Consistency – The Key To Success With An LED Sign

There are a few reasons why LED Signs are so effective. One of those reasons is that LED Signs provide a source of up to date information for the motorists reading them.

If a person who drives by your business on a regular basis knows they can count on you to have current information on your sign, they will look at and read your sign every time they pass to see the latest information.

So, what types of information should you change consistently?

The answer is easy, all of the information you put on your LED Sign should be updated on a regular basis.

Some of the information, like the time and temperature will automatically update so you don’t need to worry about them. Other types of messages need to be updated on a regular basis:

  • Community Messages
  • Messages about your specials
  • Holiday messages
  • Regular sales messages

Stale, out of date  information can greatly decrease the effectiveness of LED Signs because you train people to NOT look at your LED Sign because the information is consistently old.

Holiday Messages should be changed as soon as the holiday is over. You might even want to change your message a few times prior to the holiday. You can use your controller software to schedule these changes automatically. But be sure to take down the holiday message after the holiday.

Community messages are the same, people like to see upcoming events but if you advertise events on your LED Signs that have already happened, they will stop thinking of your LED Sign as a source of current, relevant information. It would be better to not list any community events than to consistently leave past events on your LED Sign.

The need to change messages about your specials should be fairly obvious. You don’t want people coming in asking for specials that have ended. On the other hand specials and sales are a great way to draw people in. Make sure that you always advertise your specials on your LED Sign, there is no better way to let people know about them.

Remember, the majority of people driving by your business drive by everyday. If they see the same products and services everyday they will stop looking. Make sure you are advertising a variety of products and/or services. If they don’t know you sell it, they won’t buy it.

Changing your messages everyday takes a little bit more time but doing it will make sure people are looking at your sign every time they pass.  If they are looking at your sign every time the pass they are reading your sales messages every time they pass. If they are reading your sales messages they will come in and buy something.

Consistency. Consistency in updating your messages leads to consistency in readership which leads to consistency in sales.

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What Types of Businesses Can Benefit From LED Signs?

That is broad enough question that I can answer it with a definitive: Every Business.

We should probably break it down a bit into 2 separate questions:

  1. What types of businesses can benefit from OUTDOOR LED signs
  2. What types of businesses can benefit from INDOOR LED signs

Both Indoor LED Signs and Outdoor LED Signs are not right for all businesses but all businesses can benefit from at least one of them. Let me explain in more detail.

Who can benefit from Outdoor LED Signs

Marketing is a numbers game. you can summarize it this way:

How many of the Right People can you get the Right Message in front of at the Right Time

An LED Sign will always allow you to get out the right message at the right time. It becomes a number game when you add in getting the message in front of the right people. There are 2 factors that affect this numbers game and therefore the effectiveness of an LED Sign for your business:

  • How many people are there to read your sign (ie what is the traffic count in front of your business)
  • How specialized is your business

Does Your Traffic Justify An Outdoor LED Sign?

There is, unfortunately,  no exact answer to this question. There are sales people out there who will say that any traffic justifies the cost of an LED Sign. I disagree with them.

If your business is on a side street with a traffic count of 100 cars per day, there is a good chance the cost of an LED Sign is not justified.

But remember, it is a numbers game and the rules are different for each business. Some businesses would be happy if their LED Sign brought in 1 new customer a week while other businesses would need 2-3 customers a day from the LED Sign to justify the cost.

You have to look at your business, determine what a new customer is worth, then compare that to what you think an LED Sign will be able to generate for your business.

If the traffic count is in the thousands or, better yet, the tens of thousands, I think we can safely say the traffic justifies an LED Sign.

Does Your Business Justify and Outdoor LED Sign?

This is much easier to determine. Simply ask yourself this question:

What percentage of the population is interested in what I sell?

If you sell something that everyone needs such as:

  • vehicle maintenance
  • funeral services
  • food
  • electronics
  • etc

Than your business justifies an Outdoor LED Sign.

If you sell specialized products or services that are not of interest to the majority of the population such as:

  • stamps
  • coins
  • rare books
  • etc

Your business probably does not justify an Outdoor LED Sign. However you might be a perfect candidate for an Indoor LED Sign.

Who can benefit from Indoor LED Signs?

Just about every business can benefit from some kind of indoor display. Their main purpose in your marketing arsenal is not to draw people in but to market to the people who are already in your store.

