Advertising On The Move

Getting noticed with mobile ads.

Established methods of getting yourself and your business noticed generally require a lot of time, effort and expense to work. Here is an outline of an alternative form of advertising that is not only a superb form of promotion, but can also form the basis of a business.

A few months ago a friend and I decided to try out a new hotel restaurant we had heard about. On arrival we were most impressed with the opulent surroundings, and millions had clearly been spent on this previously neglected Grade II listed building.

We were seated in a fabulous dining room. A pianist played melodically in the back ground and the food was excellent. Only one thing marred the evening: the atmosphere. We were the only diners in the entire place! We couldn't understand it, as the surroundings were perfect, the food was fine, the service was friendly and efficient. Even the prices were reasonable. We were baffled.

When I spoke to others about my experience, it emerged that hardly anyone knew about the restaurant's existence. It seemed incredible that so much money was poured into the venture and so little was used to advertise its opening.

Cheap to run - a mobile advertising service will cut through the apathy

Well, you can't keep a good thing down for long, and despite a faltering start, the hotel and restaurant have thrived. It seems a pity that the marketing of the business was handled so badly. It doesn't matter how good your business or service is if people do not know about you.

One of the difficulties with regular mainstream advertising is that we, the public, switch off. We are bombarded with TV ads, radio ads, newspapers and leaflets - even our cars are targeted when we leave them in a car park.

Here's a novel way of advertising that cuts through the apathy. You simply can't ignore it. It's a great business start up opportunity. Alternatively, it may just be what you need to promote your own business. Either way, I think you will be interested.

The Concept

Mobile advertising in this country is still very much in its infancy. All you need to stand out from the crowd is a converted vehicle which will carry advertising hoarding. The beauty of the idea is that it is so flexible. The poster van can either park up in a busy location, or be driven along a prearranged route depending on the client's requirements. A combination of the two methods is usually most effective.

Getting Started

The Vehicle

This will be your most expensive outlay. You will need a vehicle that is no bigger than a transit van, and ideally it should fit a parking meter space. The hoarding should comprise waterproof posters, which can be mounted on a double sided triangular plywood construction, fitting onto both sides of the van with its apex above the roof.

The Posters

A pair of posters on either side of the vehicle will ensure the client's message gets maximum exposure. There are various ways in which this can be done. One is to hand paint messages onto a wipe clean surface. This is best done by a professional sign writer. When done properly it cannot be distinguished from print. Alternatively, you could use a computer desktop publishing package. Some computer printers are able to handle large posters, although you could tile up A4 sized sheets to create a large display. If you are unsure how to proceed, contact several printers and/or designers who will fill you in on what is available. Remember, whichever method you choose, it must be able to withstand the elements.

The Drivers

Enlist the services of a couple of part time drivers. This will ensure you have a back up if someone is ill or on holiday.

Promoting the Business

This couldn't be easier. Simply use your poster van, when not booked out to clients, to promote your service. For example, your message could say, "Hire This Vehicle" in large letters, along with a short list of promotional uses and a contact telephone number.

Pricing the Service

Prices can be worked out on a daily, weekly or monthly rate depending on the client's needs. Perhaps the simplest way to price the service is to work out the cost of the artwork, design and sign writing, which will be a one off fee. Use this as a basis for deciding your daily rate, which should obviously cover your total costs, plus a profit mark up. Check out other forms of advertising in your area and remember to cost in your driver's time and vehicle expenses before fixing a price.

Assuring the Client

Advertising costs are always difficult to justify. Clients may feel worried about getting value for money. You can dispel their anxiety in several ways.

There's nothing like personal recommendation, so save letters from satisfied customers to show the client. Or, provide them with one or two customer phone numbers so they can speak to them directly. Obviously you will need to ask their permission beforehand.

Guarantee that the poster van will be visible for ten hours daily.

At the end of the campaign give the client a full report of prime sites visited. Back this up with photographic evidence.

Additional Services

All kinds of complementary services can be incorporated into the advertising package. For example, if you were asked to promote a fair you could use balloons or employ clowns, stilt walkers or cheer leaders in the same area as the mobile poster van to really draw the crowds. The only limit is the client's budget.

Adapting the Business to Suit

This business can be run from suitable premises, or from home if space allows. If start up capital is a problem, you could adapt the concept to suit your pocket. You could use the roof rack on your own vehicle to create a scaled down version of the idea. If demand allows, there is no reason why you can't add another vehicle or two to keep pace with demand.

While the advertising market is extremely competitive, mobile ads are a fantastic way to get your business really moving.

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