Marketing Your Local Business: Yard Signs

When it comes to marketing your local business, you face some unique challenges that call for different marketing tactics than marketing a regional or global business concern. First, you likely have a limited marketing budget that puts a cramp in your style when it comes to running a successful marketing campaign. Second, you don’t want to waste money reaching folks who aren’t part of your target market. While wasting your marketing budget is a serious concern regardless of the size of your budget, marketing your local business usually means you want to reach people in a limited geographical area — one that may only be a few square miles. Using yard signs is an effective tool that’s both economical and selective in its reach, making this tactic a viable means of marketing. Today, we’ll discuss yard signs as well as other tactics for marketing your local business.

marketing your local businessImage credit

Marketing your local business

Let’s take a step back to discuss other ways to market your local business before we jump into the ins and outs of using yard signs as a tool. Here are the tools we’ll discuss today, along with links to learn more about how to run campaigns containing these tools:

  1. Traditional advertising, such as newspapers and radio, can still work, although their effectiveness is lower as few people read a physical newspaper, and most folks don’t listen to regular radio programs anymore. You can find online versions of most local newspapers or sponsor ads in local versions of streaming platforms like Spotify. Advertising on streaming video platforms is also a viable alternative when you have a bounded geographic area of interest.
  2. Sponsoring local programs such as sports teams and charitable events still works. These sponsorships not only spread the word about your brand but position your business favorably in the minds of your target market.
  3. Specific local publications such as Nextdoor and Valpak are alternatives.
  4. Outdoor advertising is always an option for local businesses. Yard signs gained prominence as many communities now outlaw billboards. However, bus benches and other transportation advertising options are still plentiful.

    a mobile billboard
    Image courtesy of Movia
  5. Geofencing is the process of online marketing to specific geographic areas. Social media advertising platforms, as well as search engine advertising such as Google Ads, offer options to show your ads to folks within a defined geographical area. You can choose those residing within that area or those visiting the area to determine how to focus ads on those most likely to make a purchase from your company.
  6. Local SEO: Many small businesses don’t understand the role of SEO (search engine optimization) in their success. Because most consumers begin their search for purchase options online (up to 81%, according to GE Capital), having an online presence is imperative. Just having a website isn’t enough. Expecting your target market to find you among the estimated one billion websites worldwide is like burying a needle at the bottom of a stack of haystacks.
  7. Email marketing is a viable option. You can collect email addresses from each customer at checkout or offer prizes at events in exchange for them.
  8. Window displays and other forms of advertising outside your business.

Yard sign marketing

When it comes to yard sign marketing, it’s a traditional form of marketing that allows microtargeting while transferring meaning to the ads based on where they’re placed. Nowadays, the average person, even a business owner, immediately thinks about political campaigns or real estate For Sale signs when they think about yard signs and yard sign marketing. Honestly, it’s not hard to see why; a lot of their use has been for selling houses and pushing you to vote- there’s no doubt about that in the slightest.

But you have to keep in mind that this is still a form of marketing—it’s still a form of marketing for reaching your local audience. Yes, by all means, when it comes to marketing your brand, you should use various forms of marketing like social media and even some fun sticker marketing, but why not go with this, too? So, here’s why you might want to consider adding this to your overall marketing strategy.

It’s all about getting noticed

Sometimes, subtle little notices can be enough to attract a new customer. Just think about it: when you’re driving down Main Street or walking through your neighborhood, what catches your eye? Local businesses with yard signs, right? That’s the magic of yard sign marketing. It puts your brand right in front of the folks who matter most—your neighbors and community members.

To implement a successful yard sign marketing campaign, you need good yard sign printing to establish your brand in the minds of those passing by. If the printing looks bad, you send the message that your brand is unprofessional and maybe a little scammy. If the graphic design is boring, you fail to attract the attention you desire, and even if passersby notice the sign, they’re unlikely to remember it or form positive associations that inform brand image. Done correctly, yard signs can help you reach your goals; whether you’re directing them to your shop or letting them know about a killer deal, yard signs make sure people know you’re there.

However, there’s just one thing that needs to be said: you have to ask permission before putting these signs on people’s properties! You can’t just randomly put them anywhere you want!

You don’t have to cast a wide net

The whole point really is to zero in on the neighborhoods where your ideal customers hang out. It’s a lot easier to speak directly to the folks who live nearby. Usually, it’s best if it’s a walkable area or an idea where there isn’t a high-speed limit (Main Street is the perfect example in every city, and the same is true for downtown areas). It’s just easier to get people to pay attention this way, and you get to focus on specific neighborhoods, too.

It helps make every penny count

Honestly, both digital and traditional marketing can be a bit expensive; those pennies add up! One reason why so many local political campaigns use yard sign marketing is because it’s very affordable. Compared to flashy billboards or radio spots, yard signs are super affordable to make and last a long time. Plus, they keep on working for you day in and day out, generating brand buzz without draining your bank account. Again, be wise where you put these signs, and don’t put them anywhere without permission.

Coordinating across media

If you’re considering adding yard signs or any of the other local marketing options discussed in this post to your marketing campaign, it’s important to coordinate the campaign across media. To the extent possible, use the same look, feel, and messaging on EVERY piece of the campaign so that your efforts reinforce each other.

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