That means traffic counts and general appeal no longer matter. They are there and probably ready to buy something. Now you need to let them know what you have to sell.

Indoor LED Signs are perfect for this application. They are inexpensive and allow you to advertise to your customer/prospects as they walk into your store or while they are in your store.

Do you remember the definition of the marketing game I gave earlier?

How many of the Right People can you get the Right Message in front of at the Right Time

It can’t get much righter than this. They are the right people (they are in your business), it is the right message (they are there to look at your goods and services), it is the right time (they are in your business). Every business can benefit from this kind of highly targeted marketing.

Are You Using Indoor LED Signs To Maximize Sales?

Okay, you have fantastic signage outside your business, you even have outdoor LED Signs. A ton of people are coming into your business everyday. Now what?

What can you do now to increase how much people are spending in your store?

Once you get people into your store you want to do 2 things:

  1. Get them to spend as much as possible
  2. Get them to come back and do it again

When I say ‘get them to spend as much as possible’ I am not talking about gouging them for all money they have. What I mean is get them to purchase everything they need or want and are going to buy, that you offer, from you. In others words, if they are looking for an acme widget and you sell acme widgets, make sure they buy it from you. You DO NOT want them walking out your door and buying something you sell somewhere else just because they do not know you sell it.

This has a benefit to both of you. Obviously you will be maximizing your sales but more importantly you will have helped your customer. You will have saved them time looking for and going to another store to buy something you sell. They will remember you for it. They will remember that you made it easy for them to get what they needed when they needed it.

How can you make sure your customers know about everything you have to offer? You could use a static medium to inform them, like a poster or cardboard stand or something similar. The problem is those are static and you can only use a limited number of them at one time.

What you need is a dynamic medium which will allow you to advertise a lot of products and services without taking up the whole store.

There are a few ways you can do this.

When To Use Indoor Window LED Signs

If people have to walk for 10-30 seconds to get from their car to your front door, you have an excellent opportunity to let them know what you have to offer. Also, if you have a reasonable amount of foot traffic past your business, you have 10 to 20 seconds to let them know what you sell that they need or want.

What to look for in an Indoor LED Sign

The 3 biggest things to watch for in an Indoor LED Sign, which you intend to put in a window, facing the outside are:

  1. Brightness
  2. Brightness
  3. Brightness

If you a pointing your ‘Indoor LED Sign’ outside, you immediately begin competing with the sun. If your LED Sign is not bright enough it will not be readable. To be readable in direct sunlight a display needs to have a brightness of at least 5,000 NITs.

If you are curious a NIT is 1 candela per square meter of luminance. The actual definition is not really important, what is important to know is that a NIT is a measure of brightness and you need at least 5,000 of them to compete with direct sunlight.

Color vs. Monochrome Indoor Window LED Signs

For this application, you should always use a Monochrome LED Sign, preferably one with red LEDs.

Here is why I say that:

You have 10-30 seconds to get your message across.  There is no time to waste on ANYTHING that is not selling something. You need to be constantly hitting your customers with sales messages informing them of what you have to offer.

You need to be certain you have done everything to maximize the opportunity.

With that in mind you can discard pictures, videos, and animations. You need text:

  • AA Batteries – 6 For $3
  • Ask us About Travel Insurance
  • Get you wipers changed
  • Organic Sweetener – $2

Quick and to the point and as much as you can squeeze into that 10-30 second window.

You also need to maximize readability. Bright red text on a black background is the way to do that. If you use other colors, you are reducing the visibility and maximum viewing distance of your sign. It may look pretty but it is less effective. In the end it is not about how good the message looks but how good the message sells. If people can’t read your message, it will not sell. If you reduce your maximum viewing distance, you are also reducing the number of sales opportunities you have.

Keep it simple. Keep it readable.

Indoor Monochrome LED Signs

If you are just looking for a quick, easy way to let your customers know about specials and ‘hidden’ products Indoor LED Signs are a great choice.

You can program them in a matter of seconds and they will get the job done.

If you need or want color in your messages, read on…

Color Indoor LED Signs

If you want an Indoor LED Sign, and sunlight is not a factor, and you want to use color, you might not want an LED Sign.

That’s right, I am recommending you consider something besides an LED Sign.

