When to Buy Billboards as a Small Business

When to Buy Billboards as a Small Business

Investing in billboard advertising requires significant budget. Here’s one estimate of what a billboard may cost small businesses:

The cost of billboard advertising depends on format, circulation, demographics, and impressions. Physical billboard costs average $250 per month in rural areas, $1,500-$4,000 in small to midsize cities, and $14,000 and up in larger markets. Digital billboards can cost over $15,000, depending on the location.

Consider that a marketing campaign may require multiple billboards across an area, and the monthly cost really adds up.

For most small businesses, a billboard doesn’t make marketing sense. But here’s when this mass marketing tactic might work:

  • Your small business serves a large percentage of the population in a concentrated geographic area…
  • AND you have a compelling message that can be communicated in about 10 words or less…
  • AND you can create high-quality, engaging graphics…
  • AND billboards are part of an overall marketing campaign that includes other media.

Billboards may be mass marketing, but there is a very limited use for them with small business marketing.

To make the investment worthwhile, they must communicate a valuable marketing message to relevant customers in the blink of an eye.

Case Example of Successful Small Business Billboards

In my city of Cincinnati, local restaurant chain Frisch’s Big Boy and bakery chain Busken have a pumpkin pie feud each Thanksgiving. Both brands put up cheeky billboards, and we all enjoy the rivalry. And we all eat too much pie. Small businesses can certainly take inspiration from this idea for their own local customs and traditions.

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