Real estate yard signs are still an effective way to promote different properties for sale for real estate professionals and overall sellers.

49% of homebuyers still use yard signs as information resources (source).

So, these signs shouldn’t be ignored as a marketing channel.

But there are custom real estate yard signs, and then there are custom real estate yard signs that likely convert better.

And in this article, you will learn how you could make those that do the latter.

Before you start reading any further, I can give you one clue: you will need to combine them with a human element.

The Characteristics and Usage of Typical Real Estate Yard Signs

A large share of real estate yard signs is made from corrugated plastic with vertical fluting.

What does vertical fluting do?

It has little holes that run through the sign’s interior and enables the wire stakes you may want to use to display the sign to be put inside the vertical fluting.

These signs are usually 4mm thick, and besides the corrugated plastic, they are also made of rigid plastic or aluminum.

As the name already implies, real estate yard signs are usually placed and displayed in yards and can be displayed using metal frames, wire stakes, posts, and grommets.

What about the most common size?

The typical yard sign dimensions are 24″ x 18″, which makes the sign visible enough for people (potential buyers) passing by.

While these dimensions are standard, for strategic marketing reasons, you may not want to stick to standard (more about that later), so there are also these popular yard sign sizes:

  • 24″ x 6″
  • 36″ x 18″ (jumbo yard sign)
  • 18″ x 12″
  • 2′ x 2′ (jumbo yard sign)
  • 4′ x 4′ (jumbo yard sign)

The main priority for the decision on the right real estate yard sign size should be visibility.

If people can’t read it well from a decent distance, you won’t get your marketing message or “ad copy” across.

And without that, no leads.

You can use a little rule of thumb to determine the right size.

If you want people to be able to read the message from 30 feet away, your text will need to be 3″ tall. 

Translated into a rule of thumb, you will reach 10 feet of viewing distance for each inch of text size.

And once you know the requirements for the text size, you will know what sign size you need.

The next characteristic is typically the color. 

I already covered the ideal colors of real estate signs in this article.

In this article, I concluded that you want to use purple/brown, and/or black colors for high-end properties, orange and/or red for houses in lower price ranges, green for healthy homes, and again red, orange, and/or yellow colors for open homes.

how to make custom yard signs

The Marketing Problem with the Typical Custom Real Estate Yard Signs

During my research, I looked at many websites offering “custom” yard signs. 

When searching for them, you usually find the typical providers that can make you the standard signs I mentioned above.

Are these really custom-made real estate yard signs?

When we take a look at the meaning of “custom-made,” it means “specially made for a particular person” (source).

And what these providers usually offer in terms of customization is the following:

  • A selection of the orientation (horizontal/vertical)
  • Different sizes (e.g., 12’’x 18’’, 18’’x 27’’, 24’’x 36’’, 6’’x 24’’, 18’’x 24’’)
  • Grommets or no grommets
  • Accessories such as wire yard sign stands, command strips, plastic yard stand, plastic tabletop stands
  • Select the photo area on the sign (if necessary)
  • The sign color
  • Pre-made design templates that you can customize with your text
  • The option to upload your own design

To answer the question above, taking the definition of custom-made into consideration, yes, they are indeed custom-made within the constraints of the sign shape and size that can be selected. 

The latter is the only constraint that limits the customizability.

So, where is the marketing problem with that?

When you revisit the well-known copywriting and marketing principle of AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action), you will find that drawing attention and causing a response is one of the main jobs a real estate yard sign has to do.

After that, and when the space allows, it can also raise further interest in the product/the property.

The latter usually is secondary since the product (the property) can usually be found behind the real estate yard sign. 

And if it is prepared well enough to sell, further interest will be caused.

Regarding the attention part and the usual custom real estate yard sign providers, your creative freedom is limited to color and font types.

When it comes to shape and size, you won’t have much creative freedom anymore. 

You can choose between 5 or slightly more different sizes and maybe more than one type of material.

Suppose the providers would also start to offer the customization of shapes. In that case, it may mean a logistical overkill for them to streamline their business processes in the background for this use case. 

But imagine if they would integrate 3D printing into their production process.

With 3D printing, the sky would be the limit regarding creative freedom. 

Why would this be an important factor in grabbing attention via the AIDA formula?

You will stand out much more from your competitors that, like you, will be limited to more or less the same shapes and forms these providers offer.

If you can stand out not only with your ad copy on the sign but also with the shape or form, you will be able to increase your response and conversion rates of potential buyers and other clients that will more likely see your 100% customized real estate yard sign.

So, what can you do until providers offer 3D printing for yard signs to cut through the real estate yard sign noise?

Well, you could make your own individual shapes and forms.

This website where a birthday yard sign was made gave me a nice idea to make a real estate yard sign; that might even be cheaper, but it will need more of your time.

The article above describes how you can make these yard signs with thick cardboard.

You would cut out the letters you will need for your marketing message (in the case of the article, it was for a birthday yard sign) and place them the way you like them in the yard.

This is a rough summary of how to do them, and the article is much more detailed.

Another approach would be to let yourself get inspired by some guerrilla marketing methods and use other type of unconventional shapes and forms.

In my article about the best colors for real estate signs, I mentioned at the end some unconventional ideas for real estate sign forms that draw more attention.

The ideas I mentioned were:

  • Signs in the form of a magnifying glass
  • Signs with built-in lights that highlight the design and the ad copy
  • Using a small mobile home as a sign that you can actually enter and get further information about the house

And these are the ideas that came to me while writing this article:

  • Renting an old Cadillac or whichever car would appeal to the target buyer group and use that as a sign.
  • Have actual people hold and/or spin your sign. Depending on the target buyer group, they could be dressed up or just in the same age group so the potential buyer group could relate.
  • A variation of the former idea could be a person holding a sign with a very short message or even only a QR code as the only message, with a call to action like “Take a Picture of That.” The QR code, of course, leads to the landing page of the respective property that is promoted.

The last two ideas seem not too bad, especially conversion or response rate-wise. 

Why?

In this studysignage experts compared how driving by cars would respond to stand-alone signs, signs held statically by a person, or signs with some moves and spins.

They also did different experiments with the sign size, text, and color contrast on the sign.

The results were quite interesting. 

As you might have already suspected, when a person held the sign, the engagement was increased by 60%, and high-contrast colors and text also performed better.

Further results were the following:

 

  • Short messages increase engagement by 90%
  • The same-sized message performed better on a larger sign and caused a 75% higher response rate.
  • A simple and easy-to-read design leads to 40% more responses.

    Bottom Line

    Many good providers can produce nice custom real estate yard signs to a certain degree.

    But if you want to cut through the noise and increase the attention and thus response rate for your real estate yard signs, you might need to put a little more extra effort into it.

    This means you may want to play with the form of the design and/or also introduce a human element.

    By human element, I mean someone is holding the sign. 

    And no offense, but I didn’t mean the typical realtor picture on the sign that, in the end, looks like someone is running for some office. 

    This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.

    Tobias Schnellbacher

    Tobias Schnellbacher