Why outdoor advertising can be for small brands with small budgets

Let’s cut to the chase; outdoor advertising is hardly the go-to medium for small businesses today. At first glance, it’s easy to see why. Why spend potentially hundreds of pounds on one or two outdoor ads, when for the same money you could, for example, generate hundreds of clicks on a Google ad?

image showing Business section of a newspaper

But there are some major problems with this approach.

Firstly, just because other forms of advertising are cheaper by the pound, so to speak, doesn’t mean they will deliver the same ROI or gain you the same level of brand exposure.

Secondly, with advances in technology and automated ad booking platforms like Bubble, even small brands can buy affordable outdoor ads that can quickly win them a competitive advantage over their rivals.

Brand building with outdoor advertising

There are lots of advantages to using outdoor advertising as a key part of your marketing mix, but one of the greatest has to be its capacity for brand building.

We can’t emphasise this enough; you have to find a way to stand out from your competition, and outdoor is a great way to do this.

image of Casper logo

Take a lesson from the meteoric rise of mattress brand, Casper. Amazingly, this was a brand that went from zero to $100-million-dollar proposition within two years. They targeted a wide demographic range with their quirky outdoor ads that played a big role in making them a household name.

Outdoor advertising reinforces your marketing strategy

Let’s say you have £1000 per month available for your total marketing budget.

You could, for example, take out 4 phone box ads each month and still have £100 left to reinforce them with a paid social media campaign. The campaign could even target people in the very area you ran your outdoor ads, increasing the likelihood that you can hit your audience with some quality repeat exposure.

image showing Ribena's outdoor advertising on phoneboxes

That’s the great thing about outdoor advertising; you get the extra impact of having outdoor marketing assets connecting to your audience, whilst using other formats to reinforce your message. Using Outdoor to reinforce your campaigns is so much more powerful than simply spending your whole budget on one format.

Get your brand recognised in your local area

It’s worth honing in on the concept of locality in advertising; many small businesses are part of a community, with a network of connections in a specific geographical area. The long-term health of your business depends upon being an established brand in your area. What better way to bed yourself into your community than via outdoor advertising?

If your business requires customers to walk in your door, you could take out outdoor advertisements within a three-mile radius of your offices or shop front. This creates a confined space in which you are targeting people who are likely to be attracted by your services. If you’re advertising your new fair trade coffee shop, you’ll want to take out ads on the streets leading up to your premises. This is particularly handy if your venue is slightly off the beaten track.

Use of outdoor advertising by startups

The digital marketing startup Percolate used outdoor advertising to get noticed by execs as they climbed into taxis, and to reach out to potential employees in their area.

image of Percolate logo

We’re increasingly seeing startups moving to outdoor. There are various reasons for this, but one is that online advertising has dominated so much of marketers’ attention for so long that people are finally starting to look for more innovative ways to get their brand noticed.

Learn from the big brands

UK ad spend on out-of-home in 2016 was £1.1bn. This was more than was spent on formats like new media, magazines, and radio. Big brands understand that OOH is an important plank in their marketing mix. You can take advantage of outdoor advertising to pull your brand up by its bootstraps. Thinking big wins big.

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