Billboards

"People really enjoy the boards. They love the wit and fresh and sometimes sarcastic nature of the boards. They will make a point to approach us in a restaurant or in another store to comment on them and commend us on our choice to use them. They will make us stand with them until they can recite their favorites, which is wonderful because it means they truly are taking note and remembering them. They are laughing and impressed by the play on words. The whole point of good advertising is for it to be memorable. Sometimes it's people that we wouldn't really think would notice or care. It also means they are most likely commenting on them to their friends as well.

The boards leave an impression. A good impression that people make a point to remember. They tell us that they pay attention to the billboard to see what we are running next. We have people looking forward to our advertising. Taking into account that advertising is usually one thing that gets on peoples nerves... That's priceless! That means that we are on their mind every time they pass that billboard whether our ad shows when they drive by it or not. Our JATW ads stand out against all of the others that run on that same digital board. Of course customers comment on them when they are in the store as well, but what is more impressive to us is that people make a point to mention them to us when we are not in our store. That says they are really hitting the mark."

- Missy Emrich with Steve's Custom Jewelers

What to say about billboards? I've been working with jewelers on billboards for 12 years or so. I've created hundreds of different ones. Have jewelers who have been with me for 7 or 8 years (thank you, Tom Treiber), and we change those boards time and again throughout the year.

And what happens? Well, you get a following. And when you get a following for what you say, then you have things happen that never happen for most businesses that run billboards.

The key is change.

That's the key with just about every medium you talk in. Change. If you say the same thing over and over again, who's going to pay attention? Do YOU pay attention to the same billboard (or print ad or TV ad or web banner) that has been up there for months? I don't. I'm pretty sure you don't, either.

Yet, we think that advertising is different than our regular conversations with people. We would never repeat ourselves over and over when we talk to friends and family and anyone at all, really. But in advertising, it's often exactly what we do. We repeat ourselves. Over and over and over. For weeks. For months. Sometimes for longer than that.

And then we go ... that medium doesn't work.

So if you do boards, or are going to ... factor in the cost of changing the board on a regular basis -- say every three months. It's a hard cost. You don't have to change your board. But if you want it to really work for you ... if you really want reaction, if you really want attention to your board ... you simply must change it on a regular basis.

It must have been 7 or 8 years ago now that, sometime in early December, I got a call from Chris Cervini. Chris owns Christopher's Fine Jewelry on Pawley's Island SC.

I don't remember where he said he heard of me. But he needed to do a billboard, and wondered if I can help.

His idea was that he was going to do a board, and leave it up for six months. And then we'd look at changing it then.

We spent a few minutes talking -- well, mostly me talking. And he realized that he needed to change his board more often than that.

All these years and many boards later, Chris says that the boards are one of his very best ways to advertise. He has people look for them, and talk about them all the time. And his business has grown a lot the past several years, due mostly to crazily hard work on Chris's part.

Billboards are a beautiful thing. They're so beautiful, because they reach every age group you could want to reach. If you could blanket the town you're in with billboards, who knows, maybe that would be enough advertising. Maybe that would be all the advertising you would need. I don't know, because I don't know of an advertiser that has ever owned every board in a town. The cost would be on the high side, I suppose.

But think about it. Everybody wants to reach 'the younger market,' let's say. The 18 to 25 crowd. Or 18 to 34. Or whatever. It's just an arbitrary age bracket that somebody in marketing created. You basically want to reach a certain group. Young people. Middle aged. Old people. Yes, those old people are valuable, and often overlooked.

So can you reach old people with billboards. Middle aged. Young. Old enough to drive a car? They go by billboards. They go by, perhaps, your billboard, and your words.

Note I said 'your words,' not your picture of jewelry.

My thing is words. If you've been with me for awhile, or if you've had a chance to look around the site at all, my thing is words. It's my craft. The thing I've been doing for over 20 years. It's the words that stop people, or don't. It's not that often that you can show a piece of jewelry, all by itself, and that is enough to have any stopping power at all. Yet plenty of boards for jewelry pretty much just show jewelry. And a very large logo for the store.

But let's go back to who reads boards.

Every age group reads billboards. Because every age group goes by billboards. If they're in a car, they go by boards (assuming you can have boards in your town; some towns outlaw them). And cars contain people of every age and background and color and income and profession.

It's why billboards are beautiful. You put your words and picture up there. And all kinds of people see those words, and that picture. If ... it's worth seeing. If it's worth noticing. If you say something that makes them stop.

Just putting up a board, in and of itself, may do absolutely nothing for you. It's not 'the billboard' that makes it 'work.' Billboards don't 'work.' There's such a misconception about mediums in general. A medium is not magic. The message is the magic, if there is magic at all.

So the board -- what do you say? THAT is what determines whether it works.

I've had all kinds of jewelers run boards, and tell me that they've never had that kind of response to boards. People walking in, talking about the board, laughing. People calling on the phone to say how much they like the board. People talking to them at church, or in the grocery store.

Why? Because something about that board literally spoke to them. Something about those words caught their attention. Made them think. Made them feel something. Few boards do that. Few messages, in any advertising, do that.

But you can do that with the words that I write, on boards that you advertise on.

I love all the mediums. I really do. Each medium reaches a group of people. And in each of those groups of people, there are men and women who you might be able to help. You might be able to provide service to them. A piece of your jewelry. Some kindness. We just have to say things that make them stop, and listen, to you.

Billboards? They're beautiful. Well, they can be. Really, it all depends on what you say. And that's where I can help you.

If some of this makes sense to you, and you want to talk more about it with me, call me. You really can have a lot of fun with this stuff. And see business grow as a result of all that fun stuff.

View our billboards