After decades of supporting data being closely reviewed, there’s simply no doubt that on-site electronic message displays rank at the top of the list for both the best and most cost effective options for driving clients to your business. The Small Business Association supports this statement fully and you can review the full report for yourself. (Document is in PDF format.)
Now that you’ve decided to invest in an EMD / EMC in order to boost sales and profits, it’s critical that you determine what display will best meet your needs. There are several factors that need to be taken in to consideration prior to diving in to your purchase:
– How you’ll utilize the EMD / EMC
– Permitting / Zoning restrictions
– Product support
Budget – Electronic Message Centers are available in all types of sizes and colors. Moreover, some are made for indoor use and others for outdoor use. It’s nearly impossible to assist you with defining your budget, you can expect to spend anywhere from $250.00 for a small indoor display to several millions of dollars for a large “stadium-type” LED display that you see at major sporting venues. The odds are that your budget will fall somewhere in-between these extremes.
Before establishing a budget, consider looking in to what you are spending on other forms of marketing and advertising as a new EMC / EMD should be looked at as both a tangible property and advertising improvement from a budgetary perspective. Therefore, reducing budgets on certain other property improvements and/or forms of advertising (print, radio, television, direct mail, etc.) is both a good idea and it helps to make your new purchase more affordable. In many cases, a 10% reduction in non-essential property improvements and previously budgeted advertising and marketing dollars, combined with minimal 15% in increased sales driven by your message center, will allow you to have covered the entire investment in just 18-24 months.
In the end, the additional factors listed below will also play a role in your final budget.
Location – Obviously, LED displays are most effective in high traffic areas when placed in a location with extended visibility to passers-by. The more potential customers that see your sign the lower the Cost per Impression (CPI) and the better Return on Investment (ROI) you’ll receive. In essence, the more people that see your EMD / EMC messages the better the chance you have of someone entering your facility and spending money at your business.
The placement of your sign will vary based upon local codes, your tenant space and whether or not there’s an option to have the display installed in a freestanding location as opposed to being installed on your exterior building fascia. Moreover, the height and orientation of the display should be based upon additional factors like vehicular traffic speed, etc. Your local sign professional should meet with you, on-site, early on in the process to look at these factors, discuss your concerns and finalize the best location for your new profit center.
How you’ll utilize the EMD / EMC – Full-color and Red/Green/Blue (RGB) message centers provide users with the most impactful messaging and content options. However, when getting away from a monochrome (single-color) message display, the buyer should be prepared and willing to spend the time designing messages and content that will utilize the display to its full capabilities. There’s no sense in spending significant additional money on either of these color options if alpha-numeric messages (with little or no use of graphics, animations or video) are what you’ll want to use and/or is what you are willing to spend the time programming in to your display. That said, if you want to use the display at a cutting-edge level and you or your staff is willing to invest the time involved with programming the display to make that happen, then taking advantage of the color options typically results in better ROI.
Permitting and Zoning Restrictions – Check with your local Zoning and Building Departments to learn what restrictions they have in regard to type, size, location, color and usage of Electronic Message Displays. Each municipality has its own restrictions, many times based upon the zoning of the property where your business is location, and those restrictions can range from EMCs simply not being allowed, to restrictions on what color LED may be utilized and even how frequently you can change your messages. Knowing these limitations ahead of time will help you to save both time and money.
Product Support – While there are exceptions to the rule, generally you will be best served by dealing with a reputable local sign company with the ability to prove they have successfully functioning LED displays within your local area. This local sign company will typically understand how to properly install your new display, how to wire it from both a power and communication standpoint and how to help you load the messaging software. In most cases your local sign company will have a very basic knowledge of the software and how to design content. Don’t expect a great deal of help with programming on a local level as most companies are going to refer you to the manufacturer for software and programming support. However, having a local company to deal with in case of a hardware issue or product failure is a big advantage. That local company’s reputation relies on “word of mouth” within the local community and that means they are more likely to stand behind the EMD/ EMC they sell you in a better manner than a company based hundreds or thousands of miles away.
For more information, if you have questions, please contact the experienced sign professionals at Kendal Signs for an evaluation for your signage needs, and to determine which type of electronic message center would benefit your business.