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Signage as Marketing The right sign for your business
You are in business to make money and to do that you need customers. Without them there is no business. The question is how do you find them and, more importantly, get them to come to you rather than the competition?
The short answer is marketing! And, depending on your business, a key element of your marketing could be your signage.
Some years ago a sign manufacturer in the USA conducted a survey of its clients to find out whether their signs were bringing in customers. The companies surveyed had been in business for a year or less and the research was carried out four to six weeks after new signage was fitted.
The results showed that the signs attracted half of all new customers, more than any other form of advertising. Other research, also carried out in the United States has shown that sales revenue can increase by as much as 16% as a result of new or improved signage and that this, in turn, translated into an even larger increase in profits.
As your business becomes more established, more sales will come from repeat customers and fewer will be due directly to your sign, but that doesn’t mean the sign has become any less important. Far from it, the sign continues to serve as a constant reminder to your customers that you are there..
Signs are so commonplace nowadays that we may not consciously notice them. They are so much part of the urban landscape we don’t realise the subliminal effect they have on us – which is one reason they are so effective.
Unfortunately, it is precisely because signs are so commonplace that many businesses take them for granted. While most small business owners know they need a sign, many think of them as merely as a means of identifying the business.
To fully realise the potential of signage, you must consider it not just as a way of marking the business but also as means of marketing the business. Your sign should identify your business, mark its location, and convey the right image of your company
If you operate a retail or customer-facing business, the likelihood is that the majority of your customers will live within a five mile radius of your location, which means they could pass your business may times every week as they travel to work, school or go shopping.
Your sign should be designed and positioned so that it grabs their attention every time they pass. This repetition builds awareness of your business and your brand.
Cleverly designed signage can also act as a landmark -for example, staff at branches of Big Yellow Self Storage, when asked by customers how we find you – answer ‘look for the sign, it’s big, it’s yellow and it says self storage!’
Your sign must therefore stand out from the background, immediately identify the business and it should clearly tell customers what service or product you are selling. To do this an effective sign will incorporate different design elements depending on the type of business and the target audience. It must project the right image for the business, so that when a customer walks through the door, he or she has already formed an impression of the company and its product.
For some businesses the sign must reach out and pull people in on the spot. Here, where the customer may need to make a quick decision to stop, the signage should be eye catching with a brief, simple message that can be read and understood quickly. In many of these cases the sign needs to be recognised not read!
The typical McDonald’s is a good example. The “Golden Arches” are such a familiar icon that the McDonald’s sign can easily be recognized long before the lettering can be read. An independent fast food restaurant with a poorly designed sign that is difficult see or read will have hard time attracting customers even if the food, service, and pricing are superior.
If your sign is going to convince the customer to stop, it must be well designed so that all the information you need to convey can be taken in at a glance and we will look at sign design in more detail when we consider how to find the right signmaker and the right sign for you.