EPISODE 117 |Guest: Debbie DeWitt, marketing communications manager for Visix
The case has certainly been made for businesses needing digital signage, but what, specifically, can and should you put on your screens? In this episode, we give you a quick guide with 14 digital signage benefits and content ideas in just over 15 minutes.
Whether you have a digital signage system or are considering one, these tips will help you understand how digital signage can better engage your audience with dynamic visual communications.
- Hear how digital signage can actually save you time
- Explore realtime metrics and event schedules that auto-update
- Discover ideas for improving space management
- Understand why the visitor experience is everything these days
- Learn how your digital signs can become a source of revenue
For a wrap up of these quick tips, download our infographic: 14 Things Digital Signage Can Do For You
Derek DeWitt: We’ve already done a podcast episode on why your business needs digital signage, talking about the benefits and how it can boost employee engagement. But you still may have questions, like what do you put, exactly, on your screens? To talk with me about that today with 14 content ideas for business digital signage, I’m here with Debbie DeWitt, marketing communications manager for Visix. Hi, Deb.
Debbie DeWitt: Hi, Derek.
Derek DeWitt: So, you have a list. I know how much you like lists. You’re very excited, aren’t you?
Debbie DeWitt: I’m very excited. I love lists!
Derek DeWitt: She loves lists. Thank you, Debbie, for talking to me today and bringing her list. And thank you everybody out there for listening to this episode of Digital Signage Done Right. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to this podcast, and you can follow along with the transcript, which is on the Visix website. Just go to the webpage on the Visix website under resources for this podcast episode.
Okay, 14. That’s a healthy number. What, you wanna like, I’ll read some, you read some?
Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, let’s alternate. Keep it interesting.
Derek DeWitt: Yeah, keep it interesting.
Debbie DeWitt: Mix it up.
Derek DeWitt: Mix it up! Okay, so what’s number one?
Debbie DeWitt: Number one, reach more people. People are used to looking at screens to get their info. Digital signs are modern and dynamic, so they draw more attention than your email or a website. You gotta get those people off their phones, looking at your walls, looking at your screens. And more attention means more information’s getting through. And also, people tend to remember visual communications more than print or email.
Derek DeWitt: Yeah, that’s true, that’s interesting. And like I mentioned before, we’ll call this number two, it’s greener. It just is. You’re not printing stuff, so you’re saving all those resources, you’re eliminating that waste. It’s also, honestly, it’s just cheaper when all’s said and done. You don’t have to keep going out and buying paper and, god knows, ink is incredibly expensive.
Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. And definitely over time you see those costs just go down.
Derek DeWitt: Yeah. Yeah, that’s for sure. And I think younger people today, especially, I mean even older people, I personally am all for social responsibility and…
Debbie DeWitt: Super old people then.
Derek DeWitt: But you know, you wanna be able to reduce that carbon footprint whenever possible. I mean, why not reduce the carbon footprint? Is there a good argument for not doing it?
Debbie DeWitt: No, there isn’t. There isn’t.
So, number three is business digital signage can save you time. You know, like I mentioned, it’s a central app, one person can manage it. Or you can have a team do it. You can basically set up approval processes, so that people can submit and then your manager can say yes or no. You schedule a message one time, you can schedule it across multiple playlists in a few clicks, and your visual messages don’t require graphic designers, since most of these things use templates. So that’s really quick and you know, they retire automatically.
Derek DeWitt: You can also, four, unify your communications. What we mean by this is you’re kind of unifying your brand, your mission, and your messaging all across the entire organization regardless of how far flung the little endpoints are. And it’s all managed from this central content management system or CMS. One person can control it all, create and manage the messages, or you can have multiple people do it or teams of people. It doesn’t really matter.
Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. Just like it’s saving time. It’s also that you’ve kind of got a good watchful eye, usually like your communications manager or somebody, taking a look at what’s going out.
Derek DeWitt: Right.
Debbie DeWitt: So on that same thing, number five is targeting different audiences from one system. This is the localization we were talking about. You choose where you want your messages to show up right down to the individual screen. And this lets you talk to different areas of your business, so the content is always relevant to your audience. You know, that’s what’s really important. You gotta show something they care about.
