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How to Tell a Sign Isn’t Helping…And What to Do

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For most small business owners, marketing isn’t a way of life. It’s just something that they feel encouraged to do every so often—especially when other people give the advice. “Oh, you should invest in a nice sign!” Sometimes this advice is on the money…and other times, it’s well-intentioned but ultimately doesn’t serve your business.

That’s why it’s no surprise if business owners who only spend a small portion of their time on marketing don’t know when the marketing isn’t working. This is particularly true for new signage. A new sign looks great and it will draw compliments—but how can a small business owner know if it’s really drawing business? Here’s how to tell:  

Find a way to measure it.

There’s an old saying in business: what gets measured gets managed. If you aren’t measuring your signage, then you have no idea whether you’re getting a return on your investment. You can try sending out customer surveys and feedback forms that ask people how they found out about your business—and include “saw the sign” as one of the options.

When you get all of these surveys back, you can look at the rate of customers who saw the sign and apply it to the rest of your customer base. When you add it all up, is the sign bringing in more money than it cost? If not, it may be time to re-think your strategy.

Simply ask.

If you don’t have any opportunities for customer surveys or forms—maybe you work with fewer but higher-paying clients—you might simply just ask them how they found your business. You won’t get scientific results when you ask, but you will get an overall impression for how your clients are finding your business. And if none of the answers say anything remotely about your sign, then you know it’s time for a change.

That leads us to the next question: if your sign isn’t bringing you customers, what can you do to fix it? Here are a few suggestions for getting started:

  • Look at your sign and compare it with signs in the surrounding area. Give yourself an honest assessment: does this sign really contrast and stand out, or is it something people can easily gloss over?
  • Consider your offer. Every sign has an “offer” to make, whether that offer is direct or implicit. The sign for a dentist’s office should convey quality care, even if all it does is list the dentist’s name. What is your sign saying about your offer? Do you need to make the offer direct?
  • Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What would entice you to come off of the street and visit your small business? What would entice you to call a number you saw on a vehicle decal? Don’t just expect people to be motivated by a sign simply because it’s there.

Finally, get in touch with signage people who make quality signing and marketing a priority. That’s a long way of saying, get in touch with Sign It Quick.


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