Ad Copy and Your Billboard
Now that you’ve determined your billboard’s purpose, it’s time to think through your ad copy strategy. Just like with other types of ads, it’s not an exaggeration to assume your ad copy has the power to make or break your billboard advertising efforts. Consider these principles as you create your ad copy:
Keep it simple
Billboards, compared to other types of ads, have a finite amount of space. In order to create powerful billboard ad copy, you need to 1) recognize this and 2) consider less being more in your quest for simplicity. A billboard that is covered with ad copy that’s long and not specific is not going to grab a lot of attention. And if it does grab attention, it might be for the wrong reasons. Keep your thoughts, concepts, and the words you use simple enough for someone driving past to fully understand your message. This is certainly not an easy task, but when done right it can have far more impact than long-form content.
There is power in specifics versus generalities, especially when you consider developing more trust with your prospective customers. For example, saying “Nearly 100,000 people” is a stretch, and anyone reading it can tell that the number is less than what the company is actually displaying. This approach is not the best way to build customer trust right off the bat. Instead, using a number more specific like “98,782” can show customers it’s a real number and not something that’s completely made up. These specifics can help you gain trust from those viewing your ad copy and help them remember your messaging.
Use second person, present tense
If your ad copy in any way refers to someone else, make sure to use present tense and second person structure. Put another way, talk directly to your customers. Show them the value proposition you’re offering is meant for them, not someone else generally. Compare the difference in personalization between these two examples:
Buyers will have a great experience.
You will have a great experience.
Show your customers how important they are by including them in your ad copy if/where applicable. Not only will it read better, but it will put your prospective customers right in the ad copy itself.
Keep it consistent
You’ll want to make sure that the ad copy you use is consistent, both on your billboard itself and across your brand’s assets. For example, since a billboard is a great place to generate initial awareness of who you are and what you do, having completely different colors, fonts, tag lines, or phrases is going to confuse your customers and will ultimately defeat the purpose of helping people become more familiar with who you are and what you do.
Don’t be afraid to ask your viewers to act. When you’re direct and bold in your messaging, it gives them more of a chance to remember you and your messaging. As simple as it sounds, the more people who remember your messaging the more likely they will be to follow through and complete an action down your marketing funnel. Not only that but when you are bold in your messaging it can come across as much simpler and easier to understand. When you’re beating around the bush with marketing copy, it can have a tendency to confuse the reader, making it far less effective in helping you reach your overall objectives. This is especially true with billboard design, due to the limited amount of real estate you have to work with.