Sign Posts - The OSA Blog

4 Tips for Using Your Sidewalk Sign to Drive More Sales

From boutiques to restaurants, sidewalk signs are a common form of portable, storefront signage in areas with high foot traffic—used to grab the attention of passersby, raise brand awareness, and/or communicate deals. Popular because of their low price point, portable nature, and opportunities for customization, sidewalk signs are an ideal outdoor signage solution for businesses, schools, and churches who need the flexibility to promote short-term messages, whether outside their building or on-the-go.

Unfortunately, a few key benefits that make sidewalk signs so appealing are also the reasons they often get overlooked. Whereas outdoor LED signs and changeable letter signs are generally large and sit high off the ground, sidewalk signs generally sit below eye-level and their size limits the amount of information you can display. That why it’s essential when you’re creating a sidewalk sign to thinking critically about how to make your message strategic and actionable, so that you can catch and maintain the interest of potential customers passing by. As a starting point, we’ve pulled together a few guidelines based on 4 of the 5 W’s: Who, What, Why, and When.

Who You Are

If you do not have a large sign outside your store that features your name or logo, then it is important to include that information on your sidewalk sign. While it may not be the most important element on your sign, you do need to clearly identify who you are. Whether it be your logo, a branded element, or simply your name, it is essential for brand awareness that customers passing by your storefront can see your name—which means it needs to be readable. If using an image, be sure it is clear, not cluttered, and that there is color contrast. If using only type, choose a simple font in a dark color that will be easy to read from a distance.

What You Do & Why Should They Choose You

The most important thing you can do on your sidewalk sign is to give potential customers a reason to walk into your establishment. In order to do that they need to know what it is you do or what sets you apart from the competition—or both. For example, while a clever joke on the sign outside your coffee shop is unique and may draw some customers in, it doesn’t tell passersby anything about your products or services. Instead, it would be more effective to use a message like “Jane Doe Coffee Shop—Come warm up with a pumpkin spice latte or just a plain ole’ cup of delicious coffee.” Now customers who walk by will know that you’re a coffee shop with a breadth of options. Another highly-effective approach would be to offer potential customers something compelling. “Jane Doe Coffee Shop—Stop in today for 10% off a medium latte!” In this case you’ve given passersby a reason to walk into your shop that sets you apart from other local coffee shops.

When They Should Stop By

Finally, provide some context for potential customers about when they should stop by your shop. One consistent way to do that is to include your hours of operation in the same place on your sign every day, letting people know when they can come in and take advantage of your offer or regular services. In an example like the one above, it is important to let passersby know when your offer is available to them. Improve your call to action by adding a specific time frame: “Jane Doe Coffee Shop—Stop in today from 10 – 2 for 10% off a medium latte!” The more details you can provide, the more control you have over what kind of customers will come into your establishment and when. The example above might attract local business people during their lunch breaks or students with flexible schedule, while an offer that’s available from 5 – 7 will likely attract people on their way home from work.

Sidewalk signs are cost-effective and durable solution for attracting new or repeat customers into your store. As you consider what to include on your sidewalk sign, first think about what is important and interesting to your target audience; then adapt the details about who you are, what you do, what makes you different, and when people should stop by your stop.

This entry was posted in on Sep 8, 2016 by Lyman Perrine

Research Confirms the Power of Outdoor Signs

In an increasingly mobile and digital world it can be easy to dismiss outdoor signs as a secondary or even ineffective advertising tool, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Research indicates that outdoor signage continues to play a key role in a customer or potential customer’s decision to interact with your business.

Nearly 76% of consumers (8 in 10) said they had entered a store or business they had never visited before based simply on its sign.

Your outdoor sign is often your first touch point with a customer, which is why it is essential to create a clear and attractive sign that draws the customer in and reflects the experience they will have once inside. Use our 10 Tips for Creating Effective Outdoor Signs as a checklist to confirm how effective your sign currently is and identify ways it can be improved.

