It may still be summer, but the Back to School season is already upon us. It won’t be long before people come home from vacation to find a mailbox full of “sale” ads and an inbox full of email promotions. But what really grabs people when they are out looking for bargains? Custom banners and flags, of course! The average consumer is inundated with messages on television, in newspapers and on their favorite web sites, but few advertising vehicles are more effective than a colorful sale banner in a store window.
After spending a week in a shore town this summer, I came with an entirely back new perspective on advertising and promotion. Just when you think you “know it all” about advertising and marketing, it seems that something incredibly simple can elude you. Such is the case with advertising flags and banners. When your store is in a busy resort area, such as the Boardwalk in Ocean City NJ, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of people.
As retailers prepare for the busiest shopping season of the year, many are dealing with significant cuts in their marketing budget. As we all know, without a plan to drive customers into the store, it can be very difficult to compete. But retailers are getting smarter about how they spend their marketing budgets. Instead of buying a large ad in a daily newspaper or running a pricey radio campaign, custom flags and banners are quickly making a comeback. It’s not that retailers ever stopped using promotional banners to draw in customers; they just have never used them in such creative ways.
If you talk to a billboard salesperson, they will give you plenty of data about the influence of outdoor advertising, citing how many thousands of potential customers drive by a billboard in a given week. The same thing can be said about custom flags and banners, albeit on a smaller scale. While there is nothing wrong with advertising your business on the internet or the airwaves, it’s hard to beat the impact of a promotional flag campaign that leads customers to your door. Depending on where your store is located, it may be possible to create interest by placing “teaser flags” along the roadside that direct customers to your store.
What is the best way to move new or used cars off of the lot? According to car and truck dealerships across the country, promotional flags and banners play a more important role than you would think. Whether your dealership is located in a rural area or on a busy street with several other auto dealers, you want to catch people’s eye when they drive by, and there is no better way to do this than colorful flags waving in the wind.
The philosophy behind this is simple. Promotional flags and banners are never static; they are always moving a little bit in the breeze. Drivers can tune out a lot of the background while they’re driving, including buildings and billboards, but they tend to notice anything that is moving. Even if a promotional banner just causes a driver to glance in the direction of a car lot, chances are there will be something of interest to keep their attention.
Promotional flags and banners are an excellent way to promote your business, especially when your business is hosting an event in a public place. It used to be that most companies would have a few different size banners that could be draped behind their table at a community event, or hung behind the stands at a game, but promotional banners and flags look much different now.
Advanced printing technologies and online ordering capabilities have allowed marketing directors to get a bit more creative with their choice of printed promotional flags. Whether for a single special event or as permanent outdoor advertising, a larger printed area allows for a more meaningful message to be reproduced. But the best part about the promotional banners and flags available today is how easy they are to use. No more cumbersome hardware and outrageous costs for shipping flags to a trade show. Today’s banners are lightweight, flexible and highly portable.
Remember the days when we all did business either in-person or via snail mail? Believe it or not, it wasn’t that long ago when customers who wanted a to buy a custom advertising flag would need to meet with a local flag shop or send their order through the mail and hope for the best. Now, even the most established flag companies are selling custom flags online. It doesn’t take much technical expertise to use an online form and upload log files from your computer, knowing that a trained flag maker is there to answer your questions.
It seems like every article about marketing these days is focused on how to get visibility online, as if everyone sat behind a computer 24 hours a day, but marketers need to take a step back and look at the larger picture. Have you considered the impact that advertising flags and banners might have on your bottom line?
Your business may not cater to an Internet savvy audience, or you may need to reach your audience while they are on the move. A broader approach to branding and visibility may be necessary to give your company an edge over the competition, and custom advertising flags and banners help you accomplish this. But like everything else you attempt to do in marketing your company, you will need to start with a strategy.
As someone who counts himself among the few remaining “traditional marketers” who still believes in the power of branding, I am amazed at how many retail businesses have abandoned their outdoor advertising budgets. And I’m not just talking about billboards. There was a time when every retailer who wanted to increase store traffic would invest in a few custom advertising flags and banners, but sadly many have deleted this line item from their budget and replaced it with online display banners ads.
