As most new sign owners quickly learn, getting your LED sign installed and running is only a part of sign ownership. To truly take your organization to the next level of outdoor digital advertising, you need to maximize its messaging capabilities. By leveraging the power of your sign software and hardware, as well as crafting a precise and targeted message, you can maximize your sign investment. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of your LED sign:
- Know your audience and location – A key part of making the sign effective is knowing how your message will be seen and who will see it. Are you communicating to drivers, pedestrians or both? Is there a specific demographic you are targeting? Are there any stopping points for traffic? What is the speed limit of the road(s) next to the sign? Use this information to determine how long your targeted viewer has to read your sign. It’s also best for you or someone you designate to do some “drive-by” tests to check the timing and see if there are any visual obstructions.
- Stay on message – Regardless of the type of your organization, you’re looking for some kind of response from your audience. Whether it is having more people set foot on your premises or simply informing viewers of upcoming events, there is some kind of action that you want to occur. Determine your primary message and ensure that it is seen at least once per minute on the sign, if not more. Don’t overload your LED sign message with superfluous information.
- Use content that is sized for your sign – If you advertise in other mediums such as web or print, it’s tempting to use the same “creatives” from these other sources. Unfortunately, the amount and size of text or other detail may be too high for the resolution of your sign. While most sign software will allow you to automatically resize uploaded content, it’s best to do this yourself within a graphics editing program to see the result. Always use the message preview feature to see how this media will look on the sign. See our How to Optimize Graphics on Your LED Sign post for more information.
- Use separate content for each side if conditions dictate – Your audience may experience different conditions depending on the direction they are travelling. For example, if one side is next to traffic stopped at an intersection, you may be able to have a longer message using smaller text.
- Use motion to capture attention… – The best way to capture attention in a crowded visual landscape is to use motion. This can be done through the use of video clips, animations, or with transition effects between slides. After you’ve used motion to draw attention, immediately follow it with your primary message.
- … but don’t scroll text – Although most LED software packages allow it, scrolling your text from right to left is the least efficient way to deliver your message. While the movement may be eye-catching, drivers typically will only see a fragment of the sentence. Instead, use multiple lines of text all on the same slide, as people can scan static text much faster than read from the fastest scrolling message.
- Use automatic brightness – The biggest competitor to your LED sign is the sun. During the day, it can overpower and wash out your message, making it unreadable. However, turning your sign to maximum brightness all of the time is also not an option. Not only does this cause a potential driving hazard at night, but can shorten the effective life of the individual LEDs. If your sign is equipped with a light sensor that measures ambient light, be sure to use it to automatically adjust the brightness of your sign to local conditions. If not, most LED sign software will allow you to set a “brightness schedule” by the hour of the day.
- Schedule special messages – Most LED sign software will allow you to schedule a message, either during a time of day, a specific day or both. Use this power to target your message when it will be most effective. For example, a message for selling or serving coffee would find a more receptive audience during the morning hours.
- Serve the community – Although anyone with a smartphone can easily access the time and temperature, people still look to outdoor electronic signage to provide this information. Messages that support other local events and groups can build goodwill.
- Update, update, update – We’ve all seen signs that advertise events that have long passed or provide information that is no longer relevant. While LED signs will certainly generate attention, stale content can make your organization seem out-of-touch or disorganized. Make sure your software can be accessed on-the-go for last minute changes or when you have some spare time. If your software allows it, make sure to set an “end date” for any slide that contains specific date information, so that it can be automatically removed after that point.
We hope you can use these LED sign tips to take your messaging to the next level. With all of these tips, make sure that you are adhering to any applicable zoning laws for your area. Let us know if you have any others by contacting us!