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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Signage EVALUation

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Economic Value of On-Premise SignageYour signage value can be calculated in hard numbers as well as intrinsic value. The Signage Foundation recently presented an updated study from the University of Cincinnati titled, “The Economic Value of On-Premise Signage.” The study included a national survey of business owners and case studies from a variety of industries that showed signage is associated with revenues and profits.

Signage value can be calculated by using equivalent outdoor advertising figures for the amount of traffic that passes by the signage in a given time period. It’s calculated on cost per impression, and is the basis for billboard or today’s electronic sign advertising rates. But, the key to success is increased revenues resulting from signage. The University of Cincinnati study showed that on-premise signage plays an important role in the overall branding and marketing strategy for a business. The visibility and conspicuousness of the signage are key factors. Highly visible signs make it easier for customers to obtain the information they need to make a purchase. Nearly 60 percent of businesses surveyed reported an average 10 percent increase in sales transactions when they changed their signage and took into consideration viewing distances, location, size and other factors.

Your professional sign manufacturer can advise you on the best sign location, size and materials. If you have clearly outlined objectives for your business signage, your signage consultant can help you meet them. The study results confirmed what signage professionals try to communicate to customers every day: signs should be based on an assessment of many factors such as the location, road curvature, traffic lanes, speed limits, landscaping and sightline obstructions, to name a few. Your business industry will also play a role in the type of sign you select. In the case studies, a national lodging chain experienced increased occupancy rates with the use of digital signage to display pricing. A national retail banking business found pylon signs outperformed monument and wall signs in terms of visibility and increased teller transactions. Specialty store small business signage needed to communicate the value promise and be sensitive to community and customer expectations.

Whatever your industry, evaluate your signage needs and incorporate signage into your profitability plan.

It’s Spring and the Cruisin’ is Easy

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

As more people come out of their homes and businesses to greet the warmer weather and sunshine, car wraps are a great opportunity for both getting attention and communicating messages.  Car cruises traditionally feature souped up vehicles, refurbished older models, and “hot cars.”  You can get your car noticed with creative, eye-catching wraps.  Not only does the wrap protect the car’s paint, but it updates it to be a fun set of wheels that is truly not your father’s Oldsmobile (or family mini-van as is more likely today).  Aurora Graphics, a leading vehicle wrap company, offers over 16 patterns of camouflage, and anything from patriotic to wild flower scenes.  Get something that reflects your personality.  Be sure to have a professional sign manufacturer do the installation of the wrap for more accurate placement and better results.  While this is not for the faint of heart or wallet – a typical wrap costs about $2,000 – it will keep your car looking newer longer -- it has about a four-year life span.

Plus, if you have a small business, there’s no better time than cruisin’ time, to try mobile advertising.  That $2,000 will go far in advertising ROI.  According to 3M, a manufacturer of materials for vehicle wraps, a little more expensive wrap – at $3,500 -- is worth $130,000 in advertising.  The Transportation Advertising Council estimates that a vehicle wrap generates 30-70,000 impressions per day.  And lest we wonder if anyone will remember seeing this vehicle wrap – the Transportation Advertising Council says mobile ad messages have a 97 percent recall rate.  Ask your signage professional for help in creating graphics and photos that appear seamless on your vehicle.

You can hardly go wrong with a vehicle wrap – whether it’s to protect your paint job or capture attention – it’s cruisin’ season!

Outdoor Digital Signage Gives a Community Feeling

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Investing in outdoor digital signage for your company is not only a good business move from an advertising and promotion standpoint, it’s also a good way to become a part of the fabric of the community.  Digital signage gives you the opportunity to advertise special deals, offer products with special sales or showcase new bargains that are constantly changing.  The flexibility and nature of digital signage makes it easy to change the message either daily or throughout the day.  Your sign professional can work with you to provide the most flexible digital signage hardware and software for your individual needs.

In addition to the obvious promotional opportunities, digital signage can also help you to develop a relationship with your local community.  By using the display for more than just pricing or advertising, you give people a reason to look for the sign every day.  Daily greetings and messages along with the temperature, weather forecast, or information about town activities are all nuggets of valuable information for local residents.  One small business owner in the Midwest used his digital signage software to store everyone’s birthday in town and the sign displayed it on their special day.  He also used timely greetings like, “Happy Mother’s Day,” and “Happy Valentine’s Day.”  If that didn’t make him an integral part of that small town community, then nothing ever will.  People will begin to identify with the sign, and before you know it, your business is a household word.

Digital signage will pay for itself tenfold in customer loyalty and word of mouth when people feel someone is paying attention to them. 

