With improvements in technology, digital signage has gained substantial market share in what has historically been a relatively staid area of the marketing landscape. In spite of many well-established principles associated with signage and banner marketing, many businesses continue to make common mistakes when venturing into this new realm. Although certainly not a comprehensive list, what follows are several mistakes that many businesses need to avoid:
- Placing signs where they won’t be seen by the right people. When it comes to digital signage, like any of their marketing, companies need to be conscious of placement to make sure it gets the desired attention of their intended audience. Digital signage isn’t cheap, so dollars spent on these efforts need to be effective. While digital signs can be flashy or attention-grabbing, they can’t bring eyeballs to view them, so signage needs to be placed where it will inevitably be seen by interested viewers.
- Using signs that are unattractive. As obvious as this potential misstep may appear, many companies continue to use signage that is plain, unattractive or unenticing. Some fail to catch the eyes of passers-by while others are just plain ugly. This second group may get attention from viewers, but are off-putting instead of enticing. They can be even worse than those that are overlooked because they actually convey a message about the company, but create a negative perception that consumers will actively avoid. Effective digital signage needs to be both eye-catching AND attractive.
- Misleading viewers with poor designs. As a part of a company’s marketing efforts, signs need to represent a business well. Not only does signage need to be attractive; but it also needs to quickly convey accurate conceptions about the business and generate a positive reaction. Some signs include information, images or logos unrelated to the firm’s business. This can cause viewers to misunderstand the nature of the business being represented, or otherwise misrepresent critical information about the company. In clear and concise terms, signage should convey the name of a company, what business it’s engaged in and how a viewer should go about contacting the firm to engage it or get more information.
- Failing to include a call to action. Every piece of company marketing, whether it’s digital signage or a TV commercial, needs to contain some call to action. People need to be given a website to visit, a phone number to dial or be told explicitly that walk-ins are welcome. Failure to give the public some hint as to their next step typically means they won’t take one. You will have designed a sign, placed it, paid for it, gotten their attention and still not hear from them. Don’t leave your intended audience hangin. Invite them to do something.
- Trying to convey too much or too little information. When dealing with signage, you only have the attention of a viewer for a fleeting moment—sometimes a matter of seconds. In those cases, you need to provide several pieces of pertinent information quickly. Viewers may need to be given information about some of your company’s offerings, informed of how established your business is (with inclusion of the year your business was founded, for example), provided with names of high-profile principals whose association with the company might draw them in or given a phone number or website as a means of getting more information or scheduling an appointment. Whatever the case, careful consideration needs to be given as to what items need to be conveyed, and how best to convey information as quickly, clearly and concisely as possible. Signs should be informative but clean rather than cluttered.
Digital signage is a large and growing area, which will undoubtedly overtake more traditional banner and billboard advertising. In order to be effective, companies should avoid common mistakes like those listed above. As with any area of a business’s marketing, experts are always able to help in the design and deployment of a company’s digital signage. Whether you hire an expert or undertake these efforts yourself, it’s important to employ many of the tried-and-true principles of more traditional marketing methods to this relatively new area. As with any marketing, businesses must continually refine their efforts as they learn more about the field as well as the ever-changing habits and psychology of their intended audience.