If you go the Internet today looking for “advertising banners”, then your search may end in frustration. That’s because many of today’s retail marketers refer to online display advertising as “online banner advertising” and very few people think of fabric or vinyl banners when they hear the words “banner advertising.” However, this can make it difficult to find real advertising pennants and banners on the web. While it may seem a bit old fashioned to buy real fabric or vinyl flags pennants and banners these days, many small businesses swear by this type of advertising to drive foot traffic into their stores.
As more businesses look to trim their marketing budgets this year, the focus will be on figuring out which advertising vehicles give them the most “bang for their buck”. If you own or manage are a small retail chain or single location shop, then you have probably tried every type of advertising, from local web sites to paid search, radio and weekly newspapers. Media outlets and direct marketing have their place in any retail marketer’s strategy, but there is only one type of advertising that is “hyper local” and brings a consistent return-on-investment. That vehicle is advertising flags. No matter what else they do to create business, the smartest marketers also look online to find affordable advertising flags for sale.
When your company exhibits at a tradeshow, you need an eye-catching message that will grab attention and bring visitors into your booth. But with so many other companies doing the same thing, how do you make your company stand out from the crowd? One very effective way to do this is with promotional banners and flags.
By custom ordering your promotional banners and flags from an online flag store, you can put your company’s logo and product information in front of people without distracting from other elements of your booth space. Full color banners, flags and signs can say a lot about your company’s brand image and the quality of your work, and they can deliver a memorable marketing message in a cost-effective manner.
One of the biggest challenges to running a business is finding new customers, and with marketing budgets being slashed in this economy; it is even more difficult to do. The difference between one business’s ability to win new business and another company closing its doors can come down to a few strategic marketing moves. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on traditional media placements, smart businesses are choosing to buy custom flags online.
You may be wondering what custom flags have to do with marketing, especially if you’ve never bought them before, but when they are used properly, custom flags can be a great way to drive traffic in the door. When people who drive by your store catch sight of your promotional banners or flags announcing an “Annual Blowout Clearance”, or “Buy One Get One Free Sale” it is bound to arouse their curiosity. There’s something to be said for catching people on the go and getting them to take immediate action, and custom flags can do this very well.
One thing that marketing planners often fail to recognize is that their customers never stop moving. That means they can be reached with marketing messages at any time, not just when they are reading the newspaper or surfing the Internet. In fact, with advertising flags and banners, customers can be driven to make a purchase much faster because they are already out shopping anyway.
With the holiday season upon us, savvy consumers can clearly see which retailers are most in tune with their wants and needs. On a recent Black Friday shopping trip to the local mall, it was obvious which stores were most crowded, and it usually came down to one differentiating factor; their “curb appeal”. By using custom flags and banners, some stores were attracting customers like a magnet. Other stores, who did nothing to draw customers in, sat around wondering why they had to open their doors so early.
As someone who has spent the past 25 years in the advertising business, I can honestly say that one form of advertising is highly “underrated”. As retailer and service providers scramble to see who can get the best traction for their “most important keywords” and businesses “Tweet” their way to social media success, they may be missing the most important customer of all – the one that is walking by their front door!
The concept of using promotional flags and advertising banners may have piqued your interest in reading this article, but how do you use promotional banners to your advantage? Here are some examples that may give you the inspiration you need to use advertising flags creatively.
- Display advertising banners around the corner or down the street from your store, using them to “tease” a special sale or promotion. If done right, this type of promotion keeps people in suspense and forces them to come in and see what you have to offer.
- Use promotional banners inside your store to promote special offers, new products, your web site, a contest, free gift wrapping, or other value-added bonuses.
- Use advertising banners to promote a huge sales event and make them large enough to be visible to drivers going by your store.
- Use promotional flags and advertising banners at special events or display them in a public shopping mall where your target audience shops. One example of this is when retail shopping malls allow non-competitive business to hang large promotional banners above the escalators or other common areas.
Promotional flags and advertising banners were once a staple for any storeowner looking to drive traffic in the door, but those were the pre-Internet days. If I had to advise a small business owner on marketing, I would encourage them to incorporate promotional flags into their “media mix” and direct the flow of traffic into their front door, rather than just their home page.
However you decide to use advertising flags and banners, you will soon realize that they are an important way to bring new customers in your door.