There are few things more disturbing than a business owner saying: “I don’t promote my business…I get all my business from word of mouth”. While word of mouth is the best kind of advertising and the least expensive, it is clear that many business owners do not grasp the concept that their image, both online and of their physical location is vital to long term survival. I speak with many who claim that the sign outside of their business is not important, or that because they are in a more remote location, signs are ‘less’ important. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In this first of a four-part series on the basic promotional actions of small to medium sized business, we will cover the importance of the sign outside of your business. As we move along we will dive into the various actions you can take part in to polish your business image, both inside and out, online and in person. After all, it’s not about what YOU think of your business, it’s about what your customers/clients/patients think.
In the summer of 2013 I was approached by a business owner who asked where she could get a deal on a sign for her business. Of course I asked her what type of sign he was looking for. She said: “Just something with the name of the business on it…something simple…not fancy…kinda like that one.” She pointed to a sign that read: “Locksmith – Chips Keys, Car Remotes, Laser Cut Keys”. The sign was simple all right. It was lettered in black Mylar on a plain white background. That is when I realized that business owners needed a little help in understanding why simple lettered signs were ineffective. It occurred to me that lettered signs were created many years before, but primarily for ‘walk by’ traffic. At the turn of the century there was a lot more pedestrian traffic. Lettered signs were noticeable because folks had all the time in the world to see them. These days we shop from our cell phones, and drive down the streets looking for businesses through the windows of our car.
Strangely enough the human eye picks up images MORE easily than letters. In fact the SBA (Small Business Administration) conducted a survey years back which proved this point. The SBA surveyed 100 drivers on a strip of ‘Main Street America’. After a mile or so on a main drag, drivers were asked which businesses they recalled seeing in that one mile stretch. 90% of those travelers named off the businesses with images on their signs. This further illustrates the point that images are indeed much more powerful than words.
As an example, think of the Coppertone billboard. It is no surprise that Coppertone became famous in 1953 when it featured ‘The Coppertone Girl’ (Jodie Foster). What you probably remember most about the sign is the little dog pulling down a little girl’s swimsuit bottom. Do you remember what the sign said? Not many do; that’s the point. The sign read: “Coppertone…tan, don’t burn”, but what you remember is the little girl and dog.
What is important for business owners to realize here is that lettered signs are little more than glorified business cards. Lettered signs go unnoticed by 90% of those drivers passing by your business! Even fewer notice a lettered sign that is unlit, faded or broken, not to mention the further tarnishing of a business’ image created by a shoddy appearance.
So the question is: Do you want to be noticed by the 90% who missed your business because of your lettered sign?
There is a company out of Torrance, California by the name of Signtronix that has effectively answered the call of providing franchise quality signs with images so that your customers will not only see you, they will remember you. Their quality is like nothing I have ever seen. I spoke with a gentleman by the name of Doug Dearian who explained that Signtronix creates high quality signs that can withstand 130mph winds. In fact he said that after Hurricane Katrina passed through New Orleans, Signtronix signs were some of the only signs left standing. Apparently Signtronix uses aircraft grade aluminum to frame their signs and so it makes sense that these signs last over 50 years or more.
So will you move through 2014 and beyond with no sign outside of your business? Will you utilize one that your customers/clients/patients don’t notice? Or will you invest in the image of your business so that those who are searching for your business find you more easily and (More importantly) remember you?
Next month we will cover the importance of accumulating identities and gathering information on your customers/clients/patients; and how this translates into future business. Until then, I hope all of you flourish and prosper beyond all of your expectations.