The Numbers Are In: A Good Sign Is The Most Cost-Effective Way To Promote Your Business
Signs aren't something most of us spend a lot of time thinking about, but DeNyse Cos—a progressive sign, lighting and service company that has been designing, fabricating and installing creative sign systems since 1983—wants to change that.
Bringing several independently conducted studies to our attention, DeNyse showed us that signs aren't only customers’ single greatest source of information about new businesses, they’re also the most cost-effective means of advertising for larger organizations. For a significant percentage of consumers, they create an important first impression about your business and can serve as a major draw. To learn more, we decided to delve into the studies a bit more.
The Effectiveness of Exposure
The International Sign Association conducted a survey of new businesses 30 to 45 days after a new sign was installed. Their pollsters asked thousands of shoppers, “How did you learn about us?” The results (above) show that signs were responsible for 1,234 new customers, easily half of all new business.
But are signs as important for established businesses that can afford to take their message to the media? To answer this, the New York State Small Business Development Center calculated and compared how much it costs to reach 1,000 viewers across different types of media—including TV spots, newspaper ads and outdoor advertising—by dividing the amount of money spent on an advertisement by the number of people exposed to it over the course of a month.
For example, if an on-premise sign has a life span of approximately 12 years, and it costs $16,500 to put up, its cost per month is $115. And on a typical four-lane road passing through a midsized American city's commercial district, about 900,000 people will see the sign every month. Perform some simple division, and we find that with a sign it costs about $0.13 to reach 1,000 people!
Compare that to what it costs to reach 1,000 people in other media. As the table shows, signs offer the best value from a cost-benefit standpoint.
Quality Is King
The mere existence of a sign, however, doesn’t necessarily mean more customers—the quality also makes a big a difference. The research firm Brandspark presented three statements to 63,000 individuals ages 18 to over 65, and asked them if they agreed or disagreed.
1. I have been drawn into unfamiliar stores based on the quality of their signs.
2. I have driven by or failed to find a business because the signage was too small or unclear.
3. I have made assumptions about a store’s quality based on clear and attractive signage.
The study found that a high-quality sign can attract a considerable segment of the population by itself—29% would visit just because of a good sign. But the fact that the figure becomes 55% for the Millennial demographic suggests that signs’ ability to draw customers will continue to grow as young people become an increasingly dominant segment of consumers.
34.5% of respondents made assumptions about the quality of a business based on "clear and attractive" signage, a significant portion of a potential consumer base.
But, if your sign's too small or difficult to read, you can lose a lot of customers—49%—even of those already interested in your business and trying to locate it.
Again, that number grows with a younger demographic: 64% of females ages 18-24 overlooked a business because of poor signage. So the need for sign clarity is the opposite of a "seniors' issue."
A good sign is one of the best investments you can make for your business, while a shoddy sign is virtually guaranteed to lose you some portion of your potential customer base.
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