What Should Your Sign be Doing for You?
Signs mean different things to different people, depending on the message being conveyed and the person reading it. Some signs might usher in new customers to your store, with the promise of a sale on an item they’ve been waiting to purchase, while other signs might help people to recognize your brand amongst a sea of others like it. But, all of this really begs the question: “what should your sign be doing for you?”
There’s no real wrong answer to this question—only a slew of right answers that you can use to gauge the overall effectiveness of your sign. And, it essentially comes down to three distinct variables: attracting attention, branding your business and driving sales. In whatever form they might come. If your sign is having the effect that it should be, you’ll see an impact in each of these three areas.
These days, it’s hard to stand out in the world of signage and advertising: virtually everyone has a sign and they’re all so unique that it creates a landscape of advertisements everywhere you turn your head! Think about how it must feel to be a customer in this day and age!
With so many different signs in every direction, the first directive of an effective sign might also be the hardest to achieve: attracting attention. In fact, consumers these days are actually training themselves to divert their attention from signage, as traditional signage has now come to be viewed frequently as “eye clutter.”
In order to attract attention, your custom business sign has to accomplish three chief things: get someone to divert their gaze to the sign, ensure that the message is read, then ensure that it’s not immediately discarded as an afterthought. It’s harder than it seems!
Modern signs employ a number of tactics to help create meaningful impressions, including the use of LED lighting, bold fonts and colors, strategic placement and even mechanical motions that break the plane of vision.
The bottom line is this: if someone stops to look at your sign, takes in its meaning and walks away without forgetting it, you’ve secured the first stage of an effective sign.
Branding your business
While some might think that a sign is first and foremost an advertising tool, it could be argued that they’re actually more of a branding tool. Because effective signs create lasting impressions on people, they automatically become a part of the brain’s schema for that brand.
Here’s an example. Think about McDonalds—what is that company’s defining symbol? The Golden Arches, right? And what does the sign of every McDonalds resemble? That’s right: the Golden Arches!
McDonalds is just one example of how signage can be used to build and portray a brand by passing on imagery and symbols that our brains catalog and remember. Over time, custom signs that leave an impression become more easily and more frequently associated with a brand—meaning that your business’ sign might very well be the trigger for an association with your products and services.
If your sign has become synonymous with your business or vice versa, you can tick off the next requirement for a good sign: branding and brand recognition.
Where is all of this leading? The same place every business decision leads: to the final dollar, the end sale, the conversion, etc.!
The ultimate purpose of a good custom sign is to generate business and create conversions, thereby creating customers. Whether they’re a one-off customer that you never see again or a frequent flier that you come to form a partnership with, any sale that a sign generates is one sale that may not have been possible without it. It’s also one more return on an investment that will likely pay for itself and begin to generate freestanding revenue.
It can be hard to determine just how much of your conversions are generated by a piece of signage, however that doesn’t mean that measuring it is a lost cause. If you’re about to invest in a sign, gather data about your traffic before making the purchase, then continue to track traffic after its implementation. Ask people to mention your sign when they shop with you, to gauge its effectiveness. While you might not walk away with solid figures every time, you’ll still have an indication that it’s working!
Closing the loop
So, “what should your sign be doing for you?” The answer is this: attracting attention, bolstering your brand image and creating sales. If you fall short along any step of the way, your sign might not be doing what it’s supposed to; however if your sign is functioning as it should, you might never have to pay it any mind as you tend to the business that it’s bringing in.