You should take a good look at a Plasma or LCD Display. They will allow you to connect directly to a computer and display TV quality pictures and video in addition to text. The cost will not be that much more then an LED Display but the capabilities will but greatly increased.

To Wrap It Up…

It is not enough to get people into your business, that is a great start but your job is not done at that point. You need to give your customers as much information as possible to maximize their visit in your store. Maximize it for BOTH of you. By saving them time having to go to another store you will build loyalty with them and you will build your bottom line.

LED Signs let you show your customers products and services they might not have know you offered. Just make sure your getting an LED Sign that will work for your application.

If you are interested in learning more about when to use different types of LED Displays, click here.

Why In The World Would I Want A Grayscale LED Sign?

Before I answer that question I should explain what a Grayscale LED Sign is for those who don’t know.

What Is A Grayscale LED Sign

A Grayscale LED Sign is a hybrid of a Monochrome LED Sign and a Color Video LED Sign.

They only use 1 color LED (red or amber) but they can display 256 SHADES of that color. They are like black and white TVs which only really have black and white but, through the use of varying shades,  give the appearance of gray.

Because of this TV like use of shades, Grayscale LED Signs can display higher quality animations then Monochrome LED Signs.

48x160_shades_memorial

A Grayscale Animation

If you look at the picture to the right you will see a sample of a grayscale LED animation.

Okay, Okay. But Why Buy One?

Grayscale LED Signs allow you to have a higher level of graphics capability than Monochrome LED Signs but they cost significantly less than Color LED Signs.

If you think your business could benefit from the expanded graphics capabilities but your budget won’t cover  Color LED Signs, this might be the solution for you.

There are two drawbacks to Grayscale LED Signs you need to consider though:

  1. They cost more than Monochrome LED Signs
  2. They are harder to program effectively than Monochrome LED Signs
Another Grayscale Animation

Another Grayscale Animation

If you are considering investing in one of these, you need to be realistic about your ability and willingness to create and program graphics. If you will not have the extra time or ability to for the more complicated programming, you should go with a Monochrome LED Sign. Otherwise you will end up not using the added grayscale capabilities, your sign will look just like a Monochrome LED Sign, and you will have wasted the extra money the Grayscale LED Sign cost.

If you are dead set on Grayscale LED Signs and know you don’t have the time or inclination to create fresh graphics for your sign, there are content management companies out there who will create graphics for you, for a fee. But that is a topic for another post.

Are Color LED Signs Better Than Monochrome LED Signs?

Definitely yes!

Definitely no!

Confused? That is because it is not that straight forward of a question. It is a bit like asking which is better a truck or a car. Both are vehicles, both will get you where you are going. To answer “which one is better” you need to consider what you need it for.

It is the same with LED Signs. Which one is better depends on your business.

When is color better?

If you sell a product or a service that can be visualized, color might be right for you. Which is truer for your business:

  • A picture of my product is worth a thousand words
  • It takes a thousand words to describe my product

Color LED Signs are designed for and work best with the first scenario. Motorists can see a picture of a car, a meal, or a house and know instantly what you are selling. If the picture or video is enticing and they pull in, the sign has done its job.

On the other hand, video and picture capable LED Signs cost about twice as much as single color LED Signs.

So, if you are not sure you can sell your product or service with a picture or video, a monochrome unit might be better.

When is monochrome better?

A Monochrome Sign

A Monochrome Sign

A monochrome sign uses only one color of LED, usually red or amber. While they have some graphics capabilities, they are used primarily for text based messages.

In situations where a picture or video is not helpful in selling your products or services, monochrome signs offer a better Return On Investment. It is the text sales messages that will get the job done.

For instance, pictures will probably not help a financial services company, or a mortuary, or an insurance company. However, text based messages are very effective for these types of products and services.

When you are relying on text messages you need need a high contrast, bright display. Red on black with a high LED concentration (ie the number of LEDs in each pixel) will get you the most readable message.

As an added ‘bonus’ monochrome LED Signs cost about half of what color LED Signs cost.

The key with monochrome LED Signs is making sure it is big enough without being to big.

If it is too small you will not be able to put effective messages on it. If it is too big, it will still work but you will have spent more than you needed to.

The Correct Answer

My recommendation would be to make sure the company you purchase your LED Sign from takes the time to really understand how you can most effectively advertise on it. They also need to take the time to survey your location or they will not be able to make accurate recommendations on the optimal size.

