As a small or midsize business owner, you're always looking for ways to attract new clients, including pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media activity and blogging. Is it time to consider whether out-of-home advertising is right for your business?

Out-of-home advertising is any advertising that reaches your audience when they're outside of their house. For example, the ads you see in airports, at the bus station or on billboards are this type of advertising. This strategy works for many businesses, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Here's what to consider if you're thinking about posting local ads for your business.

The Benefits of Advertising Outside the Home

Thousands of commuters drive by billboards or ride commuter trains in any major city every day. Out-of-home advertising allows you to build awareness of your brand and help consumers commit it to memory by putting it right in front of them. According to a study conducted by Arbitron and Edison Research, roughly 75 percent of adults in the U.S. notice ads on the sides of buses, on billboards, in taxi cabs and in other arenas outside the home. This same study found that out-of-home ads prompt 40 percent of viewers to visit an advertised store or restaurant.

When to Consider Out-of-Home Advertising

Advertising on billboards and transit stations isn't right for every business. These kinds of ads are expensive because they're shown to so many people. Before diving in, make sure you're not banking on out-of-home advertising to bring in new business. This type of advertising is best for building awareness, rather than driving direct sales. It works best for businesses that:

  • Serve the local community.
  • Cater to consumers, offering a product that benefits everyone who sees it.
  • Sell high-priced, big purchases such as cars or mortgages.

Calculating ROI

One of the trickiest parts of this form of advertising is calculating your return on investment (ROI). If you spend $10,000 on a billboard on a major interstate, will you make it back in sales? Unlike online advertising, it's very difficult to track results from billboards, ads on transit and other forms of out-of-home advertising.

That doesn't mean it's impossible. It's important to find out where people hear about your offerings. When customers buy from you, you can ask them where they heard about you and record this information. Did they see your billboard or are they coming in from referrals?

If you want to get your brand in front of a new audience, advertising outside the home is a solid option. Not only will it encourage new customers to check out your business, but it will remind past customers of the exemplary services you provide. However, do your homework and make sure you're ready to commit.

Tags: small business Brand Awareness Advertising Out of Home Advertising Billboards