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Outdoor advertising your business on a budget

Unless you work for Google, the chances are your outdoor advertising budget is going to have strict limits. You may even be on a shoestring budget.

But that doesn’t mean outdoor advertising is not for you. There are plenty of ways to create effective outdoor campaigns on a budget. Let’s take a look at how.

Understanding your budget

According to a 2017 study, the average advertising spend across all industries is around 7% of revenue.

In 2016 it was found that the average small or medium sized business in the US made $390,000 in turnover each year. So let’s say your business makes £300,000 in turnover each year. If we take an average marketing spend of 7% that gives us a marketing budget to work with of £21,000 per year, or £1,750 per month. You should break down your budget in this way to get an idea of how much you have to play with. Next, think about your ideal outdoor marketing scenario.

Would it be…

Year-round outdoor ads?

Strategically placed outdoor ads in the run-up to key sales points?

Once you have a solid idea of what you want to achieve, the next step is to look into the most effective way to realise your objectives on a budget.

Be focused

The trick to outdoor advertising on a budget is to be really focused when planning your ad campaigns.

Let’s say you run a DIY store, with one site in a small town. Easter Bank Holiday is a classic time for DIY, so it may be a sales priority for you. You could take out, say, 4 outdoor ads within 2 miles of your store in the 2 weeks run-up before Easter weekend. For example, you could book 4 bus stop ads for around £1,000 for 2 weeks. You might not be able to spend that much on outdoor advertising every month, but as a one-off it could significantly boost your takings at crucial points in your year.

Maximise your campaign impact

You want to maximise the impact of each pound of your outdoor advertising budget. One way to do this is to reinforce your outdoor ads with online targeting.

Outdoor ads have a big impact on audiences. They stick in people’s minds. But then they get on with their days. Lots of other stimuli are vying for attention. If the person who saw your outdoor ad then sees an ad for your company on social media, they will not only recall seeing your previous ad, they will mentally log your brand; “that’s interesting, I saw an ad for that earlier”. The more familiar audiences are with your brand, and the more they come into contact with your ads, the deeper the connection they will feel to you, and the greater the chances that they will engage with you.

This is the principle behind online ad “retargeting”.

image showing a diagram of how retargeting can help grow your business

Well, let’s call our approach “offline retargeting”; delivering high impact outdoor ads which are then reinforced by online advertising. And with, for example, Facebook location targeting, you can target areas of less than 10km from your physical address. This would maximise the likelihood that both your outdoor ad and online ads reached the same audience.

Outdoor advertising design on a budget

Another area in which you can advertise outdoors on a budget is by saving on ad design.

You can source professional quality, royalty free images from sites like Unsplash, Pixabay and Gratisography. Their images can be used for commercial advertising, and you can repurpose them in your ad designs.

We’re at a point where a range of DIY design tools are available to create professional looking adverts without any design experience.

You can even use sites like Shakr to create short video ads which can be displayed on digital screens. The simple drag and drop interface means all you have to do is select the right template for your needs, upload images and footage where relevant, and plug in your ad copy.

image showing a screenshot from Shakr on customising video design for outdoor advertising

Optimise conversion

It’s one thing to create engaging outdoor ads that put your brand in the best light and appeal to audiences. But it’s another thing to turn that engagement into paying customers, which is of course your ultimate goal.

To do this you need to pay attention to the journey that your audience will go on, from seeing your ads to engaging with your brand.

image showing screen shot from showing a flow chart for optimising conversion on an advert


Map out the pathways they might take.

If your ad says, “WizzardGizmos: sale now on!” are people going to search for “WizzardGizmos sale” online? If so, what comes up? Often ads just direct people to a brand’s homepage. This is a mistake; you should actually be directing people to a landing page which is optimised to convert people into paying customers.

So when people search for “wizzard gimos sale”, they should come across a landing page such as That page should be ruthlessly designed for the desired conversion you want.

image showing an example of a landing page when optimising adverts for outdoor advertising

By optimising your brand’s ability to turn audience engagement into customer actions, you will make sure every penny of your ad spend has maximum impact.

Build an outdoor ad campaign with Bubble Outdoor

Bubble Outdoor is designed to help small businesses find affordable outdoor advertising at the click of a button. You can register for an account for free and search for a wide range of ad panels in your area, or anywhere across the UK. We can even design your ads for you. Signup now and start searching today.

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