While 2018 may feel as if it was only a couple weeks ago, it’s no surprise that 2019 is here, and it’s moving fast. You may even find yourself feeling behind with Q1 coming to an end. The good news is there’s no need to worry, we’re here to keep you up to speed and provide insight into what branding and signage trends you need to be on top of to increase your ROI for the remainder of 2019.
1.) Attract more customers and increase foot traffic.
Seems simple, right? Grand opening day has arrived. You’ve put a sign on your storefront, and now potential customers walking or driving by will start pouring in. What about the ones who don’t make it through the doors though? Yes, it’s possible they don’t have a need for your product or service, but what are some of the other (controlled) variables that might deter a potential new customer from stopping, or walking in? Number one, the quality of your signage. 20% of consumers report being drawn into new stores based on the quality of their signage. (signresearch.org) In my personal experience. I have yet to meet a Director of Sales that would not want to increase new business by 20%. When purchasing a new sign make sure to go for quality. The upfront cost may be a little higher, but pennies when compared to the potential ROI increase.
What about the businesses that just don’t have the budget for new “shiny” signage? Sign repair and maintenance programs are cost-effective and practical if new signage is not in the budget this year. Not everyone can replace their signs when they start to look a bit older and depending on your region, the elements can take a toll on your exterior branding. Refreshing your existing signs with new vinyl or faces, having your awnings cleaned, or polishing exterior brass are all budget-friendly ways to ensure your stores are looking their best. A 20% boost in new sales will make that budget look much better the following year when discussing signage upgrades.
2.) Build Brand Awareness
If you’ve followed the advice in tip #1 you’re probably thinking “that’s all great and dandy”, but how do I even get people to walk/drive by my business. High-quality signage doesn’t do anything if no one sees it, right? This thought process is 100% correct.
It may seem obvious but, the more evident you are about who your brand is, and who you are trying to reach, the higher the chance for success. (signresearch.org) “Did he really just tell me in need to like myself if I want others to like me”? Yes, yes I did. It all comes down to transparency. As I’m sure you’re well aware it’s 2019; there is no more B2C or B2B. It’s all B2P (Business to People). Your brand is your companies personality, and people buy from people like themselves or people they like.
Know your brand’s personality, stay consistent with your brand’s voice, and know who it is that will benefit most from your product or service. Speak to them personally, and when trying to reach them whether it’s through print or digital media be sure to do so on the platforms where they spend time. The biggest mistake business will make is trying and reach prospects, or potential clients in spaces that they do not visit frequently, or at all. Remember, we don’t buy a 1/8th drill bit because we want a drill bit. We buy it because we want a 1/8th hole.
3.) Gain Valuable Customer Feedback
Okay, so tips #1 and #2 take some time and effort to properly execute. So, for tip #3 we’ll keep it simple. Every consumer who walks in your store has a story and an opinion. Hear them out. See what you are doing right, and learn how you can improve. (signresearch.org) People love to share their experiences. Whether it’s through word of mouth or socially online. The downside, “Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience.” (American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer)
You can send/hand out customer feedback surveys, or hire third-party companies to provide data on what your customers care about most to get the “best” feedback. Or, you can simply ask the customers themselves. Was it easy for you to find our location? Was it easy for you to navigate through our facility/store?
In tip #2 we discussed reaching new and existing customers in “their space”. If your a brick and mortar store, great! You can have face-to-face conversations with your customers, and what better way to get to know someone than conversing with them directly. If the majority of your business is done online or through e-mail, start conversations in digital social spaces. Interact and actively participate with the customers themselves. For example, hospitals’ way-finding signage is of the utmost importance as every second counts in an emergency or emotional situation. Customer feedback on the ease of navigating the facility has been precious information over the years and has helped to continuously improve our healthcare facilities. (for more information on wayfinding signage)
4.) Set Consistent Expectations
As mentioned in tip #3 (see a pattern here) people are more likely to share a negative service experience. So how much is a good customer experience worth? “Good customer experiences lead 42 percent of consumers to purchase again (Zendesk Customer Service Study).”
While as a business we always attempt to exceed our customer’s expectations. Keeping consistency when their expectations have been met is just as important. Using signage that is congruent with your brand will help customers know what to expect each time they enter your store. (signresearch.org) We’ve all heard the term “creatures of habit”, and if your business is one that benefits from repeat business. Staying consistent with your interior/exterior branding is a good way to boost customer retention rates.
5.) Increase Store Value
Pop quiz! What’s the most important factor when opening a new store? ANS: Location, location, location. So, what’s the 2nd most important factor? ANS: Proper market research to prove a direct correlation between the need for products and services your business provides, and the market you are entering. Umm… well. Yes, that’s up there (top 3 for sure), but how about the aesthetics of your store? Using brand image to establish a design language is one of the possible implementation schemes available when understanding the design thinking process. Design-oriented firms with proper signage increase in value at a much faster rate than their counterparts. (signresearch.org)
Almost immediately the first impression someone will have of your space is the storefront sign. It does so much more than provide your companies name, or describe your products and services to the general public. It’s not only there so your store is easily located, or to draw attention to those who pass by. It’s your brand, your “team” colors, your logo, message, voice, etc… I can go on, but you get where this is going. It’s a physical representation of your business’s personality. As adolescents, you may have, or know someone who had used outlets such as clothing choice, hair color, or even tattoos and piercings to express individualism (your personal brand). Your interior and exterior sign packages do the same for your business. The design process of such packages is one more piece of the puzzle when accelerating growth and increasing ROI.
6.) Increase in Sales
One of two things has happened. You’ve made it this far, and are now ready to start using the information you have just learned to increase your ROI, or you scrolled straight down to the “Increase in Sales” heading, because let’s be honest. Increase in ROI means an increase in the bottom line and we all want tips and tricks to boost sales as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there is no hidden formula in this section to increase sales overnight. What is available though are the tips above that all impact your business sales directly on a daily bases. Sometimes they are overlooked, and sometimes we don’t have the available time to think through every aspect of our business that lends itself to boosting sales. We’re focused so thoroughly on new business development and client retention that the small upgrades to our current processes or resources are skimmed over. Signs, whether interior or exterior, play a vital role in the success of a company’s growth. These tips will help to accelerate that growth and are all cost-effective or free (in some cases) ways to boost your ROI. According to the Sign Research Foundation, 60% of businesses see an increase in revenue by 10% or more after installing proper signage. (signresearch.org) Follow these tips so your business doesn’t miss out on making that 60%.