Why You Should Keep Your Branding Consistent Across the Customer Journey

Building a loyal customer base is essential for any business’s success. Loyal customers are often advocates for your brand, referring you to friends and family and helping to grow your customer base even more. But in order to build and maintain a following of loyal customers, you need to ensure you’re delivering a positive customer experience.

Every interaction a customer has with your brand needs to be a positive one. To help you achieve that, you should focus on consistent branding throughout the entire customer journey. Strong branding helps customers feel confident in what your business has to offer and solidifies that trust and loyalty you work so hard to build.

To make sure you’re putting your best foot forward, consider how your brand appears at each stage of the customer journey.

What is a customer journey?

While every business is slightly different, most customers follow a basic framework when they’re deciding whether to make a purchase or do business with a company. The roadmap of experiences that leads them to their purchase decision is called the customer journey.

In other words, the customer journey includes all the experiences someone has with your brand—from first becoming aware of your company to purchasing from you regularly.

The main stages of the customer journey are:

  • Awareness: The potential customer has a need and becomes aware of your brand.
  • Discovery: The potential customer researches your brand to see if you can fill that need. They might compare you to other companies and their offerings.
  • Purchasing decision: The customer decides whether or not to purchase your product.
  • Retention: Your brand continues to engage the customer so that they return to purchase again and again.
  • Advocacy: The customer is loyal to your brand and encourages other customers to shop with you.

Why is consistent branding important?

In general, it takes 6-8 interactions for a customer to even consider purchasing from your brand. Keeping your branding consistent through every touchpoint bolsters your marketing efforts in multiple ways.

Most importantly, it creates an overall positive experience. It ensures that customers aren’t confused by inconsistent branding or messaging in the early stages of their journey, so they build more recognition and trust for your business. This helps you move them closer to a purchasing decision. After the customer has made a purchase, consistent branding will keep them coming back, because you’re a brand they know and trust.

How to build consistent branding

Follow these steps to ensure your branding is consistent across every step of the customer journey.

Awareness

A customer might initially hear about your brand through an advertisement online, on TV, or in print. At every advertising touchpoint, you use, make sure your branding is clear. Establish who you are and what you have to offer.

Include your business name and logo prominently on these ads, and display a clear brand promise. To entice the buyer, use customer-centric messaging that aligns with your brand’s voice and style.

Discovery

Potential customers will likely research your company online to learn more once they’ve heard about you. You’ll want to maintain a consistent design—including color palette, set of fonts, imagery, and logos—across all digital channels, including your website, blog, and social media.

These channels should also include a clear value proposition and deliver on the brand promises you made in your ads. Demonstrate how you fulfill that promise using imagery and storytelling.

Don’t forget about your customer service channels, either! Your customer service team should be answering questions in a way that’s on-brand. You should be responding to both positive and negative customer reviews in your standard voice, as well.

Purchasing decision

Once a customer decides to purchase from you, it’s your job to make them feel confident in that decision.

Carry your branding through to your in-store experience to minimize confusion when customers transition from digital to physical channels. You want customers to recognize that your store delivers on the same brand promise you have on your website. The overall design of your signage and décor should match your digital channels’, as should your messages and value proposition. Outside, use sidewalk signs, banners, flags, and window graphics to share those messages. Inside, make sure your wall and floor graphics, product displays, point-of-sale signage, business cards, and brochures match, too.

Packaging should also become part of your brand experience. Pay attention to the colors and designs of shipping boxes, product boxes, printed materials, bags, and even tape or ribbons to ensure they match your branding.

Additionally, ensure your sales team is using fresh, up-to-date, and consistently branded collateral. Your brochures, postcards, catalogs, look books, and stationery should feature similar elements to your digital channels and advertisements.

Retention

You’ve won the customer, but their journey is not over! If a customer has a negative or inconsistent experience with your brand during or after the purchasing process, they’re less likely to return.

Pay close attention to any follow-up communications you send customers and ensure you maintain that consistent logo, color palette, and design. All your marketing emails, direct mailers, social media posts, and retargeting ads should use those same elements to reinforce the customer’s understanding of your brand.

Great customer experiences start with strong branding

The importance of branding cannot be understated when it comes to building and reinforcing positive customer experiences. The more your customers come to understand and trust your brand, the more likely they will be to advocate for you. Don’t neglect any part of the customer journey—even after they purchase—to ensure you build a loyal customer base for the foreseeable future.

4 Ways to Boost Your Marketing Using Social Distancing Signage

Social distancing and safety signage isn’t going away anytime soon. While your business needs to adhere to those mandates a while longer, customers are tired of seeing the same generic signs everywhere they go. What’s even worse are the handwritten signs and the peeling tape that’s spread along the floor. Having worn, outdated, or dirty signage could be sending the wrong message about your brand.

