The guerilla marketing tactic known as “bandit signs” has gained notoriety over the years as both an innovative and controversial method for advertising in the real estate industry. Similar to billboards, these marketing signs, which consist of text on corrugated plastic secured to grassy yards by stake, offer unique advantages for real estate investors, including generating a wide array of exposure.
However, there is a lot more to running a proper bandit sign campaign than simply sticking some signs up in your local community; you need to approach them with a well-devised plan. Neglecting to do so could result in a costly mistake.
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Real Estate Bandit Signs
To better understand the right way of commencing a bandit sign campaign, it’s important to first take a look at the wrong ways of using them. Whether you love them or hate them, these are the top bandit sign mistakes to avoid at all cost:
Illegal/Poor Placement: Bandit signs are all about location, location, location. The biggest mistake advertisers make is installing signs on private and public property, which requires prior permission from property owners and local authorities. Because violating a city’s sign ordinance can typically range in fines from $200-$500, it’s recommended to meet with local ordinance authorities to ensure the proper permitting is in place.
Another mistake made over the course of many bandit sign campaigns is poor placement. Often times, signs will be sporadically spread across an entire city with little-to-no thought. Instead, choose visibility over quantity. To be effective and successful with your real estate marketing campaign, designate a local vicinity to maximize your opportunity cost. The most effective placement of bandit signs is in high vehicular and pedestrian areas with little to no obstruction from roadways, intersections and public gathering areas.
Insufficient Information: For real estate investors, a bandit sign is most effective when it has accurate information. In many instances, these signs are missing key information like a contact number, which is counterproductive as the entire objective is for potential clients to contact you! Don’t let your bandit sign campaign end in vain.
The first rule of bandit signage in real estate is to use a message that is short and to the point. A good rule of thumb is the “KISS” (Keep It Simple Stupid) method, accompanied by an easy-to-remember phone number that is not traceable. Experts suggest using your personal, office or voicemail, or trying other sources like Google Voice or even a call center.
Wrong Size And Color: A major mistake many people make when launching a bandit sign campaign is choosing the wrong size and color. Smaller displays are too hard to read and will more than likely get ignored by traffic, while larger signs can be too distracting, leading to it being taken down. The aim is to stand out.
The ideal size for bandit signs should be 18×24 or bigger — anything smaller won’t be visible from the road — with bold and dark coloring. Real estate experts recommend using a sizing chart to determine how large letters should be in order to be seen from the road, including colors that won’t inhibit reading. Signs with hard-to-see colors are annoying and most spectators won’t even acknowledge the sign, let alone write down and call the number.
To ensure you get the most from your bandit sign, it’s important to use dark colors like black, red, green and blue rather than lighter colors like grey, yellow and white. Consider using colors that represent your personal or company brand.
Because onlookers only have three to four seconds to read the sign, the font of the message is particularly important. Make sure to use a font that is big, bold and accompanied with a color scheme that captures attention. Other signage tips include:
Use A Background Photo: By adding an accent photo such as a home or headshot to your bandit sign, it can increase potential interest and buyers, including brand recognition.
Use quality signs, stakes and post: Take pride in your signs and potential customers will take notice.
Not Tracking Leads: Aside from illegal activity, the worst mistake you can make with bandit signs is not tracking your leads. Because the whole purpose of these versatile billboards is to generate incoming leads and then build upon them, it’s important to not let your efforts go to waste. Utilizing a lead intake system can assist in streamlining incoming inquiries. It’s also important to keep track of what type of lead the caller falls under, as some signs may generate a large amount of short-sale leads, while others generate other niche leads.
Keeping track of particular leads, especially if your bandit signs are scattered across the city, is helpful in determining which signs and areas are most effective. This can be done by a lead intake system or by simply asking prospective sellers where they saw your ad. In the end, tracking leads will allow you to focus your attention on maximizing current territories while investing in others.
Bandit signs continue to be a highly debated topic in the real estate industry, with everyone from beginners to experts weighing in on the topic.
Are you a fan of using bandit signs in real estate? What will yours say?