The ABCs of Signage

At the very least, your signage should Attract new customers, Brand the business and Create impulse sales.

Attract New Customers

85% of your customers live or work within a five-mile radius of your business and almost 20% relocate annually, which means every year you’re losing customers. You have to maintain and grow your customer base and the quickest, easiest and most economical way to attract new customers is with signage.

Brand the Business

When your business is the first one that comes to mind as a place to find a product or service, you have achieved “top-of-mind awareness”, which is built and reinforced through repetition. On average, when commuting to and from work, school, shopping, etc your customers pass your location some 50 to 60 times a month. Your sign should command their attention every time they pass. The name of your business, your logo, company colors, tagline, etc., should be consistent on your sign, and other marketing materials. All these coordinated efforts build recall and recognition and help brand your business in the mind of the consumer.

Create Impulse Sales

Many of today’s consumers are too busy to thoroughly search for services and products and are becoming more likely to stop at the first convenient place they see that seems to be selling what they need. Best Buy discovered that about 17% of its customers were people who did not intend to stop there but did so specifically because they saw the sign. A well designed, printed and installed sign can certainly be a difference maker in these important consumer decisions.

Marketing to your Customers

Businesses have different signage needs because they serve different purposes and reach out to different customers. At one end of the business category spectrum are companies that satisfy specific and infrequent customer needs. At the other end are businesses that fulfill general and frequent needs. An effective sign uses different marketing strategies depending on the type of business and the needs of its customers.

Specific & Infrequent Needs

Businesses that offer products or services that meet specialized or infrequent needs must develop top-of-mind awareness so people remember the business when those needs arise. Business such as veterinarians, appliance and electronics stores, locksmiths, medical and dental offices, and real estate offices, fall into this category. These businesses must focus on branding and reinforce that branding with signage that projects the right image for the business. When a customer walks through the door of one of these businesses, it is likely he or she has already noticed the business’s sign, developed an opinion about the business, and remembered the business when it was needed.

Frequent or Impulse Needs

To fulfil frequent or impulse needs a business must reach out and pull people in on the spot. Grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, and car washes are types of these businesses. The customers of these businesses make a quick decisions to stop, therefore the signage should be eye-catching with a brief, simple message that can be read and understood quickly. The business must be noticed and recognized at the right time by those ready to buy. Often these businesses rely heavily on attracting tourists and need to be sure those unfamiliar with the business can tell right away what their products or services are. McDonald’s “golden arches” are a good example of familiar signage and icons that are easily recognized long before the sign’s lettering can be read.

If your sign is going to convince the impulse customer to stop at your business, it must be designed so that the important information is easily recognized at a glance. People driving down the street can take in a great deal of information. People generally pick out a key word on a sign the first time they pass it, so the first time they read it they immediately understand the most important information.

We read from the top down and left to right, the key word, graphic, or logo should be located at the top of the sign and read from left to right.