A Small Business Guide to Digital Signage

Digital signage allows businesses to showcase a variety of media on a digital display that can be placed in a range of settings, including universities, lobbies, malls and restaurants. The potential digital signage has to fully engage and speak to people, not just in retail, but
across a whole range of industry sectors is only just being realised.

Whether consumers, attendees, delegates, patients or members, digital signage has the ability to be both adaptable and highly personalised and all this controlled from a centralised system.

But like their static lightbox cousins, digital signs are only as ever as good as the design and planning that goes into them, so getting it right is essential if your efforts and investment is to be rewarded.

The Four Components of Every Digital Signage Project

1. Software

Content management software (CMS) facilitates the presentation of content on digital displays. CMS software is available at a range of price points, with some programs specialising in a limited variety of content and others able to display everything from images and text to webpages and video.

2. Hardware

Whether you choose to use a TV or a monitor as your display, it must be able to display content at a high resolution that allows audiences to properly engage with the text and visual media being showcased. You will also need a media player and if you plan to mount your display anywhere, obtaining appropriate fixtures and fittings is essential.

3. Content

Digital signage is a uniquely dynamic visual medium, however it will only ever be as effective as the content you choose to showcase. When considering digital signage content, simplicity and a clear call to action are paramount. Equally important is the careful placement of the design (i.e., the context / environment into which the sign will be viewed).

The most effective designs convey messages via the fewest possible number of individual elements. Being hyper-critical of every potential design is key, so ask yourself things like:

● Is this font legible from a distance?

● Does this word need to be underlined?

● Does this graphic convey our intended message?

● Are we utilising an appropriate colour scheme that isn’t visually overwhelming?

4. Strategy

A strategic plan will help you to ensure your project has a clear set of goals and objectives. This information will inform a range of decisions, including the type of media player you will need, the size of your display and the type(s) of content you showcase.

Your plan should also carefully profile your target audience, detailing their interests, motivations, intentions and habits to determine the most effective ways to capture their attention.

Other Important Considerations

There are a number of sectors are capitalising on the vast potential of digital signage. In the retail sector, for example, digital signage can secure an overall sales volume increase of
30% however securing success is reliant on the ability to make a range of important decisions.

1. Location

The type of content you want to display on your digital signage should always be a core factor when determining the best location.

Interactive signage is most effective in areas in which people are waiting for something, such as an elevator or bus stop, for example, whereas signage delivering important staff
communications will generally be seen by the most people in reception areas and entryways. Signage designed to entice new customers should be visible in places with high footfall, such as store windows.

When assessing a shortlist of potential locations, ask yourself:

● What are people doing in this area?

● Do people stop here? If so, are there any specific spaces in which people typically wait?

● Are there any potential obstacles that could impact the visibility of a digital display?

● Is there space for a digital display at an appropriate viewing height?

2. Viewing Patterns

The efficacy of your messaging can be enhanced by designing content specifically to the viewing pattern your audience will adopt when engaging with your signage. Most digital signage is observed from one of 3 viewing patterns:

Point of Transit

Signage in high traffic areas will be viewed at a glance as people walk between point A and point B. Copy should ideally be kept under 5 words and be displayed in a large font against a simple background. Signage that rotates through a small selection of concise messages is highly effective in this situation.

Point of transit signage is an excellent way to display:

● Daily reminders

● Clear calls to action

● Event announcements

Point of Wait

This type of interaction often takes place in waiting rooms, elevators and service desks. As viewing times will typically be longer in duration, digital signage in these locations can convey more complex messaging. Additionally, interactive displays could showcase scrollable web pages, searchable directories or maps.

Point of wait signage is a great way to communicate:

● Informative content, including news and calendars.

● Engaging content, such as video and trivia, that can reduce perceived waiting times.

Point of Sale

Great design is essential here as it will enhance the receptiveness and memorability of your messaging. Signage in this viewing pattern is often viewed for longer periods of time and should specifically aid customer purchasing decisions by displaying:

● Discounts and/or sales.

● Promotional material for high margin products.

● Store opening hours.

● Menus and/or specials.

● Limited time in-store promotions.

Digital signage is an excellent tool to utilise when promoting awareness of your brand, marketing the introduction of a new product or service and relaying important messages to members of staff, but it is also a great way to engage audiences on a more general basis because it can capture attention more effectively than static flyers, posters and signs.

Author: Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to editor.webposts@gmail.com.