In many ways, integrated campaigns represent the Holy Grail for marketers and local businesses. One of the primary reasons for this is the demands of consumers, with an estimated 72% of all customers thought to prefer an integrated marketing approach in the digital age.
However, smaller firms with a local focus may be deterred from formulating integrated marketing campaigns, in the mistaken belief that adopting this approach exists outside of their financial means.
This is a huge misconception, however, as the integration of campaigns allows for the use of shared assets across multiple channels. As a result, integrated campaigns can save you considerable sums of money whilst enabling you to fully optimise your resources.
In this post, we’ll look at how you can dominate your local market with an integrated campaign, which comprises both billboard advertising and other forms of traditional marketing.
Why Billboard Advertising is Ideal for Local Businesses
One of the benefits of integrated campaigns is that they allow you to structure your marketing efforts, as you initially leverage top-of-funnel content and channels to build brand awareness and target as large a target audience as possible.
From here, the marketing funnel narrows in line with the typical customer journey, as you strive to use alternative channels as a way of persuading prospects to purchase from your brand and optimising sales conversions.
In some respects, billboards represent the ideal top-of-funnel marketing channel, and there are numerous reasons for this
On a fundamental level, billboards can be erected strategically and in a number of local locations, enabling you to reach the optimal amount of target customers within a viable catchment area.
You can even adjust the size of your advert to target customers in different scenarios and at various junctures during the working day.
For example, 48 and 96-sheet roadside billboards can be deployed along popular commuter routes to target the 36% of customers who still travel to work by car, whereas adverts located at train and bus stations can also be used to engage the 31% of British workers who combine walking with various modes of public transport.
At the same time, smaller billboards can be displayed in areas that benefit from significant footfall and on-foot traffic, with this type of advert having the added advantage of potentially targeting customers when they’re already shopping and more likely to engage with brands.
These adverts can have a cumulative impact in the minds of customers, as they combine to build awareness of a particular brand and drive recognition.
What’s more, they’re capable of reaching consumers during periods of the day when they’re most likely to be susceptible to advertising, particularly when presented with non-intrusive channels that meld seamlessly with the natural environment.
Interestingly, the use of traditional billboards over digital alternatives can help you to forge an ever-stronger presence in your local area. This is because traditional billboards can be booked exclusively for a designated period of time, affording you exclusivity and securing you a superior return on your ROI.
At the same time, digital billboards typically feature six distinct adverts that are rotated during each 60-second period. This means that your own message will only be displayed for 10 seconds at a time, minimising your exposure whilst requiring you to pay considerably more for the privilege.
With these points in mind, traditional and paper billboards offer significant value to small businesses, particularly those that are looking to build awareness amongst targeted local customers.
How to Leverage Billboard Advertising as Part of an Integrated Campaign
At this stage, it’s easy to see why billboard advertising should underpin your integrated marketing campaign.
The question that remains, of course, is which other marketing channels can help you to leverage the full benefits of billboard advertising and build an ultimately successful campaign?
To begin with, it can be argued that the distribution of flyers and similar materials within targeted local areas represents an excellent way to build on effective billboard advertising. This is the first stage of shifting customers through the marketing funnel, as you continue to build awareness and drive recognition.
Like billboard advertising, this channel also boasts a relatively high level of engagement, with an estimated 36% of respondents saying that they find direct mail and flyers quite useful when compared with other advertising media.
Not only this, but this type of media also delivers an estimated £14 return for every £1 spent, which should be music to the ears of small and locally focused businesses nationwide.
So, you can continue to minimise the cost of your integrated campaign without compromising on your ROI or the underlying customer journey.
It’s also important that you don’t underestimate the role that billboard advertising can play in driving assisted conversions. This term refers to Google’s measure of any interaction that leads to the conversion of a particular customer, and it can be ascribed a value based on its impact in the minds of consumers.
With a viable local SEO strategy, you can effectively promote your products and services to local customers and the exact time that they’re looking for them online, having initially engaged consumers through your billboards ads.
Another key benefit of this practice is that it enables you to target local customers directly online, through the use of relevant keyword phrases and citations.
A citation refers to any place where your business’ NAPW (name, address, phone number and website URL) data appears together online, typically in a virtual business directory or listings site.
These play a pivotal role in successful local SEO campaigns, as failing to appear in the places where customers typically search online for brands and service providers will leave you at the mercy of competitors.
There are two types of citation; namely structured and unstructured. The former usually appear in formal listing and directories, so it’s important to register with these sites as soon as possible.
You can also focus on developing unstructured citations through press releases and social media content, and this can have a significant bearing on your local SEO efforts.
With this type of content, your NAPW (Name, address, phone number and website) information is usually published as part of an article in an unstructured format, whilst you’ll typically include a link that can connect customers directly to your website.
So, even if some customers may have missed your billboard ads, you can leverage local SEO techniques to capture them online when they search for specific keywords and phrases.
As you continue to build awareness and promote your business locally, it’s also wise to create a tangible presence in the minds of customers.
After all, whilst billboards may help to create widespread awareness of your business and brand, reinforcing this through networking events and participating in local community projects can really afford you a competitive edge over your rivals.
In the case of networking events, studies estimate that 72% of people say their impressions are impacted by how someone appears and their handshake, so there’s clear value to having your business representatives meet local customers and clients in a face-to-face setting.
In essence, this creates a face for your brand and helps it to transcend various types of content, as you look to forge viable relationships with customers and reiterate that you’re a corporeal local business that has an active presence in the area.
Participating in community projects and events also serves a similar purpose, not least because it helps your business to become synonymous with the local area and creates an authentic brand persona that customers can identify with.
Becoming immersed in the local community helps your business to go even further, however, as it reinforces their commitment to potential customers and the notion that their not overly preoccupied with bottom line profits.
This is arguably more important than ever before, particularly with a 2017 report from Shoppercentric revealing that an estimated 46% of people are categorised as being cynical and displaying a distinct lack of interest in others.
Naturally, this impacts directly on small businesses and established brands alike, and in this respect your business can steal a march on its rivals by creating the type of positive and proactive local presence that overcomes people’s inherent cynicism.
The Last Word
Whilst the concept of an integrated marketing campaign may have always been popular amongst small and local businesses, this type of strategy is now more affordable and accessible than ever before.
This has much to do with traditional billboard ads, which can be sourced at extremely competitive prices and help to build extensive brand awareness at the top of the marketing funnel.
Billboards are also capable of driving assisted conversions across multiple marketing channels, enabling them to underpin extremely successful integrated campaigns.
With these points in mind and the right execution, you can hopefully create an integrated marketing campaign that ultimately cuts costs while also optimising your ROI.