Protect and Proclaim with Awnings

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Have you ever considered the practical side of awnings?  They serve several purposes and can really make a difference for your business.  First, an awning can protect the front of your building from the elements.  It will cushion the blow of driving rain or sleet and provide shade from the intense Maryland summer sun.  It will also help keep the inside of your building a little cooler by providing shade.  An awning also protects you by preventing wet, slippery floors in your entrance way that can be dangerous for customers.  The awning gives that necessary transition between the outside weather and the inside business.

An awning can also proclaim your business to customers.  A brightly colored or specially designed awning adds curb appeal to your entry way, dressing up an otherwise stark frontage.  Use it to give your business a personality and an identity.  Add graphics or lettering to identify yourself, giving customers an easy way to find you on the street or in the shopping center.  

Before adding graphics, have your signage professional check to be sure your awning is in good condition.  If not, your professional sign installer can advise you on the right material and its wearability, and if necessary, use your existing awning frame to rewrap new material.  Blue Water Signs works with awning specialists like Hoffman Awnings to get the best fabrics and installations that will withstand the weather and general wear and tear.  Together, we can recommend the most practical and functional awning for your needs and help you create meaningful signage.  The return on your investment will be measurable in aesthetics and customer attraction.

Outdoor Signage – Make It Digital

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The outdoor signage market covers a variety of media that your custom sign professional has the capability of handling.  Billboards, transit, street furniture and alternative media are the primary categories of outdoor signage, with billboards making up the lion’s share at 65 percent of the revenue, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.  That share may be growing even more as dynamic digital signage continues to gain in popularity.  Billboard advertising remains one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising at an average of $2.18 CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) for all forms of billboard ads.  It is second only to vehicle wraps, estimated at $0.80-$1.30 CPM.  According to a recent study by the OAAA, the CPM of a 30-second prime time spot is $17.78, a one-third page black and white ad in a top 100 newspaper market is $22.95 CPM, and a four-color, one-page ad in a magazine is $9.35 CPM. 

If your business is serious about outdoor signage and you want more than just the sign that identifies your company name, then digital signage may be for you.  More digital signage is being turned on every day in Harford County, because business owners are realizing that the investment will pay for itself in a matter of a few years.  

An upcoming digital signage seminar at the OAAA convention promises to focus on the key elements -- hardware, software, connectivity, content, operation, design.  We can already summarize, but look forward to the details:  Invest in good hardware that will showcase your graphics in beautiful color and clarity.  Explore intuitive software that’s easy to use.  Make sure you’re connected to a high-speed network.  Get creative with your content, but keep it simple.  Know how to operate the system, and make sure your signage professional recommends a good design.  In short, invest and let the messaging do the rest. 

The Incredible Shrinking Digital Signage Dollar

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Digital signage is becoming more affordable thanks to new entries into the market and more manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon.  Before buying a digital signage system, find out about the hardware and software you’ll be using.  Ask your signage professional to review the companies he or she prefers and why.  Because there is so much choice in the market today, there is the opportunity for comparison in both products and services.  

Look for a digital signage manufacturer who is reputable and innovative – someone who is keeping up with the fast-moving industry, and making efforts to provide high-quality signage and easy-to-use software.  We like the innovations from companies like Daktronix and Watchfire.  The displays are versatile, and there is something to satisfy every application.  The Daktronix Galaxy product line offers full-color, tri-color and monochrome displays with dynamic graphics and colors.  They have LED Message displays for directional and instructional signage, and LED video displays for content advertising both indoors and outdoors.  They can be seen in places like Towson University, University of Florida and the Barclays Arena in Brooklyn, NY.  

Watchfire is another company that’s worthy of more than just watching for Digital Signage.  Their Ignite software is easy to program and update so your signage is always current.  It allows you to edit your signage from anywhere you have a computer, preview graphics, select from a library of downloadable graphics and artwork, and use fades and RSS feeds easily.  Together, the display and the software can make great digital signage for your company.  Make sure you feel comfortable using both, and ask your signage professional to guide you in maximizing their potential.  The more you use them, the more cost-effective they will be.

Carve Your Business In Their Memories

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why do you need a sign?  It’s a fair question.  Answers might be: to direct people; to attract people’s attention; to let people know where your business resides; to communicate your product to potential customers.  The reasons businesses need signs are as varied as the businesses themselves.  But the overall reason a business needs a sign is so people remember it.   

