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Billboards, outdoor boards, outdoor advertising…no matter how you phrase it, this marketing medium has received its fair share of criticism over the years.

Some argue that billboards are a waste of marketing dollars; others tout them as an underrated way to spread the message about a product or service.

Our thoughts? We say outdoor boards can be an excellent brand awareness tool when used correctly.

Keep reading for a few common pitfalls to avoid when considering billboards as part of your marketing strategy.

Don’t Try to Do It All

Viewers have between 5-10 seconds to digest the information presented on an outdoor board. Resist the temptation to put every piece of information relevant to the topic you’re advertising on your board.

We’ll say this again & louder for the people in the back: RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO PUT EVERY PIECE OF INFORMATION RELEVANT TO THE TOPIC YOU’RE ADVERTISING ON YOUR BOARD. Pardon our all-caps yelling on the internet, but this point really can’t be overstated. Keep the message on your billboard as simple as possible. We’re talking 12 words or less, including your logo and call to action.

A billboard for Robinson Electric features a man doing electrical work with the headline, "residential, industrial, commercial".
This billboard for Robinson Electric is easy for drivers to read quickly.

Don’t Go Crazy with Design Elements

This one can be almost as tough as keeping text to a minimum for many advertisers. We get it - you’ve invested a lot in this outdoor board; you want it to stand out and look great.

Still, aim for simple elements that viewers’ brains can easily process from a moving vehicle.

Hitting on one main idea (a.k.a. your main image) and supporting that idea with brief copy in large, legible fonts is key. Leveraging contrasting colors will also help viewers read and recall your message. Avoid using white as a background color on digital billboards specifically, as it can come off yellow in this format.

Billboard for WADE, INC. features a little boy playing with a tractor toy with the headline, "Every little farmer dreams of green".
This billboard for WADE focuses on a few key design elements.

Don’t Forget to Test Your Idea

One simple way to test your billboard idea is this: Show your outdoor board artwork to someone who’s never seen it for 5 seconds. Do they recall and understand the message? Can they tell you who the advertiser was? If so, you’re likely on the right track.

In the digital age in which we live, it can be easy to neglect the power of more traditional advertising tools. At Hunt Marketing, we believe a solid, integrated mix is key to helping your brand stay top-of-mind with your target audience. We’d love to help your business do just that. Shoot us a message at to get started today!


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