How to test outdoor signage messages before the sign goes up

Anyone who's ever had business signage erected at their location(s) knows the time and effort it takes to go from the initial conveyed need to the final, erected product. The time from contract signature to the few days after completion when the sign's newness starts to wear off can feel like an eternity.

In over 30 years, we've never missed a deadline. And we shouldn't ever. We only point that out now to say that with all the combined experience we have in our shop, we've never found a detail that wasn't so important that we had to cut it out.

We point this out now because the last thing anyone ever wants is to take all that time to erect signage and launch it with initial messaging that fails their objectives.

How to test the messaging right before erecting the signage? Here are a few ways to consider testing your themes before they go above your storefronts.

Multivariate test on Billboards

If you want to test message themes on outdoor signs before your outdoor signage goes up, rent a few boards, each with a different message you want to test. Place unique identifiers on them:

  • Different domains that can be tracked: domain1.com, domain2.com...
  • Place different phone numbers on them and see which one gets more relevant calls
  • Place different coupon codes on them and track which ones customers use


Test in print publications

Using the same principles as in the billboard testing, using similar techniques in trade magazines, newspapers, and brochures can generate similar results

Go online

Perhaps the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to go is to split up your email lists and send each a message theme. Another way to go is to run A/B testing in digital advertising platforms such as Google AdWords and send the traffic to web pages that have your tested themes on them.

Measure the results and go

If you see discernible differences in the response, engagement, and lead / revenue opportunities, then the one that was most successful should be the themes you first start out with in your signage.

And then, from there, keep testing themes, offers, special...