About 68% of consumers believe that a business’ signage reflects the quality of its products or services, and over 50% of survey respondents indicated that poor signage deters them from even entering a place of business.

While the most important thing is to have an outdoor sign for your business, it is almost equally important that the signage design and quality look reputable. As this research reflects, unprofessional signage (e.g. signs that are poorly-made, have misspelled words, etc.) will likely keep potential customers from trusting your business. To ensure your outdoor business signs are driving as much traffic as possible, the most important thing to do is confirm that your message is accurate and compelling. If your sign is showing some wear and tear, you may also want to consider investing in a new one. Check out our selection of outdoors signs to find the perfect sign for your business and your budget.

Nearly 60% of consumers said that the absence of a sign deters them from entering a store or business.

Maybe you just started your small business and have a lot on your plate. Or perhaps you’re under the impression that outdoor signage isn’t a worthwhile investment. Regardless, this statistic reiterates how crucial it is to prioritize exterior signs. Without one, you are likely losing business and could be conveying to your potential customers that your business is somehow not trustworthy. Overwhelmed by how to choose the right outdoor sign for your business? Ask yourself these 5 questions before your buy to ensure you’ll choose the right one.

Nearly half, 49.7%, of American consumers have driven by a desired business without finding it because of insufficient signage.

The chance that someone is looking for the type of products you sell or the service you provide is high, but without a sign, how will they ever find you? Creating a distinctive, high-quality outdoor sign for your business will allow you to not only confirm your location for customers, but also build brand awareness. That way, the next time a customer has a need for your product and services, they’ll remember your business and know exactly where to go.

Sign readability is the most important sign factor in causing consumers to try a store’s product or service.

Your potential customers are busy. Not to mention they’re likely flooded with a wide variety of advertisements on a daily basis. If your sign isn’t readable, it’s safe to say they’re not going to slow down and try to figure out what it is you’re offering. That’s why it’s vital that your sign conveys who you are and what you do in a clear and concise way. Review your sign(s) to verify that it includes only the most important information about your business and is not cluttered with unnecessary messages or graphics, and that the color of the background and lettering are easy to read. Then use these 3 tips to craft the most effective messages for your audience.

Sign up for the Outdoor Signs America Newsletter to get exclusive discounts and learn more about our latest products.

Source: http://about.van.fedex.com/newsroom/global-english/fedex-office-survey-standout-signs-contribute-to-sales/

This entry was posted in on Aug 9, 2016 by Lyman Perrine

10 Tips for Creating Effective Outdoor Signs

Your business’s outdoor signage should be effectively branded to draw the customer in and help convey the nature of the experience inside. Your goal is to be seen, understood, and remembered. To elicit the desired response from consumers, both form and content are key. A sign’s design is arguably even more important than what the sign says—after all, if you can’t read it, you can’t respond to what the message is saying. According to a recent United States Sign Council (USSC) study, a person driving 45 miles an hour in moderately busy traffic on a four-lane highway sees a sign and reacts in 1.5 to 3 seconds. With that in mind, you should do all you can to maximize your sign’s visibility and legibility. Some important things to consider:

1.  Location, location, location. Place your sign as close to the street as regulations allow. Make sure it stands out from its surroundings in terms of its shape, size, and color; is free of obstructions, such as trees; and is positioned at a suitable height for the type of traffic passing by. Drive past your business from all directions to determine the best location for your sign—aim for maximum exposure to your target audience—and road-test it by having someone impartial do a drive-by and tell you what your sign is all about.

2.  Size matters. In addition to being uncomplicated and easy to read, your font should be big enough to be easily legible to all age groups—this is where drive-by testing is important—and use mixed-case letters rather than all caps, which are harder to read due to their more uniform size and shape. Generally, you will need 1 inch of letter height for every 10 feet of viewing distance.

