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How to draw in retail customers with signage

In today’s fast-paced retail environment, it can be difficult for retailers to connect with their customers who have their heads buried in their phones.

Mobile marketers are also getting smarter, as they deliver targeted mobile ads using beacon technology to directly appeal to customers. Not to mention all the outdoor billboards and displays that compete for user attention. For brick and mortar retailers, this can be a major challenge.

Retailers can get the upper hand, however, by using signage to attract customers, specifically signage deployed on windows.

Why use window signage?

When many users think of signage, they might imagine a basic LCD display to put up a few advertisements. However, digital signage includes many different selections, including window digital signage mounted on LED frames.

“There is a diverse selection of options available which do so much more than traditional static signage. Digital displays can more easily capture the attention of customers, even under direct sunlight, and simple, efficient content management means retailers can keep their displays updated and eye-catching.

Direct printing versus cut-out vinyl graphics

Today’s post will discuss the pros and cons of direct printing versus vinyl overlays for rigid signs. Common rigid signs include aluminum signs, rigid plastic signs, and acrylic signs. We’ll compare each method to help you decide which is best for you. As a rule of thumb, vinyl overlay works best as temporary signage. Direct printing best suites permanent, high-resolution signage.

What is a Vinyl Overlay?

A vinyl overlay is a vinyl sheet with either a printed design or solid color, adhered to a rigid material. These overlays offer a cheaper alternative to smaller sign shops who often can’t afford large, flatbed printers.

Vinyl Overlay Advantages

Vinyl overlays work best for temporary signs. The ease of removing and replacing the overlay makes them ideal in scenarios where information constantly changes. For example, an exterior aluminum sign outlining store hours or parking regulations benefits from the advantage of simply printing a new vinyl overlay and replacing the old one. Removing and replacing vinyl overlays requires a razor blade, cleaner, non-abrasive brush, etc. After removing residue from the rigid portion of the sign, update the sign for only the cost of printing new vinyl overlay. That makes vinyl overlays a versatile, semi-permanent solution for a variety of uses and situations.

Vinyl Overlay Disadvantages

Installation and Removal

The overlay’s versatility also creates some disadvantages. Anyone who has installed a sticker or decal of any type knows it’s easy to run into issues during application. That could mean tearing the material when removing its backing or unwanted bubbles and lines during application. There’s also the risk of damaging corners or edges from handling, which leads to peeling and weakens the adhesive. Considering all of this, working with vinyl overlay can mean a lot of headaches.

That said, carefully following installation instructions can help prevent air bubbles or pockets. Doing so will require some sweat equity and a knowledge of appropriate tools and cleaners to use. Keep in mind, some of the rigid materials used for displaying the vinyl overlay may not be strong enough to withstand the vigorous scrubbing needed for removing residue, and may scuff or scratch when replacing new vinyl overlays.

Peeling Possibility

An exterior sign using a vinyl overlay may not hold up against weather and the elements. Over time, the adhesive will weaken and the overlay will begin to peel off, significantly diminishing the quality of your sign. Another scenario is intentional damage or removal of the vinyl overlay by passersby that deface the sign. Much like any externally placed sticker or decal, this risk will always be present. A person or group of people determined to deface, damage or destroy signage only need to peel up a corner and remove the vinyl all together. While this disadvantage pertains to vinyl overlay, where someone intends intentional damage, any sign faces the risk of vandalism.

What is Direct Printing?

Direct printing means that the sign manufacturer prints your design or logo directly onto the surface of the sign. This print method is standard when printing on non-rigid materials such as vinyl banners, and is considered a superior method over vinyl overlay for creating rigid signs. At Signs.com direct print comes standard on all of our products, with the exception of our vinyl lettering and wall graphics, and our aluminum signs. Though we do not offer signage that incorporates vinyl overlays, we do offer clear vinyl signage that can be placed on a variety of substrates. Clear window decals can give the effect of a vinyl overlay, as well as our backlit decals and vinyl lettering.

Direct Printing Advantages

Direct printing offers a number of advantages over vinyl overlay. Primarily, with no layer in between the substrate and the design, direct printing offers vivid, crisp reproduction of text and images. While vinyl overlays can reproduce high resolution image (assuming the original file is a high resolution or vector image) it won’t be as sharp or vibrant as direct printing.

Another advantage is the durability of the ink and the sign. Signs.com prints with UV inks that provide a durable, fade and scratch resistant finish to your sign. These inks are rated for outdoor use and can last for years with proper sign care and maintenance. That means more protection against loss of adhesion or peeling since this method cures the ink directly onto the surface. However, even direct surface printing is susceptible to scratching and other damage caused by sharp objects or intentional abuse.

How to drive engagement with outdoor signs

Your customers are exposed to hundreds of ads a day between TV, Radio, browsing the web and their commutes to and from work. So what kind of ads do you need to create to really get their attention? We’ll work to answer that exact question in our latest series called “The Effectiveness of Signage,” where we cover the do’s and don’ts of sign advertising.

