Friday, June 30, 2017

"Signs" of the Time: How Downtown Signage Can Drive Retail Sales

Marketing experts say that it takes 7 to 12 contacts to turn a prospect into a customer. Yet in our experience, many downtown's fail to take advantage of the opportunities they have to get in front of customers - namely through signage that captures attention. Here are a few recent examples we've come across through our work that illustrate how signage can help raise awareness of both downtown and local businesses.

Business signage - or lack there of
Visible signage is an important part of a business' marketing strategy. Consider this - an exterior sign is visible 24 hours a day and 365 days a year – raising awareness of a business even when that business is closed. Yet some communities have over regulated signs - believing that fewer or smaller signs are in "good taste".

What is down there? Hard to tell, right?  The lack of visible signage limits exploration and
make distances seem much farther away than they are, keeping customers from walking down the street. 

On the other hand, "blade" or "protruding wall" signs can help orient a pedestrian by giving them important visual cues that there are businesses down a corridor.

The businesses in touristy Great Barrington, MA do a great job of
offering signs as a form of "breadcumb" that pulls pedestrians along the street in exploration of new stores. 

Signage that isn't doing it's job
A downtown cultural anchor is a great asset - but what if most people don't know it's there?

Can you spot the Marquee for the Clemens Center in downtown Elmira?
Hint, hint - it's on the right.
During the daytime, this heavily trafficked road carries more than 12,000 vehicles.
These are 12,000 daily impressions that are being neglected. 

Cultural institutions in particular benefit from highly visible signs that also offer opportunities to promote upcoming events, like this gateway marquee marking the entrance to Downtown LA.


Painted Signs on Walls
A blank wall can be a great opportunity to help connect businesses with potential customers.



Freestanding Signs & Sandwich Boards
Many communities place restriction on sandwich boards without taking into consideration how effective they are at driving business to local stores.

This hand painted sign also reinforces the
brand of the store. You can't walk past this store
without noticing it. The lovely window display doesn't hurt either. 
This level of clutter isn't necessarily productive. Regulations can be written to
limit the places of A-frames to an area immediately in front of a business. 

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