3.  Color theory. Make sure you choose contrasting colors, such as black on yellow or dark blue on white. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, “High color contrast can improve outdoor advertising recall by 38%.” Of course, you will also have to consider your brand’s existing colors as well as what type of response you’re going for physiologically and psychologically. “Hot colors” like orange, yellow, and red are generally considered high-response colors, for example, while blue, green, and purple are less stimulating but also more soothing. The proper amount of “white space” is also important; 30% to 40% of your sign's area should be left bare to prevent visual clutter, which impairs readability.

4.  Keep it short. In general, the average adult reads about 250 words per minute, or approximately four words per second, so make your point succinctly. Think about what you want to say, say it in as few words as possible, then edit your copy down ruthlessly until the fluff is gone and the meaning remains. Aim for three to five words per headline with supporting info below if necessary. If you can, save the details for once the customer is inside. The exception to brevity: abbreviations. Studies show that abbreviations take 800 to 1,000 milliseconds to read—considerably slower than the nonabbreviated rate of 250 milliseconds per word. So avoid them unless they’re virtually universal or integral to your message.

Now you have the fundamentals regarding form. But what exactly should your sign say? Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, there are no hard-and-fast rules. But with the ever-increasing growth, affordability, and ease of use of LED sign technology, you can change your message as often as you change your mind to find out what works for you—and what doesn’t. Digital signage has been shown to increase brand awareness by 47.7%, average purchase amounts by 29.5%, and repeat purchases by 32.8%, making it an extremely worthwhile investment. But whether your sign is electronic or not, you should always aim to do the following:

5.   State the benefit to the customer. What is the would-be customer buying this product for? Is it to be a hero to his son? To look fabulous for a date? To have easy-to-manage hair? Then tell your prospective buyer, “Be a hero tonight with X.” “Make heads turn with Y!” “Manage curly hair with Z.” If you can inform customers about additional uses for your product, even better. “Goes great with X!” “Try it with Y and Z.”

6.  Use the words you” and “yours.” When customers can visualize themselves using your products, they’re more likely to buy. Messages become much stronger with the addition of “you” or “your.” “You’ll be a hero tonight with X.” “You’ll make heads turn with Y!” “Manage your curly hair with Z.” The words “I,” “me,” and “my” have a similar personalizing effect.

7.  Provide context whenever possible. Whether it’s a familiar logo, an image, a graphic symbol like an emoticon, or the first part of a two-part dynamic message, context helps readers understand a message more quickly in order to react. Integrating audience-familiar words and phrases and using rhythm, rhymes, repetition (“Real food, real fast”), and/or alliteration also aid processing speed and memory. Even chat abbreviations like LOL, OMG, and BFF can be highly effective—as well as space-saving—when used with the right demographic.

8.  Be memorable and creative. Boring signs are, well, boring. Humor and clever wordplay are great ways to grab people’s attention and show them that you’re a fun place to shop. While not everyone will love every joke, customers appreciate it more often than not and may even give you free publicity by photographing your sign and posting it online. Avoid clichés. Aping the California Milk Advisory Board’s “Got Milk?” slogan by changing out the noun is not creative.

9.   Create a sense of urgency. Given that impulse buys account for up to 55% of all retail sales, getting people to act and act now is vital. Time-sensitive specials compel people to stop and take a look—and hopefully buy: “3 Day Only Mattress Sale!” “Limited Space Available: Call Today!” “Buy One, Get One Free – While Supplies Last” “Just in: New York Strip $16/lb” “2016 GMC Terrain is Here! Pick Your Color.” Help customers find opportunities to save and make the most of their shopping experience.

10.   Sing your own praises. Don’t be shy! Brag about your business by using customer testimonials, rave reviews, and/or calling out any distinctions or awards won: “Voted Michigan’s Best Wedding Venue”; “People love us on Yelp!”; “2016 All-State Champs”; “L.A.’s Best Ramen” – Jonathan Gold; “I got a tax refund of over $1,000!” – Sally Smith; “Trip Advisor Top Pick.”

