Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign

Jan. 15, 2015

Now, let me ask you a question...and don’t lie: do your patrons know who you are? If you’re not sure, then it sounds like you could add some more marketing, and it might be a good idea to start with signage.

All businesses can benefit from using signage, but signage is particularly important for small businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration says, “Signs are the most effective, yet least expensive, form of advertising for the small business. Signs are always on the job for you, advertising 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

For businesses just starting out or for old-timers looking to do something different, here are just a few ideas.

Word clouds:

Have no idea what those are? That’s OK (see figure 1 above). A word cloud (the short description) takes a series of words and creates an eye-catching graphic. I recommend using (however, you need to have Java installed on your computer). Take your company’s motto or about twenty words you would like associated with your company and insert them into Wordle. This is a FAST, EASY and FUN way to grab the attention of location employees. Print them out and place them on a vending machine or around a breakroom.

CON: They are very colorful, and while that’s usually a great thing, colored ink is expensive. Printing the sign might bust the budget.

QR code:

Don’t want to spend a ton on ink, but still see the value in signage? One solution could be using a QR code. A QR code consists of an array of black and white squares that store URLs. Your customer can use their smartphone to read the QR code, which can lead them to your own company Website or to your Facebook page where you can offer a ‘deal’ or ‘promotion’. Again, place the QR code on the machine or around tables in the breakroom. (See figure 2...go ahead and see where that QR code takes you.)

CON: There is no way for you to ensure that the patron is going to use their smartphone and interact with the QR code. And you will need to plan the logistics of the QR code, such as where you want it to lead the customer and how it can prompt an impulse buy or add-ons.

Chalkboard or whiteboard:

Chalkboards and whiteboards are cheap options that will last. They are a one-time purchase (minus the writing utensils that may go dry or run out), and can be updated on a weekly basis. Route drivers can keep the message board fresh with current promotions, fun facts about products in the machine or a quote about the company. 

CON: Your route driver will have to begin putting this into their routine, which can slow down the process. Additionally, someone in the office will need to be responsible for creating the text, quotes, 'deals' or fun fact that the route driver will need to update.

There are hundreds of ways you can create your own signs at a very reasonable price. According to The New York State Small Business Development Center, signs should perform the “ABC” functions: Attract customers, Brand your business in the minds of the consumer and Create impulse sales. Operators, how have you been using signage in your locations? Shoot me an email or send us a tweet @VendingMagazine.