A founder approached me this week telling me of his good fortune: his company will soon by on the Nasdaq billboard in downtown New York City! “What should I do?” the founder asked. “Know what happens when people Google your company,” I said. Anticipating the actions of your audience is a PR superpower.
Nasdaq Billboard in Times Square
The Nasdaq billboard (pictured above) is an iconic piece of New York City’s uber-famous Times Square. It has appeared in too many Hollywood movies to count, shows, and stands tall in the background of nearly every tourist photo and Facebook “we went to NYC” photo.
I often caution clients that one big PR hit doesn’t make or break a company, so keep this in mind. PR success is built brick by brick, over long periods of time. But having your company name in Times Square is certainly an opportunity if you’re ready for it.
What to do when your company gets an ad on the Nasdaq Billboard
If you are going to get positive placement on the Nasdaq billboard or any other billboard, public sporting event, or building mural, your company must put the image on your homepage immediately and anticipate what will pop up in search engines when viewers search you and launch a lead capture tool.
I’ll explain each one, so you’re prepared when your lucky break hits one day (or maybe it just did!?).
1. Update your home page
Have you ever searched for a product or company, unsure if you found the correct website? Me too. Don’t put potential customers in this position—it would be a shame your efforts led a customer to your website, but they clicked off because they were confused.
First things first, make sure your branding is updated and consistent across all platforms. Social media and your website must be identical and use the same HEX or RGB codes. My web yellow is #fed30b. I didn’t even have to look that up. Make sure everything is consistent.
After your branding is consistent, make sure to get a picture of the billboard or your ad and write a new blog post about it within minutes of it going up. And make sure that post or image is on your homepage, easily visible “above the fold.” This serves as visual confirmation the visitor is in the right place. It’s the most obvious way for you to say, “yes, you found us!”
2. Anticipate and control search terms
After your website is consistent and ready for visitors, now it’s time to anticipate their actions. What are they going to search when they see your name on the Nasdaq billboard? If you are allowed to see the design, or if your design team is creating the billboard, you should know the answer to this question.
Once you know the exact term viewers will be searching, type it in the search bar and see what comes up. Make sure to use a VPN to search from the general area. In this case, New York City. Search engines use location to serve up relevant results.
After you search, what do you see? Nothing? Not good. What you need to do immediately is get your website ranked highly for the keyword or phrase you anticipate people will search.
Search engine optimization strategy isn’t rocket science. Create a page with a heading of your desired keyphrase. Make sure that the keyphrase is repeated 4-5 times. Make the page longer than 300 words and rich with video, photos, etc.
Now, tell every contact and friend to link to that page using the very keyword you’re trying to target. Call in every favor you can. To use me as an example, I would link Who Is Justin Brady? to my about page with the same title. Yes, there’s a lot more to SEO, but this alone will get you far. Do this today.
3. Launch a lead capture tool
Let’s say you get 5,000 hits from your Nasdaq billboard appearance—that’s unlikely, but hey, it could happen if your product/company is the right fit at the right time. What good is all that traffic if there was no call to action, no easy way to buy, or no way to engage with you? Sure, the spike on your analytics report will look good… that is, until your boss asks you, “great, how many new customers did we get?” Derp!
Don’t be that person. Set up an obvious call to action right now, and no, “message us to learn more” is not a good call to action. Give each visitor a reason to give you their valuable email address. Offer to send them a sample in the mail, offer to send them a white paper, a PDF, or something free. Offer them something valuable enough to get their contact information so you can follow up later.