Your sign is your voice on the street. It communicates with passing pedestrians and motorists. It convinces them to come through your doors and do business with you. Did you know that signage is the least expensive but most effective form of advertising? Signage can be responsible for half of your customers - that’s right, 50 percent! Signage is so important that without it you may not even get a loan for your business. Signage is an investment that will pay a return many times over. A well-designed, well-placed sign can generate huge profits, especially when part of an overall marketing strategy. Signage can no longer be an afterthought. Businesses can no longer afford to just "hang up a shingle" or throw up some plywood with painted letters. In order to compete in today's competitive marketplace, you must think of your sign as a sophisticated, powerful marketing tool. It should work for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, creating the first impression of your business, telling people who you are, where you are and what you offer.
Signs are so widespread we hardly notice them. That is until we're looking for one and then we only note that in passing. We don't realize their effect on us, which is one reason why they're so effective. However, it is precisely because they are so commonplace that many merchants take them for granted. Obviously, most small business owners know they need a sign but they think of them as merely a marker identifying the business. As a result they are unaware of and underutilize the earning potential of signage. In order for the independent merchant to fully realize the potential earnings of signage, they must look at signage not just as a way of marking the business but also as a way of marketing the business. Your on-premise sign should identify your business, mark its location, and convey the right image of your company. But, the most important thing it should communicate is what you are selling.
At a minimum, your sign should Attract new customers, Brand the business and Create impulse sales
Attract New Customers: Research indicates that 85% of your customers live or work within a five-mile radius of your business. But according to the Census Bureau, 18.6% of the population relocates annually.Which means every year you're losing customers that you must replace with new customers, just to break even. Who's in business just to break even?If you only want to sustain your business then just maintain your customer base. But if you want to grow your business, you must increase your customer base. The quickest, easiest and most economical way to attract new customers is with signage. If you'll recall from the previous section a small, 7% increase in sales produced over 124% increase in profit. It is for this reason that attracting the new customer is essential to your profitability.
Brand the Business: When your business is the first one that comes to mind as a place to find a product or service, you have achieved what is called "top-of-mind awareness." Top-of-mind awareness is built and reinforced through repetition. 85% of your customers live or work within a five-mile radius of your business. When driving to and from work, home, school or shopping, they pass your location some 50 to 60 times a month. Your sign should be designed so that it commands their attention every time they pass. That's how signs help build top-of-mind awareness and brand your business. To further this effort, make sure your sign is included as part of your overall marketing strategy. The name of your business, your logo, company colors, catch phrase, etc., should be consistent on your sign, your letterhead, business cards and print ads. All these coordinated efforts build recall and recognition and help brand your business in the mind of the consumer.
Create Impulse Sales: Even though many of today's consumers have the financial ability to spend money, few have the time in which to do that spending. They're certainly too busy to search for you or wander around comparison-shopping. They are more likely to stop at the first convenient place they see that seems to be selling what they need. Who hasn't been driving down the street, stopped at a store and made a purchase, merely because they saw the sign? Best Buy discovered that about 17% of its customers were people who did not intend to stop there but did so specifically because they saw the sign. Another example of how signs can be very effective at influencing a customer's buying habits is the Belmont Auto Spa in southern California. The business was profitable but not as much as expected. Unfortunately, the original sign, although expensive and well placed, was poorly designed. Its lack of color contrast prevented it from standing out from the background and it couldn't be seen or read at a distance. Further, since the sign didn't have any of the characteristic visual features one would expect for a car wash, drivers didn't recognize it as one and drove right on by. The owner invested $15,000 in a new pylon sign that was well-designed. The strong, first-read pictorial graphic immediately identified Belmont as a car wash and the colors were contrasting and lively. A reader board was also added to highlight specials such as detailing. In its first year, the new sign produced a 15% increase in overall business, which translated into an additional $135,000.00 – nearly nine times the cost of the sign.
what you need to know about signage
for YOUR business