Why Invest in a Business Sign?
At Stewart, we understand that the cost of a new sign is a significant investment for your business. As the leading provider to businesses, churches and schools world-wide, we have seen first hand how these signs can positively affect the profitability and financial health of an organization like yours.
The U.S. Small Business Administration states that "For businesses that choose to enhance their signage with an electronic message display, the owners typically see an increase in business of 15% to 150%." 2 Using these statistics and information from your business, the following ROI analysis can be made. Please enter the following information to calculate your return-on-investment using three different perspectives:
Please enter the information above to calculate your sign's return-on-investment.
"The on-premise sign is a permanent asset which, unlike other media, is exclusive to the business it advertises. Also unlike other advertising media, it is on the job 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."
-U.S. Small Business Administration3
"It is not uncommon for a business that is already using a variety of media advertising without an electronic message center to divert some of those advertising dollars to an investment in one of these displays, greatly increasing exposure, business volume and customer acquisition - all without spending any additional revenue."
-U.S. Small Business Administration2
The True Cost of a Sign
A sign is the only advertising medium that your company OWNS; a fixed expenditure on a permanent asset. All other forms of advertising are temporary and a repeated expense. Spread across the lifetime of the sign, an electronic display delivers a much lower cost-per-thousand exposure than other advertising mediums.
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In addition, the advertising landscape has changed drastically in recent years, and this change only continues to accelerate. Traditional forms of marketing are becoming less effective and new forms of advertising are becoming increasingly expensive.
- Newspapers and other periodicals show a continued decline in readership. In a six month period ending in March 2010, overall Sunday circulation dropped 6.5% and weekday circulation dropped 8.7% as compared to the previous year.6
- The number of TV channels have multiplied, shrinking individual channel viewership. In addition, the introduction of DVR technology allows viewers to skip over ads. DVR ownership has nearly tripled in the past three years to over 30 million, and more than half of users skip over ads.7
- Terrestrial radio has declined almost 9% in both listeners and time spent listening, as non-commercial alternatives such as satellite radio and personal music players like the iPod gain more prominence.10
- Internet use is on the rise, but increasing world-wide competition through a handful of channels has caused skyrocketing costs.
"During a two-year study, 165 independent small businesses surveyed between 15 and 30 of their first-time customers or clients to determine what prompted their first visit. In all, 2,475 new customers were surveyed. When asked the question "How did you learn about us?", fifty percent responded that the company's sign was their first exposure to the business. Hence, a business's sign can be estimated to generate between 15 percent and 45 percent of a small firm's revenue."
-U.S. Small Business Administration8
Your Moving Target
America continues to be an extremely mobile society. The average vehicle is driven 220 miles per week, for a total of nearly 3 trillion miles of road traveled per year for the entire country.9 This equates to an average of over 540 hours of drive time per year per driver. These drivers constitute a captive audience to your sign marketing.
In addition, with an average of 18% of households relocating per year, a constant erosion of your established customer base is occurring.1 However, this shift also represents an ongoing opportunity to capture new clientele as they relocate within your trade area. Surveys have shown that over half of new customers were first exposed to a business through the sign.
The Power of the Impulse Stop
Purchases that are a result of an unplanned impulse stop are a critical sales component for most businesses. An Institute of Transportation Engineers report estimates unplanned stops to be 20% to 45% of traffic for many businesses, depending on land use.3"A sign may be observed for later recall or it may prompt an immediate reaction and unplanned stop. The 'impulse' trade is often the difference between profitability and business failure."
-U.S. Small Business Administration3
Business Land Use Traffic that is Impulse Stop Service Station 45% Convenience Market 40% Fast Food Restaurant 40% Small Shopping Center (<100K sq.ft.) 35% Large Shopping Center (>400K sq.ft.) 30% Mid Shopping Center (100K-400K sq.ft) 25% Sit Down Restaurant 25% Discount Club/Warehouse Store 20% Supermarket 20%
Without effective signage, the probability of an impulse stop and purchase is greatly reduced. Also, unlike all other forms of advertising, a business sign is in direct proximity with your business. This allows the impulse to be acted upon with the promise of immediate gratification, either with a physical product or the performance of a service.
The Speed of Business
The ability of your business to react to changing market conditions is a large component of your success. Traditional advertising requires an outlay of money and time for content creation and redistribution each time your message is changed, and can take days, weeks or months to be put into effect.
A sign can be changed on-demand and at no cost to reflect up-to-the-minute conditions. Adjust immediately to competition, reduce perishable or other unwanted inventory, and take advantage of local trends and news.
Image Matters"People often judge a business by how it looks on the sign."
-U.S. Small Business Administration1
Your sign is a reflection of your business. It is the very first impression your business will project; a "salesman on the street" that extends your offerings into the vehicles passing by. The sign's effectiveness is directly related to its visibility, readability and attractiveness. No other single item can enhance the image of your business to more people.
An effective and attractive sign also functions as a tool for branding, increasing the name recognition and awareness of your business to the public. For those drivers that do not convert immediately into a sale, your business name and location are reinforced on every pass.
At Stewart Signs, we are committed to providing your business a maximum return-on-investment for your sign purchase. Contact us to speak with a consultant and develop a plan that incorporates your unique business conditions.
 U.S. Small Business Administration Marketing FAQs
 "Electronic Message Centres (EMCs)" - The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Signage Foundation for Communication Excellence, Inc.
 "SIGNS: Showcasing Your Business on the Street. The Importance of Signage for Your Business" - Prepared for the U.S. Small Business Administration By R. James Claus, Ph.D. and Susan L. Claus.
 Media CPM by Jefferies & Company, Media Dynamics, InterMedia Dimensions and company reports, "Snapshot of the Global Media Landscape", provided to eMarketer, February 2009.
 Audit Bureau of Circulations, Audience-FAX eTrend
 "How DVRs are Changing the Television Landscape", The Neilson Company
 "Commercial Signage and Its Importance to Small Business" SBA, The Small Business Advocate: Vol. 22, No. 2
 "Highway Statistics 2008", Federal Highway Administration
 "Persons Using Radio Report", Arbitron, Inc. Fall 1998-Spring 2007.
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- Coudersport, PA
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