboards should not be your primary form of advertising.
Instead, consider billboards as supporting your main advertising campaign.
The industry consensus is that billboards are best used for building brand awareness.
This is because billboards do not allow for in-depth communication.
In fact, the ideal length of billboard copy is six words or less. (Yes, you read that right … six words.)
Almost no business can convey its entire marketing message in six words.
However, if you choose the right six words and strong graphics, you can use billboards to build awareness of your facility and help drive traffic to it.
If you decide to pursue billboard advertising for your self storage facility, use the following guidelines to get the most value for your money:
Keep it simple
Drivers have only a few seconds to view your billboard, so you need to convey your message quickly and simply.
This means limiting your copy (again, six words is ideal) and using one dominant graphic element.
When it comes to billboards, the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” definitely applies.
One way to determine if your billboard design is effective is to use the “arm’s length test.”
Once you think you have your billboard design, print it out to the size of a business card and hold it at arm’s length.
Can you easily read it? If not, your design needs some tweaking.
Be creative and clever - but not distracting
The most memorable billboards often use humor or cleverness to convey their message.
In the Arbitron study, 56% of billboard viewers mentioned sharing funny billboards they saw with their friends—thereby maximizing the billboard’s reach.
At the same time, you don’t want your billboard to be distracting, controversial or detract from your primary message. (One famous example of a billboard causing traffic accidents and congestion was the “Hello Boys” Wonderbra ad featuring Eva Herzigova.)
Select your billboard locations carefully
At StoragePug, we’ve found that most storage facility clients live within 10 miles of the facility.
This means you should choose billboards located within this radius to maximize your advertising dollars.
Whenever possible, visit potential billboard locations to get a feel for the area and the amount of traffic. (A billboard along an interstate highway is ideal.) Also look to see which companies are advertising nearby.
If you’re considering a digital billboard, make sure it is well-maintained (i.e., not missing pixels).
Time and quantity matter
When using billboards, the minimum time you want to have them up is at least 30 days.
In addition, the more billboards you have in your target area, the more exposure you’ll get.
Of course, this increases costs so you’ll need to take that into account when determining your billboard budget.
These guidelines will help you determine whether using billboards is the right choice for your self storage facility.
If you have questions, comments, or feedback on this topic, please let us know in the comments!
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About the Author:
Jennifer Pfliegler is a freelance writer for StoragePug. She has been writing and editing for over 15 years.