** This blog post was kindly written by Mark Samuelson from Sign Co Australia **
I have spent much time commuting between home and work listening to the Small Business Big Marketing podcasts and have not heard, yet, anything about old school signs for your business. Below are some quick thoughts that may help those thinking about how to promote their business off-line. Bottom line, know what you want before you go in and you will be much happier with the results when you walk out. So, here’s 10 signage tips for small business:
#1 Why you need to get your message out there?
This will be the foundation for your sign plan and should be taken into consideration when you ask the other questions.
Are you trying to improve your Brand awareness?
Do you have a sale or special on?
Do you need to tell people where you are or when you’re open?
Does your audience need to know about your products or service?
#2 Who is your target Audience for your message?
This will influence the style of your design and the information on it. Is your audience walking past your shop with an empty stomach looking for a great meal or is it someone browsing past looking for a new outfit or gift on sale today only? Are they young, old, require your services for work or play?
#3 What is the key message for each sign?
We have far more time to take in the message of a fixed sign on the side of a building or in a window than on a moving object. Keep your message appropriate for its location.
Your audience need to know in a very short space of time what you are trying to say so keep the message short and the font large, not the other way around. Are you trying to promote your products or your business? Who you are, what you are, How to find you. K.I.S.S
#4 Where are you going to place your signs?
Do you have permission? Check with your land lord, building owner or body corporate before placing any new signs. If you have taken over a new lease there is no guarantee you have the right to the existing sign in a common area. Check the legal requirements with your local council in regards to signs as they can vary from a residential zone to retail and industrial location. You may need to obtain a DA? Keep in mind you are responsible for the DA if the council catch you out not your sign supplier.
#5 How much money do you have to spend on your signs?
The old saying you get what you pay for counts in signs just like many other areas in life. Get a good idea on what your budget is and what you hope to see for your finical input. Your budget will dictate not just the size but the quantity, location and materials. A solid message on the right sign in the right location should cover its costs quickly.
#6 Where do you go to get the message out there?
Who are you going to use to spread your message? Local is always good. Don’t be afraid to shop around for a few quotes and don’t think that the cheapest quote is the best way to go. If you are looking at multiple products and the costs vary ensure they are comparing apples with apples and don’t be afraid to haggle.
Show loyalty to your sign manufacturer and they will be loyal to you. If they are reputable they will keep all your artwork on file for future use which will help to keep costs down.
Branding is one of the most important pieces of the marketing model. It helps your suppliers and customers tie your whole storey together. Make sure when you are putting your message out there that your logos, message, fonts, images etc reflect your Branding. People see the logo/colour schemes well before they see the many bullet points on what you do.
Next time you are driving in the car look around at the various signs and take a mental note on what caught your eye and why. Try and read the A-Frames as you are driving by or the message on the back or sides of the car, did you get all the information on the Banner in front of the local school or church? Look for your competitors, what are they doing, do you think it is working for them? If a sign catches your eye stop in and ask the owner how it works for them. Most people are more than happy to tell you their storey. When was the last time you wrote a phone number down from a sign?
#9 Have fun.
Don’t be afraid to have fun with your signs. I am sure you will remember the car with the large logo across the doors and boot like many banks and soft drink vendors do vs the local plumber who has a list of 10 bullet points on the tailgate of his truck and a little logo.
#10 Lacking design skills?
Don’t worry most sign manufacturers will have a design team in house; prices vary of course so shop around. If you have a graphic designer they will more than likely have a connection with a local sign company and be able to point you in the right direction to a trust worthy company. Yes even the sign business has its sharks.
What would you add to this list?