How To Program Your LED Signs For Maximum Effectiveness

I wanted to spend a few minutes writing about some of the principle of programming your Outdoor LED Signs effectively. Here is a short 5 point list that will keep you on the right track, if you follow all the points:

  1. Use ALL CAPS
  2. Avoid Confusing Abbreviations
  3. Make sure the message is up long enough for you to read it out loud, at your NORMAL reading rate
  4. Avoid reverse copy (this is when all the LEDs are lit except the ones which form the letters of the message)
  5. NEVER use a script font

In truth, all five of those points illustrate one of the cardinal rules of Outdoor LED Display Signs: MAXIMIZE READABILITY!

You want to make sure that a driver passing your Sign will be able to read your message at a glance. You do not want him/her to have to strain to read your message. If people can’t read your message at a glance they will stop trying, not just with that message but all future messages. Make it hard enough and you will train people to NOT read your sign and that is definately not what you want.

The absolute acid test for your messages is if people are pulling in to your business because of your sign. If you think something might be amiss our you want to be absolutely certain your message are programmed to maximize readability, hop in your car and drive up and down your street a few times and pretend you are a prospect.

Can you easily read your messages? Do the make sense? Will they be enticing to prospective customers? If you cannot answer “Yes!” to each of these questions you might need to rethink your messages.

Remember, there is no magic to LED Signs, there are only 2 things you need to do make them work:

  1. Maximize Readability
  2. Train People To Look At Your LED Sign

If you do those two things you will make money from your sign so write every message with those two things in mind. There are refinements and specific techniques for accomplishing those things. For some suggestions on the second one, read my article about making your LED Sign a community landmark or look at the Marketing with LED Signs category to the left for even more ideas.

Once you know how you need to program your messages, you need to learn what to program.  What will maximize the number of people coming in to your business? Well, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What specials am I offering?
  • What makes my business different than my competitors?
  • What are my prospective customers looking for?
  • What hidden products or services do I have that would interest people?
  • Are there alternatives to my business and if so how is my business better?

You can probably see where I am going with this, what is your Unique Selling Proposition? Were you voted the best <BLANK> in town? Do you offer free add-on services with every purchase? Do you have a price guarantee?

Tell them why they should pull in and if your reason is good enough, they will!

That is the “what” you should be programming.  Sales, Specials, Advantages. Sell YOUR sizzle and watch your profits soar.

P.S. For those who are interested, I have also set up a blog on my commercial website. So if you are looking for more information about LED Signs, check out my other blog. It will be similar to this one but I will try to make sure I do not write about the same topics in both blogs!

LED Signs For Churches

I have still been receiving questions about specific markets so I am going to take an unlikely candidate, churches, and show you how the principles I have been talking about apply to churches.

First consider why a church would want an LED Sign. In order to keep its doors open a church needs members who pay tithes and offerings. Getting those members is a lot like an ordinary business getting new customers. They have to let the community know they are there, especially the people who live within a few miles of the church. Not only do they have to let them know they are there but they need to impress upon them that THIS church is where they should go.

A churchs LED Signs help with this through appearance and communication. If the sign looks nice, elegant, and clean or in other words gives a good impression of the church, a person is more likely to give them a try.  On the other hand if the sign is old and run down people are will have a less than favorable impression of the church and will be less likely to attend.

A church also needs to ‘advertise’ its programs and events. The community needs to have a way of knowing about that special teen program, or the Wednesday night prayer meeting, or about the small group meetings. What about the special programs? The church needs a way to let the local community know about their new stop smoking workshop, or the single mothers retreat, or about the upcoming concert. If they do not have a means of getting this information out to their target market (the people who live close by) they will be missing a great opportunity to bring in new members.

LED Signs offer a fantastic way to do all of these things. They allow the church to get their ‘sales message’ out to their ‘target market’. Because they are targeting people who live nearby, these are probably people who pass by the church multiple times a day. That means they have multiple times every day to entice the same person to come in and check them out. The LED Sign on the street can become one of their biggest marketing tools.

Okay, that covers the sales messages but that is just one piece of the pie. There are at least two more ways churches can benefit from Progammable LED Signs. The first one is community messages (does this sound familiar?). One of the things people want from their church is to feel like they are somehow helping the community. The usual way people get this feeling is through the community outreach programs their church engages in. The individual may not actively participate in the programs but they feel like they are doing their part because they support the church doing the work. When the church provides free community message that benefit the community the church members will feel like they are helping the community because it is their church with the sign which is putting out the messages which help the community. You can think of this as a customer retention program. The other way community messages help is by (here is where the drum roll goes) making the LED Signs a community landmark! The non members driving by everyday will be reading those messages (sales and community) and the church will becoming etched in their brains so that when they are looking for a new church they will think of this one first.

The last way churches can benefit from LED Signs is in their fund raising and charity work. As people drive by and see the message on the LED Sign advertising a clothes drive, or the church raising money to help victims of a disaster, they might just pull in to make a donation!

