If you’re a marketing manager, then you’re in the business of communication. One of the most effective ways of communicating information about your business is with a sign. A sign can help a customer find your business, or help other businesses find you. You need signs when you start up and signs when you grow. They’re the single quickest way to say who you are and what you do, and they can create an impression of your business at a glance, without demanding a customer’s full attention.
Thanks to their ubiquity, it’s easy to overlook the importance of a business sign. They’re a form of mass communication that anyone can use – from a sign asking for information about a lost pet, to signs telling you to mind the gap or advertising a garage sale, anyone can use the medium. But how do you use it well, to differentiate your business from the competition?
The ABC of Business Signs
Attract new customers: If you’re aiming to attract new customers, your sign acts as an index of the commercial environment, so those potential customers can find you. Imagine being new in town, or simply passing through but in need of a particular item or service. A sign will communicate your exact location and the nature of your business with strong visual clues. No business aims to stand still, and just a 7% increase in sales could equal over 120% profit. Your business sign can be crucial in maintaining and growing your customer base for increased profitability.
Build your brand: Your business sign is also key for building the repetition that leads to top of mind awareness, boosting your brand and creating a ‘go to’ association with your business. Your sign needs to command visual attention, reinforcing your business branding and foregrounding your logo. A coordinated effort to build recognition and recall needs to embrace your business signage.
Create impulse buyers: Your sign should accurately reflect your business and be attractive enough to prompt buyers to pop in and purchase. In our time poor age, your business sign can do plenty of heavy lifting in creating the right conditions for an impulse buy, but this can be entirely dependent on great design.
What your sign can say about you
In a recent US survey of small businesses, 64% of millennial business owners (18-34) prioritise graphic design in their signage, while the baby boomers (55+) preferred simplicity. Whichever your preferred approach, a well designed sign can be the difference between your business being lost in a sea of generic signage and creating an instantly recognisable and attractive vibe.
Whether you’re an estate agent who needs eye-catching panel signs, or you want to create a splash with vinyl window signs for a big promotion, great design is the difference between creating a lasting first impression and seeing your potential customers steer clear. It’s the accretion of small signifiers that creates the impression of quality – the right colour palette and font, and the use of quality materials. Fonts should reflect the personality of your brand but retain legibility, which means employing a professional design service. Don’t skimp on quality materials or installation, as both count towards the impression your brand is trying to create.
Making an impact
In a recent survey of 100,000 American households, business signs ranked second only behind TV advertising as an effective way to drive sales. However, less is definitely more when it comes to creating a sign with maximum impact – high contrast colours and an easy to comprehend message will create the impression that your brand is trustworthy and truthful. Your sign is intended to get customers through the door, so keep the message simple – no more than 7 words – and keep the rest of the information for when they’re through the doors. That brevity will focus your sign on the USP of your business.
By all means, take inspiration from a great sign that you admire, but be very clear on whether that style conveys the right impression for your business. A sign is one of the first pieces of visual collateral your business produces, but don’t be afraid to change your sign as your business grows and changes. The impact that your sign creates must accurately reflect the nature of the products and services you provide, and this will impact on all the choices you make, from the logo to the type of sign you use.
Use customer profiles to assess the impact of your business signage. Is the sign appealing to the millennial or the baby boomer? Does it create the right conditions to encourage a potential client or customer to walk into your premises? Define your goals and the thought process will help you make the right decisions for your business.
Why signs work
For your real world premises, your business sign is the signpost that drives customers through the doors. Even if they’ve found you on Facebook, your sign needs to match their expectations. Likewise, you can use your signs to drive the online-offline connection that’s such an important part of the contemporary marketing mix.
Everyone reads signs. They’re inexpensive and easy to use and part of the landscape of visual communication that is familiar to every user of the commercial environment. You don’t need any special resources beyond a shopfront, and an electricity supply if you opt for an illuminated sign. Cost effective and with incredible reach and impact, business signs are a critical communication tool. At the Sussex Sign Company, we can advise you as to the most appropriate signage solutions, including illuminated and LED lighting systems, that will ensure the best possible return on investment for our clients. Call us today on 01273 424900 or email us now.