Here’s a little story that will show how important a business sign really is to a business. Recently I was looking for a barber shop in my neighborhood. I’ve lived here for almost three years, and the same barber has cut my hair the entire time. Unfortunately, when I went to his shop I found out that he had closed. Panicking, I dug around in my memory for another shop close by and couldn’t come up with one. No signs came to mind.
When you boil marketing down to its most elemental form, the situation described above is at the root of it. I needed a haircut, I had the money for a haircut, the opportunity arose for a new business to step in and immediately fill the need … and I couldn’t remember where a single shop was in my area. I drive through this area all the time. Signs are noticeable. Signs, and specifically logos, are perfect for “memory embedment” in that they slowly work through the subconscious until needed.
Here’s another example: My better half is into beading. She loves nothing more than to string a variety of different shaped balls together to make necklaces, bracelets and whatnot. We were in an unfamiliar section of town this week and she hollered out “BEADS!” Now, knowing her, I simply assumed that she was thinking about her passion and couldn’t help but vocalize it. However, she was only reacting to a bright LED business sign proclaiming a 20% off sale at a bead store we were driving by. The rest of the story is obvious: We both came out of the deal happy.
The store won because of simple marketing. They had merchandise that a customer wanted, they had a story to tell regarding that merchandise, and they had the means to tell that story. Without that sign, we would have no idea that a bead store existed there. Their business sign was bright, colorful and easily noticeable. Now, if the store had only, say, channel letters on the face of the strip center or placement on the communal sign (along with every other business in that location), we might have seen that bead store anyway.
But one thing is certain: We would have passed right on by if there was NO business sign at all.
How many potential customers are passing you by?
Not too long ago, I got interested in baseball cards. For a very short while, believe me. A friend turned me on to a baseball card store a few miles from my house, claiming that it was the “best store ever” or something along those lines. I’m not familiar with the area, so I Googled it to get the address.
When Google informed me that I was there, I couldn’t find it. I was in front of an office park, staring at a Subway (I knew it was a Subway because of the full color sign above it), along with about 40 other businesses. Some had signs on their windows, some had channel letters or neon or hand-painted poster board taped to the glass. A few had white letters on the door announcing their services. Others were a complete mystery as to the goings-on inside.
So I called the store. I was informed that they were located “next to the Day Care … Suite #387”. Trouble was, I couldn’t figure out which one was the day care. I noticed one shop had a picture of a cartoon dog on it, but that turned out to be a pet food store.
When I called back, the owner seemed a tad miffed. Well, so was I. He tried to guide me in, but the wind was taken out of my sails, and I left. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I noticed a comic book store across the street, complete with a full color sign of Superman in flight. I smiled.
Any marketing plan centers on speaking to past and future customers. Period. You can buy all the ad space you want to, build a beautiful website and get an SEO firm to provide backlinks for it, but if the customer can’t find your business then you will fail to gain those precious clients.
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