Areas with a high foot traffic rate like parking lots are also a great choice. Since your audience is taking the time to park, walking to appointments, or waiting in their car, they’re more likely to have time to read your sign and jot down your information. Consider small businesses where people are likely to wait for someone like a hairdresser, doctor’s office, or somewhere people spend time like parks.
Taking it a step further, another great strategy is to place your signs in parking lots of stores that have a similar customer base to yours. For example, if you operate a lawn care or landscaping business, you may want to place your signs around flower shops.
Here’s some more examples:
After you know the ideal spots to display your signs, you’ll need to get permission. This is usually as simple as asking friends, family, and current customers to put up signs or just knocking on people’s doors and asking permission.
This can also be a great way to get customers. For example, you might walk door-to-door on a busy street with houses and tell customers you’re hoping to put out some yard signs. This gives you the chance to educate them about your business and offer them a discount to sweeten the deal. In addition to displaying your signs, they may also refer you to neighbors.
Remember, this isn’t one of those “do it and then ask for forgiveness later” situations, because nine times out of ten, you’ll end up alienating the customer or worse, angering them enough that they’ll tell their family and friends about the situation. In addition to opening yourself up to negative word-of-mouth, you could also get slapped with a fine from the local municipality, especially when the offense occurred in a public area such as intersections.
Be sure to come prepared with yard signs whenever you head to a new job. An easy way to get started is offering your customers a discount on their next servicing if you’re able to leave your sign in their front yard.
Make sure that the areas you’re placing your signs in aren’t overcrowded with other signs; yours will quickly get lost in the chaos. Try to find new locations that have recently developed, or refresh your sign design every month to grab attention. Be sure to check in on your signs periodically to make sure they haven’t been lost or removed, and if that is the case, check with the landlord or store owner to replace the sign.
When possible, place your signs as close to the road as local rules and regulations allow to maximize their visibility. The sign should be between 6 inches to 1 foot above ground once the stake is set and upright at a 90° angle to the ground.
A common debate about yard signs is whether you should add your logo and branding, or forego it entirely. On one hand, brand recognition is important and the more a potential customer sees your branding, the more likely they are to keep you top of mind and purchase your service. On the other, the space on yard signs is limited and drivers only have about 5-6 seconds when passing to read your message.
Most businesses leave out their slogan and logo. Unless your business is extremely well-known and has high brand recognition in the area you’re marketing to, you’re likely to get more from limiting your text to a single service or 1-2 word offer and phone number or website address. Branding and logos take up a lot of room and can distract the viewer. For example, this test by a pressure washing company found foregoing branding and focusing solely on the service offered produced significantly higher results.
In the examples below, you can see the yard sign on the right would be difficult to read from a distance while the yard sign on the right would make it clear right away what the business did.
Big, simple text is important since people will generally first see your yard signs from 20-30 feet away. It’s a good idea only to include the service you offer (one per sign), your phone number, and your website or business name.
Every sign should only list one service, or advertise one thing. If you run a handyman business, don’t list every single thing your business can help with. Instead, hone in on your most popular services or simply advertise yourself as a handyman.
Fonts should be easy to read. Big, bold lettering is important. Text should be at least 2-3 inches tall in order to be read from 50ft away.
Serif fonts (or ones with small lines attached to the letters like the example below) like Times New Roman, Garamond are easier to read on print materials because it makes the characters more distinguishable. But it’s often easier to make sans serif fonts like Arial and Verdana large and bold so they stand out at a distance. Decorative lettering, meanwhile, should be avoided at all costs.
The most common size for yard signs is 12-18 inches in height and 18-24 inches wide, with 18” x 24” being the standard size. This is usually large enough for viewers to see less than 100 feet away (the recommended distance).
Aim to use high contrast text and colors, which will make yard signs easier to read. For example, yellow letters on a white background is a lot harder to read than blue text on a white background, because there’s very little contrast between yellow and white. For a few color combination ideas, take a look at the breakdown below.
Additionally, you’ll want to pick colors that jump out instead of blending into their surroundings. For example, white signs blend into snow during winter and green signs may fade into green laws.