Nonprofit Healthcare Organizations just want to be seen. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to execute an outdoor campaign.
Every day I drive past the same billboards, and am often left wondering, what were they thinking? It’s sad, really. Here I am, wanting to be affected by advertising, but poor graphics, small type, weak copy, or clutter get in the way of the message. And with so many distractions on the road these days, it’s no wonder most outdoor advertising – specifically, healthcare advertising – is ignored.
The thing is, with most Nonprofit Healthcare Organizations, utilizing billboards is a go-to when it comes to reaching the masses, and it’s obvious why. To begin with, outdoor often provides discounts or even free space for nonprofits running PSAs, and it is also a great way to reach a lot of people quickly. Unfortunately, many miss the mark when it comes to conveying their message and motivating their patients, potential donors, and the general public to action.
The truth is: billboards are to image building what Reebok High Tops were to the eighties – essential. So what’s the problem? Well, it’s several things. But before we get to the specifics, let’s address our audience and what it is we are trying to say.
When it comes to defining your audience for outdoor marketing, it’s nearly impossible to meet the needs of everyone, though most marketers will try. Typically, you end up reaching no one.
Branding is about connecting with your audience while providing them with an emotional reason to care, and you should never sacrifice that connection in an attempt to please everyone. So, I would recommend sticking to your guns and developing your messaging based on your core audience and those who fit within the psychographic profile of potential followers.
The same goes for recruiting, fundraising, and general awareness with each being a more specific messaging system that falls within the essence of the brand itself.
Once you have your message down, cut it in half. Then, consider cutting it even further. This is the hard part. Trust me, I get it. You spent hours working on the perfect award-winning headline, but if you can’t say it in ten words or less, chances are, no one will ever read it.
Next, decide on whether your board will be graphic- or text-based. Some of the best and most effective boards are void of any image; so don’t feel like you need a graphic if it takes away from the message. In the end, make sure it is short, sweet, and always impactful.
The following are 6 types of billboards that every Nonprofit Healthcare Organization should try to avoid. We decided to give them names to help illustrate exactly why outdoor advertising sometimes fails.
- The Average Joe – a board that does little to break through the litter along America’s byways. It could be mistaken for a large tree or, worse yet, a very ugly telephone pole.
- The Lone Ranger – a board completely independent of a larger campaign. Even Batman had Robin.
- The Ugly Betty – really, it’s too painful to detail what’s wrong with Betty.
- The Lost Lucy – a board misplaced. You can’t advertise clean restrooms and hot coffee after your customer has passed you – it’s just cruel.
- The Generation Gap – neon boards with bawdy copy will annoy your grandmother. Why place it in front of her nursing home?
- The Chatty Cathy – the board that says everything except what the customer needs to hear.
Because the outdoor market is so saturated, billboards are best used to create buzz for a new service or offering, promote an upcoming event or fundraiser, guide your patients to a location, or embed a message through frequent, clever repetition.
It may not be rocket science, but there is an art to developing an outdoor campaign that provides positive results.
Want to learn more about marketing the right way? Download our Should Marketing Be The Focus of Your Nonprofit Healthcare Organization?eBook and I’ll help you understand the value in easy-to-understand terms.