Why do big brands pour millions of their marketing budget into outdoor advertising? What do they know that most small to medium sized businesses don’t? Well, they know that if people have never heard of you, they won’t search for you. They also know that brand advertising builds authentic consumer relationships, develops trust and proposes viable solutions in relation to specific, search engine queries.
While the relevance and efficiency of search marketing is widely-respected among modern marketers, it is not enough by itself to maximise your potential turnover. After all, becoming visible on Google’s first page and having the capacity to accurately measure the ROI on your search marketing spend has less of an impact if customers are unfamiliar with your brand (or its core offering).
This is borne out by statistics, with a Search Engine Land study confirming that more than 70% of global consumers prefer to buy products from a familiar brand with known, well-marketed values.
So, unless customers recognise your brand and its organic (or paid) search engine listings when searching online, they are less likely to click-through to your website and make a purchase.
Brand Advertising Can Increase Lead Generation Online and Conversion Rates
Take McDonald’s, for example, who spent a staggering $988 million on brand advertising back in 2013, in a bid to build bonds with customers and increase turnover.
This also accounted for 15.3% of the quick serve advertising spend for the year, highlighting the difference in approach between the big brands and smaller businesses.
The same principle can also be applied exclusively online, where successful brand marketing (and particularly billboard advertising) can increase the number of leads that you generate over time.
In simple terms, search harvests an existing demand that can be leveraged by your business. Potential customers may have a generic question or have arrived in the market with a general intent to buy, which they will signal with a keyword phrase or query.
At this point, a series of paid and organic results will be presented online, and customers will make their selection. We have already touched on how modern consumer prefer to interact with known brands, of course, so those that have invested in building their brand and driving awareness are more likely to stand out.
Conversely, brands that have advertised themselves, their products and their values also benefit from an excess of navigational searches. This refers to instances in which customers have a clear idea of what they desire, and use their knowledge of your brand to search for your website (or e-commerce platform) directly.
Over time, even natural keywords and search queries can act like branded terms when enough awareness exists, and this represents the best example of how brand advertising can significantly generate lead generation and sales conversion rates.
Why Outdoor Advertising Should Be Central to Your Efforts
Of course, the nature of brand advertising is diverse, as is the range of traditional channels that can be used to build mass awareness (such as billboards, television and radio). While the latter two examples and traditional media as a whole may have seen a gradual decline in revenues over the last two years, outdoor advertising has remained resilient and leveraged its unique, natural advantages to deliver impressive returns.
So what are these natural advantages, and how can they help you to increase online searches for your brand?
To begin with, outdoor advertisements boast an impressive scale, and one that provides a striking visual canvas for your brand’s logo, its tag line or primary messaging. This means that outdoor advertising is the ideal vehicle through which to clearly communicate your brands’ core purpose or values, particularly when it is strategically positioned to target key market segments.
Not only this, but outdoor advertising is also proven as one of the most engaging marketing channels in existence. This is because consumers have a tendency to seek out advertising material while on the move, particularly when they are travelling on public transport or passing through a train station. As a result of this, billboards and posters are perceived as organic communications which add value to the environment and passing consumers, which in turn drives an impressive engagement rate of 16% (by way of reference, video-on-demand has a corresponding rate of just 9%).
Beyond this, it is also important to consider the exclusive nature of paper billboards and how this helps your brand to stand out even in a competitive marketplace. After all, paper billboards are constantly accessible, while they feature single advertisements that constantly reinforce your brands message to customers. This is an important consideration, as it focuses the consumer mind and enables them to fully understand the unique purpose and value proposition of your brand, while other advertising mediums retain the capacity to confuse, distract and overwhelm the typical customer’ sense.
Why Small and Medium-sized Businesses Should Follow the Example of Big Brands
With these points in mind, it is easy to see why the big corporations invest heavily in brand advertising (and particularly outdoor advertising) in the modern age. Not only does this successfully build awareness and optimise the number of leads generated through transactional and navigational searches, but it also drives a higher rate of conversions through both paid and organic content. In short, brand advertising can increase ROI on your digital and search marketing spend, while also creating an entity that breeds familiarity, trust and loyalty.
It is also obvious that larger companies are increasing their outdoor advertising spend in order to achieve such objectives, as this has proven to be the most effective tool for communicating branded messages and actively engaging customers. This is therefore a lesson that small and medium-sized businesses need to heed going forward, as while they may lack the budget of their more established rivals they can still leverage affordable and creative outdoor advertising solutions to build awareness among their customers.