In a digital age, it’s easy to forget about the impact of outdoor advertising. However, figures show that this form of advertising – including signage and billboards – is expected to grow by 4.6% annually and hit a global total of £34 billion ($45 billion USD) this year.


Signage is affordable


Many marketing channels are hugely expensive – think large print runs or heavy online advertising campaigns. Signage on the other hand is extremely cheap and has a long lifespan. For a few thousand pounds, for example, an eye-catching wrap that generates footfall (and sales) could last for up to 6 years. If your business has physical premises, this means you can’t afford to ignore billboard and sign advertising as part of your overall marketing strategy.


Signage gets customers through the door


If you have a physical business, people will be passing it every day. Flag up your presence to help people find you and to entice spur of the moment visits. Research by the University of Cincinnati suggests that 76% of customers have visited a business premises simply based on seeing a sign there. A further 68% also view the quality sign as an indication of the quality of the business itself.


Signage spreads the word


Research has also suggested that three-quarters of people have told their friends and family about a business they have seen – based upon its signage. Whether you are a printer, a soft play centre or a restaurant, this means it’s time to look again at the power of your shopfront.

Signage delivers on multiple fronts

In addition to being impactful and affordable, signage is:

  • A quick way of communicating a brand, even to someone passing rapidly by car.
  • A permanent method of communication and marketing.
  • Easy to change when required.
  • Highly flexible in terms of its placement; think A-boards, pop-ups, retail shop front signs, tied vinyl signs and digital boards.
  • Signage can also be used on your mobile assets – such as your fleet.

Most small physical businesses will have a whopping 85% of their customers just five miles away from their base, so this immediate and visual way of communicating your presence is essential.


How to get your sign design right


Not all signs are created equal so it’s important to invest time and energy into getting your sign design spot on. Here are some simple rules to follow.

  1. Make sure it’s visible

Your sign needs to be visible from a distance, on dull days and by people driving by. So, in a 30 miles an hour road zone, the visibility radius is 50 metres. Use a 1-10 guide, with every inch of text producing 10ft of readability. For someone seeing your sign from 50 feet away, your letters will need to be at least 5 inches high.

  1. Choose text carefully

Keep your text minimal and ideally under 16 words. The signage design industry has a rule of 3 by 5, which means having five words per line for three lines of text and three words per line if five text lines are used. Use a simple font too which is readable and avoid complex scripts or serifs unless an essential part of your brand.

  1. Minimise content

You don’t need your marketing content strategy on your sign! Don’t go overboard, just put the essentials on there. This will typically mean your business branding and logo, your phone number and possibly your website and social media accounts depending on your needs and the placement of the sign. Remember, if it’s cluttered, people won’t be able to see what you’re about.

  1. Think contrast

Use a graphic designer for the best design and visual production. A designer will choose contrasting colours which aid visibility and which look attractive. Remember that readability is key. A sign is a piece of visual communication and not an art piece, so do trust your designer and brief in your needs carefully. A designer will also produce the signage graphics to industry standards and ensure that the final piece looks highly professional.

  1. Consider placement

Where will your sign go? Your print company can often give good advice and they may need to do a site visit if you are affixing permanent signage. Look at where customers and passersby are likely to be walking or driving and use this to guide placement.

  1. Think about your full needs

It’s often worth producing a suite of signs to cover all bases, from the railings by your car park through to the front door of your premises and to cover your fleet and any events. A printer can usually do a better price for a larger order, so it’s well worth thinking ahead and producing the full set at once.

In short, if your current signage isn’t up to the mark, why not reserve a few pounds from your marketing budget and start to plan how you can tackle your outdoor advertising and see your footfall and sales grow as a result.


About Joe Cox