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5 Digital Signage Best Practices for Small Businesses

digital signage

If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably heard of digital signage and may be wondering if it’s the right fit for your business. 

Let me tell you, it absolutely can be!

Digital signage is a powerful tool that can help your small business stand out and engage with your customers in a more dynamic and interactive way. Whether you’re a coffee shop promoting your daily specials, a retail store showcasing your latest products, or a dental office educating patients on oral hygiene, digital signage can enhance your customer experience and drive more sales.

But before jumping into the world of digital signage, it’s important to understand some best practices that can make a significant impact on your success. 

In this article, we will discuss some practical advice on how small businesses can effectively use digital signage to improve customer engagement, boost sales, and create a memorable brand experience. 

So, let’s dive in!

Planning and Strategy

Planning and strategy are critical components of any successful digital signage implementation. As Jeoffrey Murray, Digital Marketing Expert at Solar Panel Installation, shares, “Planning and strategy are the backbone of successful digital signage. With a clear understanding of your audience, objectives, and resources, you can create a powerful digital signage plan that maximizes engagement and ROI. From content creation to distribution and management, every step of the process should be driven by a strategic vision that aligns with your business goals.”

Here are some best practices to help you get started:

  • Identify your goals and objectives: As with any marketing initiative, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve with digital signage. Do you want to increase sales of a particular product, promote brand awareness, or simply provide information to your customers? Having specific goals in mind will help you create a more targeted and effective digital signage strategy.
  • Know your audience: Understanding your target audience is critical to creating effective digital signage content. Consider their demographics, interests, and behaviors when designing your content. For example, if you run a coffee shop frequented by college students, you may want to create content that appeals to that demographic, such as showcasing new and trendy drinks or offering student discounts.
  • Create and manage content: Your digital signage content should be visually appealing, easy to read, and aligned with your brand messaging and goals. Use high-quality images and graphics, and keep your messaging concise and to-the-point. It’s also important to update your content regularly to keep it fresh and engaging.
  • Choose the right hardware and software: There are many different hardware and software options available for digital signage, so it’s important to choose the right tools. Consider factors such as cost, ease of use, and compatibility with your content management system when making your decision. Some popular digital signage software options include ScreenCloud, Rise Vision, and Yodeck.

To truly reap the benefits of digital signage, you must approach it with a strategic mindset. “Simply displaying content without careful planning or consideration of the audience can result in digital signage that is ineffective or even off-putting. Instead, businesses should begin by identifying their objectives, target audience, and messaging, and then plan their digital signage content accordingly”, shares Gene Fitzgerald, Head of Marketing at BOS

And that includes not only the visual elements, but also the timing, location, and frequency of the content. By doing so, you can create a more cohesive and impactful message that resonates with their audience and drives the desired behavior.

Design Matters

Design also plays a crucial role in the success of your digital signage. Jonathan Merry, Founder & CEO at Bankless Times, shares, “Design is the cornerstone of a successful display. Your digital signage design should be visually engaging, easy to read, and convey your message clearly. When designing your digital signage, consider factors such as font size, color scheme, and contrast to ensure that your message is delivered effectively to your audience.” 

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when designing your content:

