The Secret Power of Signage

Signs are powerful!

The first thing someone notices when they come to your business are your signs. We are programmed to read, so we read. We look at images and think in pictures. Every business owner must look at their signage from the perspective of a first time, brand new customer who has never been to your business before. Do not underestimate the importance of your signage. It can attract or repel. Which would you prefer?

Let’s say that a potential customer is coming to your business. They have never been there before.

  • How easy are you to find?
  • Their journey probably begins form your website, Google maps, Your Google business profile or ad.
  • Is the information clear and correct?
  • How difficult or easy are you going to make this journey for your new customer?
  • Do you have clear visible, prominent, signage?
  • Do you have directions or extra signs if you are in an obscure location?

Once they arrive…

  • Are your signs welcoming?
  • What are the first impressions?
  • Are they obscured by trees, shrubs, cars, junk, etc.
  • Do they look dirty, unloved? What does that say about you and your business?
  • Do they look fresh, well maintained, modern and easy to read?
  • Can people actually find your signs?
  • Can they read them?
  • Are you a business within a business, an estate, multi office complex or home/backyard? This is more difficult and you’ll need to address this

A long time ago, I had to go to a car dealership to order some parts. Well….that was an experience I’ll never forget!

I knew where it was so I drove there. Upon driving into the carpark, I had no idea where to go. Also there was no parking anywhere, so I drove around and in circles for a while. There was no clear signage anywhere. As this dealership had multiple brands, I had no idea where to go for each particular brand. I had no idea where Service was and I could not find Parts for the particular brand I needed.

Now, I found out later that all brands were under the same umbrella and the same location but I did not know that. That’s not how most dealerships work. Clear signage and directions would have fixed that!

So what happened next?

I left! Couldn’t find anything, no parking and immense frustration and time wasting. Think about this…do you drive you customers away or attract them? Anyway, I went back home, rang up another supplier, got what I wanted and they even shipped it to me.

I wonder how many more customers were driven away? How much did this lack of care cost the business in the short term and long term. Car yards are funny places. People buy cars there. If someone is in for service or parts, they may be in the market for a new car in the future and they like to look around. I wasn’t a potential new car buyer but a lot of people are.

The other things you need to consider is

  • Branding-is the look and feel of your signage consistent?
  • Is the message clear?
  • Has your designer chosen an easy to read font? Some designers and sign writers are so focused on being “clever” or “cute” with their signage, they neglect the number one rule. It has to be easy to read!
  • Does the sign look balanced and do the colors, typography and any graphics work together?
  • There are more colours than black and white! Be adventurous, create some life in your signage. There’s an epidemic of black and white signs everywhere. It doesn’t cost any more. The extra cost factor applies to print where they charge you for every colour, so black and white is used to keep costs down.
  • Signs are a long term investment. Maintain them. they are the first point of contact for your business. If they are in direct sun all day, they will have a shorter life span. Not much you can do. But they do need to be cleaned and washed from time to time, just like your car.

Remember the old saying…You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression! Your signs are the gateway to your business and the first impression you make. Will you get a second chance?

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