I probably have not scratched the surface of how churches can benefit from LED Signs but that wasn’t my really purpose. My real purpose was to show how the basic principles behind the success of LED Signs can be applied to churches. Those basic principles are: put your message out to hundred or thousands of people every day, make your sign a community landmark so when people think **INSERT YOUR INDUSTRY HERE** they think of you, and do all of this at a low cost per view.

The key is to ask yourself what your business has to offer, why someone should pull in to your business (what is your USP), then give all those people on the street, right IN FRONT of your business, that message.

Resources For People Interested In LED Signs

I have had a few questions from people looking for information specific to their industry so I decided that instead of reinventing the wheel I will just point you to a few resources:

Let me add a few words about who is a good candidate for LED Signs. If your business is of interest to the general public, you might be a good candidate. If you have a store which sells collector stamps, or a shop that only deals with pre 1959 hot rods and accessories, or any other business that is not of interest to the general public, you probably are not a good candidate.

LED Signs work on a simple premise: They Get Your Message Out To The Thousands Of Cars On The Street.  If you sell goods or services which are on interest to a decent percentage of the people in those cars you will have a large enough target audience for the LED Signs to be effective.  If your goods or services are of interest to only 1% of the traffic, you probably do not have a large enough audience for the LED Signs to work their magic.

There are exceptions of course. If you operate on large margins or high ticket prices and one sale represents hundreds or thousands of dollars in profit, it might be worth it to spend the money to get those extra 20-30 sales per year. Manufactured housing lots are a great example of this. Not everyone is looking to buy or build a home but if they can attract just one extra sale per month, they will have paid for the monthly costs of their LED Signs and be making additional profits.

When you are trying to decide if it makes sense to invest in LED Signs ask yourself “What percentage of the traffic wants or needs what I have?” Then you will have a starting point to do the math. Let’s say there are 5000 cars passing you business everyday, if your goods are of interest to 25% of the population, there will be 1250 prospects driving by everyday. If 10% of them read your LED Signs and just 10% of those people pull in, that means there will be an additional 13 people coming into your store every day. If you have an average of $5 in profit per transaction that means you will be making an additional $65 per day or about $2,000 per month. That is the math for a business with a fairly low appeal to the general public. Imagine if that were a business like a quick lube where every single car was a prospect!

If you are looking for specifics on how LED Signs can be used most effectively in your industry, I would recommend calling 877-287-9180 to talk to one of the LED Sign experts at my company. We work with each client to teach them the basic of effective LED Sign usage (the stuff that applies to everyone) and we work with them on specifics for their business.

Restrictions On LED Signs, How Short Is To Short?

I just read an article which said that LED Signs are now allowed in Minooka, IL (www.heraldnewsonline.com). However, the village has placed restrictions on the programming to limit how often frames can change, animations are not allowed, no flashing, no blinking, no scrolling. Is it still financially worthwhile to have an LED Sign in Minooka?

I would answer that question with a loud YES! That probably won’t surprise anyone as I am in the LED Sign business but I do have good reasons. Let me explain.

LED Sign Showing Time And Temperature

LED Sign Showing Time And Temperature

LED Signs have only one purpose: To Make You Money. Anything else they do is just a means to that end.

They accomplish this goal by by getting drivers to read timely, relevant, targeted sales messages on the displays.

The purpose of the animations, flashing blinking, scrolling on programmable LED Signs is to get people to look at the sign where they will read those messages. Whether you are trying to put up an animation which will keep people looking and asking “what will they do next” or just trying to make your sign stand out from the crowd, all that animation on the sign is just to get attention.

Are animations, flashing, etc. the only way to get attention for your sign? NO!!!

If you use a careful mix of time/temperature messages, community messages, and sales messages you can still get people to read your sign. Remember, most of the people who are driving past your business live in your community. They probably pass your sign on a regular basis. They only have to notice your sign once and if you have given them information they want or need, they will look each time they pass by.

In the case of Minooka they also placed a 5 second minimum on the interval between frames. If this is the case in your city as well, it is okay. You just need to carefully consider how many lines of text and how many characters per line you will need to display an entire message in one frame.  That is still 12 messages per minute and 720 message per hour.

In an environment like Minooka it is even more important to keep your LED Sign content fresh. Make sure there is new information on your sign at least once a day and preferrably twice a day.

If your city has even longer intervals between changes you will want to take a look at Outdoor Color LED Signs and consider if using images might help your LED Signs effectiveness.

Sometimes you have to be creative but LED Signs make sense.

Will LED Signs Increase Your Business?

If you have been considering investing in LED Signs or LED Displays you might have heard a sales pitch from a salesman already, promising massive increases in sales. I have heard sales people quote anywhere from 10% to 150% increases. The question you have to ask yourself is “will a set of LED Signs REALLY increase business”. After all, the salesman makes his living from selling.

As I have nothing to sell on this site and have no way of knowing who reads this blog you can trust the answer I am about to give you.