  • Keep it simple: When it comes to digital signage’s design, less is often more. Your content should be easy to read and understand at a glance. Use clear, concise messaging and avoid cluttered designs that can be overwhelming to your audience. Consider the viewing distance of your digital signage and use fonts and typography that are easy to read from a distance. Also, make sure to leave ample white space to help your content stand out.
  • Use high-quality images and graphics: Images and graphics can help draw attention to your digital signage and make it more visually appealing. Use high-quality images and graphics that are aligned with your brand identity and messaging. Make sure your images are high resolution and free of pixelation. Avoid using stock images at all costs, as they’re often overused, and can make your message cliché. If you do have to use, ensure imagery is unique, and relevant to your brand. 
  • Incorporate motion: Motion can help make your digital signage more engaging and eye-catching. Consider using animation or video to showcase your products or services. However, be careful not to overdo it with too much motion or animation, which can be distracting and overwhelming for your audience. Use motion sparingly and purposefully to create a more dynamic and engaging experience.
  • Use consistent branding: Your digital signage should be consistent with your overall branding. Use your brand colors, logos, and messaging to help reinforce your brand identity. Consider the location of your digital signage and use messaging that is relevant to that specific location. For example, if you have a digital sign in your lobby, you may want to highlight your company’s mission statement or values.
  • Test your designs: It’s important to test your digital signage designs to ensure they are effective. Consider conducting A/B testing to compare different designs and see which performs best. This can help you refine your designs and improve the overall effectiveness of your digital signage. You can also collect feedback from your customers to get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t.

3D design is all the new hype now. Brands like Netflix and Nike are already experimenting with those surreal 3D billboards to provide captivating experience. 

As Dr. Scott Gray, Owner of Back in Motion also shares, “The use of 3D technology in digital signage has been gaining momentum in recent years, as it provides a new level of immersion and engagement for customers. Traditional 2D digital signage, while still effective, can sometimes fall short in capturing and maintaining a customer’s attention.” 

However, 3D digital signage can captivate customers with its lifelike depth and realism. If budget allows — you can try experimenting with 3D signage as well. 

Placement and Installation

When it comes to digital signage, placement and installation are critical factors that can impact the effectiveness of your messaging. Brad Anderson, Founder of FRUITION, shares, “Know that installation and placement are key to maximizing the impact of your displays. Careful consideration of factors like viewing distance, lighting conditions, and audience behavior can make all the difference.”

Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Consider the viewing angle: The viewing angle of your digital signage is an important factor to consider when it comes to placement. Make sure your signage is positioned at eye-level and is easy to read from a distance. Consider the layout of your space and where your audience is likely to be located. You may need to adjust the positioning of your signage to ensure maximum visibility.
  • Optimize lighting: Lighting is another important factor to consider when it comes to placement. “Make sure your digital signage is not in direct sunlight, as this can wash out your content and make it difficult to read”, shares Jesse Shaw, Owner of JShaw Furniture Design. Additionally, consider the ambient lighting in your space and adjust your signage accordingly to ensure optimal visibility.
  • Choose the right hardware: Choosing the right hardware is important to ensure your digital signage is functional and effective. Make sure to choose hardware that is durable and can withstand the demands of your environment. Also, consider the size and layout of your space when choosing hardware. You may need to choose larger displays or multiple displays to ensure maximum visibility.
  • Install with care: When it comes to installation, install your digital signage with care to ensure it is secure and functioning properly. Consider hiring a professional installer to ensure your signage is installed correctly and safely. Ensure to follow all manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines when installing your signage.
  • Consider content updates: Finally, consider how you will update your content over time. Make sure your digital signage is easily accessible for content updates, and that you have a plan in place for keeping your messaging fresh and relevant. This may involve creating a content schedule or working with a content management system to ensure your messaging is always up-to-date.

