So you’re thinking about using billboards to market your business. Billboard advertising can be an effective way to advertise your company or franchise. But if you are new to marketing or not familiar with purchasing outdoor media, negotiating a contract can seem daunting. Below are ten key points to keep in mind when considering billboard advertising.

1. The price is always negotiable. Rate card rates are what the media company HOPES to sell the ad space for. Just like buying a car. Always ask for a better rate or bonus space. I would recommend getting quotes from a few billboard companies. CBS Outdoor, Lamar and Clear Channel are the top three.

2. Ask about if you can have a mix of rotary and permanent signs. Both have their benefits: Rotary reaches new people every month whereas Permanent builds familiarity with your brand with a consistent presence.

3. Your billboard should either be close to your store or near a major street or highway to your store.

4. Find out the number of people who will see the billboard. You want to make sure you are in a high traffic area.

5. Review all of your proposed billboard locations to make sure they are right for you and your demographics

6. Speaking of demographics, be as specific as possible (age, gender, etc). You want your billboard in an area where your shopper/potential shopper is most likely to be (i.e., local schools, event centers, day cares, shopping centers, parks, etc.)

7. You should also ask if there are any remnant ad spaces available. Remnant ad space are those empty ad spaces where maybe an advertiser missed the deadline, cancelled at the last minute or went out of business. Billboard companies need to fill these spaces fast so they are usually offered at an extreme discount. But make sure the area makes sense for you.

8. If you are working directly with the billboard company, you should get a discount rate (about 15%) since you are not working with a third party media rep or ad agency.

9. When designing your billboard, your message should be short, six words or less, and to the point. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard. Text should be easy to read and avoid having a light blue background as it blends with the sky.

10. Make sure you review ALL of your billboards to make sure they are correctly installed.