The Ultimate Guide to Small Business Digital Signage
If you own a small business and are looking to up your marketing game and stand out from Digital competitors, then you will likely want to consider utilizing digital signage. You may have heard the word digital signage thrown around and decided that it was something that you should look into for your small business.
If that is the case, you are already on the right track to take advantage of one of the best marketing tools available to small businesses. Whether your business is a restaurant, a cafe, a retail store, or any other type of business with a physical store, digital signage solutions have the potential to seriously benefit your bottom line.
If you don’t know much about digital signage, or you know some but would like to know more, you have come to the right place. In this article we will cover everything from the basics of digital signage, beginning by defining what people mean by digital signage, all the way to some tried and true digital signage strategies that you can employ in your business.
This is truly the ultimate guide to digital signage for small businesses, so when you finish this article, you will be ready to turn the idea into a reality, and the reality into revenue.
What is Digital Signage?
Digital signage refers to the use of electronic screens, such as televisions and LED screens, and digital signage solutions to broadcast many different types of content, such as menu boards, advertisements, social media walls, video walls, animations, real-time promotions, apps, interactive material like touch screens, and much more.
When it comes to digital signage, you can get really creative with the type of content you display, which is one of the reasons that it is such a powerful advertising tool. Moreover, since all you need is a digital screen, you can place digital signs nearly anywhere both inside out outside the store: in lobbies or in healthcare waiting rooms, as a panel of menu boards, as a billboard, or as mounted display above kiosks.
The dynamic content, coupled with the ability for strategic placement, is why small business owners are so excited by digital signage.
What are the Benefits of Digital Signage for Small Businesses?
Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of what you will actually need to deck your business out with digital signage, it is important to describe some of the benefits that digital signage can have for your business. Once you are convinced, we can move on to the technical aspect of digital signage where you will learn how to set up a system that can get you all of the great benefits that we describe below.
1) Digital signage grabs attention
One of the greatest challenges that a business has is getting customers in the door. In this business environment, the competition for customers is tough. Digital signage is a great way to make your store stand out from the competition. With a bright screen that can feature moving images or animations, your sign is bound to catch the attention of people walking by and once you’ve caught their attention, the likelihood that you get increased foot traffic through your door is significantly increased. Think of digital signage as a good first impression.
2) Digital signage can boost social media engagement
Social media is an integral part of any successful business strategy, whether your business is a multinational chain store or a one-of-a-kind small business. Digital signage allows you to utilize and increase your social media engagement in ways that can really appeal to potential new customers and create repeat customers.
You can use your digital signage to show what people are saying about your store on social media. This is a great way to utilize customers as an asset in your marketing. Additionally, when you feature customer posts on your digital signage platforms, this sends a message that you are paying attention to what your customers say, and this can create brand loyalty.
Additionally, you can use digital signage to promote your social media platforms. You can use calls to action to follow your social media accounts for a reliable source of company information and a way to keep abreast of any deals or sales that your business might be having.
3) Digital signage can feature customer testimonials
There is really no better advertiser than a satisfied customer. With digital signage, you can feature customer testimonials which will build credibility for your brand and make people more likely to buy your products. If these people liked your products so much that they gave testimonials then why shouldn’t they have a similarly positive experience?
4) Digital signage is great for in-store marketing
Getting customers in the door is the first step, but one of the greatest uses of digital signage is its functionality as an in-store marketing and advertising tool. With digital signage, you can easily update customers about pricing, sales, or special offers and issue calls to action to buy certain products.
5) You can change content with no hassle
One of the best parts about digital signage is that you can easily change what you choose to display. This allows you to keep your marketing new, fresh, and exciting, and it allows you to easily advertise sales events or time-sensitive promotions without all the hassle of posters and non-digital signs. This also allows you to constantly improve your marketing and experiment with new strategies. You get real-time data by observing the effects of certain digital signage marketing strategies on your customers, and you can tweak your displays and playlists in response to your observations.
6) Digital signage reduces perceived wait times
This aspect of digital signage is especially important for restaurants. What is likely the least enjoyable part about eating food in a restaurant is waiting in line. With entertaining digital signage content, such as bright and colorful graphics, videos, animations, and digital menu boards, you can entertain your customers while they wait in line, significantly reducing the perceived wait time and making the customer experience much better overall.
