In the Indianapolis area, there is something I’ve noticed a lot more of in the last few years: yard signs. Formerly, when you would see a sign on the lawn of your neighbor’s house, it was announcing the house was for sale, the location of an upcoming garage sale, or to show support of a particular local or national political candidate. There are many advantages of using yard signs, including:
- Increased awareness
- Cost-effective marketing
- Narrow and targeted geographic focus
- Viral marketing effect
- Instant credibility through bandwagon effect
But the world of signs has evolved, and more industries are taking advantage of the viral marketing effect of yard signs. Who is ideal for this type of marketing, and how can your business get in on the action?
Home service industry: One of the major industries using yard signs in recent years is the home services industry. From plumbing and heating professionals to lawn care companies and home remodeling and design companies, these professional service businesses see the value of advertising to their ideal customers: friends and neighbors of their current customers. All of those “Stay off the lawn: Lawn application” signs aren’t just meant to warn your kids not to roll around in the grass. It’s to let your neighbors know that “I get my yard fertilized by XYZ lawn care company and you should too!” When all the neighbors are getting a new roof from the recent hail damage, who are they going to call to get an estimate? The roofing company with the sign in their neighborhood. To the home service industry, these friends and neighbors are low-hanging fruit that’s ripe for the picking.
- Local organizations: Another industry using yard signs is the local association or nonprofit organization. These groups often advertise special fundraisers or events, or simply use them to build awareness about the charity or group. Sometimes a few yard signs are all that it takes to get the community rallied around a cause, or to drum up volunteers or participants for an upcoming event.
How to take advantage of yard signs:
If it makes sense for your business to start using yard signs, here are a few tips for you to get started:
- Create a compelling design: Make sure the sign clearly states your message. Use as few words as possible so that passersby can read it as they drive by, and make sure the sign is big enough to spread that message.
- Determine quantity: If you plan on distributing signs to all customers, estimate an amount for an initial sign order so that you order enough but not too many signs. Work with a local sign company to get a bulk deal on quantity.
- Ask permission: You should never place a sign in a business or residential yard without permission from the home or business owner. Even if you have done business with them in the past, it’s impolite to assume that the person would agree to put a sign in their yard. Consider offering some sort of incentive (future discount perhaps) in exchange for allowing them to display your sign. Observe legal rules in communities where placing signs on a public street are prohibited. The last thing you want is to get your sign confiscated.
- Recycle signs: To conserve costs, reuse your signs once they have run their course. Ask homeowners if you can stop by after a week (or some period of time) to retrieve the sign. Be sure to thank them for letting you advertise your business on their property.
Now you know that yard signs aren’t just for real estate agents and political candidates, I hope you’ll think about how you might incorporate signs into your marketing mix. Remember: sometimes clients are close by, and all you have to do is give them a sign that points them in the right direction.