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We live in a world where almost everything is digitized. And most of that digitization is used for marketing, otherwise known as digital signage. Digital signage can be used by anyone or any company, but there are certain ways to use it that work best for marketing and other uses. 

Digital signage should be used whenever the company or individual wants to make a statement about something. Whether it be advertising a new product or getting your company name out there, digital signage can be very effective for catching new people’s attention. 

Before you use digital signage, there are certain pros and cons about using it that should be looked into before deciding if it’s the right marketing strategy for you and your business. The following article discusses what digital signage is and the benefits and drawbacks of using it. 

What is Digital Signage? 

Digital signage takes the idea of billboards and turns them digital. It’s a way to distribute content by displaying it on one or multiple screens. A few places where digital signage is often used include: 

  • News
  • Advertisements 
  • Live weather 
  • Roadside digital billboards
  • Television and movies 

Content that was designed for digital signage is usually powered by and displayed with either a system on chip or media player system. A system on chip, or SoC system, is an integrated circuit that takes a single platform and integrates an entire system onto one digital chip, hence the name. A media player is software that displays audio and visual content to a wide audience. 

The user of the digital signage content can then manage their display content with a content management system that’s built into the computer. The content management system is what pushes the content onto the computer, and the computer then displays it. 

Many industries use digital signage to advertise their products or services, but the most prominent industry that uses this is the retail industry. Retailers primarily use it in their store windows and on their websites to promote special offers and sales. 

However, other industries use digital signage to provide information for guests and visitors or to make a brand name for themselves. Some of the other industries that use digital signage for these purposes include: 

  • Schools, college, and universities
  • Hospitals 
  • Businesses 

Anyone can use digital signage, but there are certain instances where using it is more effective for what you’re trying to promote than other forms of signage or media. 

When Should I Use Digital Signage? 

When to use digital signage

A few of the most popular ways that companies use digital signage include: 

  • Featuring new items or services and explaining their value
  • Creating urgency, providing information, and entertaining your customers 
  • Introducing and communicating with your staff

You can use digital signage in all of these ways or one of these ways, whatever best suits the purpose of your business. 

Featuring New Items or Services and Explaining Their Value

Whenever your business has a new product or service, it’s important to get the word out about it as soon as possible. The more people that know about the new product or service, the faster it will sell and the more money you will earn. This can be done effectively with digital signage since it gives you the ability to make your product or service stand out in a unique way. 

Digital signage can also help you explain the value of your new product or service. Customers won’t want a product or service if they don’t know how it can improve their life. Digital signage can be used to provide the “why” behind your product or service. By that, we mean the “why” behind why they should consider purchasing it and why it will benefit their lives. 

Creating Urgency, Providing Information, and Entertaining Your Customers

A sense of urgency is what drives customers out to stores to purchase items and services. They usually feel that if they don’t take advantage of the opportunity now, they will never get that kind of opportunity again. The use of digital signage can help create this sense of urgency, especially when there is a sale or a special promotion going on. 

A few ways you can create urgency with digital signage include: 

  • Using a time limit, such as a countdown clock 
  • Using colors that create urgency, such as bright reds and yellows 
  • Using the right words and images
  • Advertising an added bonus to give extra incentive 

No matter how urgent your customers get, they are less likely to buy something if they have no idea what it is or what the company that sells it is about. Giving your customers information about your company and products will not only make them trust you more but give them more incentive on why they should buy something and why it should be from you and no one else. 

Finally, digital signage can also be used to entertain customers. When they have a positive relationship with a product or company, they are more likely to purchase items and services from it. Digital signage can be used to entertain your customers when they’re waiting in lines or waiting rooms, for example. If your customers are entertained when patronizing your business, then half the work to sell the items and services is already done.

Introducing and Communicating with Your Staff

A company or business is not just about the product or service it advertises, but the people behind it that make the company run smoothly. Digital signage can be used to introduce your staff to new customers and give them insight into the culture of the company. 

For example, introducing your staff can give customers an idea of the type of people you hire. It’s a great way to give your business a personality and build more trust between you and your customers.  Digital signage can help make your staff out to be more than just people behind a desk, and it gives your customers a chance to identify with and relate to them. 

Digital signage doesn’t have to be used only for communicating with customers. It can also be used to communicate important information to your staff. Whether it be a meeting calendar or general company rules and policies, using digital signage is much more productive and useful for maintaining a smooth running business. 

Benefits of Digital Signage 

Customers are more technology oriented these days than they were a few years ago. Since shopping habits have changed, it’s important that marketing strategies change as well. Digital signage is one of those marketing strategies that works in the heavily technology-based world we live in. There are multiple benefits to it, including: 

  • It’s cost effective 
  • Consistent and relevant content updates 
  • Displays that are attention grabbing 
  • Increase your company’s digital and social media presence 

It’s Cost Effective 

Digital signage may be an expensive endeavor at first, but the payoff is worth the investment. With digital signage, you only have to install one system once, and it gives you unlimited opportunities to change and improve your in-store advertising. With traditional signage, you have to pay money every time you want to make a change. Not to mention you have to spend valuable time setting it up whenever a change is made. 

Digital signage allows you to create advertisements and promotions quickly and cost effectively. The higher investment is worth the pay off in the long run. 

Digital signage is also capable of not only advertising your own business but other businesses as well. Once your digital signage system is installed, other local businesses might want to pay you to advertise their products and services. Other companies paying you to advertise them gives you another source of income that you can put towards improving your own business.  

