- Scott Hofheins
Outdoor LED signs are communication tools. In a matter of seconds, they let the public know about your organization, directly and indirectly through scheduled content. The impression you leave with the viewer will help them understand and answer certain things your organization like your physical existence, what you do, and why it should be done with you specifically. Your content, and the way it is scheduled will play a large role in the viewers response. By targeting both aspects, the content and the scheduling, you can greatly increase the effectiveness of your sign.
The SchedulingThe options you have and how easily they are implemented are often determined by the manufacturer of your LED sign and the software they provide. Unfortunately, many sub-par manufacturers rely on outdated software, or software developed overseas with limited options and is difficult to use. This has been a harsh reality for many end users who paid a lot of money for a sign manufactured by an entity that viewed software as an afterthought. This can make it more difficult, but still worth the effort to make sure your scheduling content that is targeted to your audience.
Fundamentally, you want to reach your audience by giving them information relevant to their situation. Certain types of people drive past your sign during certain times of the day. By scheduling specific messages to play during these times, you can speak directly to them.
This is the most common, and my minimum recommendation for scheduled content. Every LED sign should have least some content specifically for, and directed to rush hour traffic. This is typically from 7-9am, and from 4-6pm in most locations.
You want to schedule messages that talk directly to these drivers. Do some research, and try to determine the demographics of these drivers.
- Where are most of them traveling too? Tech jobs? Manufacturing jobs? Tailor your content accordingly, talk to the techies, talk to the skilled factory workers, what is important to them?
- How fast are they traveling? If you have a consistent “stop and go” situation near your sign, take advantage of that time, and modify the play length, or quantity of the content accordingly.
- If you have trouble isolating certain groups, you can always go to the one common trait: they are driving. Create content that speaks to them, let them know they can take a break from traffic and pull into your place for coffee and donuts. They can beat the traffic on the way home and join you for happy hour specials. Take some time, and think of some ways you can incorporate their immediate situation, with what your organization has to offer.
Lunch time is another consistent time frame you can schedule for. If you're a restaurant, it’s pretty straightforward, let them know why they should come in NOW! Advertise your lunch specials and the reason they should spend their money with you, instead of the competition.
For other businesses, you can still market to this group. These drivers may have some time to stop by your place to do some household shopping, get their hair cut, or attend a midday church service. Remember, it’s not just workers who are out during lunch hours.
Are you near any schools, day care, or other youth facility? You may have certain drivers dropping their children off in the morning, or picking them up in the afternoon that drive by your sign. What demographic is picking them up, and dropping them off? Who is riding with the parents? Look into your specific location, and let your sign talk to them during these hours.
Software provided by some manufacturers supports the ability to play certain messages depending on conditions, like temperature or weather. This can be a useful tool to grab the attention of drivers with messages like “It’s cold today! 10% off all coats for a limited time!” or “Looks Like Rain! Tire Safety Inspections Today!”.
Think about other situations that you can target and schedule content for. For example, local events like music festivals will give you a certain groups to target. Holidays are also a good thing to link your content too. What is going on around you, and how can you incorporate it with your messages?
This is a well documented factor in the effectiveness of your LED sign, and we discuss it often. Remember, you are fighting for attention against cell phones, tablets, and other forms of communication that incorporate colorful and attention getting graphics. You must adjust your LED sign content accordingly.
The content must be beautiful, readable and relevant. The days of text only LED signs are going away. People just don’t notice them as much any more. They are looking for larger fonts and bright text, with a clean and active colorful backdrop. Animations are a plus, and the advertisement really needs to “pop” to get their attention.
Professional content is becoming more important as consumers expectations continue to rise. This is true for both indoor digital signage, and outdoor LED signs. Hiring a graphic designer, or using a content creation service will save you time and effort, and help get you the results you need to stand out from the other signage in your area. Good, tasteful content is key to turning heads, and will make any LED sign better, and a good sign great.
If you have an existing outdoor LED sign, make sure you're allowing it to reach its full potential by targeting your audience with scheduling, and good content. If you're looking at getting an LED sign, make sure the sign you buy will provide you the tools to schedule and market your organization effectively. As I mentioned earlier, an LED sign is a communication tool for your organization, make sure your voice is heard loud and clear!