Our First Experiment

On our drives to work every morning, we see all sorts of signs. There are yard signs for political campaigns, security systems, realtors and so much more. Along the busier roads, there are signs plastered all over telephone poles and crosswalks. Then there are the sign spinners. Those guys or girls who hold signs and dance like their life depends on it. We’ve all seen them, but does all that boogying really work? So, we wanted to find out. We decided to test a few signs of our own served to oncoming traffic in the city, with the simple invitation, “Hoot if you see this sign.”

Our ultimate goal was to see whether a person being present with the sign made a real difference in completed calls to action. The results might surprise you!

Too Long, Didn’t Read

Here are some of the nuggets we’ve pulled out of our findings you can take advantage of right now. We’ll go over the specifics of how we arrived at these recommendations throughout the rest of the article:

  • Signs get noticed despite repeated studies claiming we’re blind to ads.
  • Using a person boosts engagement: if it is appropriate for your business, try having someone stand out by the sign to help attract customers—the human element will drive a greater response rate than just having a sign posted.
  • Use color contrast.
  • Make your message short and clear for drivers passing by to read.
  • If you want to get more people to respond to your sign, make your call to action (CTA) as easy as possible (low-involvement) to eliminate barriers. (keep your message simple)
  • Give oncoming drivers enough time to react to your sign.
  • Location matters—make your sign as visible as possible. Place your sign in a well-trafficked area when possible.

What This Means for You

One of the more obvious takeaways is that people notice signs while driving! Whether they pay attention or not relies heavily on design, copy, and size. As long as the text was legible, the design didn’t make a major difference, as long as it didn’t get too crazy. Plenty of people saw our signs but for whatever reason, didn’t complete the CTAs. Maybe they were just reluctant to honk or wave; maybe they absent-mindedly read the sign. What was interesting is the place at which most drivers would complete the call to action.

Are you interested in increasing your business traffic with signage? We are the go to guys for favourable signage materials and hardware.

An exhibitor’s guide to trade shows & conferences

Trade shows: the perfect opportunity to meet one-on-one with prospective and current customers in your target audience. There’s no better place to flex your business’ muscle and show that you’re committed to excellence in your industry than a trade show. New products, services, or an innovative business approach are all commonly found at these events. No matter what you have up your sleeve, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of trade show planning to harness the full potential of these industry events. We’re here to layout the details of trade show planning; from goal setting, to booth design and setup, we’ve got you covered on everything you need to know to successfully attend and exhibit at a trade show.

Pre-show Planning

It would be a mistake to underestimate the work that goes into planning and executing an effective trade show appearance. Attending a trade show is not a decision that can be made overnight. For shows that require considerable travel time, planning 6-12 months in advance is recommended (and might we add, extremely necessary) to iron out all the fine details. Simply put, there’s more to a trade show than just purchasing booth space and presenting to the crowd. To help you cover all the bases, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about pre-show planning and how you can best prepare your business for trade show success. We’ve also included a check-list to help guide you in your trade show planning.

Find The Trade Show For Your Business

Trade shows come in all shapes and sizes no matter what industry you are a part of. With an extensive list of available trade shows throughout the nation, it’s important to narrow down your choices to find the one that best fits your business. Luckily there are a handful of comprehensive, online databases that can help you sift through all the options.

With plenty of online resources, it’s hard not to find a trade show that fits your business. Beyond the sites above, typically each industry will have some kind of news source where trade shows themselves are advertising themselves in order to have a successful event.

If you’re attending a trade show for the first time, you may want to narrow your search to events that are tailored for smaller businesses. Exhibiting at a larger industry trade show may not be the best idea initially; big shows mean more competition on the floor and less quality time with prospective business leads.

Testing out small to medium-sized trade shows will give your business a chance to iron out the process and gauge the return on your investment before exhibiting at the bigger and more expensive trade shows within your industry.

We highly recommend looking at the vision or reason for the trade show. Is the trade show held for product launches / demonstrations, or is it specifically designed to meet potential clients? Trade shows come in all shapes and sizes, so knowing the purpose behind the show will help you tailor your booth and goal setting to optimize your business’ trade show performance. Types of trade shows include:

  • Industry trade shows – industry specific trade shows that are generally used for networking and seeing industry trends and innovations
  • Vendor trade shows – vendors within your specific industry market and advertise at these events
  • Product trade shows – new product launches and product innovations are found at these trade shows
  • Consumer trade shows – trade shows open to the public, giving the public opportunity to view businesses and products within a specified industry

Choose Your Booth

Choosing floor space should be done as soon as registering for the trade show begins. Premium booth space goes quickly, so the sooner you register, the better. We recommend scoping out the floor plan of the trade show venue to locate where the premium spaces are located. Trade show venues often provide online floor plans for this purpose. If possible, attend the trade show you’re planning on registering for a year in advance as a visitor; doing so will help you get acquainted with the overall feel of the event and a sense of where heavy foot traffic occurs. Of course, any attendee should know that the booth locations with the heaviest foot traffic will also come at the highest costs. Thus, it may be wise to test out the trade show at a cheaper booth spot and verify that your company generates a positive ROI from the show before committing to one of the more expensive and/or larger booth spaces. The cost of renting space varies depending on the trade show and where the space is located in the venue.

