We have found that in this economy today there are many new companies exploring outdoor advertising that had not done so in the past. The biggest thing to focus on is to find companies that have the largest advertising budget, PERIOD. Find out who is spending the most money on television, radio, direct mail, and sometimes other billboards, and go after those companies. You will have an easier time renting signs to the companies that can easily afford them.
Billboards may not be the best advertising for a company that is looking for a direct response. You will be better off placing companies on your signs that will use the sign for directional purposes (directing them to their business) or for branding (increasing customer awareness in an area). We have tested direct response marketing on the billboards and it is very low. It is best to do a direct mail campaign directed at your target market with an outdoor advertising campaign that will increase consumer awareness in your market. This test was for a real estate company and every industry will have different response rates, so don’t assume this is the way it will always be.
If they only want short term leases, raise the rate for a short term contract and reduce the rate for a longer term contract. This will entice them to sign on for a longer term. In this economy, It makes sense to get any company on board with you that wants to advertise because they are somewhat scarce right now. You can show them you are the best company to go to in the area by giving them excellent customer service. Set up an email campaign to follow up monthly or bi-monthly, call them on a regular basis (but not too much because you will cause a lot of extra work if you contact them too often) Get them on the board and if you play your cards right they will stay on for the rest of the year.
I am definitely not an expert on renting signs, but maybe you can take some of these ideas and put them to use.