Every billboard has a natural advertiser if you can just help them find the sign. In this Billboard Mastery podcast we’re going to show you the five easy steps to finding the right advertiser for your billboard as well as explain why they’re so effective.
Episode 83: How To Rent Any Billboard In Five Easy Steps Transcript
Pop quiz, is a vacant billboard good or bad? Well, you knew the answer, of course it was bad. Pop quiz, what are the top five ways to get any billboard rented and out the door. That's the topic of what we're about to talk about. This is Frank Rolfe with the Billboard Mastery Podcast, and we're gonna be going over the top five ways for you to get any sign rented. Now, renting signs is a science, it's not just random, like people think. You don't just ponder it and they just come to you, no. You've gotta have a system down, and these are the top five ways to get that system going for you. The first one is to put your phone number on your sign, put "Sign Available" and a phone number. "Sign For Rent", any phone number. Because if you think about it, if we're trying to tell the world the billboard is so darned effective, why would it not be effective in renting itself?
So if you put the big phone number up there, then advertisers coming from wherever they may be coming from, however random, they know that your sign is available for rent and what the phone number is to call and inquire about it. I've rented billboards to people so far away, I would have never found them. Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico calling wanting billboards 500 miles away, so people can start thinking about it. Casinos 100 miles away, again, wanting to start your thought process as you approach the casino, hey, maybe I should have a gambling holiday, and if you don't have your phone number up on the sign, you'll never capture those kinds of advertisers. Number two, make a complete list of who all the top players are for the billboard, now who would your top players be? Well, we all know the role of billboards' ability to say the words exit now is very, very critical, so it would clearly be anyone at the exits right after the billboard, maybe the next two or three exits, those would be your very, very top players. Because there's nothing more powerful in a sign than to have the name of the business and the words exit now or next exit or exit number.
So those are people who are your primary sources of an advertiser. Next, you gotta reach out to those people, and you can reach out to them either by phone or by sending them a letter, letting them know that you've got this billboard that's available that you think would be perfect for them. Sometimes I've taken pieces of foam core, like you buy at the Dollar Store, that real thick white foam core, and I have written on that foam core that I've got a perfect billboard for them and dropped it off at their business, and I guarantee you they will call you 'cause no one's ever done that trick before. No one knows what to do with it. It's so awkward, they're gonna be impressed that you put that effort and you kind of outsmarted the system, rather than send them a regular letter, which is forgettable, they might not even open it. If you give them a big giant calling card, then typically that will definitely get their attention.
Number four, after you let them know you have this perfect sign for them, you gotta reach out to them and see if they're interested. You have this list. These are your primary folks. You think, well, one of them is surely gonna be perfect for it. Well, then reach out to them and let them know that you have the sign. But after just a few days have transpired, call them and say, hey, I was calling to follow up. I sent you this letter regarding this billboard, or I dropped off that piece of foam core regarding the billboard, or I called and talked to you recently about the billboard and was just following up to see, what do you think? Does the billboard work for you? Finally, it's time to try and close the deal. You think of yourself as a stock exchange, you're trying to find the ideal customer for that billboard, but you don't really know what their budgets are, you don't really know their expectations of marketing, so the best you can try and do is try and match that sign with the best offer you can get from those people who it will probably work for, so find out what that price should be. You can use expressions like what would I have to do to get you to rent this billboard? To try and smoke them out on really what their bottom dollar would be. If you want a $1000 a month for the billboard, and they just say, "Well, you know, I don't know, I probably can't afford it."
Then say, "Well, what would it take to make this billboard work for you?" just to bring that suspense to an end. And if they say, "Well, the most I could afford is $600," and you've got four people, one came in at $700, one at $600, one at $500, one at $400, then you're clearly gonna go with the one at $700 because you now know at that moment in time, how much you can get for it from the best possible advertiser. And also don't forget that another part of the puzzle for a lot of advertisers is how long they have to commit to. Some are willing to commit to signs if they have a shorter term to see whether it works for them or not, so if you want a one-year deal on the sign, you may get a whole different subset of potential advertisers, than if you allow someone to go six months, and if you get an advertiser on the six-month deal at the higher rate and then they renew because they like it, then in the end you did better.
It's also always important, remember, that the key to happiness and success in the billboard industry is through renewal, you want people to renew, you want them to like that sign so much that they never wanna get off of it, and that's why it's important that you think through who this primary prospects are, the people at those exits because if you match that sign with one of them and it's effective, then they'll stay on it year after year after year. And it makes your job so much easier. The bottom line is, there is an advertiser for every sign in America. There's no reason to ever have a vacancy. If someone has a vacancy, the problem isn't that nobody wants a sign, it's just that that sign company has not been very good at being a matchmaker, matching that sign with the best and most appropriate advertiser, but there is an advertiser for every sign, and if you follow the methods I just went over, you'll be able to find them fairly quickly and that'll be a success for everyone involved. This is Frank Rolfe of the Billboard Mastery Podcast. I hope you enjoyed this. Talk to you again soon.