Even in the modern age of the Internet and digital media, physical outdoor signage has not become obsolete at all. In fact, in some regards, physical outdoor signage has gained new relevancy, and many consumers may appreciate certain differences between real outdoor signage and constant digital advertising. Although the Internet is indeed a powerful advertising and communication tool, it can cause burnout over time, and there is a lot of competition online. That, and some Internet users are wary of phishing scams, computer viruses, shady websites, and more. High quality signs, by contrast, may easily appeal to anyone who sees them in a city or town, and certainly no outdoor signage has ever spread a computer virus. Custom lighting and custom sign design may further help a store or shop stand out, especially a small one that has just one location (as opposed to a chain).
The Advertising Power of Signs
Most often, today’s businesses both big and small are making use of both online ad campaigns and outdoor signage alike, getting the most out of each method’s advantages. The Internet allows a message to be spread far and wide at any time of day, while outdoor signage allows many people in the area to find a local business. Plenty of money and time is spent every year to research new advertising methods of all sorts, and the numbers show that even now, in the 2010s, outdoor signage is potent. For example, the value of some on-site signage for a company is the same as 24 full-page newspaper ads in a year, and signs may attract as many as half of a new company or business’s customers.
Most Americans use the Internet, but everyone goes outside, and in any city or town, plenty of people are going to see signs and similar physical ads and message boards. In particular, studies show that 85% of a business’s customers, a majority of them, live within just a five-mile radius of that company, so outdoor signage will reach many of its intended consumer base. This can make signs highly efficient, especially given how a person may see that sign 50 times per week or more.
A number of consumer surveys further show the power of signs. For example, 79% of Americans reported that they remembered a business because they saw its sign, and 71% of surveyed Americans said that they look at messages on roadside ad space, such as billboards and the like. What is more, many surveyed Americans believe that a sign’s quality and personality will reflect that of the business that put it there, so a well-crafted, attractive, and easy-to-understand sign may easily bring in customers and inspire trust. By contrast, a shoddy, ugly, or confusing sign will attract few, if any, consumers. Many people may think that if a company can’t even be bothered to make a good sign outside, how can that business deliver quality products or services? Signs are often the first impression of a business that consumers will get. Naturally, that impression should be a positive one.
Varieties of Signs
There is more than one way to make a sign. Many signs are made of plastic, wood, and/or metal, and may have a plastic front with light bulbs inside to make it glow at night. Often, these signs are placed right over a business’s front door, such as in a strip mall. Other signs may be set up on the roof, allowing these signs to be bigger and visible from a greater distance. Other signs might be put on top of a tall pole, and often, auto shops and fast food restaurants may do this.
Some signs are in fact always glowing or giving off light. Electronic ad boards can be programmed to show nearly any image, often animated, making it easily customizable for any reason. Neon signs can be used to promote a business and its offered items, most often bars. Bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, and other businesses get a lot of traffic at night, so they use glowing signs that are easy to see in low lighting levels. Similarly, a school or house of worship may use a scrolling marquee to send messages to all relevant parties who regularly visit that school or house of worship.