People will remember a well-placed and well-designed sign that helps them locate a business.  If they can’t find you because you have poor signage, the result will be a frustrated customer.  They will grouse to your staff, complain to their friends, tarnish your good business reputation.  A custom sign for your business will leave a lasting impression and get the entire experience off on the right foot.

Today’s newest materials for custom signs include High Density Urethane or HDU, a material that is designed to look like wood.  HDU is lighter than wood and more weather resistant, so it requires less maintenance.  It can be painted or stained to give the impression of age or a more beautiful wood finish.  Unlike wood, it is resistant to rot and insect pests, so it will last longer and maintain its characteristics.  HDU material can still be hand-painted in any color, carved to look three-dimensional or gilded with gold or silver.  It still gives the impression of wood, but the material simply makes the sign last longer and look better.  A better looking sign makes a better memory for your customers.  That’s a good reason to have a sign.

Size Does Matter

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In on-premise signage, size does make a difference – the size of the message, that is.  An impactful sign can be any physical size – from a wall plaque to a giant billboard, depending on where it is placed.  Regardless of the square footage of the sign, if the message is too small or unreadable, it won’t have any impact at all. 

On-premise signs need only display the main message.  That message should be succinct and memorable, not wordy and difficult to read.  What’s the call-to-action?  What do you want the reader to do?  If it’s call you on the phone, then make the phone number the largest part of the sign.  If you want to push people to your website, then give that address center stage on your signage.  Your company name and your call-to-action are the most important parts in any customer communication.  They should be big, compared to the other parts of the sign.   

The graphics should also be readable.  Choose a font or typeface that is sharp and clean.  Fancy script or lettering can be distracting and difficult to read.  If a potential customer has to struggle to figure out what you want him to do, it’s likely that you’ve lost the customer.  Your professional sign manufacturer can and should advise you on the proportions of the lettering and graphics on your sign.  They can act as a “readability consultant” and let you know how big the message can be on your size sign.  You have only a limited amount of sign real estate.  Use it to your advantage, because message size does matter.

It’s a Sign – It Makes Your Business Thrive

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why have a sign?  Well, that’s a basic question.  You can probably think of many different answers, and as a Maryland custom sign company, so can we!  The most obvious answer is awareness.  A sign lets customers know who you are, what you are and where you are.  A sign communicates with customers.  It makes your business stand out.  It even gives your business a personality.

A recent study prepared by the University of Cincinnati for the Signage Foundation Inc., showed that one of the primary reasons companies use signage is to make their businesses stand out.  They also use it for branding purposes.  Additionally, and interestingly, the study found that changing a sign can increase business by an average of 12 percent.  Businesses with new signs saw increased profits and an increase in the number of sales transactions.  The study tied the success of on-premise signage to a company’s success within a community, suggesting that town or city regulations about signage can impact the performance of some businesses.

The study also found that signage can have a positive effect on employment, with hiring increasing when on-premise signage is used.  Is it a correlation to the increased business due to good signage, perhaps?  Overall, the study showed that individual industries had success with different types of signage.  For example, a lodging chain was successful with digital signage, and a bank was most successful with pylon signage.  This is not to say that either market couldn’t handle a different type of signage, but it does give merit to the recommendations of your sign professional.  If used in the right application, signage can have a significant impact a company’s bottom line.

In-Store POP Signage Means In-Store Decisions

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

According to the Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI) 2012 Shopper Engagement Study released recently, grocery shoppers are making more decisions in-store than ever before.  The in-store decision rate has reached an all-time high of 76 percent.  Why?  Look around your grocery store next time you’re there.  Bold signage, fancy labeling and enticing displays are everywhere.  The signage ranges from shelf talkers to digital displays, but it has one objective: communicate effectively to a captive audience.

Nearly one in six purchases of a particular brand is made when a display of that brand is in the store.  The study concluded that retailers are not taking full advantage of opportunities to increase sales through in-store marketing.  The study says “Compelling creative…can turn the subconscious shopper into a conscious shopper.”  Read:  great signage is a must.  It can change people’s minds or it can simply get their attention and the product will do the rest.  With bold, to-the-point messaging, you can reach your target shopper, and increase sales.  In the study, about 56 percent of shoppers said they did recall seeing in-store displays.  Most often remembered were end cap and free-standing displays with descriptive signage.  Finally, 66 percent of all “observed grabs” resulted in a purchase – if they picked it up, they bought it.  

Now, there’s a good reason to get the shopper’s attention and give him or her an opportunity to touch and feel the product.  Give your signs a chance to shine.  Tell your custom sign design team and they can give you the sign ideas you need, and help to build your business quickly.


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