Usually its the opposite. A brick and mortar guy takes what he knows about advertising and tries to use it to create an online marketing campaign. But I have it backwards. While I am no master of the landing page, a little trial and error and one Tim Ash DomainFest seminar and I’m better than I used to be. You have one goal, a clear and concise message that gets them to take a certain action. To much flash and you have sensory overload. Too much clutter and they don’t navigate the site in the way you desire. You get a few seconds to get it right and if you don’t, they simply leave. I think billboards are no different.
As a person drives past a billboard you have only a few seconds. If you are lucky or have the right placement, they may get stuck at a light and you get a few more. They’re not going to remember you phone number unless its a strong vanity number. Your web address needs to be strong for the same reasons. In my opinion the passerbys are only going to remember a few things. If you push more than that they are going to forget. I use designers to help me craft my ideas into this giant board and its always the same. They make this fancy, beautiful design with lots of color and flash. Every time I do one the designer thinks my design is boring, the fonts are too big, and the scale is way off. This latest billboard is no different. And no doubt, they are correct but it serves a purpose. To create a memory and instantly let the reader know who we are and what we are trying to sell. I’m not looking to win a design award, I’m looking to leave a memory or create an action. Of course I don’t want it to be ugly or shock. We sell plants and plants are supposed to be beautiful and calming so I can’t stray too far away.
Here is the billboard that went up yesterday. We are the biggest mulch and rock seller in town but I still think we only have 30% the market. I want the rest. I want the people that buy at gas stations and at the chain stores to know that we sell bagged or bulk product and I feel the quality is much better than the bagged product. I’m pretty sure they’re not going to remember our number but I think I can get them to remember our name and web address. They certainly can see we sell mulch and rock. There was no point in listing out all the different types because they wouldn’t know what they are by name and it would be cluttered. I figured filling the letters would visually show them we had a lot of different colors to choose from. Yeah, our name is big but can a name be too big on a billboard?
This board is on one of the busiest corners of town and when traffic gets bad in the morning and evening commute there are a lot of people that are going to be stuck looking at it. Its going to take a while to know its true effectiveness but if day one is any indication its going to do well. The board went up at noon and we had a call for a quote for 120 yards of mulch, booked and delivered 3 yards, and had one guy come in to talk about trees. He had planned to come in anyway but said he was reminded by the sign. And the sign had only been up 5 hours.
This is what I love about being both an Internet and brick and mortar guy. What you learn can be applied to so many different things in both worlds. I have a ton more to learn but I feel I get a little better every day. By no means am I saying I am a stud billboard designer but I do feel that it will perform better than 95% of the boards up there. Then again, I don’t think most of the people putting up the boards have any clue or even care about board performance. They make a pretty picture and hope people call or its some corporate dude
just spending their marketing budget and putting up a sign corporate says a testing group said was best. My testing group will be my mulch sales this year.