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Your Guide to Getting Started With Digital Signage

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In this article you'll learn...

  • How digital signage can increase revenue for your business
  • Design tips for your first digital display
  • Marketing tips for your ongoing digital display strategy

Have you seen digital signage before? You probably have. And if you own or market for a location-based business, you've probably considered how a digital display could work for you.

What Is Digital Signage?

Digital signage is any form of electronic display. Imaging walking into a restaurant and seeing the specials menu on a monitor in the entrance. Instead of a whiteboard or a chalkboard, the monitor presents the information digitally just as if you're looking at a computer screen.

Digital signage has a variety of forms and uses. The digital streaming ticker showing the latest news headlines in Times Square is an example of digital signage. The digital temperature and clock on the local bank or credit union is another example. Today, gas stations are putting monitors on the fuel pumps so they can play video commercials while people fill up their cars and trucks.

Anytime you see a screen displaying some type of message, image, or video, you are looking at a digital sign.


Now that you realize what digital signage, is you're probably thinking of other examples.

How Local Businesses Can Use Digital Signage

People are always going to the grocery store, the bank, and many other places located right next to their homes, offices, and recreational areas. As those people visit their local businesses, they are often faced with questions and decisions, and they're curious about offerings.

Digital signage can give your local customers what they're looking for as they shop and look for something that will make their day better. A digital display can act as a salesperson, or it can simply be entertainment for people waiting their turn in line.

If you own a local business, the ways you can use digital signage to accomplish your goals are many. The displays are flexible, giving you the ability to control what is displayed, when it's displayed, and how it's displayed to your customers.

As you prepare to make the decision about digital signage for your company, here are the basics for getting started with digital displays, including some tips on how to effectively use your new display to sell to the people walking through your door.

How to Earn Additional Revenue With Digital Signage

Even in a roundabout way, the goal of most digital signage or displays is to increase revenue for the business. Each digital sign can act as a direct sales piece, or it can be used to make the business more efficient with customers. The latter saves on costs, which adds to profit.

A common way to use digital signage in a local business is to upsell or feature special items. Imagine a local dentist office that has customers waiting in the waiting room for their name to be called. Those folks are sitting in their chairs reading old magazines or just twiddling their thumbs.

A digital display could combine an entertaining video and, off to the side, information about teeth whitening. The content could describe the benefits of teeth whitening, and at the end of the information the call to action could be something such as "Ask your hygienist about teeth whitening today." The call to action would be top of mind, and the dentist office could make additional money from each customer.

Image: Dentist by Rise Vision

A business such as a wedding-planning company needs to use photographs to really sell the concept of a beautiful wedding to prospective customers. Digital displays are dynamic, and using photographs on the display to help sell your goods and services would make that marketing task easier.

Creating printed photography collections for the office would be would be a lot of work for the wedding planner; moreover, wedding tastes change, and as the business grows photographic displays would also need to change. Making those changes is easier with digital displays.

The planner or similar business can change out the photos or simply add more photos to the streaming display. When customer walk in they'll instantly be able to see what their wedding would look like. It's a sale made without extra effort from the business owner.

Image: The Wedding Planner by Rise Vision

A third example is a sports bar or similar restaurant. The business is all about entertaining customers, but also getting them excited about what's happening with sporting events.

People are emotional creatures, and offering specials every time a team scores or something happens in the game is a great way to increase revenue. It's easy to change drink and food specials on digital displays.

Image: Sports by Rise Vision

You can feature offerings each night depending on the event taking place. People will be into the game, and when they see the new special featured alongside the game, they'll more likely to ask their waiter or waitress about the deal.

Those are some ways your business can add revenue with digital display. Now here are a few tips on designing your digital design for appeal and effectiveness.

Digital Signage Design Tips

Your digital signage can include various elements, but the trick is to not overwhelm your visitors with too many options. You want them to be able to focus on something that catches their eye—some intriguing content that makes them stop and pay attention.

Once you have the person's attention, your digital display should offer interesting content—some helpful information that answers questions and improves their life—something related to what your business already does.

After you've pulled the person this far along in the design, it's time for the call to action. There should almost always be something you want your visitors to do once they are looking at your display. A good contrasting color should be used to highlight the call to action. You might ask them to follow you on Facebook or maybe even make a purchase.

In the following example, the colors of the calls to action really stand out. It's a beautiful display that's not too overwhelming. The information is straightforward, the design is pleasant, and the calls to action are easy to see.

Image: Arnold Palmer Hospital by Rise Vision

Some Digital Signage Marketing Principles

The marketing strategy for each business will be different. Digital display can be used in various places, but your strategy should adhere to a few basic principles.

First, understand that the sales process with a new visitor takes longer than just asking for the sale. Depending on your business, you likely need to foster a relationship with a new customer. Think about doing so with your digital display. Offer some content about the service, about your business, and even about the people working at your business. That approach helps build affinity, before you ask for the sale with a call to action.

Second, remember to set goals for your display. Just putting up some information about your business and including some social media icons is easy. But you need to go into the process with an idea of what you want the display to accomplish. Knowing that will help with the creation of the design and the setup. You'll have a guiding goal that really makes the decisions for you.

Finally, you have to keep the display fresh. If you have repeat customers, you'll want to keep them interested with new content. You don't want someone visiting three, four, or more times and seeing the same content each time. Even if you have new customers visiting all the time you'll want to add fresh content to keep up with the changes at your business.

Build affinity, keep things fresh, and adhere to your goals. Those are the three key marketing principles for digital signage.

Final Takeaways

If you're considering digital signage for your company, then you're thinking about something that's exciting!

Digital signage is becoming more popular with location-based companies. For years the standard for such companies was to rely entirely on printed materials. That's no longer necessary; a digital sign needs to be set up just once, and from then on the display can be adjusted to meet the changing needs of the business.

Digital signage can increase revenue by highlighting...

  • Specials and features
  • Visual effects
  • Timely offerings

You can surely think of more possibilities, unique to your business.

Once you are convinced about revenue, it's time to get into the design. Here are a few basic design principles for digital signage:

  • Earning attention
  • Offering something useful and interesting
  • Calling the viewer to action

After a while of working with the design, you'll start to learn what works best for your company.

Finally, these are a few marketing approaches to consider:

  • Fostering a relationship
  • Working toward specific business goals
  • Keeping content fresh

Your business will be able to expand its approach to, and use of, digital signage as you gain experience with digital signage.

Did we miss anything? Feel free to ask questions.


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Todd Hemme is a director at Rise Vision, a free digital signage platform. He has worked with top designers and business leaders on their digital signage campaigns and has years of experience in the digital display industry. Reach him via todd.hemme@risevision.com.

Twitter: @RiseVision

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