With LED Signs there is no such thing as ‘One Size Fits All’. If you are talking with a company who is pushing you towards a particular sign without being able to tell you why it is the best type and size sign for your business, run. They have their commission in mind not your business.

Talk to an expert who will take the time to learn about your business and location BEFORE making a recommendation.

In the end that is the only way you will be able to answer the question we started with and get the best Return On Investment.

Make Your LED Signs A Community Landmark

Why You Want Your LED Signs To Be A Landmark

Why did you buy your LED Signs (or why are you considering buying LED Signs)?

Was it to have some blinking lights in front of your business? Probably not.

Was it to sell more products or services? Probably, but that is most likely not the main reason.

The bottom line is you want to make more money. How do LED Displays do that for you?

You make more money when people look at your LED Sign, read what you are offering and pull in to buy it. Period.

The question is how do you get people to look at your LED Sign every time they drive by.

Get Them Looking and Keep Them Looking

Community Service Message

There are several things you can do to get people to look at your LED Displays every time they pass by. The interesting thing is that it is not the sales messages that will keep them looking. It is the non-sales messages that will keep them looking and while they are looking for the non-sales messages they will be reading your sales messages!

Here is a list of community service messages that you should always include in your message rotation:

  1. Time & Temperature
  2. Community Events
  3. Congratulations for local sports teams
  4. Amber alerts
  5. Holiday messages

Displaying the time time and temperature is VERY powerful. I have an outside temperature gauge in my car. Do you think that keeps me from looking at LED Signs to get the temperature? No, now I look at the LED Signs I know display the temperature to compare the two readings! While I am waiting for the temperature to display I am reading the sales messages.

Busy people always want to know what time it is as well. If they know your sign displays the time, they will watch for it.

Time & Temperature on an LED Display

People like to know what is going on in their town. If they know you consistently put current community events (plays, seminars, etc) on your LED Displays they will watch for that information.

Everyone likes to see their team recognized. They like to see their team mentioned in the paper, they feel like they are a part of the team and when they see their team being recognized, they feel recognized.

When they know you display messages about their team they will watch for those messages and they will feel loyalty to you for recognizing ‘them’.

Displaying Amber Alerts shows you care. It shows that you are not some anonymous, cold, business but that you care about the people in the  community.

You probably can guess why you should display Holiday messages.

How Often Should You Display These Messages?

That is a bit trickier. As a general rule of thumb you want to display (1) frame of time & temperature (1) community message and 6-8 frames of sales messages.

So a complete cycle might look like this:

  1. Time & temp
  2. Sales Message
  3. Sales Message
  4. Sales Message
  5. Community Service Message
  6. Sales Message
  7. Sales Message
  8. Sales Message

Of course this is only a general rule of thumb and your circumstances might vary.  The number of businesses using the LED Sign, the traffic count, the type of business all affect the final sales to service message ratio.

Final Thoughts

Taking the time to gather community/team information does involve extra work, no question about it. I think you will find the extra money in your pocket will make it worth while though.

Call the local civic center, theaters, schools, etc and tell them you want to put messages on your LED Sign for them. Get them to send you notifications of upcoming events. Watch the local paper to see how the local teams are doing. Contact your local police department to be notified of Amber Alerts.

Stay Current. Your messages need to be up to date or people will stop looking! You should update your messages on a daily basis.

Going to this extra effort will help make your sign a landmark. It will generate goodwill in the community. It will generate Top Of Mind Awareness for your business. In short it will make you money.

If you are looking to purchase LED Displays you should first review the information in this blog to help get an idea of what will work best for your business and what to look for in the company you are buying from. Then give them a call!

LED Sign Information – Got Questions? Eric Has Answers!

Hello Everyone,

My Name is Eric Stevens.  I have been designing, selling and installing LED Signs for nearly a decade now and I would like to make myself available to answer whatever questions you may have about purchasing an LED  Sign.  Leave your question here on this blog and I will answer it or you can email me (eric@icatchdisplays.com)

You can also visit my company website which is www.icatchdisplays.com .  Our website is a great resource for information in LED Signs including pricing, financing and installation information.

Eric Stevens
iCatch Displays
National Sales Manager
www.icatchdisplays.com