person stacking blocks with an arrow upward representing building a digital signage strategy
30

Mar

How to plan an effective digital signage strategy for your business? (5 Mistakes to avoid)

Over the years, digital signage has become an integral part of many businesses. Whether it is for advertising products or making the customer experience superior, the omnipresence of screens is palpable.

Digital signage is one of the most versatile digital assets for a business. Yet, most organizations fail to mine the technology’s full potential. The reason?

They have no digital signage strategy in place.

What inspired us to write this blog is that many organizations don’t even realize that they need a digital signage strategy in the first place. They spend big bucks on sleek, efficient hardware but end up using these precious tools to display prosaic and often outdated content.

Why do you need a digital signage strategy?

The following are some of the most compelling reasons why every business should have a well-defined digital signage strategy:

To maximize the effectiveness of your digital screens

The countless benefits of digital signage serve as the main reasons you choose it as a powerful marketing tool for your business, no doubt about that. But you can’t enjoy those benefits unless your screens perform at their optimum potential.

To keep the design, marketing & sales team in sync

When things are planned, you can get rid of the confusion and queries from different departments. The design team knows what content to produce, and the marketing team has it all under control with the performance metrics presets. And you, as the business owner, save time and budget on the backend.

To avoid content errors

68% of US consumers decide about the quality of a business and its products or services based on the content on digital signage. So, you are actually making a grave mistake by showing outdated, irrelevant, or erroneous content on your screens.

Your screen media needs to be focused and flawless. And that is only achievable with an orchestrated digital signage content strategy.

To avoid missing opportunities

It’s raining outside, and you know your customers aren’t going anywhere for the next half an hour. Take advantage of the opportunity by showing the special monsoon offers and discounts.

Having a digital signage strategy doesn’t necessarily mean always having a pre-thought-out program. It simply means that your staff has the guidelines to take ad-hoc actions.

To have a paradigm to judge your efforts & results

You can’t quantify and assess things that you can’t trace. Random and unprepared efforts are nearly as inconsequential as no effort. A digital signage strategy allows you to have a model to monitor your results and proceed accordingly.

Answer these questions before getting started with your digital signage strategy

Before you put up anything on your screen, before you even buy the screen(s) for your business, answer these questions.

Who is my audience?

The demography and the psychology of your target audience are the foremost data you need.

  • Decide what age group comprises the largest segment of your consumers. The standard age categorization is:

    Age (in years) Generation
    77 – 94 Post war
    68 – 76 Boomers I
    58 – 67 Boomers II
    42 – 57 GenX
    26 – 41 Millennials
    10 – 25 GenZ

  • Decide the sex of your consumers. Of course, there are many obnoxious males-versus-females stereotypes. But, beyond that, there are some honest differences between the consumer behavior of these two genders.

    For example, male shopping patterns reveal to be more utilitarian (get what you need) while female consumer patterns tend to be more hedonic (explore and see what you need).

What moves them?

The answer to this question is hidden in the answer to the previous question. The needs of your consumers are directly related to their demography and identity.

For example, a pre-teen will grab the brightest and the most colorful shoe on display. But, a middle-aged person will feel the shoe and wear it first to decide how comfortable they are.

Accordingly, you can shape your digital signage strategy. If your target audience is primarily middle-aged, you can advertise comfort more than looks.

What do I want to achieve?

The objective of your digital signage will be either of the following three:

  • To engage your audience

  • To make your audience perform an action

  • To inform your audience

Your digital signage strategy will become different for each of the above objectives.

For example, the following chart compares how each factor (screen location & content design) differs for a retail business when it wants to inform the audience and when it wants the audience to take an action.

Objective Screen Location Screen content design
To inform (about a flash sale) On the shop windows & at the entry gates - Eye-catchy design

- more image & less text

- A countdown timer to build excitement
To make a customer take action (purchase a product) Near the product shelf - The product details highlighted

- A few product reviews to build trust

How much will it cost?

A significant consideration in your strategy is the digital signage cost. That includes the cost of hardware & software and the cost of designing the content.

If you start your digital signage network from scratch, the hardware price will be an upfront one-time investment (often, it will be a sizeable chunk of your signage cost).

Generally, the investments in screen content management software and designing content will recur monthly based on your needs. However, these costs are much less than the hardware costs.

How to develop your digital signage strategy

Developing a digital signage strategy, or any strategy for that matter, is a work of research and analysis. But knowing what to research is important. Here are some activities that you need to undertake.

Decide on your metrics

Is there really a way to see if your digital signage marketing campaigns bring quantifiable results?

Yes, there is.

Whether they employ digital signage or not, most businesses already use a wealth of KPIs & business metrics to assess their monthly or quarterly business. For example:

  • Customer traffic: how many customers visit your store, website, or eCommerce site each day or each month.

  • Conversion rate: Percentage of total footfall that ends up purchasing your goods & services

  • Churn rate: Percentage of customers your business fails to retain

  • Inventory turnover rate: The frequency at which a brand runs out of products and needs to replenish them.

  • Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC): The amount of money a company has to spend to acquire a new customer in a specified time.

When developing your digital signage strategy, consider that these metrics should give you more optimistic numbers. Once you implement your plan, you can conduct a before-and-after comparison of these data and evaluate the effectiveness of your digital signage campaign.

Study your competitors

Competitive SWOT analysis is one of the critical undertakings of any strategy. Make a list of businesses in your domain that are currently running a successful digital signage campaign. Observe these aspects of your competitors:

  • What are their top-selling products?

  • Are they advertising these products more often on their digital signage?

  • How often do they discount their products?

  • How do they promote their products? (do they connect emotionally with the customers or highlight product features?)