The great news is if you’re localizing, what we see a lot of people do is, you know, you were talking about, say there’s a D.C. office and a Seattle office. Well, Seattle can show local news, local events, things like that. But HQ off in D.C. can also put their communications in that playlist. So everybody, again, is getting the top down communications, but also stuff that they care about locally.
Derek DeWitt: Sure. That makes sense.
Six is automating sort of commonplace or everyday info. You don’t have to create all of the content. Everybody wants to know the date. I constantly forget it. Everybody wants to maybe know the traffic, the weather forecast, things like this. All of this kind of stuff can be pulled in.
Debbie DeWitt: Social media.
Derek DeWitt: Social feeds can be pulled in. There’s a lot. In fact, more and more stuff can be sort of brought in. You could have a digital signage deployment, honestly, that is primarily automated information, and it would be just as interesting or valuable to your audience. Kind of saves them time. And the great thing about automated content is you just set it up once, and then you just sit back and make an extra cup of coffee ’cause it’s all being done for you.
Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. It’s just pointing to a URL. You know, these are just subscription feeds. And they’re really affordable. And like you said, especially if you’re just starting out with a system, going with these kind of automated things really lets you get your feet wet with the system, learn all the templates, learn what you can do with it. But you’ll already have stuff on screens. People are already starting to tune in. So, that’s a big advantage.
One of the feeds, one of our most popular feeds actually, is health and safety and wellness notices. So that’s number seven. You can support your safety, health and wellness initiatives. You can also show, like, safety tips, health and wellness reminders. We’ve got things like today’s pollen count. You know, when you’ve got allergies, it’s important. You wanna know that. You know, heat indexes ’cause, you know, sometimes you look at the weather and it says, oh, it’s this temperature, but it actually feels 20 degrees hotter. So, it’s things like that.
Derek DeWitt: Or colder.
Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, exactly.
Derek DeWitt: In, you know, Wisconsin.
Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. And a lot of, like, health tips, which is really nice. It’s motivating. It’s not, you know, directly tied to work, which is nice to put in some fun stuff in there. And today’s workforce kind of wants to know you’re watching out for them as people, not just as workers.
Derek DeWitt: Sure.
Now having said that, eight, you can also show very, very important work-related stuff like KPIs, which are key performance indicators and realtime metrics. Very often, a good way to do this is, not throw up a bunch of texts, but turn them into data visualizations that kind of show progress towards goals. We’ve seen this a million times with charity drives and things like this. The same sort of thing. It’s very motivating. You figure it out at a glance. Even if you don’t know, if you’re not reading the text, you see a ball and the ball is half full, you go, oh, that ball’s only half full. And then maybe you clue in and go, what does the ball represent? Oh that’s my department! I’d better maybe work a little harder, ’cause we’re way behind.
Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. We all wanna know where we are in relationship to a goal. Like that. It’s, it’s a huge motivator. If you just put a goal out there and then wait until the end of whatever the time period to see if you met it, it’s not as motivating as showing progress.
Derek DeWitt: Yeah, for sure. And it kind of reminds people of the goal to begin with. You know, it’s very easy to forget. And you know, the thing is, you’re pulling in this, you’re gonna be entering a lot of this information anyway in some kind of outside app like, uh, Excel or JSON or XML or whatever. So, you just enter it in there. The digital signage system pulls from that data source and, again, it’s automatic.
Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. And a lot of other apps you might be using, other business operations apps, will actually export as XML or JSON. So again, like you said, you can just pull it in that way.
So, along with us talking about progress to goals, when someone does meet a goal, you need to share some kudos and some recognition.
Derek DeWitt: Good job!
Debbie DeWitt: So that’s number nine. It’s another huge motivator. People like to be thanked, they like to be recognized and they like it even more, usually, when it’s up on the big screen, so their peers also see it. This is actually a very big with younger workers today. They really want peer visible recognition. And it helps people feel included and lets ’em know, management sees, hey, we see what you’re doing, and we really appreciate that effort.
Derek DeWitt: Right.
