How do signs function as marketing devices?
Signs serve as valuable way-finding and marketing devices. They guide customers safely through traffic to their intended destinations.
On-Premise signage is a widely under-utilized, and underestimated, business marketing strategy. Are you aware that you business' sign is the primary way that potential clients even know you exist? Not your website, not word-of-mouth, but your actual physical on premise signage is the primary way that consumers learn that your business exists at its given location. That is why it is essential for your sign to be of ample size, height, and illumination. Proper placement of your sign is also vital since you want people, or drivers, to have enough time to see the sign, react to it, and be able to maneuver through traffic in order to get to your business. This is also why it is important to have efficient directional signs, such as the parking lot entrance and exit signs, if they exist at your business' location.
This following example is an excerpt from "On-Premise Signs as Storefront Marketing Devices and Systems," by Charles R. Claus, Thomas A. Claus, and Susan L. Taylor; published by the Small Business Administration in partnership with The Signage Foundation in 2005.
"One sign company compiled and published the results of several surveys performed in 1997 in an effort to determine where small businesses get their customers. The survey was conducted by a cross section of 165 independent merchants throughout the United States, and involved 2,475 customers who made purchases for the first time at those businesses. The surveys were conducted 30 to 45 days after installation of a new sign. Customers were asked, "How did you learn about us?"
The study clearly demonstrated two things:
• The subject signs indeed were effectively "speaking" to (being read by) potential customers.
• For small, independent merchants, signs are the most effective marketing and communication device.
The percentage of those who stopped at these stores due to the sign may actually be greater than the number reflected in the survey results. Only those who actually made a purchase were surveyed. Further, the surveys did not calculate the number of customers who came in due to word of mouth referrals by other customers who had initially located the business because of its sign.
The surveys were conducted soon after the stores opened, and clearly demonstrate that signage is critical for a new business. Over time, the percentage of the customers attributable to the sign will tend to decline, as a regular customer base is developed. However, because more than 16% of the people living in the local trade area will typically relocate each year, and because people need to be continually reminded of a business' existence, the sign will continue to be a vital marketing tool for the business."
The identification function of your signage is critical to the success of your business, which is why your sign being highly visible is essential in the communication to potential customers, letting them know that your storefront exists at that particular location, as well as your hours of operation. Your business' physical presence should never be taken for granted, especially if you rely on impulse sales for the success of your business. You must be extremely efficient in encouraging passing motorists to stop and enter your business, and the correct signage will do just that.