  • What products are they failing to sell enough? (this will give you an idea of how you can capitalize on their weak points)

Once you have done that, you will know exactly which areas you need to focus on. Here is an example:

Store A has identified the following things about its competitor Store B:

Store B uses 5 screens-

  • 1 outdoor digital sign to highlight new launches

  • 1 screen at the entry gate to play product commercials

  • 3 screens in various aisles of the store that show product discounts

  • 1 screen at the cash counter to display membership plans

Here's how Store A will use this data to plan its digital signage strategy:

Deduction from Competitive Analysis: Store B is mainly focusing on product marketing. They are not giving due attention to the customer experience.

Action required: Use their screens to make the customer shopping experience better.

  1. Dedicate a screen for in-store entertainment. Play Youtube videos, show real-time traffic information, share news updates on the screen.

    Store A can use Pickcel’s exhaustive resource of 60+ content apps to add infotainment on screens and make the shopping experience better than Store B.

  2. Prompt customers to engage with the brand. Store A can add a social wall and start a hashtag campaign.

  3. Display products on a digital product catalog. With Pickcel’s digital catalog solution, Store A can allow their customers to browse merchandise on mobile phones by scanning a QR code.

Come up with a unique brand voice

a sports clothing store playing their brand video from youtube on digital signage screen

When planning a digital signage strategy, it is essential to distinguish your brand from the others. Different brands employ different voices.

Here are some examples of brands that have carved out an illustrious brand voice:

  • Nike: Inspirational

  • Harley-Davidson: Powerful and bold

  • Paperboat: Childhood and nostalgia

  • McDonald’s: Happiness and joy

  • Ikea: Minimalism and utilitarian

Your brand voice should be uniform across all your marketing channels, including digital signage.

The brand voice will determine the design factors of your digital signage media, such as color warmth, text font, model make and outfit.

Capitalize user-generated content

a shoe store displaying tweets and comments from their official twitter account on digital signage screen

Surveys reveal that 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase.

That is why you should never fail to include user-generated content in your digital signage marketing strategy.

Here are two types of user-generated content (UGC) that you can add to your screens:

  • Customer testimonials

  • Hashtag campaigns on social media

Imagine yourself going shopping for baby products. You look at the aisle and you notice a torrent of brands selling the same product and saying the same things like No harsh chemical, Long-lasting, and cruelty-free. How do you pick one from that?

Now imagine if out of these brands, one would show its customer reviews on a digital screen. Wouldn’t it make a difference?

When brands praise their product, there is a profit-driven motive behind it. When consumers praise a brand’s name, that is perceived as genuine which is why this marketing strategy almost instantly shows results.

Schedule your content

Your digital signage strategy should also include a detailed timeline of content publishing.

Here is a crude way you can follow to prepare a digital signage content calendar unless you want to use any software:

Get a calendar and figure out the special dates like:

  • New Year’s Eve - January 01

  • Valentine’s Day - February 14

  • Women’s Day - March 08

  • St. Patrick’s Day - March 17

  • Labor Day - First Monday in September

  • 4th of July - self-explanatory

  • Halloween - October 31

  • Thanksgiving - The fourth Thursday of November

  • Black Friday - The Friday after Thanksgiving

  • Cyber Monday - The Monday after Thanksgiving

  • Christmas - December 25

On these days, your digital signage shouldn’t remain blank or play the regular content. These are special days when you can give special sales and launch new products.

The content of your digital signage should be in sync with the spirit of the day.

Pickcel's digital signage software has an advanced scheduler that can let users plan and schedule their content on specific date & time. The content gets auto-published on the defined schedule. This makes it so much easier for you to focus on your business during those busy dates.

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5 Mistakes to avoid in your digital signage strategy

Trial and error is part and parcel of any strategy-making. However, we would like to point out some common mistakes businesses tend to make while planning and implementing their digital signage strategy.

1. Investing huge without testing a pilot project

If you are deploying a digital signage network for the first time, try it out with a pilot project. For example, if you have ten stores, don’t go all out and purchase the hardware and software licenses for all the ten stores. Try with one store first. This will let you figure out problems and allow you to change course without losing money.

2. Not choosing a powerful digital signage software

This is another common mistake that many brands make while designing a digital signage strategy. Keep your cost budgeting such that you get more ROI.

Remember, the software is the brain of your signage. So it is always recommended to choose a powerful, feature-heavy digital signage software that will simplify content publishing and rendering.

3. Wrong placement of screens

Many businesses make the mistake of placing the screens in nooks & corners of the showroom where their customers may not even go. Screens should always be placed in high-traffic areas like:

  • store windows

  • entry gates

  • Action alley

  • Product shelves

  • Billing counters

Some areas you can avoid deploying screens:

  • Trial rooms

  • Exit gates

  • Narrow aisles

4. Not enough focus on content

Content is king, even for digital signage. Sometimes businesses put so much effort and investment into strategizing that they forget to make the content strong.

Playing outdated content or showing mistakes in advertising can cost you dearly. It makes your brand look amateur, and that directly affects your sales.

5. Using too many different software

To make your digital signage strategy powerful, you might be tempted to use several BI (Business Intelligence) tools and software. While you are always free to do that, try not to confuse and burden your staff with too much intelligence. It can lead to confusion and friction.

Summing it Up

Whatever your digital signage strategy may be, it is important to have one. You can find a number of challenges initially, but you will always get better results with a strategy. At Pickcel, we offer various digital signage services to our clients including consultation, content services & more.

If you want to grow your business with Pickcel, contact us and we will be happy to help you out.

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About Namrata Chakraborty

Namrata is the content marketer for Pickcel. She enjoys writing and her area of expertise is where art meets science & technology.

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Co Author Pramita Banerjee

Pramita’s journey as a writer began in 2012. Almost for a decade now, she has been writing pieces on technology, marketing & business. Her belief is, "Creativity never goes out of style".

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