Sunday, August 15, 2010

Getting the most from your business signage

"The right name is an advertisement in itself." ~ Claude Hopkins

Over the years, we have helped so many companies that just do not realize the importance of signage. One such business – a dance studio – just did not see any real value to having a sign. However, once we explained the importance of signage and she decided to put one out, the owner had people coming up to her all the time saying, “I had no idea that there was a dance studio here!” As a result of this small and inexpensive sign, this business owner’s revenue increased dramatically.

In another example, a semi-pro football team was having trouble attracting the attendance they needed. Because they played at a high school field, they could not put up a physical sign. As an alternative, a couple of days before each game, they had someone stand in front of the high school and wave a sign at the cars that passed by. Just this small change made a major difference in the attendance for each home game.

Simply having a sign is important, but what the sign says and how it says it is equally critical. In the case of one art studio that we were assisting, the sign focused on the owner’s name and not on the business’ purpose. We suggested that the sign emphasize the fact that it is an art studio instead of spotlighting the name of the owner. This simple change is expected to make a significant difference in their sales.

A sign’s purpose should be twofold. First, in order to attract customers, a sign should include the name of the business as well as what it does. A sign that simply says, “Joe’s,” does not tell potential customers anything about what you really do.

Secondly, a sign raises awareness about your business. It is a constant reminder to anyone who passes the location that it is there. For this reason, your sign should be located where it is visible to the greatest number of customers. If your sign is not visible from many directions, it will not do your business very much good. For example, a bookstore was struggling with sales since they were never able to place their signs where a sufficient number of potential customers could see what they offered.

I think the biggest mistake business owners make is trying to include too much narrative on a sign. A sign must be simple, communicating the name and purpose of the business. If, however, there is something unique about the business, it is vital that this information be included on the sign. For example, if a store is open 24 hours a day, this should appear on the sign since it is an important detail about the business.

Signage, however, is not as critical if you are a destination location, meaning that people find you in order to be your customer. If you manufacture a tool that you sell nationally, for example, signage can be minimal, particularly if you are not located on a highly traveled road.

Now go out and evaluate your current signage. Does it include both the name of your company, as well as what your business does in an attractive, motivating way? Both elements are essential if you truly want to make the most of your signage.

You can do this!

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