Attracting customers to your place of business is certainly a no-brainer for you as a business owner—it’s critical to your success! That’s what marketing is all about—getting people into your store and turning them into faithful customers.
But the trick is first catching their attention. Some business owners resort to the more outlandish gimmicks to attract the attention of passersby. You’ve seen those, for sure—a guy dressed as a gorilla waving at cars, a huge inflatable structure on the roof of a car dealer, and various flags and balloons struggling against the wind before falling victim to its force! These ploys have been done so often that they have now become a part of the marketing landscape—“been-there-done-that” ruses without any real power to attract attention anymore. And what’s more, these marketing schemes can be costly and often not exactly the best image for your brand.
Few marketing strategies are as effective at directing traffic to your brick and mortar venture as well-designed outdoor signage. In a survey commissioned by FedEx Office in the spring of 2014, more than half of small-business owners said signage was effective in attracting customers.
But what is well-designed, effective signage? It generally follows these 3 rules:
- Eye-Catching Colour
According to the director of strategic initiatives for the International Sign Association, Sapna Budev, studies show that colour is responsible for 80% of brand recognition.
- Readability of Text
For text on your signage to be legible and readable from a distance, its type needs to be suitably large and stand out from its background. In terms of size, a rule of thumb in the industry is 10 feet of visibility per 1 inch of letter height. So, for instance, a sign with 10-inch letters will have the best readability from 100 feet of distance.
- Graphics to Suit Your Demographics
When it comes to the design of the sign, you first have to determine whom you’re trying to attract. In other words, know your audience. A millennial customer group is more attracted to signs with clever, creative graphics, while the baby boomer group tends to respond better to simple, straightforward designs. Those simple designs also do better in more affluent neighbourhoods.
Bright, bold colours, used systematically in all of your signage, will not only attract attention but also create an awareness of your brand. What do you think of when you see orange and red signage? CIBC, right? The colour on its signage makes the bank visible from a distance, and because it’s been used systematically in all of its marketing efforts, it’s become synonymous with the brand.
Trendy, modern colours are effective at catching attention, but do take care when choosing those for your signage—they may go out of style and become outdated, which is not the effect you want.
It is also critical to have stark contrast between the colour of the background and the colour of the text. This is what will make the text stand out and not blend in with the background. So, black type on a white background or white type on a dark blue or red background will stand out very well. Also keep in mind that some typefaces are more legible than others. You may want an artsy, flowery script to project your style, but this font will reduce the sign’s readability from a distance.
And don’t forget the sign’s visibility at night! Consider making your sign from dual-colour vinyl sign material or one that uses reflective paint, which will make it stand out in the darkness.
As a business owner—and a customer—you must be aware of the power of outdoor signage power to draw people in. Haven’t you at least once stopped the car and went into a store because its signage advertised something? In the unlikely case this hasn’t happened to you, note this: In one study, the retailer Best Buy discovered that 17 percent of its customers were people who did not intend to buy anything at their store, but stopped and went in simply because of their sign. That certainly speaks of outdoor signage’s attractor-factor—loud and clear!