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10 Tips for Creating Effective Outdoor Signs

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 3:13:39 PM America/Chicago

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.

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.

Posted in Uncategorized By Lyman Perrine

How to Increase Sales Without Spending a Fortune

Wednesday, May 4, 2016 3:18:00 PM America/Chicago

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. 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.

Posted in Uncategorized By Lyman Perrine

A Simple Guide to Using LED Signs

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 3:21:32 PM America/Chicago

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 signs 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!

Posted in Uncategorized By Lyman Perrine

Protecting Your Outdoor Sign from Harsh Weather

Monday, February 29, 2016 4:29:35 PM America/Chicago

With the Northeast and Southeast regions of the country being battered by Winter Storm Nacio and spring storms on the horizon, the topic of protecting your outdoor sign from the elements seems especially timely. Your sign represents an investment in your business or organization, so choosing a durable sign and keeping it in good condition over the long haul are ultimately to your benefit. Did you know that even economy changeable letter signs can be made more weatherproof with the installation of aftermarket accessories? Even if you don’t live in a severe-weather-prone region, you can extend the life of your sign while warding off would-be vandals.

Set yourself up for success. Start by choosing a sign that’s built to last. Outdoor Signs America has been making quality signs for more than 45 years, each of its outdoor changeable letter signs featuring built-in UV protection and a 10-year warranty against yellowing. Steel sign cabinets with baked-on enamel paint further resist impact, chipping, and wear, so you know that you’re getting a product that will stand the test of time and look good for years to come.

Cushion the “blow.” Make sure you choose a sign that’s suited to your physical location. Where exactly is your sign going to be displayed? Do topographical features provide any shade from the sun or shelter from the wind? Or are you in a wind corridor where your sign will be particularly hard hit? Accessories like Outdoor Signs America’s Wind Protector/Letter Guard are made for 40" x 96" changeable letter signs and offer not only protection from the wind, but also from dirt and UV exposure that can cause signs to look dingy and yellowed over time. Installing easily in just five minutes, the Wind Protector/Letter Guard also makes potential pranksters think twice before tampering with your sign.

Mount up. If your portable outdoor sign is a light box style or otherwise incompatible with the 40" x 96" Wind Protector, consider converting it into a double-pole-mounted sign with a mounting bracket kit or purchasing one with mounting brackets included from the outset. This will require a bit of work on your part, including inserting rebar and pouring cement, but the added stability will be well worth the effort. The use of pole mounts needn’t be limited to light box signs, however. By adding pole mounts to your 40" x 96" changeable letter sign and installing, you’ll get the best of both wind-protected worlds!

Get ready to roll. If your sign isn’t that big or you’d rather not go the pole-mounted route, installing wheels that allow you to easily move your sign in case of inclement weather is a simple and cost-effective solution. OSA’s wheel kit works with all OSA portable signs and turns moving your sign into a one-person job. The added benefit of adding wheels is that you can relocate your sign at will to wherever it will make the most impact on any given day. OSA’s roadside signs offer another rollable option, each one with wheels included for easy mobility. Constructed from heavy-duty galvanized steel and rust-proof technopolymers, they’re also designed to withstand rain and strong winds.

Keep calm and carry ... in. If you’re a small business capitalizing on pedestrian traffic, you’ll probably want to choose a smaller sidewalk sign. Despite their compact size, OSA’s sandwich board signs are extremely sturdy and made from the same heavy-duty materials as OSA’s roadside signs. Their SWINGER® brand models in particular can withstand winds of up to 30 miles per hour! Select rolling styles come with a self-storing handle and recessed wheels, and those that don’t can simply be picked up and carried inside. And for a unique, artistic message that looks good rain or shine, OSA’s write-on/wash-off signs come with waterproof, smudge-proof wet-erase markers, removable only with Windex or other ammonia-based cleaners.

Whatever your business’s size or needs, Outdoor Signs America wants to be your signage partner. We offer industry low prices and an interest-free payment plan on Outdoor LED Signs. Pay just 50 percent of your total cost up front, and pay the remaining balance over the next six months. Learn more about our payment plan or call one of our customer support specialists at (800) 239-9990 to get started today!

Posted in Uncategorized By Lyman Perrine

5 Questions to Ask When Buying Outdoor Business Signs

Thursday, February 4, 2016 4:32:23 PM America/Chicago

Do you need a changeable-letter sign or an outdoor LED sign? What about a sidewalk sign? Browse any outdoor sign shop, and you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of choices. But which is right for you? Making a smart decision about your business’s outdoor signage means considering a number of factors related to your budget, location, and messaging, as well as the sign’s durability and weather resistance. Ask yourself these five questions when shopping for an outdoor sign, and you’ll quickly find the right one for your business.

1. Where will your outdoor sign be located? Let’s answer that question with another question: Is the traffic you hope to attract on foot or vehicular? If your business is located in an outdoor mall or shopping center where people frequently walk past, sidewalk signs are a great way to advertise your latest promotions, allowing you to easily change out messages as needed. For businesses that mainly attract vehicular traffic, flashing arrow signs, changeable letter signs, or outdoor LED signs are your best bet. Which one you choose will depend on the length and update frequency of your messages.

2. How long are your messages? How often will they change? Refuse to answer these questions, and you might end up with a sign that doesn’t provide enough space for your marketing messages. Our outdoor LED signs offer spatial flexibility. Every LED display we carry can display one line of 12" text (up to 10 characters) or two lines of 5.5" text (up to 13 characters each). An LED display with changeable letter faces gives you extra room for changeable-letter text, which remains static while your LED messaging changes. All of our outdoor signs take just minutes to update, making them suitable for both short-term and long-term promotions. Most businesses tend to choose sidewalk signs for short-term messages such as daily or weekly specials and LED signs and changeable-letter signs for longer-term promotions, but it’s really up to you to determine the most practical sign for your business.

3. How will you go about changing your sign’s messaging? Understanding every step of a sign’s operation is crucial to making an informed buying decision. With changeable letter signs and sandwich board signs, replacing text is as easy as sliding sign letters into tracking. And with write-on/wash-off sidewalk signs, the process is as simple as the sign’s name. But our outdoor LED signs are also surprisingly easy to use while offering an array of eye-catching features. Included software lets you modify the duration of your message, add transition effects, and control effect speeds for each screen. Messages can be previewed then transferred from your computer to the sign using an included USB drive. Simply download the Sign Programmer Software and follow our step-by-step user manual to get your messages up in no time!

4. How durable do you need your sign to be? Not all outdoor signs are created equal, so keep quality—and your sign’s location—in mind when you’re shopping around. Outdoor Signs America’s products are made to last. With built-in UV protection and a 10-year warranty against yellowing, our changeable letter signs and outdoor identification signs retain their original bright-white background. A steel sign cabinet with baked-on black enamel paint ensures your sign is protected from the elements and looks good for years to come. And unlike industry-standard PVC flex sign letters, our high-impact acrylic changeable sign letters won’t yellow or become brittle. Plus, our Patented DryLok™ Electronic Ballast with Instant Start regulates the lamp current in LED signs and flashing arrow signs to provide sufficient voltage while preventing premature burnout.

5. What is your budget? Will you need financing? Outdoor LED signs offer tremendous benefits to small businesses, but some small business owners assume the cost will be prohibitive. With Outdoor Signs America’s industry low prices and interest-free payment plan, owning one is easier and more affordable than ever. Pay only 50 percent of your total cost up front, and pay the remaining balance over the next six months.

Learn more about our payment plan or call one of our customer support specialists at (800) 239-9990 to get started today!

Posted in Uncategorized By Lyman Perrine

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