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A Small Business Guide to Digital Signage

November 12, 2018

Guide to digital signage for small business

Imagine your smartphone or tablet scaled up and delivering information in the high street, restaurant or hospital. That’s what a digital signage system looks like and it’s an engaging way to transmit information to your audience, whatever the focus of your small business.

To help you take advantage of the opportunity it offers, here’s our small business guide to digital signage.

Digital signage is an effective way to boost brand recognition with dynamic content. In recent research cited by Internet Retailing 61% of 1,000 UK shoppers reported a positive experience with digital signage. It’s a massive growth area that is really grabbing the attention of customers.

For a small business, digital signage is an affordable way to enhance your branding. A recent Samsung survey identified outdoor and interactive signage as the technologies set to dominate in the future, creating opportunities for brand awareness.

Add value to the customer experience with digital signage that engages, educates and informs to improve the overall interaction between your business and your customers.

Digital signage: The Basics

Your digital signage project should have 4 key components:

1. Software

The content management system (CMS) is the invisible power behind your digital signage, delivering carefully chosen content to your hardware. AI-driven analytics deliver accurate targeting so the right content gets to the right audience.

2. Hardware

Hardware includes the physical places you output your content including your display and media player. This doesn’t have to be expensive – you can use an LCD screen and a laptop for a starter setup.

3. Content

Without content you don’t have digital signage. The most common forms of content are:

  • Slides
  • Animated graphics
  • Video
  • Live feeds

You’re aiming to entertain the customer, inform and educate them about your products and ultimately drive sales. Create a mix of content so your audience doesn’t tune out your signage.

4. Strategy

Strategy is the final piece of the puzzle. While none of the 4 critical elements can exist without the other, a strategy is crucial for defining goals and outcomes that determine everything from the content you create and the media player you use to location and frequency. Ask yourself;

  • Why do you need digital signage and what are you hoping to achieve?
  • Who is your target audience and how will you communicate with them?

Designing Effective Content

The message you’re sending is only as effective as the content you use. As an SME you know how you want to communicate with your users and can create effective content if you remember these key design tips:

  • Keep it simple
  • Design for accessibility
  • Stay visual
  • Killer CTA

Less is always more when it comes to design. Using fewer elements delivers the simplicity that audiences love. Use the 60-30-10 rule for colour contrast and greater legibility.

  • 60% dominant colour
  • 30% contrast colour
  • 10% accent colour

Incorporate design best practice with visual hierarchies for accessibility.

  • Use san serif fonts
  • Keep it short and simple
  • Use a 40pt title, 24pt body text and 32pt CTA for legibility

Digital signage has three distinct viewing patterns, so design your content to complement them:

  • Point of Transit: your signage will be seen at a glance so keep the message short and concise, using 5 words or less in a large font against a simple background
  • Point of Wait: viewing times are longer making this ideal for interactive content
  • Point of Sale: design content to help your customers make a buying decision

Your visuals are the most powerful part of your overall message. 93% of all human communication is visual while studies have confirmed that visuals stay top of mind for longer than text.

Use visuals that relate to your message and avoid clutter for a greater impact. Your call to action should always incentivise your customer to call, text or visit your website.

  • Use active language and trigger words to create urgency
  • Keep it short and simple
  • Make it visible and legible

Choose your Media Player

When you’re ready to purchase a media player, ask yourself whether you’ll be using it for static or dynamic content:

  • Static content such as text and short videos needs less processing power
  • Dynamic content includes animations and high-resolution videos that require more processing capability

There are 4 key factors to consider when choosing a media player:

  • Operating system
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Ease of use

You may prefer to find a media player that lets you upgrade functionality once you’re familiar with it.

The Right Display

Generally there are two options here: Flat screen TV or a commercial display.

  • TVs are cheaper than commercial display
  • The best option for limited use or when you’re starting out
  • No interactive option

Interactive vs passive

  • Interactive displays increase interaction times
  • Ideal for dynamic content
  • Great for customer engagement

Interactive displays involve higher upfront costs but offer a smarter way of communicating with your audience, letting you exploit everything digital signage has to offer.

About the author

This article has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Adam Vanovitch is the Managing Director of W&Co, an Essex based digital display and signage company. You can connect with W&Co on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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