Do Advertising Signs Provide a Good ROI? Unlike big box stores and national chains, local business owners usually have a limited budget when it comes to advertising.  And since advertising is crucial to bringing in new customers, it becomes all the more important to make the most of those limited advertising dollars.  Small business owners need to carefully calculate the return on investment for each and every advertising venue in order to make the best choices for their company. According to the Small Business Association, “Signs are the most effective, yet least expensive, form of advertising for the small business.”

A Country on the Move

Here in the U.S., the average automobile travels 220 miles a week.  As a whole, the country drives nearly 3 trillion miles a year.  With the average driver behind the wheel for over 540 hours a year, that’s a lot of time spent viewing signs along the way. Additionally, some 18 percent of households relocate annually, eroding your established customer base but also providing an opportunity to capture new ones.  According to a SBA survey of 2,475 new customers frequenting 165 independent small businesses, 50 percent said that they were first exposed to the business through a sign.

Long Term Investment

Most forms of advertising are temporary in nature, while a sign is the only one that your company actually owns.  Investment in a sign is a fixed expenditure for a permanent asset.  Spread over the sign’s useful life, an advertising sign delivers a much lower CPM (cost-per-thousand exposure) than any other form of advertising.  A sign is on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  In fact, one estimate of the CPM of all forms of outdoor advertising, to include billboards, public transportation, bus benches, etc., is just $2.26.

Digital Advertising Signs

According to the Small Business Association, “Businesses that choose to enhance their signage with an electronic message display typically see an increase in business of 15% to 150%.” There are many forms of digital signage, from in-store video displays to electronic messages and digital posters, menu-boards and billboards.  Options include still images, moving images, streaming messages and short videos.  Business owners can invest in their own digital displays or rent space on established ones.  The beauty of digital advertising is that it doesn’t need to be created, transported and installed.  It also can be changed and adjusted quickly and easily.

Static versus Moving Images

One consideration in developing content for an advertising sign is the pace at which people are moving past it.  If the message takes too long to display, fast-moving viewers such as freeway traffic may only catch a portion of it.  On the other hand, if the sign is located on a road known to contain bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic, the sign will have a daily captive audience.  A digital sign can be adjusted to display a longer message during rush hour, and a shorter message when traffic is moving smoothly.

While a local business marketing plan should include a comprehensive selection of online, print, mobile and social media venues, brick-and-mortar establishments seeking increased foot traffic also need to invest in advertising signs.  Arguably, this form of marketing still provides the best overall ROI in that respect.