Signage that really speaks to your customers can do wonders for your businesses, driving sales and dramatically increasing revenue. Take time to reevaluate your current outdoor sign strategy and see what you could be doing better—and then do it better, with Outdoor Signs America’s help. With our range of affordably priced products, including roadside board signs, changeable letter signs, portable LED signs with custom faces, and economy LED signs, updating your business’s look and communicating with customers more effectively can cost far less than you think.

Made in the USA using high-grade components and materials, these signs offer unbeatable value and flexible messaging capabilities without compromising on quality. With our interest-free payment plan, pay just 50% of your total cost up front and the remaining balance over the next 6 months. Learn more about our payment plan or call one of our customer support specialists at (800) 239-9990 today.

This entry was posted in on Jun 7, 2016 by Lyman Perrine

How to Increase Sales Without Spending a Fortune

Every business needs to advertise, but not every business has a huge advertising budget. While outdoor signs in general are far more cost-effective than virtually any other form of advertising, a top-of-the-line LED sign might be more than what the smaller business needs. Outdoor Signs America offers a variety of affordable yet durable signage solutions, allowing literally any business to increase its visibility and inform prospective patrons of its latest offerings. With our economy signs and a few simple strategies, you can build brand and product awareness and drive repeat business without breaking the bank.

If you’re a regular reader of the OSA blog, you’re probably already aware of the impact that signs can have on sales. While consumers are increasingly tailoring their content and being exposed to fewer ads, outdoor business signs continue to be highly effective while offering you, the business owner, complete control over your message and how often it’s updated—all at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.

 Attract New Customers with New Signs

Even the smallest of businesses can afford, and benefit from, added or updated signage. A University of San Diego study found that “the addition of even one on-premise sign resulted in an increase in annual sales of 4.75%.” What kind you choose will depend on what kind of business you are and of course where you are. If people are passing by on foot, a sidewalk sign may be all you need. Our sturdy A-frame sandwich board signs allow you to use changeable letters or write-on/wash-off markers to update your message as often as you like. To add movement to your message and attract the eyes of passersby, programmable scrolling LED signs for windows are ideal and still well within the budget of any small business.

If passing traffic is of the vehicular variety, our economy LED signs effectively highlight your products and services while costing thousands less than other LED signs. Many of our economy LED signs are also portable, making it possible for you to test sign locations and see exactly where they fare best. Likewise, you may want to use more than one sign or sign type. For example, you may use a flashing arrow light box sign to direct highway traffic to your door and a sandwich board sign to advertise daily specials and promotions once they’re within closer range. For the fledgling business, this offers a cost-effective way to experiment and possibly upgrade to a more permanent custom sign once more revenue starts coming in. Whether you’re a motel, car wash, or café, you can’t afford not to advertise what’s going on under your roof.

Engage Existing Customers by Building Relationships

This is where the small business has a particular advantage. When you’re a mom-and-pop operation, getting to know each and every customer—and his or her buying habits—is actually a possibility. Play to this strength: Leverage what you know, and what you can find out, at every opportunity.

Get to know your customers. Make an effort to interact with customers as often as possible. Learn their names and a couple of facts about them, and remember what they tend to buy. People love patronizing places where they feel like more than just a number. Personalize offers across every channel—in store, online, and by mail—whenever you can. And of course, always be friendly, no matter what.

Reward your best ones. Identify your top customers and give them more. Offer VIPs special promotions, incentives, or exclusive access to new products and services to encourage them to come back more often and spend more each time. Maybe they get a BOGO deal or their 10th car wash

Ask for reviews and/or referrals. When you serve your customers well, not only will they patronize your business more often, but they’ll also be more likely to people about it. Superior customer service tends to generate word of mouth, both in person and online. Offer a small incentive to get satisfied customers to give a testimonial.