Now is the time to refresh and replace your COVID-19 signage. But beyond that, it’s time to rethink how you do safety signage altogether! Your signs can—and should—be used as a tool to reinforce your brand messages and boost your marketing efforts.

Consider these four ways to maximize your marketing with social distancing signage.

1. Align with Your Branding

At this point, everyone knows the guidelines for social distancing in public. Signs mainly serve as reminders to ensure customers follow those practices within your building. For this reason, consider changing those generic neon or bright red signs to something that more closely aligns with your brand.

You can tell the story of your business by redesigning your social distancing signage to match your branding and décor. Incorporate elements of your brand identity, such as colors, fonts, shapes, and images—or even your brand mascot or character—to make signs unique to your business. Doing so will increase brand awareness and create a more pleasant experience for customers while reinforcing safety standards.

2. Advertise Your Products

Your social distancing signage isn’t only good for branding—it can also help promote what your business has to offer! Try incorporating product messaging and imagery into your signs in place of the usual social distancing symbols and language.

For example, if you own a car dealership, you can promote the vehicles you sell by encouraging customers to stand a “Camry” or a “Jetta” length apart. Alternatively, if you run a burger joint, you could redesign your floor graphics to feature a different delicious-looking burger every six feet.

This clever advertising strategy also provides opportunities for cross-selling and upselling, particularly when it’s used near the point of sale or where customers will be waiting in line.

3. Get Creative

Few people would call the average health and safety sign “fun,” but that doesn’t mean it can’t be! Social distancing signage doesn’t need to have one standard look for every business. You have the opportunity to mix it up and be creative.

There are tons of ways to “wow” customers with your creativity. Signage can be aligned with holidays, major events, or the seasons—think snowflakes in the winter or flip-flops in the summer. You can also tie industry information into your signs. For example, gyms might include a quick health fact on every graphic, while a wine shop might theme its social distancing signs around different varietals.

The more creative you are with your signage, the more you’ll surprise your customers. This leads to a more memorable visit to your business and leaves them with a positive impression of your brand. Plus, creative signs are more eye-catching, meaning people are more likely to pay attention and adhere to what they say.

4. Generate Leads

Safety signage doesn’t have to be a static experience that only enforces healthy behaviors inside your business. It can also be used as a powerful lead generation tool that encourages customers to engage with your brand long after they’ve visited your physical location.

This is easily achieved by adding QR codes to your signs. With a quick scan, customers are directed to a webpage where they can sign up for a loyalty program, subscribe to your marketing emails or newsletter, download your app, or receive a discount code!

These lead generation tactics help draw customers’ attention to your signage and provide an added incentive for them. In the end, this helps you build long-term relationships with your audience across multiple platforms.

Create Strategic Signage That Works for Your Brand

Social distancing signage doesn’t have to be standard. You can turn something necessary for public health and safety into a unique opportunity for business marketing and branding!

If it’s time for your business to update your signage, partner with AlphaGraphics Middleton to replace your worn or outdated signs with something brand new. We can help you create customized designs that get noticed and bolster your marketing efforts, so you can put your best foot forward.

How to Leverage Signage for Marketing Your Business

It’s impossible to walk or drive through an urban environment today and not see signage. Every business has signage, largely because it’s the simplest, most accessible form of advertising. Storefront signs say, “My business operates here.” Flags and banners say, “We’re having a sale right now.” Big window clings say, “Look at the products I sell.”

Not only is this type of signage all around us, but it’s a ubiquitous part of how we interact with the world as consumers. The types of signage we’re exposed to and the messages we see cause us to act and react with the brands delivering them. This is all to say that, from a business standpoint, having the right signage is very important for success!

Why Signage Is Important for Any Business

Signage plays many different roles for a business. Your signage is never just an advertisement or a piece of branded collateral. It’s a powerful and multifaceted marketing tool.

Here are some of the ways to think about signage, beyond the means to sell:

  • Inform, direct, or entice a customer to take a desired action
  • Attract attention, create intrigue, and promote interest
  • Expose people to and educate them about your brand
  • Strengthen your brand’s awareness and customer recognition
  • Stand out from the competition

Above all, signage is a tangible, visible representation of your brand. When consumers look at it, they draw conclusions about your business based on how it looks and what the message says. They’ll make assumptions—warranted or otherwise—based on how your signage comes off to them.

If your signage sends a good message and creates a positive emotion, there’s a good chance your brand will benefit in some way. A customer might decide to step inside your business and buy something or develop a positive association with your brand that leads them to recommend you to a friend. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Poor signage will spark a lackluster response and may even lower people’s expectations or perceptions of your business. In a world where perception is reality, good signage is vital and important!

Make Signage Part of Your Marketing Strategy

Signage is one of the best ways to interact with people in the physical world. Consumers can’t send a sign to spam or unsubscribe from your signage. It’s always there, always visible, always prevalent. In the age of digital marketing, nothing comes close to the staying power of physical signage.

