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Yard Signs: A Cost-Effective Way to Share Your Business Name
While it may not be the first form of marketing that comes to mind, yard signs are one of the most low-cost advertising options out there. If your primary marketing strategy is EDDM (every door direct mail) yard signs should be one of your first investments. However, you shouldn’t just go planting your business’ yard signs anywhere and everywhere, you’ll need to be more strategic than that.
The key to successful yard sign marketing is picking the best location. You’ll want to look for areas that have high foot traffic, and have high visibility. Yard sign marketing is a numbers game: the more trafficked the area you place your yard sign is, the better your chances will be that they’ll generate new business. Many studies have shown that customers need to be exposed to a product at least seven times before they decide to buy it, see here.
Where To Leave Yard Signs
Before You Begin
Identifying Good Placement Areas
Anywhere traffic stops is generally a good bet for where to put signs. This gives drivers time to read your sign and potentially even snap a photo with your information. So, be sure to place your signs in highly trafficked areas that are close to the road where drivers will be most likely to see them. Intersections and public medians are great choices.
If you decide to place signs in an area like a public median, either have signs made double-sided or place them on both sides of the street. If you’re putting up signs in residential areas, houses on corners are best.
Look for roads that typically get congested with traffic around rush hours, as a captive audience will have more time to look at their surroundings, see your sign, and maybe even have time to take a picture of it or save your company phone number.
Areas with a high foot traffic rate like parking lots are also a great choice. Since your audience is taking the time to park, walking to appointments, or waiting in their car, they’re more likely to have time to read your sign and jot down your information. Consider small businesses where people are likely to wait for someone like a hairdresser, doctor’s office, or somewhere people spend time like parks.
Taking it a step further, another great strategy is to place your signs in parking lots of stores that have a similar customer base to yours. For example, if you operate a lawn care or landscaping business, you may want to place your signs around flower shops.
Here’s some more examples:
- Pool Service Businesses: your target market owns a pool, so look for local pool supply stores
- Cleaning Service Businesses: your target market is busy parents or homeowners that don’t have the time or energy to clean, so look for local daycare centers, grocery stores, and furniture stores. You can also take a look at City Data to find high income areas near you, as these customers will be more likely to pay for premium services.
- Appliance Repair Businesses: you’ll want to look for stores that supply the appliances you service, so a great example of these would be stores like BestBuy, Fry’s Electronics, or Office Depot.
After you know the ideal spots to display your signs, you’ll need to get permission. This is usually as simple as asking friends, family, and current customers to put up signs or just knocking on people’s doors and asking permission.
This can also be a great way to get customers. For example, you might walk door-to-door on a busy street with houses and tell customers you’re hoping to put out some yard signs. This gives you the chance to educate them about your business and offer them a discount to sweeten the deal. In addition to displaying your signs, they may also refer you to neighbors.
Remember, this isn’t one of those “do it and then ask for forgiveness later” situations, because nine times out of ten, you’ll end up alienating the customer or worse, angering them enough that they’ll tell their family and friends about the situation. In addition to opening yourself up to negative word-of-mouth, you could also get slapped with a fine from the local municipality, especially when the offense occurred in a public area such as intersections.
Be sure to come prepared with yard signs whenever you head to a new job. An easy way to get started is offering your customers a discount on their next servicing if you’re able to leave your sign in their front yard.
Keep It Fresh
Setting Up Signs
Should You Leave Forego Branding?
A common debate about yard signs is whether you should add your logo and branding, or forego it entirely. On one hand, brand recognition is important and the more a potential customer sees your branding, the more likely they are to keep you top of mind and purchase your service. On the other, the space on yard signs is limited and drivers only have about 5-6 seconds when passing to read your message.
Most businesses leave out their slogan and logo. Unless your business is extremely well-known and has high brand recognition in the area you’re marketing to, you’re likely to get more from limiting your text to a single service or 1-2 word offer and phone number or website address. Branding and logos take up a lot of room and can distract the viewer. For example, this test by a pressure washing company found foregoing branding and focusing solely on the service offered produced significantly higher results.
In the examples below, you can see the yard sign on the right would be difficult to read from a distance while the yard sign on the right would make it clear right away what the business did.
Big, simple text is important since people will generally first see your yard signs from 20-30 feet away. It’s a good idea only to include the service you offer (one per sign), your phone number, and your website or business name.
Every sign should only list one service, or advertise one thing. If you run a handyman business, don’t list every single thing your business can help with. Instead, hone in on your most popular services or simply advertise yourself as a handyman.
Fonts should be easy to read. Big, bold lettering is important. Text should be at least 2-3 inches tall in order to be read from 50ft away.
Serif fonts (or ones with small lines attached to the letters like the example below) like Times New Roman, Garamond are easier to read on print materials because it makes the characters more distinguishable. But it’s often easier to make sans serif fonts like Arial and Verdana large and bold so they stand out at a distance. Decorative lettering, meanwhile, should be avoided at all costs.
Single vs. Double Sided
And that’s it! You’ve just covered everything you’ll need to know to get started on creating and placing your yard signs. Remember, even though you may be proud of your design and think it will attract tons of attention, location is key! On average, it takes a customer around 7 times of seeing your sign for it to stick in their mind, so the more trafficked your location is, the better. For more strategies, head over to our guide here.
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