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Signs: Pay for them once, use them for years

Shane O'Harra

Shane O'Harra

Would you ask your grocer how to change the sparkplugs in your car; would you ask your barber about a sprained ankle? The answer is probably not. These are not the right professionals to give you the guidance on these specific issues.

Signage is the least expensive yet most effective form of advertising when compared to other forms of print and media advertising. Signage is paid for once and can last years. And since it will be around for years, it better be right. Make it memorable. A potential customer driving by typically has less than five seconds to view the sign and decide to stop and shop.

The purpose of an on-premise sign is to identify your business, mark your location, convey the image of your company and most importantly, communicate what you are selling. When thinking of the content, additional important elements to consider are color contrast, legibility distance (how far away can the content be read), short and simple messages, or characteristic features one may associate with a business, such as a coffee cup on a coffee house sign.

Make sure your sign is considered in your overall marketing strategy. Your business name, logo, colors, etc. should be consistent on your sign, your letterhead, business cards and other media. In fact signage can be considered as all of the above, not limited directly to an on-premise sign.

Is your business mobile; do you conduct business at event locations? You may benefit from vehicle graphics or trade show displays. These are additional forms of signage that can play into the consistency of your message and the image of your company.

Sometimes it is a good idea to take your sign to the customer. We all do this in the form of business cards, but how effective can a rolling billboard be, i.e. vehicle graphics or a complete vehicle wrap? When you are parked at a client’s location, there is always potential that your future client lives or works right next door. Again it is important with this signage to make sure you are creating a consistent and directed message about who you are and what you do.

How long will your signs be used or useful? Construction methods and materials must be in accordance with the desired longevity and purpose. A shabby sign may state the right message but not represent the image of your business. On the other hand, a temporary sign constructed to withstand a nuclear war may not be the best use of you advertising budget.

Indoor and outdoor signage requirements vary greatly as well. Effective outdoor signage brings the customer through the door. Effective indoor signage, often thought of as point of sale signage, can have a large impact on impulse sales. The focus or message of the indoor signage is to encourage customers to spend money. Colors, slogans, images and descriptions depicting why they can’t live without your product or service are all relevant here.

Different types of businesses have different signage needs. Is your business of the type that you see clients on an infrequent basis, maybe only a few times per year? In this case your signage may be a simple message to maintain top-of-mind awareness so that when they need the service or product you provide, your business is the first that comes to mind. If your business sells widgets similar to the business next door, your signage needs to bring people through your door. You need to stand out above your competitors with a simple, eye-catching message creating the desire to buy from you.

Sign businesses work with hundreds to thousands of clients a year, educating new and existing businesses about current technologies, new strategies and how to bring customers in the door. A sign professional can be key to your business success.

This column was written by Shane O’Harra, owner of The Sign Center located at 11495 W. Fairview Ave. in Boise. He can be reached at (208) 376-6621. For more information, visit www.signcenter.com.

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One comment

  1. These are some great points and tips… thanks for posting!