Designing your Booth

Putting effort into designing your booth displays will give you an upper hand on the trade show floor, in summary, your trade show displays should have a simple design and that is easily understood (meaning, not text or image heavy). Clearly portray your booth’s purpose by using concise wording and simple images; the goal of your displays is to create curiosity and inform. Be unique by using bright colors and attractive images to instantly draw attention to your booth.

What are standoffs?

One of the most professional ways to hang a sign in a business setting is to use standoffs. First impressions are important to guests and customers. Having a clean, elegant finish to your sign sends an unspoken message of trust, and pride in what you do. As a visitor to a restaurant, an office, or a public building, you might not notice exactly how a sign is hanged, but it’s the small details that make all the difference in how a sign looks and feels.

I’m going to dive into the details of sign standoffs—what they are, why and when you should use them, and how they work. I’ll also go over which signs work best with standoffs and how to easily add them to your order with our user-friendly design tool. I’ll finish off today’s post by sharing a few examples of fully installed standoffs. Let’s dive in!

What are standoffs?

Standoffs, sometimes called standoff screws are a hardware option for hanging a rigid sign through drilled holes. Standoffs attach your sign to a wall, placing an aesthetically pleasing gap of one inch in between the sign material and the wall. The result: a dramatic and eye-catching display.

Standoffs function as fasteners, creating a durable mount for any sign. They also become part of the design and presentation of the finished sign. Standoff screws are usually round and fit through the drilled holes on your sign. Standoffs are commonly made of aluminum, brass, or nylon. There are many different finishes for standoffs including brushed, chrome, nickel, anodized, and more. Our standoffs are a beautiful brushed, anodized aluminum that look great with any sign.

Why use standoffs?

There are many ways to hang your sign, however, unlike traditional signage installations, standoffs give your sign a refreshing three-dimensional look. With standoffs, your sign is projected from the wall for an eye-catching display sure to impress any visitor. Standoffs allow your sign to literally pop from the wall.

Standoff screws are not only attractive, they also support the weight of a sign firmly to a wall, so you don’t have to worry about your sign falling down from tape or other adhesive hanging methods. Standoffs are the preferred option for logo signs above a reception desk, a directory sign, and even look good for room identification signs. You can also use standoffs to hang a permanent menu in a restaurant or hang a piece of art printed on acrylic or metal

How standoffs work

A standoff screw is an assembly of hardware that includes the standoff mount, screw, washers, and dry-wall anchor. By itself, a standoff screw isn’t very strong, but like a bundle of sticks, when multiple standoffs are used together—one in each corner, or centered—they can hold a sign in place for years.

To use this elegant hanging solution for your needs, the sign must have predrilled holes where the standoff screws will be placed. When you order a sign from us using our design tool, drilled holes will automatically come with your sign when you choose to include standoffs with your sign. You can also select to have holes drilled without ordering standoffs if you desire.

The most common arrangement for sign standoffs is to have them placed in the four corners of a square or rectangular sign. You can also have the standoffs placed in the corners and the top & bottom of your sign for added support. If your sign is created with a contour cut, meaning that the shape of the sign is custom, then you can select custom placement to have your standoffs wherever you want.

If you select custom placement in the design tool, you’ll be prompted to provide a note describing where you want your holes drilled for your standoffs. Be as specific as you can to ensure your sign is created the way you want it. Another option is to have your standoffs placed at the top and bottom center of your sign or simply from the top corners only. Here is a complete list of the options for mounting your sign with standoffs:

  • Four corners
  • Corners & top & bottom center
  • Custom placement
  • Top & bottom center
  • Top corners only

The best way to mount the sign with standoffs is to take measurements where the hole centers will be and lightly mark the wall with a pencil. You can also hold your sign up to the wall and use the pre-drilled holes as a template to mark the wall with a pencil where to drill. Just make sure you use a level so your sign is mounted straight. A small hole is drilled into the wall where the anchor is then inserted. After the anchor is placed, the standoff is placed over the anchor and the screw is drilled into the anchor through the hole on the back of the standoff. Once the standoff is in place, the sign with predrilled holes is held over the mounted standoffs with a plastic washer between the end of the standoff and the back of the sign. The Standoff screw cap is then threaded into the standoff housing with a second plastic washer on the front side of the sign.