Ask for feedback. If you’re not doing a good job, you want to know about it rather than risk losing more customers. Have customers complete surveys, submit suggestions, and even encourage them to communicate with staff directly if something is not up to snuff. Apologize and do whatever you can to rectify the situation.

Make use of social media. Everyone’s online these days and you should be too. It costs you nothing, other than time, and could net you new business from people who live nearby. These are the customers most likely to come back repeatedly if they have a good experience—and the ones most likely to share their opinions online. Hold in-store promotions with an online/social media component so you can stay in touch with your customer base. If you do nothing else, at least establish a presence on Facebook and Yelp.

While these simple strategies are important to increasing your bottom line, serving your customers better makes your everyday business better as a whole. Spending as much time as we do at work, why not make those hours more enjoyable? Seeing a more lively store and having pleasant interactions with people is ultimately rewarding for you, too.

Serving Small Businesses Everywhere

Outdoor Signs America carries sidewalk signs, changeable letter signs, and economy outdoor and window LED signs that draw attention to your business while being built to last. American-made using high-grade components and materials, our signs offer amazing value without compromising on quality. With our industry-low prices and interest-free payment plan, even our custom light box signs and identification signs with LED could be well within your budget. Pay just 50 percent of your total cost up front, and pay the remaining balance over the next 6 months! Learn more about our payment plan or call one of our customer support specialists at (800) 239-9990 and start increasing your business’s sales today.

This entry was posted in on May 4, 2016 by Lyman Perrine

A Simple Guide to Using LED Signs

Outdoor Signs America’s products are designed to offer unmatched functionality and ease of use at a value price. Our LED signs are no exception. Even if you’ve never owned an LED sign before, you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to get yours up and running.

Programming Your Sign

Install the software on the included USB drive or download it online. Once downloaded, simply type your message in the program’s text box to update it at will. Choose one or two lines of red LED text, adjust your message’s stay time, add movement effects, and adjust the speed. You can even format your message to display gas prices with decimals or fractions. To put your message on your LED sign, just export it to the USB drive with a click of a button and plug the drive into the USB port on the sign. That’s it! A tutorial video and online user manual can walk you through the finer points as needed.

Maximizing Your Message’s Impact

Consider several factors when deciding what your message should say and how. How fast is traffic passing by? How long will the average driver see your sign? Make sure your message is easy to read and that its pieces can stand alone and make relative sense should the driver not see the whole thing. Who’s going to see your sign? Will it be parents dropping their children off at school, a businessperson potentially interested in your services, or a hungry diner looking for a special new item or deal? Make sure your message speaks to your particular audience; the more relevant it is to their interests, the more successful you’ll be.

Change your message often. Luckily, with our programmable Windows-based software, that’s very easy to do. The less often you change your message, the less people will pay attention since they’ll think they’ve already seen it before. Also make sure that your sign doesn’t become old and dingy-looking. Keep it clean and replace changeable letters as needed. Remember, your sign is the face you’re presenting to the public.

Making Your Sign Work Even Harder

If you’re ready to take your LED sign to the next level, consider adding a wheel kit, which handily turns moving your sign into a one-person job. Easily installed and compatible with all OSA portable outdoor signs, these wheels will help you protect your sign from the elements and thereby extend its life.

Outdoor Signs America also offers customization options. Our talented Art Department can create custom LED graphics, static or animated. Just tell us what you have in mind and we’ll design something that will wow you and deliver it via email. If you’d like something custom but less costly, we also offer custom sign faces. We’ll use your custom artwork to create two sign faces measuring 24" x 72" each.

Whatever your business’s size or needs, Outdoor Signs America carries outdoor and window LED signs that can help you effectively communicate with your target market while staying on budget. We offer industry low prices and an interest-free payment plan. Pay just 50 percent of your total cost up front, and pay the remaining balance over the next 6 months. Learn more about our payment plan, or call one of our customer support specialists at (800) 239-9990 to get started today!

This entry was posted in on Apr 5, 2016 by Lyman Perrine

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