Consistent and Relevant Content Updates 

When to use digital signage
Image via New York Times

Digital signage is very simple and easy to control. You can make changes to the signage quickly, allowing you to make consistent and relevant updates about things that are important to your business. 

You also might be able to create and save your graphics depending on the setup and services you select. This feature is especially useful during the holidays or whenever you want to promote big sales that are going on. 

Some digital signage systems also come equipped with artificial intelligence or AI element. This can be used to point out your most popular products to customers. It can also be used to identify items that have been dropping in sales as of late. If your digital signage is able to display these things, then they can be promoted to customers and thus increase overall profits. 

Displays That Are Attention Grabbing 

Since digital signage is one of the most customizable forms of advertising, it gives you the opportunity to create attention grabbing displays. You can use an array of colors and images to create advertisements and promotions that are personal and unique to your company or business. 

Attention grabbing displays can also influence customer behavior, and that can increase profits. Visually appealing images of products and services give the customer more reason to purchase something. This is especially true if the image is promoting a sale or special on certain products and services. If you can create attention grabbing displays, then your profits can increase exponentially.

Increase Your Company’s Digital and Social Media Presence 

With technology being prominent in today’s world, business owners should also use social networks to their advantage. Using social media has a lot of benefits, including: 

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Generating new customers 
  • Addressing customer satisfaction issues
  • Receiving customer suggestions on how to improve 
  • Showing new customers that you’re up to date 

You can also kill two birds with one stone by using the advertisements and promotions you create for your digital signage on your social media pages. Both are effective marketing strategies that many businesses have utilized to boost sales and their presence in their industry. 

Disadvantages of Digital Signage

Like any advertisement method, digital signage has its drawbacks as well. The main disadvantages of using digital signage include: 

  • The high initial cost 
  • Having your company or business name associated with motor accidents 
  • Brief exposure 
  • Highly competitive 

The High Initial Cost 

Using a piece of digital signage, such as a billboard, can usually cost about twenty dollars a day to use. But some billboard companies allow you to rent spaces on the billboard to display your ads. This can usually cost anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 dollars a month. 

And these prices are if you’re using a billboard that’s already been built. You would just be paying to have advertisements about your company or business run on it. Prices vary from digital billboard company to company, so doing some research about what the rates for using billboards in your region are is a good idea. 

To build an entirely new billboard can cost anywhere from about 350,000 dollars up to one million dollars, a sum of money that new business owners will most likely not have when they first start. This is considering you must pay for things such as:

  • The billboards location 
  • Maintenance 
  • The technology for the billboard 
  • The display for the billboard 

It’s a much more worthwhile investment to have your ads playing on a billboard that’s already built. It will save you money since you don’t have to pay nearly as much and save you time since you don’t have to wait for the billboard to be built until you can display your ads. 

But, if done right, the investment could very well be worth the pay off. Using digital billboards gives your company or business the opportunity to bring in an extra 3,500 dollars to 25,000 dollars every month. The pay off might not be immediate, but it’s definitely worthwhile. 

Having Your Company or Business Name Associated with Motor Accidents

Digital billboards are meant to grab the attention of anyone that passes by. For roads and highways, this means they can be a potential distraction for drivers. As a result, they have been banned in several states because of the accidents they cause. 

If someone were to get into an accident because they were distracted by a digital billboard playing your ad, that can leave such a bad first impression on your company or business. 

A few things that may cause the driver to get distracted by the digital billboards include: 

  • The bright luminance 
  • Their animations and graphics 
  • Saturated colors 

Before you decide if your company’s ads belong on a digital billboard, consider if you and your company can get through the opposition you might face. This might not be the best idea if your company or business is fairly new to the area, so focusing on building a name for yourself first is more advisable. 

Brief Exposure 

Digital billboards consist of multiple short ads that play on a continuous loop. Because of this, your company or business advertisement likely won’t stay up for longer than about twenty to thirty seconds before another ad shows up. 

Because of the ever changing advertisements, you run the risk of your ad being missed by passersby or those that drive by the billboard. People either might not be able to read and fully register the message of your ad fast enough, or they just don’t see it at all. 

There is not really much you can do to combat this; it’s just what most digital billboard companies do. The only way to make sure your ad and your ad only is displayed at all times is to purchase a digital billboard of your very own. 

Highly Competitive 

Because of the constantly changing advertisements that are displayed on digital billboards, all of the companies or businesses that are involved are in constant competition for which ad is viewed the most. 

Even before that, so many companies and businesses are fighting for a chance to have a spot on that billboard in the first place. 

Once you get the all clear to post your ads, you must make them as attention grabbing as possible. A few ways you can do this include: 

  • Catchy slogans 
  • Bright but not over saturated colors and a good color scheme 
  • Presenting deals or specials your company or business is having
  • Animations, logos and other graphics 

Whatever your company or business is doing, make the message clear and quick. 

Final Thoughts 

Digital signage can be very useful when it comes to advertising your products and services. It can also be a very valuable marketing tool that can help drive profits up and build trust between your employees and your customers.  Digital signage can save you time and money by being cost effective and automatically updating customers and employees about important information. 

However, digital signage might not be the right choice for everyone. It comes with its fair share of cons along with the many pros it has to offer. If the disadvantages of digital signage outweigh the advantages for you and your business or company, it might be a good idea to consider other marketing strategies. But if used correctly, digital signage can be a worthwhile investment that can take you and your business to the next level.