For these reasons, signage is a great addition to your marketing strategy. It provides an opportunity to capture an audience that you may not normally reach on other channels, and it reinforces your messaging to build loyalty with existing customers. Where, when and how you display signage gives it an almost infinite range of possibilities to build awareness, drive traffic, and spark more sales.

Like all your marketing, you want to reach the right people, at the right time, with the right message. With signage, you have the benefit of choosing the location it’s displayed. Consider the context of that location, and cater your messaging accordingly. For example, a sign in the window of a business will prompt more immediate action and can lead to a purchase, whereas an advertisement in an airport will be more informational.

Use Signs to Grab Attention

Also consider your audience. Your message should be relevant and meaningful to the type of person you’re trying to attract—including copy, visuals, tone, branding, and the call to action. Use language and images that will resonate with them and give them a reason to do something other than just look at your sign. Push them to act!

The possibilities for signage are virtually endless. Businesses can create signs in any size, shape, color, or material and display them just about anywhere. Really, you’re only limited by your imagination, but there are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Keep your message simple. No more than seven words is a common rule of thumb.
  • Make the text big enough that it’s easy to read from afar.
  • Choose a compelling color scheme—one that’s on brand, yet easy on the eyes.
  • Provide contrast between text and colors or backgrounds to ensure legibility.
  • Keep it consistent with your brand identity, including copy, images, and CTA.

Want to really kick your signage up a notch? Consider placing it where and when your audience least expects it, but where it’s poised to make a big impression. These are generally places where immediate action isn’t possible (like in a bathroom or on a billboard), but where the unexpectedness of the sign will imprint its message in a more meaningful way.

You can also take a creative approach to get people intrigued by your signage. Ever follow arrows on the ground or footprints in a store? That’s creative signage at its finest!

What Signs are Best for Your Business?

The type of signs you select will depend heavily on their intent. Below are some of the most common types of commercial signage and their benefits.

Banners, Flags, and Large-scale Signage

There’s no ignoring banners, flags, and other large-scale signage outside of a storefront! These can’t-miss signs are best for general attention-getting and communicating one clear objective to attract passersby and draw them in.

Wall and Floor Graphics

Great for indoor and outdoor applications alike, wall and floor graphics give direction, boost brand awareness, and promote clear actions for customers.

Use wall graphics to showcase your brand and reiterate your brand values. One way to think about it is as a statement wall, but instead of paint it’s a branded wall graphic! Floor graphics are great for wayfinding but can be useful for delivering brand messages, too. Today, many businesses are using floor graphics as a way to enforce social distancing.

Digital Signage

Digital signage blends the benefits and broad possibilities of digital technology with the proven efficacy of physical signage. The result is highly-customizable, always-relevant signage.

Digital signs are a good option for those who want greater flexibility and personalization. They allow you to easily adjust your message for different audiences or at different times of the day. They offer variety in media types, such as videos, GIFs, and animations in place of static imagery. And in some cases, they even encourage the consumer to interact with your brand, as with touchscreens and digital wayfinding signs.

Vinyl Wraps

Not just for vehicles, vinyl wraps can turn windows, kiosks, furniture, cornhole boards, and anything else with a smooth surface into a curated advertisement with a clear, concise message.

With vinyl wraps, you have the ability to provide information about your business or advertise in non-traditional places. Additional benefits include: resilience against weather and wear over time; full customization across shapes, sizes, styles, and colors; and reusability when printed with the right materials.

The options for signage don’t end there, and neither do the possibilities for attracting and engaging your audience. Talk to a signage expert at AlphaGraphics to learn more about the many types of signage and the infinite customization options available, so you can bring your message to life in the most effective way.

8 Ways to Engage Local Customers Each and Every Day

Local small businesses live and die by their reputation among customers in a well-defined geographic area. If your local customers love your business and identify with your brand, a business can boom quickly and grow steadily. If they’re turned off by your brand identity, you’re likely to suffer at the hands of your only consumer base.

Getting into and staying in the good graces of local customers means not only presenting a business model and brand that’s appealing, but continuing to present that image. Forgetting about your business is almost as bad for your bottom line as disagreeing with it!

Staying in front of your local customers without becoming an annoyance can be tricky. Luckily, there are a few surefire ways to tread that line with impunity, keeping your business a local fan-favorite:

Explore Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a subtle, yet powerful way to stay on the local radar. If you’re a restaurant, invite local business reps to bring their lunch meetings to you. If you’re a print shop, volunteer your services for a local nonprofit. Influencer marketing is all about grassroots reputation building. Find people who will talk about your brand, and give them a reason to say positive things!

Get Involved In Your Community

If people see you as a fixture in the community, they’re going to support your business. Attend local events, donate to local groups and maintain your standing at the local level. Remember, every local impression you make is absorbed by your potential customer base.

