Every year, millions of dollars and a lot of time is spent to figure out the newest and most effective advertising methods for businesses and brand names. The results show that now, in the 21st century, a combined approach is often best, where a brand uses both physical signs and digital marketing to advertise itself. Digital marketing is the arena of SEO specialists and web designers; meanwhile, a business may hire firms to help them set up LED signs all over the place, or set up plastic and metal signs to place over their front door. Electronic signs are useful not only for business, but other parties too, such as schools and houses of worship (think of church marquees). Outdoor LED displays are eye-catching and convenient to program, and many synagogue, mosque, and church marquee signs are now digital and can display just about anything. Electric business signs enjoy similar advantages.
The Power of Signs
How effective are signs for advertising? Very, according to many studies. For example, around 85% of a business’s intended customers will live within a five-mile radius of that business, meaning anyone inside that circle is going to see the brand name around 50-60 times per week in many cases. That is a lot of exposure. What is more, the value of on-site signage is similar to that of 24 full-page newspaper ads per year, and many customers discover a business only because of the sign on the premises. Around 35% of people discover businesses that way, and around 17% of Best Buy’s customers visit because of this brand’s distinctive sign. Many surveyed consumers also agree that a sign’s quality will reflect the quality and personality of the business that put it there: a well-made, attractive and prominent sign can inspire consumer confidence and draw in crowds, while an ugly, shoddy, or confusing sign will struggle to attract anyone.
Billboards can have a similar effect for local businesses and events. Billboards rent out their ad space, and the costs are often worth it for an advertiser. For example, 58% of poll respondents said that they learned about and then visited a restaurant due to a billboard that they saw, and a similar percentage learned about and then attended a local event. Local houses of worship are also known to rent out ad space on billboards, and even local politicians running for office use this ad space to great effect. Many voters primarily learn about local candidates via billboards that they see while driving.
Types of Sign
What does an effective sign look like? It is a given that a good sign will clearly display the brand’s or business’s name and use bold colors, but the sign’s materials are a factor, too. Many signs are now electric, and though they will cost money to run, they can glow and display their message clearly even at night or during rain, making them more prominent. Many night-oriented businesses such as nightclubs, bars, and movie theaters use neon and electric signs to advertise to customers. During night or day, an electronic sign offers advantages over older signs because it can display an animated visual to catch consumers’ attention, or they can present a whole slideshow of images (and thus act as many signs in one).
What about free-standing marquee signs, such as church marquees or the marquees on high school campuses? These signs are placed near the premise’s front driveway or road, where guests can easily see it, and they often have a flower bed and low brick wall around them to look nice and function as landscaping. These church marquees, for example, can be programmed to say anything for worshipers to see, such as describing when an upcoming prayer session or Bible study will be, or just share inspiring messages. Other houses of worship may do much the same, and high schools use these free-standing marquees to give the date of upcoming events or share updates with students, staff, and parents.
Signs made of wood, plastic, and metal still have their place, and can be very effective when placed over a business’s front door (and larger is usually better). Smaller shops may place an A-shaped easel with chalk boards on the sidewalk, and staff can write messages and draw images on it.