Is your signage pulling in new customers for your small business?

Good signage is one of the most important marketing tools any retail or other storefront business has for drawing in new customers. Even if you’ve been in business a long time and think everyone in town already knows where you are, there are still new people moving in all the time as well as other potential new customers from nearby towns who just happen to be in your neighborhood. Depending on the nature of your business, there may even be tourists from outside the area who, for example, would stop by for a cone of your delicious ice cream if your sign catches their eye as they drive by.

Whatever the case, it is vital that your signage be attractive and easily read by both pedestrians and those in cars. I recall an instance a couple years ago when I was looking for a dry cleaner I hadn’t been to before in a town near me. I drove up and down the block two times before I could distinguish its sign. They had made the all-too-common mistake of having a sign in which there was little contrast between the background color and the color of the type. So to someone driving by in a car, even at the slow pace I was traveling, it just all blended together.

Here are things to consider when choosing signage for your new business or updating the signage for an existing business:

• Check with local regulations before ordering signage. Several years ago a nonprofit built its new headquarters in my town. When the building was finished, they put up a lovely sign, but, alas, they apparently had not bothered to check with the town building department about our bylaws regarding allowable sign size. This proved costly because soon the sign was quickly relegated to the dumpster and a considerably smaller sign took its place.

Similarly, be sure you know the regulations about things like sidewalk signs that you might want to use to draw attention to your business. For several years a running battle took place in a town near me between the building inspector and the businesses in a busy retail neighborhood where the businesses loved to put out sidewalk signs to pull in customers. The town’s regulations didn’t allow for any such signs, but still business owners were using them and then complaining about how anti-business the town was when they were fined for using such signs. The dispute finally was settled when the Chamber of Commerce got together with the town and worked out reasonable regulations that allowed sidewalk signs. If you have similar problems with signage regulations in your town, don’t just complain; get involved and try to come up with regulations that are more business-friendly.

• Remember that signage is an important part of your branding. Any signage associated with your business – from the company name sign to window signs announcing sales or specials new products – need careful consideration because they all say something important about your business. For many people your sign will be the very first piece of your branding they see. So getting it right from the start is important.

How many times have you seen a business sign that is in need of repair? What message does that give you about the business? Not good, right? Fixing damaged signage ASAP should be a  priority.

• Consider the conditions in which people will need to read your signage. Depending on your location, people may be driving by at 40 or 50 miles an hour. Or it may be dusk or even nighttime. If your business is open in the evening, it is particularly important to have good lighting associated with your company sign. And at all times, be sure to choose a high contrast color scheme, as mentioned earlier, and a clearly legible typeface so your sign can be easily read no matter what the conditions. It can be tempting to go with something fancy, but when it comes to signs, simpler is better because it will be easier to read.

Also, it’s important to note that using all capital letters does not make a sign easier to read. Studies have shown that it is actually harder to read anything that is written in all caps. So go with initial caps only.

• Pay equally close attention to window signage and sidewalk signs. Such signs can be highly effective in pulling in new customers, and just because a window or sidewalk sign is only going to be up for short time that doesn’t mean it isn’t sending a message about your brand. Sloppy, hand-written signs with grammar mistakes definitely send a negative message, but yet we all see this type of thing all too often. Perhaps it’s because I’m a both a writer and a marketer, but I cringe when I see poorly done signs in store windows; instead of pulling me in, it turns me off.

Less copy is better than more copy for such signage; people are moving by quickly and don’t have time to read lines and lines of type. Also, a picture IS worth a thousand words.

Fortunately, getting attractive window and sidewalk signs at an affordable price from online providers such as Signazon.com is fast and easy these days. And such companies also provide full printing services so they can provide you with business cards and other necessities. Having your marketing materials prepared by one source helps assure a cohesive look and simplifies matching ink colors and design elements. So let one of these companies help you make the most of your business signage as a tool for business growth.

1 comment

  1. The best way to attract and pull new customers to your small business is promoting your services online using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest. Using this, you online reputation can also increase.

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