Respond To Reviews

Whether positive or negative, it’s important to show your local customers you’re engaged. Responding on social platforms to reviews is a great way to stay in their world. Customers who take the time to leave a review or ask a question give you permission to engage them—capitalize on this in a simple, positive way and others will take note of it.

Advertise As A Service, Not Interruption

This is the essence of passive marketing. Display your daily specials on a chalkboard, leave your door open with a sales flyer at the entrance or offer a punch card for customer loyalty. These are all ways you can reach customers daily, without interrupting.

Improve Your Exterior Signage

As a local brick and mortar establishment, your exterior signage is going to do more for you than any digital ad. Make sure you’re making an investment in your primary storefront signage—it’ll translate into daily impressions that serve to keep you relevant within the local consumer class.

Consider Sponsorship

There are numerous opportunities for sponsorship with a community. From 5k runs to bike races, little league teams to car shows and more, these events need support. You’ll showcase the vested interest you have in local events and gain the respect of brand advocates who sing your praises. Moreover, if things like shirts or bumper stickers are part of the sponsorship, these items will continue to market for you long after the event has passed.

Support Local Radio

Local radio is a great marketing medium for your customer demographic—it spans only as far as your potential customers do! Having a radio spot here and there is a great way to get your name into the mix. Whether they’re sitting in traffic on the way home or scanning channels for something to listen to, customers are going to hear your appeal and remember it.

Experiment With Digital Ads

In the modern age of digital advertising, PPC ads can geographically targeted. Whether you’re advertising through Google or Facebook, targeting only your local crowd will make sure you’re getting face time each and every day. And, thanks to nominal costs, this blanketing method of advertising can also be the most cost-efficient.

Remember, your local customer pool is the only one you’ve got to work with: make sure you’re cultivating a brand that’s valued by them! Consider the above ways to stay relevant and popular among your local customers.

Want even more great ideas on how to get your business noticed in your local market? Come visit us, AlphaGraphics Middleton!

8 Eye-Opening Business Signage Stats You Need to Know

Any smart business owner knows that it takes more than just a great product or model to operate a successful company. The true driver of success is sales, and sales stem from good advertising and branding. Focusing on these core competencies is a fundamental way to drive business that grows your bottom line, which in turn results in success.

The cornerstone of every successful brick and mortar brand is a great piece of store signage. Business signage is important for so many reasons—namely because it sets the tone for your storefront, creates brand association, attracts attention, and serves as an informative tool. There’s an immense amount of importance placed on your business’ signage.

Let’s take a look at 8 truly eye-opening figures that illustrate just how integral business signage is to store success. Keep these facts in mind the next time you’re looking up at your own business’ sign:

  1. When surveyed, exactly 50% of in-store shoppers named “on-premise signage” as the reason for their visit. Simply put, it means they saw the sign and decided to stop in! Your sign could result in half of your store’s foot traffic on any given day.
  2. Studies show that good signage directly boosts a business’ profits. Monument signage can drive sales by 9.3%, pole signage can add up to 15.6% to your bottom line and larger storefront signage may boost sales by up to 7.7%.
  3. The average storefront sign is seen 50-60 times per month by anyone living within 5 miles of your location. This could be responsible for as much as 85% of your monthly walk-in sales!
  4. Business signage is your foremost advertising tool. Seeing a sign is far and away the biggest reason customers know your business even exists. 35% of shoppers surveyed cited a sign as the reason for knowing about a local business.
  5. It’s estimated that a good business sign is as effective as 24 full-page newspaper ads. Consider this comparison in a cost sense and you’ll get an idea of just how powerful on-premise business signage can be!
  6. Looking for new customers? About 12%of people move each year, which means you have an annual opportunity to capture a portion of these people as new customers via attractive storefront signage.
  7. If you think your signage needs an upgrade, you might be right. One study showed positive increases in business after changing the design or enhancing the visibility of signage. This includes boosts in overall sales, transactions, and profits, with an average increase of about 10% across the board.
  8. Finally, let’s not forget that your investment in good storefront signage is one that will provide 24/7/365 benefits to you. It doesn’t matter what season or time of day it is, your sign will be prominently displayed as a marketing tool at all times.

All of these studies—conducted by major organizations like the International Signage Association and reputable institutions like the Economic Center at the University of Cincinnati—point to the same conclusion: there’s no substitute for great business signage. If your business is lacking effective storefront signage or is overdue for enhancement or upgrades, it’s time to start thinking about how your bottom line may be impacted. Consider the above stats and ask yourself if new signage could give your business a reinvigorated sense of success.

Want to start getting noticed in your local market? Contact your AlphaGraphics Middleton sign team to get your project started today!

 

Statistics and data taken from several sources and studies including: