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Photographing your digital billboard

I must admit I have struggled taking good quality photos of digital signs and billboards for years. Unfortunately, the convenience of snapping a photo on your iPhone does not apply when photographing a digital sign. If you have ever tried taking a photo of a digital billboard, you are very familiar with the “tiling” that appears (see example below).


The “tiling” look when the camera settings are not correct.

I recently purchased a Samsung digital camera. I am not a tech nerd – so I was a little intimidated by all the options and settings. Regardless, I went out in the field on a quest to take amazing photos of my client’s digital advertisements. After pushing every possible button on the camera – my photos still looked subpar. Frustrated, I called it quits for the day and consulted Doctor Google on the optimal way to photograph digital billboards.

Through my Google search, I found all of the answers to my questions on a tutorial by Watchfire Signs. This was the most comprehensive yet easy to digest information that I have found on this topic. My photos now look award winning — ok, that is probably not true, but they do look pretty darn good.


Post-tutorial photo. Ta-da!

If you need some guidance in this department here is the link to the Watchfire Tutorial on Photographing LED signs.

Source: Muscle

Do billboards even work?

Do you need more proof that outdoor advertising is effective? Here are some interesting stats and facts about the travel habits of Americans – conducted by Arbitron.

Arbitron, a media research company, recently conducted an Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising study. The study provides a detailed examination of America’s travel habits and its exposure to outdoor advertising including billboards, digital signage, bus shelters, taxi cabs, kiosks and more. The study also examines the shopping and purchase decisions of America’s on-the-go consumers.

  • The vast majority of U.S. adults have the opportunity to be exposed to out-of-home advertising each month. Close to 9 in 10 Americans aged 18 or older have traveled the roads or rails in a vehicle in the past month including cars, trucks, buses, taxis, commuter rails and subways.
  •  Time spent potentially exposed to Out of Home (OOH) media is significant. The average time spent traveling is over 20 hours per week and covers 169 miles. Mega-Milers, the heaviest travelers, average 363 miles per week.
  • OOH media viewership is high. Three-quarters of total U.S. adults have noticed advertising on static billboards, digital billboards, sides of public buses, bus shelters, taxi cabs, commuter rails, subways or any street level advertising such as kiosks or newspaper stands in the past month; viewership among travelers is 84%.
  • Billboards are the most viewed OOH media. Roughly two-thirds of travelers have seen a billboard advertisement in the past month and over 4 in 10 have viewed a digital billboard.
  • Engagement with billboards is considerably high. Over 8 in 10 billboard viewers make a point to look at the advertising message at least some of the time; nearly half look at the billboard ad each time or almost each time they noticed one.
  • OOH media delivers more affluent consumers. OOH media viewers overall are more likely to live in upper-income households and Mega-Milers, the heaviest travelers who account for the majority of OOH ad impressions, are three times as likely to live in an upper-income household compared to light travelers.
  • Purchasing decisions are often made away from home. Over two-thirds of travelers make their purchasing decisions at some location outside of their home over the course of a typical week; over half report making their purchasing decisions most frequently when they a not home.
  • Out-of-home ads generate buzz. Roughly 4 in 10 OOH media viewers have talked about products they saw advertised with others and 8% have blogged or posted to a social network.
  • Out-of-home ads motivate action. OOH media has prompted 4 in 10 viewers to visit a store or restaurant they saw advertised or watching a TV show.

Source: Muscle

How often should you change your message?

Studies have shown the length of time a campaign remains effective is not necessarily
the result of too much frequency but rather the creative treatment. Some of the many
factors which may shorten or lengthen the effective life of an ad are:

Advertising Message

The complexity and relevance of the message, as well as the style used to
communicate to a consumer have an impact on the length of effectiveness. While
intriguing executions gain the most attention in the short term, if the solution is too
difficult to grasp or too obvious, the “life” of the execution may be much shorter.

Product or Product Category

Some product groups are more sensitive to consumer apathy than others.

Target Audience

The composition of the target audience has a bearing on the duration of an ad’s
usefulness. An ad aimed mainly at adults might have a quick wearout factor among

Number of Creative Executions

Multiple executions can be effective during a sustained advertising period. Multiple
executions of the strategy and relatively short posting times can be used to prolong the
ad’s “life.”

Timing and Flighting of Campaign

Mediacom’s What Works study has shown that outdoor can sustain awareness even
after the campaign has ended. Up to six weeks after the campaign has ended there is
no significant drop in awareness.


Competition pressures can affect an ad’s longevity. Where there is little differentiation
in the creative style of two competing products, strong media pressure can result in
category overkill and accelerate decay of both ads.

Media Weight Levels

The weight level plays a major role in determining the rate at which consumers learn of tire of a specific execution. Campaigns with heavy weight levels can extend awareness by using multiple executions through the advertising period.
Source: University of Alberta Study
For more information please visit

Source: Muscle

7 Billboard Design Tips

We have all seem them. The busy billboards, jam-packed with information. It’s easy to make the mistake of wanting to fill a billboard that is 300+ square feet with information about your business. In the case of billboards, however, the old adage “Less is More” rings true.

Here are 7 tips to help you maximize your billboard design:

1. Keep it simple. 7-10 words of copy, maximum.
2. Use 1 point of contact, maximum. A website, phone number, street address, etc are not ALL needed in your ad. Choose one, or even none.
3. Focus on 1 message. Too many messages creates confusion.
4. Be bold, using high contrasting colors.
5. Use big fonts.
6. Use simple crisp fonts. The fancier the font, the less likely it will be legible.
7. Include these 4 components:

  1. A compelling image or photograph
  2. A catchy headline
  3. Logo/Name
  4. One form of contact info (if any)

Lastly, after implementing these 7 tips, give your design the “billboard test”. Print off a copy of your billboard proof or mock-up that was prepared for you by either your graphic designer or the billboard company. This can be on a regular 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. Now, take that print out and tape it to a wall. Once taped to the wall, step back 10 feet. Can you read it? What is the main message that you take away from that billboard design? Next, get another opinion – preferably somebody that isn’t already familiar with your business or message. What do they take-away from the design? If you both take-away a positive message, chances are you billboard design is ready to go live! If you have conflicting thoughts on the main take-away, chances are good that you need to go back to the drawing board.

Here is a great example of the “Less is More” approach with billboard designs.


Far too much going on here.


Simple is better. This is a perfect branding style billboard.

If you need help crafting your perfect billboard design, please contact us!

Source: Muscle

5 “Free” Advertising Programs

I often get asked, “What can I start doing today to advertise my small business without spending a dime on advertising?”

Here are 5 tips that you can start implementing today, without dropping a penny from your marketing budget:

  1. Social Media. Depending on the type of business, you should strongly consider getting a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and whatever else the social media du jour may be. Of course, deciding which one or ones your business should sign up for is an entirely separate blog article in and of itself. Here’s the rule of thumb for the purposes of this article: Get your business active on whichever social media platform(s) you are most comfortable. For example: If you are an avid Facebooker on the personal side, create a Facebook page for your business. On the other hand, if you are not comfortable with social media, perhaps you should skip this step for now.
  2. Email Marketing. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? In short, the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your business will result from 20% of your customers. Stay in touch with your current customers. Keep them posted on interesting news about your business. The optimal word here is “interesting”. I am not suggesting that you should flood your client’s inboxes with useless information everyday. On the contraire, I am suggesting that you stay engaged with your customers when you have a compelling reason to email them. Always answer the question “What’s in it for my customer” before you hit send. Here are some examples of the compelling reasons for your customer to open your email:
    • A sale. Everybody loves a sale. If your business rarely has one, this email will be even more enticing for your customer to open.
    • An event. Maybe you are hosting an open house with free giveaways? Perhaps an interesting person (that your customer base finds interesting, that is) will be speaking at an event you are hosting?
    • Educational information. This could be anything from news in your industry to a new product available at your store. Example: A coffee shop just starting selling a popular seasonal flavor coffee for a limited time only.

3. Invoice Marketing. My cell phone carrier loves this technique. Every month my bill includes at least one piece of self-promotion in addition to the bill. If you are in a business that sends out invoices via snail mail, why not capitalize on this mailing? This is a great opportunity to contact these clients with more “compelling” information.

4. Optimize social proof! Simply put, social proof are customer testimonials. According to HubSpot, 78% of Internet users conduct product research online. What does this mean to you? Other than the fact that your business needs an effective website, it also means that the more positive feedback OTHER people say about your business online, the more likely that person is to do business with you. Examples of social proof online:

  • Yelp! This might not pertain to every business, but it is especially essential for those businesses that are geared toward Business to Consumer, versus Business to Business. I don’t know about you, but I rely on Yelp! whenever I visit a new town for things such as restaurants, hotels, gyms, coffee shops, and even dog parks! This linkwill let you claim your business on Yelp!
  • Facebook reviews. If you have a Facebook page, consider adding a review tab to your page. It is quick and free! Here is a link for more details.
  • Google reviews. More information can be found here.
  • Your website. You can either add in the customer reviews from the Google and Facebook pages, and/or you can create a separate page dedicated to customer testimonials. There is no right or wrong way!

5. Speak! Position yourself as the expert in your field and provides a setting where potential customers can approach you. Seek out speaking engagements whenever possible. These speaking engagements can be on a large or small scale.  And remember, when you do obtain a speaking engagement that is a perfect time to let your customers and prospects know through Email Marketing and Social Media sharing!

I hope that you found these tips useful and hopefully you can implement at least one, if not all of these tips this week! Please share below in the comment section any “free” marketing ideas that you have implemented and how they have benefited your business.