05, May 2014

Posters and billboards are no longer enough - they’re far too easy to ignore

Advertising is all around us and it’s getting more and more sophisticated all the time. Small businesses looking for smart eye-catching advertising are turning to digital signage to market their products and services. But before you venture into that brave new digital world, you need to ensure you find the right solution to fit your needs (or the whole thing could end up being a very expensive exercise).

One of the key benefits of using digital signage is the fact that, unlike traditional signage, digital leads to interaction with customers. In a way, it is like having a virtual salesperson dealing with the customer. Moreover, digital signage saves printing costs, is cleaner, more environmentally-friendly and allows you to change your message quickly. It is little wonder that this new method of advertising is going through explosive growth worldwide - 27% per annum globally, which is leading to speculation about a shortage of commercial panels later this year. New Zealand is set to follow suit, with explosive growth predicted for this industry in the next 24 to 48 months.

According to Alan Nicholas, business director at Ngage, a company that specialises in creating digital marketing campaigns for businesses of all sizes, the key for business owners is to figure out a content strategy, before anything else. “Look at the specific needs of your business and talk to a digital signage professional,” he suggests.

For someone outside the industry, digital signage can look very complex and the process of choosing what to use can quickly get overwhelming. There are about 200 software platforms alone to choose from, along with a wide range of different types of hardware. As Nicholas points out, there are also a lot of little details to take into consideration - things like direct sunlight, how many hours the displays are running for, etc. Prices can range from “a couple of thousand dollars to the tens of thousands,” he says.

Digital signage can serve a broad range of purposes so it is important that you define precisely what it will do for your business. Amongst other things, you can use digital displays to:

●Promote products/services

●Improve customer experience

●Display customer feedback and/or social media posts

●Offer special discounts or promotions

There are a number of things to keep in mind when selecting the right digital signage for your business. Are you trying to sell a product or just offer added-value to customers? How long will the screens be on for at a time? How often will you be changing the content? These are only a few of the many questions you need answers to.

As part of your digital signage strategy, you will need to consider the following:

●Software - What platform should you adopt? How customisable do you need it to be? Do you want QR codes, mobile coupons or other location-based services?

●Hardware - Do you need large-format LCD screens? Does it have to be touchscreen? What about kiosks? Do they need to be wifi-enabled?

●Content - Does the content of your digital signage reflect your brand? Are you using interactive content or simply displaying advertising? Do you need animated videos or simple text?

Adopting a digital signage solution doesn’t have to be expensive and can bring very high return on investment, compared to traditional advertising. “It is affordable to small businesses, they just need to talk to the right people,” says Nicholas.