Maintenance and Updating

Maintenance and Updating
Digital signage is an effective way to communicate with your audience, but it requires ongoing maintenance and updates to ensure it remains functional and relevant. Faizan Ahmed Khan, Sr. Content Marketing Specialist at UBUY Australia, shares, “Digital signage is like a high-performance car – it requires regular maintenance to keep running at its best. Without proper upkeep, even the most advanced digital signage systems can experience malfunctions or reduced performance over time.” Here are some best practices for maintaining and updating your digital signage:
  • Schedule regular maintenance: Regular maintenance is key to keeping your digital signage running smoothly. This may involve cleaning the display, checking for any physical damage, and updating software and hardware as needed. Make sure to schedule regular maintenance checks to ensure your signage remains in good condition.
  • Monitor performance: Monitoring the performance of your digital signage can help you identify any issues before they become major problems. Keep an eye on factors like display brightness, color accuracy, and sound quality to ensure your signage is functioning properly.
  • Plan for updates: Updating your content is important to keep your messaging fresh and relevant. Make sure to have a plan in place for updating your content on a regular basis. This may involve creating a content calendar or working with a content management system to streamline the update process.
  • Keep an eye on trends: Finally, keep an eye on industry trends and new technologies that may impact your digital signage strategy. This may involve experimenting with new display formats or incorporating interactive elements into your signage to engage your audience in new ways.
Maintaining digital signage is crucial for businesses to ensure its longevity and effectiveness. Proper maintenance can help prevent downtime, technical issues, and other disruptions that can negatively impact the customer experience. It can also help extend the lifespan of the signage, reducing the need for costly replacements or repairs.  Tom Miller, Director of Marketing at FitnessVolt, shares, “To address these and other potential maintenance issues, businesses can try working with a qualified digital signage provider who can help ensure that the signage is properly installed, configured, and maintained over time. This may involve ongoing monitoring and support, regular inspections and maintenance, and proactive measures such as replacing components before they fail.”

Compliance and Legal Considerations

When implementing a digital signage strategy for your small business, it’s important to consider compliance and legal considerations. James MacAonghus, VP of Research at AQUTE, shares, “Legal compliance is not just a nice-to-have – it’s a must-have. From ADA compliance to copyright laws, there are a host of regulations that businesses need to be aware of when deploying digital signage. Don’t let legal issues put your business at risk.”

Failure to comply with regulations can result in fines or legal action, so it’s important to ensure you’re following the rules. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Accessibility: Digital signage can be a powerful tool for sharing information and advertising your products and services, but ensure that your content is accessible to everyone. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that businesses provide equal access to individuals with disabilities, including those with visual or hearing impairments. To make your digital signage accessible, you may need to include closed captioning for videos or provide audio descriptions of visual content. Additionally, you should consider the placement of your signage to ensure it can be viewed from different angles and heights.
  • Privacy: Collecting personal information through digital signage is becoming increasingly common, so ensure that you’re following all relevant privacy regulations. This may include obtaining consent from users before collecting data, providing a privacy policy that outlines what data is collected and how it will be used, and ensuring the data is stored securely. Some common privacy regulations to consider include the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
  • Content restrictions: When creating content for your digital signage, be mindful of any content restrictions that may apply. This may include restrictions related to obscenity, political messaging, or discriminatory content. “Your brand voice may allow you to drop F-bombs here and there, but be mindful of what you can or can’t say on those signboards”, says Kenny Kline, President and Financial Lead at BarBend. For example, if you’re creating signage for a public space, you may need to avoid using offensive language or images that could be considered discriminatory. Similarly, if you’re creating signage for a political campaign, you may need to follow rules related to campaign finance or disclosure.
  • Intellectual property: When creating content for your digital signage, ensure that you’re not infringing on anyone else’s intellectual property rights. This may include trademarks, copyrights, or patents. For example, if you’re using images or logos that belong to another company, you may need to obtain permission before using them in your signage. Additionally, if you’re creating original content for your signage, you should consider copyrighting your work to protect it from unauthorized use.

While it may be tempting to use eye-catching content to grab customers’ attention, businesses must ensure that their digital signage is compliant with advertising laws and standards to avoid any potential legal issues. 

When asked, Jonathan Faccone, Managing Member & Founder of Halo Homebuyers, shared, “If I could give you one tip when it comes to digital signage, that would be to understand your state’s laws. If you don’t, you could be one legal strike away to be sued in court.”

The Takeaway

Digital signage can be a powerful tool for small businesses to increase brand awareness, engage with customers, and improve the overall customer experience. By following these best practices, small business owners can effectively plan, design, place, maintain, and comply with legal considerations for their digital signage. 

Remember that digital signage is not a one-time investment; it requires ongoing maintenance and updates to ensure its effectiveness.

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