There are a certain number of people who drive by your business everyday. Lets refer to that number as X.

Of the people who pass your business a certain percentage will notice your business. Lets call that percentage Y.

Now for the last part of the equation. Of the number of people who notice your business, there will be a percentage who actually pull in and buy something from you. Let’s call that percentage Z.

There is nothing you can do to increase X, it is what it is. That is why businesses put themselves on the busiest streets they can afford to be on.

Let’s take a look at an example (these numbers are made up and only for the purpose of illustration):

  • Traffic Passing A Business Daily (X) : 5,000
  • Percentage Who Notice The Business (Y) : 10%
  • Percentage of Y Who Actually Buy Something (Z) : 20%

Okay, if we do the math ( (X * Y)*Z ) this is what we find:

(5000 * .1) * .2 = 100

That is 200 people of the 10,000 passing everyday who actually pull in and buy something.

This is where LED Signs come in. Imagine an LED Sign in front of this business blinking and flashing highly targeted sales messages to that traffice.

There are 2 things which will happen. More people will notice your business (increasing Y) and more people will pull in and buy something (increasing Z).

Let’s assume a 20% increase in Y (the people who notice the business) and a 10% increase in Z (the people who actually buy something) and then rework the formula from above:

(5000 * .3) * .3 = 450

That is an extra 350 people who pull in and buy something everyday or 10,500 per month.

Now here is the magic, if this hypothetical business owner leases the LED Signs and has a payment of $1200 a month, they only need the extra people to buy an extra $0.11 in profit for the sign to pay for itself.  Every penny or dollar of profit the additional people buying from the business spends is pure profit. After the five year lease is up, it all becomes profit.

Now, back to our original question: “will a set of LED Signs REALLY increase business”

The simple math says yes. The more you attract attention to your business, the more people will pull in and buy from you.

A Quick Follow-Up

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about how fast lube operators (oil change facilities) can use LED Signs to boost their car counts. I also wrote a similar articles on another site.

The content is similar but written in a slightly different way so maybe there will be some new nugget in there that will help you out. Here is the link:

Are You A Fast Lube Operator? You Need LED Signs!

Also don’t forget to check out my ‘commercial’ website which has a lengthy article on oil change facilities and LED Signs.

If you don’t own an oil change facility, there are some basic principals covered in my last post, my Hub Page, and my ‘commercial’ site which can be taken and used to help ANY business grow.

If you think you are interested in investing in Outdoor LED Signs, just follow that link to my commercial site and you can get lots of information or you can always email me at keith at icatchdisplays.com (just change where it says ‘at’ to ‘@’).

I will be back tomorrow with some brand new fresh content so keep your eyes peeled!

Do You Own A Fast Lube? LED Signs Are A Perfect Fit!

It has been a while since I posted but I have a good excuse…I have been sick. Not to worry everything is better now!

 

Today I am going to write a post about a specific industry: the fast lube industry. If you just a little bit of imagination I am sure you will be able to take this information and apply it to your particular industry.

 

I won’t name any specific ‘brands’ but I am sure you know what I am talking about, the places where you pull in and get you oil changed.

 

The economy is tough right now for everyone. People are spending less and going longer between oil changes. That means tough times for oil change facilities. Or does it?

 

The Perfect Industry For LED Signs

 

Oil change businesses are in a uniquely great position. Here is what I mean:

 

Everything Single Car That Passes Their Shop Is A Potential Client

 

That is huge. Very few businesses can make that claim.

 

The trick is diverting that traffic into the facility where they can capitalize on it. Many oil change businesses have an arsenal of advertising ‘tricks’ they use to try to boost their sales volume.

 

They will put out ‘Half Off’ coupons in the local papers. They will have a ‘Ladies Day’. They will put a dancing blow up thing in front of their shop. And on and on.

 

The problem is that people can bring in the coupon at a high volume time and demand ½ off tying up a bay that could be servicing a car at full price. The same thing can, and does, happen with ‘ladies day’. As for the inflatable dancing whatever, that is just tacky and makes the business look bad.

 

What these businesses really want to do is control WHEN they offer the specials. If the bays are all empty, put up a message that says ‘Bay Open – No Waiting” or “Half Price oil Change Ladies – No Waiting’.

 

I am sure you get the idea, don’t allow your ‘high volume full price’ times to be used by ‘half price’ customers. YOU need to control when those specials are available.

 

LED Signs put you in the perfect position to do that.   You can instantly create specials and you can instantly stop specials. Outdoor LED Signs allow you to have complete control of your pricing.

 

While you are at it why not advertise some of your hidden products and services such as wiper changes, radiator flushes, winterizing, etc. Remember, you can put out weather and season specific messages on your LED Sign. If it is raining, advertise wiper changes. Is it almost winter? Better advertise your winterizing specials!

 

LED Signs allow you display up-to-the-minute message to those hundreds or thousands of cars passing your facility.

 

If you would like to read a longer article on this topic, check out this link:

 

LED Signs for Fast Lube Operators