7) Digital signage can revolutionize internal communications
Using digital signage as a way to effectively communicate with your employees will likely not be as revolutionizing if your small business does not have many employees. However, small businesses can have up to 1,500 employees with multiple departments and, potentially, multiple locations. For these businesses, using digital signage as a means for employee communication can be incredibly beneficial.
Typically, business owners or managers communicate with their employees via email or instant messaging on mobile devices like androids or iPhones, and these methods have their benefits. However, digital signage is an incredible way to catch the attention of employees who might just skim over emails.
Moreover, since digital signage dashboards can use both written and visual communication, it has the ability to convey complex directives or information in a way that is easy to understand. When communications between employees and management are this optimized, the result will typically be an employee who knows what they have to do, why they have to do it, and how their role impacts the business's goals.
While describing all of the creative ways that digital signage can be used to improve internal communications is beyond the scope of this article, suffice it to say that digital signage as a means of employee communication has the potential to foster more understanding among employees, greater employee engagement, more transparency between management and employees, and, overall, improve the employee experience, all of which translates to a smoother and more efficient working business.
8) Digital signage is great at conveying information
Your business can use digital signage to notify customers of any upcoming commotions, but you can additionally inform them about any upcoming events that your business might have. For example, if you are a restaurant, you can inform your customers of any special days, as well as information about happy hour, or the specials you will be serving by day.
If a customer eats at your restaurant, and while they are there, they see that you are serving one of their favorite dishes as a special at some later date, it is likely that you will have a repeat customer. Moreover, if your establishment hosts any live events, such as live musicians, poetry slams, karaoke, or stand-up comedy nights, digital signage makes it easy to convey this information, and importantly, also makes it easy to change the display when new upcoming events are added.
What Do You Need for Digital Signage in Your Store
Now that you know the benefits that digital signage can have for your small business, we can now move on to the products and tools you will need to make digital signage work.
1) Digital Signage Display
The first thing that you will want to figure out is what type of screen you want to display your digital signage on. A popular choice is LED displays which you can mount to your wall. However, LCDs, TVs, and tablets are other great options. By no means do you have to choose just one type of digital sign, you can creatively use different screens in different areas to achieve maximum impact. As far as ideal TV screens for digital signage, Samsung has a wide selection.
2) Digital Signage Media Player
Here, you have two options. You either go with a digital signage solution that includes a physical media player that you can hook into your TVs with in-house content management software, or you can go with a cloud-based solution that requires good wifi connectivity and operators the content management system from the Cloud.
Making the decision between operating systems that are physical compared to those that are based in the cloud is by no means an easy choice. With a physical media player, you will have full control and will not incur ongoing costs. On the other hand, cloud-based digital signage solutions can sometimes make managing your media content easier on their digital signage network, but they also generally require monthly payments for their service. Choosing the best digital signage software or hardware will depend on your preferences.
3) Mounts for your screens
In order to be able to place your screens in strategic, high-impact, areas, you will need to get mounts for your displays. The type of mount you want to buy will depend upon which type of screen, as well as the size and weight of the screen, that you are planning to mount. Luckily, getting mounts for your digital signage displays is not very difficult since companies like Amazon sell mounts for all types of screens and formats.
You Are Now Ready to Take Action
As we have shown throughout this article, digital signage has the potential to provide a huge boost to your business, whether it is increased foot traffic due to an eye-catching sign, customer engagement with social media walls, improved internal communications in larger small businesses, or as a source of alternative revenue.
Moreover, integrating digital signage into your marketing strategy is pretty straightforward. You need to choose your display screens, choose what type of digital signage solution works best for you, mount the displays, work with the content management programs and templates to create your displays, and boom: your digital signage system is all set, and your business is now ready to take advantage of one of the best marketing tools available.
As we said, digital signage is a good first introduction for customers, but then, as one would always hope to find after a good introduction, there are so many other ways that digital signage improves the customer experience. Customers are bored with non-digital in-store marketing. How pleasantly surprised they will be when they find all the information they want about products, sales, promotions, upcoming events, and potentially even a business biography and mission statement.
Digital signage helps connect with customers, and that's why it's so much more than a method for increasing foot traffic. It helps increase in-store sales and make a connection with customers which is essential for developing customer loyalty. Loyal customers and an increased influx of customers have the potential to become loyal customers. If a marketing tool can do that, you know it's well worth the investment.