The Case for Advertising with Digital Signage
Despite the vast array of options that business owners have when looking to buy their first outdoor commercial signage (or upgrade their current signage), we strongly recommend Electronic Message Centers (EMCs), also known as Digital Message Centers (DMCs) for many situations.
DMCs are digital LED screens that are customized to address your specific requirements, including size, color, resolution, and viewing angles. Many of them, such as the ones made by Daktronics, a leading expert in the digital signage space, can be controlled with a smartphone or tablet with an internet connection.
This article will explain the case for Electronic Message Centers, outlining how businesses can use them effectively, their superiority over static signage, and how to maximize the impact of your outdoor digital signage display.
Use Cases for Electronic Message Centers
Restaurant and store owners always face the greatest conundrum - people don’t know what you have if they don’t walk in, but they won’t walk in unless they know you have something they want. A digital LED sign can overcome this problem by showcasing the products and promotions you want to highlight. This gives people their reason to walk in and explore. Franchise owners can see immediate improvements in sales once they add a product to their sign.
Malls, shopping centers, and other multi-tenant spaces can tell people what businesses are inside. Sign owners can also sell additional space/time on the board turning it into a source of income, and paying for itself even faster. These consistently updated signs drive more traffic to the area, which translates to improved sales for every business in the complex.
Large facilities like hospitals, industrial parks, and business centers can use custom digital signage for convenient wayfinding. They are permanently illuminated, which makes them legible in day and night time. They can show more information than would normally fit on a sign by animating the text, or showing a series of static images. Another great benefit is that they can be updated when necessary to show closings and detours, for example.
Any business that deals with waiting rooms and lines, like doctor’s offices, banks, or the DMV, can add electronic message centers inside to help ease the stress of waiting. DMCs have been found to decrease the perceived wait time by 35%, while sharing messaging with a captive audience.
Are Digital Signs Worth the Investment?
For those wondering if the results from DMCs are worth the greater cost compared to traditional static signs, it turns out that many business owners have already run their own experiments on their digital marketing signage and are incredibly pleased with the results. The following four business all engaged with Daktronics for their signage needs and saw immediate improvements:
Dave Kirkhuff expanded two of his McDonald’s restaurants in Missouri, installing a DMC at only one of them. "Both stores saw fantastic increases in sales. However, the one with the Daktronics board outpaced the location without an LED sign by double digits—5-10% more product movement," he says.
Early’s Farm and Garden Centre, a family-owned business in Saskatoon, SK, has seen distinct improvements since installing their message center. “Even though this is the start of our slow season, we can still see higher traffic coming in to check things out and make purchases based on the brands they saw on the sign,” says Alexa Joy, media and sales manager for Early’s. “The sign showed we carried items they [patrons] didn’t know we had.”
Tim LeFevre, who owns 10 DQ stores in West Virginia, sees his digital business signs as the first step of the sales funnel. “Signs are your front door, and you need to get people in,” he says. “If you show a picture of what you’re selling along with the name, people know what it is. A picture really is worth a thousand words. I’m a proponent of outside digital boards over inside. There’s no better way to get them in. We can advertise and get the impulse customer to come in and even try something new.”
DeLon Mork, owner of a Madison, SD Dairy Queen, loves the substantial impact that his digital sign has on his business. “People don’t plan ahead and make dinner plans for DQ,” he says. “They see what they want (on the sign) and turn in. There is a dramatic difference in response when we advertise on our sign. We display products we want to sell. People come in right away when they see the Blizzard of the Month.”Mork also sees the price for a sign being one of the best long-term investments when it comes to advertising. “There’s no better way to display our image and show products than on a Daktronics sign. You can pay for one TV ad campaign or buy a Daktronics board that lasts more than 10 years.”
Fears and Concerns About Electronic Signage
Some business owners have understandable hesitations about digital signage, including driver safety, environmental concerns, and aesthetics. Fortunately, our partners at Daktronics have debunked the top myths about electronic signs. Here are the key highlights:
- Both the International Sign Association, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration independently found that drivers have no increased risk of crashes in the presence of digital signage.
- Despite all the light you see coming from digital signs, many currently popular displays, such as the Galaxy GS6 and the GT6x use incredibly efficient LEDs and electronics that meet a variety of state, national, and international safety and emissions standards. These models also include 64 levels of display dimming, with automatic, scheduled or manual control.
- Digital signs are not inherently ugly. They simply show the message the sign owner wants to display. As long as you have attractive messaging, a DMC will be an attractive sign. Just be sure to follow best practices for designing and operating your sign.
4 Tips to Maximize Impact With Your Digital Sign
Since digital signage is a significant investment, it’s in your best interest to follow the expert advice on how to get the most out of it,
1. Choose A Display That Matches Your Specific Needs
DMCs are customizable to an extreme degree, so consider what you want your sign to do, where it will be, and how nice you want it to look. Factors to consider include:
- Color - Will a red/orange monochrome display be enough, or will you want full color?
- Size - The further away the reader is, the larger the sign needs to be.
- Resolution - People physically closer to the display will prefer to see higher resolution images. However, people further away can’t easily tell the difference between higher and lower resolution screens.
- Viewing Angle - If your sign is not directly in front of the viewer at eye level, the image can be harder to see. Different displays will have larger or smaller viewing angles, which can be important depending on your sign’s placement.
Pro Tip: If you want your sign high up in the air, choose a lower resolution, a larger size, and a bigger vertical viewing angle.
This chart shows the LED matrix size needed for a display of corresponding dimensions.
2. Show Multiple Messages, But Not Too Many
One of the greatest features of digital signage is its ability to update and animate. The experts at Daktronics encourage users to “mix it up” by running 5-6 sets of messages. This gives enough variety to keep viewers engaged (especially while waiting at red lights), but is also small enough for the messages to cycle and give multiple impressions to the same viewer.
Anything beyond 6 message sets can dilute your messaging, as repeat drivers aren’t exposed to the same message long enough for it to resonate.
3. Learn the Law
Possibly the most surprising fact for business owners interested in digital signs is that local legislation can dictate what can and can’t be shown on a DMC, so it’s important to understand your rights and the regulations before committing to a DMC. Navigating zoning requirements can be tricky, but Flexlume can support you through this process.
4. Choose A Trustworthy Partner
Since electronic message centers can be fairly expensive, it’s important to choose experts with a proven track record to do the job. Flexlume partners with Daktronics for digital sign projects. They offer ultimate customization to suit your needs, no matter how big, small, or specific. Daktronics offers a 10 year guarantee on their work, proving confidence in their results.
Are you ready to start advertising with digital signage? If you’re interested in an electronic message center or any other form of custom signage, you can reach out to the Flexlume team to learn more.