Research and reports
Billboard advertising is a traditional form of offline promotion for any business wanting to target a specific location. Used in combination with other marketing tactics, a billboard ad could help attract new customers and build your brand.
In this guide we explore some of the benefits of billboard advertising and how to create an advert. We also hear from the lucky small business owner who won a free billboard advert in a Simply Business competition.
Black Culture Market, a social enterprise that celebrates black culture and commerce, beat more than 1,100 other small businesses to win a free advert in our billboard competition.
Small businesses were invited to enter for their chance to win free design work and advertising space in their home region.
Black Culture Market was chosen by our judges and won a billboard in London. The Brixton-based event runs every three months and aims to help close the wealth gap, create more jobs and opportunities, and inspire more ownership.
Beyond its pop-up weekends, the platform brings the opportunity for great systemic advancement for African and Caribbean communities. With just 0.24 per cent of capital in the UK going to black entrepreneurs (just 0.02 per cent to black female entrepreneurs), access to early-stage capital is limited. Black Culture Market aims to drive change by creating autonomy and encouraging communities to shop small with black-owned businesses.
On winning the competition, Jen Baptiste, founder of Black Culture market commented: "It’s an amazing opportunity to be selected as the winner of the Simply Business billboard competition.
“The space will enable us to increase brand awareness and build consumer confidence, attract new audiences, and provide the public with an exciting visual reference of what we do.
“Billboards are a great tool that consumers notice, trust, and remember and we hope to reach a larger, more diverse range of people and attract a captive audience. We are grateful to have won and more importantly to be able to share this opportunity with the businesses we support.”
Here’s a few ways a billboard advertising campaign could help your small business:
However some of the drawbacks of billboard advertising include:
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have a well thought out marketing strategy. Download our marketing plan template to get started.
Emotions inspire action. That means you want your audience to feel something when they see your billboard – and hopefully that will encourage them to buy your product or service.
A big part of that is telling stories and having a consistent brand identity. Lucy Hitchcock (founder of Partner in Wine) talks more about brand storytelling here.
Once you’re happy with your brand identity – colours, tone of voice, logo, and font – then you’ll be ready to start creating your ad.
To create a good billboard advert, keep these things in mind:
Alan Thomas, our UK CEO at Simply Business commented: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to support the Black Culture Market by sponsoring and designing a billboard for their business, and delighted that Jen and her team are so happy with the result.
"Our research found that many small businesses are being forced to implement price increases, slow their plans for expansion, and even stop hiring. As a result, advertising and marketing can slip further down the list of priorities whilst SMEs fight rising costs and supply chain woes. Giving the Black Culture Market the opportunity for free advertising space will hopefully provide a significant boost in these difficult times.”
The Black Culture Market billboard will be live in Brixton between 20 February and 5 March, ahead of the next market on 4 and 5 March 2023 at Downstairs, The Department Store, 248 Ferndale road, Brixton, SW9 8FR.
Have you tried billboard advertising for your business? Let us know your experience in the comments below.
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Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.
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