How to Turn Your Billboard Website into a Lead Generation Machine

We all know a billboard website when we stumble across it. They tend to be homemade sites that a company owner’s nephew made for under $100, and the copyright date at the bottom of the page usually says something like 2001. They feature very basic navigation, don’t have much depth, and during the 30 seconds that you’re looking at it, you’re really only paying attention for maybe 5 seconds.

Or maybe your company’s site is “more of a business card” than a website, and your business strategy involves posting something up on the Internet and hoping people will look at it and call you, like a “lost dog” poster stapled to a telephone pole. What’s even more unfortunate is that many times the lost dog poster is more effective at accomplishing its goal than your site is, and it cost a lot less to make.

SEE ALSO: Pragmatic Landing Page Can Create Enjoyable Experience

So let’s take a step back and apply some “Lost Dog” strategies to your billboard website, and discuss some ways to help you find your customers and bring them home. For this analogy, “Bazooka” is your dog, and your company’s website is the lost dog poster.

How to Turn Your Billboard Website into a Lead Generation Machine

1. Provide a Good Picture:

You love your dog. It’s a part of your family. So when Bazooka goes missing, you want to get the word out. You also want your community to know that Bazooka’s a good girl, and they can trust her. You’re not going to post a grainy, washed out image of her, and you’re not going to use a picture of a pug puppy if she’s a fully-grown German shepherd. On top of all of this, you want the picture to look friendly. If Bazooka looks like she’s going to eat someone, people are going to call the pound (who you can imagine as your competition in this instance, if you want to take the analogy to an even deeper level), not you.

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In the same way, you want people to see your poster and help you get your dog back. So you want a poster that catches their eye, and quickly communicates this. As a copywriter, I hesitate to write this, but design is important. In fact, the design, layout and imagery are the first things people will notice. Make sure you’re providing a clean, consistent image for your business that accurately reflects your services and professionalism. Don’t clutter your pages with photos, different fonts and messy formatting. A well designed website invites people to spend more time looking at it, and increases the odds that they’ll get in touch with you.

2. Be Concise and Descriptive:

Once you’ve got your image, tell people what they’re looking at, and don’t bother with fluffy, cliché buzzwords. Remember: The more boring it is to write, the more boring it is to read. Bazooka’s not a “seamlessly integrated blend of loyalty, company and protection,” she’s a black and brown German shepherd with a black front paw, and she answers to her name or any explosive sound effect. Choose your words carefully, and don’t waste your time with bland adjectives. Focus your content on core features. You can call these “keywords” if you’d like.

If your description could apply to multiple businesses, especially companies that don’t sell what you’re selling, you’re not doing it right. What makes your business special? Talk about those things. Cover the basics, yes, but don’t leave everything so generic that someone could read your homepage and still not know what you do.

3. Have a Clear Objective:

Once people find Bazooka, what do you want them to do? Make the “conversion goal” as obvious and simple to complete as possible. You want your dog/their business. Should they call you? Should they e-mail? Do you want to give your physical address so that they can stop by if they find Bazooka?

Give people an easy way to get in touch with you, and at the same time, make it clear which contact method you’d prefer. You can do this several ways, but the most straightforward method is just to make the preferred option the biggest/most prominent. If you want people to call, make the phone number easy to see, and keep the e-mail contact option smaller.

4. Put Your Poster in the Right Places:

Find out where Bazooka is likely to run, and then spend your time in that area. That’s where you want to make sure your poster is seen, and the people there are the most likely to recognize her and to get in touch with you. Get active in that community, and build an off-line reputation that is consistent with your poster/website. By spending time in the right community, when people find your dog, they’ll already know her name and will be more likely to contact you.

In other words: Focus your energy on the right target audience. Is there a community newsletter that everyone reads that you can get in touch with? Do you want to take out an ad in the local paper? The online equivalent to this might be a geo-targeted pay-per-click campaign around your keywords. Note: If you choose this option, adding an incentive (and then continuing that messaging on your site) is a good way to make people more likely to get in touch with you. Find out where Bazooka might be, and then make sure people in that region know you.

5. Follow Through:

When people try to contact you about Bazooka, don’t make them wait. Pick up the phone when they call, e-mail them back if they e-mail you, and call them back if you missed their call. Don’t let a potential lead go cold.

Always thank them for their time. Even if they just call for more information, it’s not a waste of your time. They might find your dog in the future, and if they do, you want them to think of calling you before they call the pound.

If you’re looking to increase the conversion potential of your billboard website, don’t skip the basics. Use these principles to help bring your dog, and your business, back home.


Josh O’Berski writes for Straight North, a Chicago-based Internet marketing agency serving midsize and large B2B firms. Straight North develops conversion-driven websites and delivers intelligent marketing solutions that include Web strategy, SEO, PPC, social media, copywriting, e-mail marketing and branding. Follow Straight North on Twitter: @straightnorth and on Facebook.


  1. Jonhy Feb 24, 9:21 pm

    Good choise to compare with “bazooka”.

    Good to read, i recommend to my friends.

  2. Conscious Life Feb 25, 4:06 pm

    Embarrassingly, I do have a few abandoned billboard websites (or more like wallpaper websites) that could use some updates. But thanks to your article, now I’ve some ideas to resurrect them from the grave and give them a new lease of life! Thankies!

  3. Cookie Darnell Feb 27, 6:55 am

    Excellent! Well written, clear, easy to follow – want to do one for my book and try it out?


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