Here’s the Checklist:
1. Make it colorful.
2. Make it simple.
3. Use a Headline.
4. “Who am I?”
5. “What do I do?”
6. “How can I be reached?”
7. Make an offer.
8. Keep your promise.
9. Make it visible.
10. Make it last.
Here’s what each point means:
Make It Colorful. Except for the unfortunate few who are color blind, most of us see things in vivid, real life, color, even when our eyes are closed. We prefer it that way. In today’s technologically advanced world of signs, there’s really no excuse for doing a sign in only one or two colors, or for using simple silhouettes instead of showing the real thing. Full color photography, digitally produced graphics, shadowing and gradients, 3-D looks…you name it. A good sign company should be able to do it all…and at reasonable prices.
Make It Simple. To state it simply…More is not necessarily better! A sign or an ad that attempts to explain or list everything you can possibly do is not going to be read by your customers, and it can make your message seem unbelievable. Remember, people are looking for specialists, with expertise in something specific, not general practitioners, who might not be experts in anything in particular.
Use A Headline. Excluding business identification signs and directional signs, every other sign you have in your business should interrupt your customers and get their attention. That’s what headlines in newspapers, magazines, and even in broadcast media are designed to do. Your sign should do the same thing. Plus, having to use a headline is a great way to force yourself to refine your message and look at your business from the point of view of a potential customer. Most of us spend our lives trying to educate everyone else to our way of thinking. That is “swimming upstream.” Just give ‘em what they want and need to help them take the next step in the buying process.
Who Am I? Answering this question with your signs usually means giving prominence to the name of your company in the appropriate place on the sign. However, if your company name does not also describe the nature of your business, then a tag line or motto may be in order; so that people can tell at a glance, who you are.
What Do I Do? This question is best answered with pictures and/or two or three bullet points that explain your expertise further to your customers. Again, it needs to be simple and easy to understand and read.
How Can I Be Reached? Unless your sign is being displayed inside your place of business or at a trade show booth where you have people on hand to personally answer questions, you need to make sure that you tell people how they can contact you. And, it needs to be prominently displayed somewhere on the sign.
Make An Offer. The word FREE, is one of the most powerful words in our language. You should make a free, no strings attached offer, to potential customers, of more information, of testing results, of articles about your products or industry, of samples, of discount coupons, or of what ever it takes to move them to the next level of involvement prior to an actual purchase.
Keep Your Promise. When you portray yourself or your company in a certain way through your advertising and signs, you have made a promise to potential customers about what they can expect from you. For example, if you show pictures of a gleaming office complex, but you are working out of your home, you are not being honest. Ultimately, people will choose to do business with people they trust. So, who you are, and who you claim to be, must match.
Make It Visible. As strange as it may seem, people often spend money on signs that are obscured by trees, buildings, or other impediments, including various things in interior locations where signs are posted. Also, people use color combinations and graphics that make it very difficult to read the messages on their signs.
Make It Last. This is a statement about quality of materials and appropriateness of the look. Cheap materials not only may not last as long as better quality materials, but they send a message about who you are to your customers, that may not be what you want. Once again, your desired image and your actual appearance must be consistent.