How to rent ad space in a high competitors market?

Hi everyone, as you I venture in the advertising industry, building my first billboard on February.I will like your advice on the following issue:

I’ m having trouble renting my ad space, if I grade my billboard from 1-4 (4 being the best), I would say mine is a 3. Not premium but much better than most located in a highly commercial area.

My approach has been direct email marketing to company’s marketing managers and reaching by phone the clients that are already on other billboards. The company’s aren’t that responsive and the media agencies are even worst.

I have an initial monthly price, and talking to other competitors they quickly dropped prices according to the contracts duration. But I’m really concerned of the market dynamics, when I reach a potential client they submit the proposal immediately to their media agency and then communication is dropped. Since I’m trying to nail a contract I give a good price for semester of annual rents. I’m very specific that the price are for the direct clients.

I’m starting to think the media agencies don’t care much about other good billboards or location, their only interest is to secure the commission with already establish conditions with other outdoor media companies.

At least for this year is survival operation, but is shrinking my expansion vision.

What is that I’m not seeing, any advice will really be appreciated?

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Ad agencies are your WORST option. They will ALWAYS go with the largest billboard company, as they get a higher commission, better service and more help with the creative. Here’s how I’d change your attack plan:

  1. Direct mail. Send 500 flyers to those businesses that typically advertise on billboards (car dealers, attorneys, etc.) within the same zipcode as your sign. You should get around 1% response rate of people calling to ask you more about the sign. Press them each as hard as you can.

  2. Determine the top 20 prospects for the sign, that can use it for an “Exit Now” or “Next Exit” opportunity. Cold all the owners of these businesses and your basic pitch is “what do I have to do to get you to rent this sign”. These advertisers will definitely benefit, so it’s just all about price. Pick the best deal and get the ad up. You can get more the next time around, once you can start renting the space 60 days ahead.

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I’ll definitely do that. I have one “client” that wants both faces for the price of one. I’m trying to be open minded and flexible, but the deal practically only covers expenses and is for too long. I guess I have to move quicker to have other client and push harder when gain interest.

I also have “rent this sign” on my to do list.

Frank, thank you very much for your advice and for being a mentor for many of us.

Remember that the hardest time to rent a sign is when it’s vacant. So the key is to get an advertiser up on that sign as soon as possible. An occupied sign appears much more desirable to advertisers, and it buys you time to find the “ideal” tenant. Your job is to find the perfect tenant who will renew the ad lease year after year – not just some random tenant. You will be money ahead if you find a Wendy’s that stays on the sign at $500 per month in continuity than renting it for $1,000 per month to poor quality tenants who go broke and leave the sign vacant half the year.

Once you get that first tenant on the sign, always start your search for a new advertiser 60 days ahead of that ad coming down – and keep your eye out for the perfect tenant at all times.

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We are taking offers for purchase of our property.
It has two boards on it. A 10x22 and a junior board.
It has permits held by Fairway outdoor HOWEVER there are no current lessees in effect and can be negotiated by a new owner! -In March we issued them a letter stating the leases will not be renewed.-

The address is:
11304 US-221
Woodruff, SC 29388
Tax map #4-32-00-050.01

Send your Letter of intent to purchase to


you can list your billboard for rent on the website:, there is a free trial.