10 is improving space management. Like you said, some digital signs are meeting room signs or something like that. Event schedules are, far and away, the number one thing that people put up there besides things like the weather and the time and things like this. So, showing that obviously on the screens helps people remember. ‘Cause, you know, you forget. You read the email, you go, oh yeah, yeah, room 14XB on the third floor at three o’clock. And then, you know, you got other stuff going on, you forget. So, there it is! As the meeting is approaching, the reminder is up on the digital signs and you go, oh, that right, yeah, yeah, that’s great. It kind of saves me steps. Again, like with other metrics and things like this, you’re pulling in automatically from your calendar app. So again, it’s automated.
When it comes to meeting room signs, they’re actually outside the meeting rooms. And so people can, so let’s say I finish a meeting and then during that meeting we realize, you know, we’re gonna have to have another meeting. I can just use the meeting room sign right there next to the door on the wall and book the room for that next meeting.
Debbie DeWitt: Well, actually you can extend a meeting. So, if you’re in a meeting, you can actually just walk out and extend it if the room’s available. And what’s really nice, like you’re saying, if you’re looking for a place to meet, you know they have red and green lights on the side, so you just glance down a hallway of 20 rooms, and you can see one of them is green. You go, great guys, let’s go in there.
Derek DeWitt: Quick, quick get in there before somebody else does. Quick, quick. And then you have the wireless E-ink signs, which are great for hybrid spaces or office hoteling, which don’t even, do they even need a hard connection? They don’t.
Debbie DeWitt: Nope. No. It runs on RF and they’re wireless. They’re battery operated. You know, it’s basically, imagine a small Kindle, something like that. But you can just put it next to a desk or outside a meeting room, anything like that. There are a bunch of different sizes and you can check that out. I’ll put a link in this transcript for where you can go look at ’em.
Derek DeWitt: Nice.
Debbie DeWitt: So, number 11 is improving the customer experience. So if you do have a showroom or a storefront, you can easily advertise new products and services. You know, limited time offers, special promotions, loyalty programs, anything you’d normally do as a retailer, obviously you can do that on your big screens. Even if you don’t have a huge storefront or retail arm, a simple welcome message when your clients visit your office still improves the customer experience.
Derek DeWitt: So, we talk about customer experience, but you also in some kinds of organizations or facilities, you might have visitors instead of customers. And that comes to number 12, improving the visitor experience. By this, I mean people who are coming to the facility but not to buy something; they’re there for meetings, they’re there for a number of different reasons.
So, obviously things like directories and interactive wayfinding, either on touchscreens or on info kiosks. This reduces the burden on staff, so they don’t have to, you know, excuse me, can I, could you tell me where…? They can find the information on their own. And honestly, I think people appreciate that. You know, we’re all used to getting information all by our lonesomes now, and I think it just makes us feel like, yeah, okay, thanks for facilitating that for me, organization. They get to do it in their own way. Look at whatever information they want or need at their own pace.
Of course, if you don’t have touchscreens, and we’re not saying you have to have them, you can use regular displays and you can even sometimes pair them with a microphone and a little software widget in there that offers a voice user interface. This turns any digital sign, no matter what kind, into an interactive one using voice commands instead of touching a screen.
Debbie DeWitt: Yeah. And another very simple way, if you don’t even have the infrastructure to do microphones, is you can put a QR tag on there, you know, for your visitors. If you’ve got like wayfinding maps, and as we said, it’s usually the larger companies that would be doing this, but you know, they can take it with them. Whatever it was that was on that touchscreen, they can just download the map or get turn-by-turn directions on their phone with a QR tag.
Derek DeWitt: Sure.
Debbie DeWitt: So, more on the visitor experience, number 13 is reducing wait times. So, certainly if you’ve got any kind of a queuing system on your campus, your corporate campus, in your business, anywhere that people are waiting, you can use a queuing system and you can show queuing data on digital signs. If people know where you’re at in the queue, where they’re at and about how long they’ve got to wait, it definitely reduces perceived wait times. And you know, that again improves the visitor experience.
Derek DeWitt: And number 14, you can actually get revenue through your digital signs. Yes, it’s true. You can sell ad space to vendors who are nearby or industry associations or partners. You can kind of tie your business into the local community in that way. It adds more value for visitors, and it kind of turns your business digital signage into a profit center. I mean, you’re not, you know, it’s not gonna change the whole bottom line, but it’s still, it’s money.
Debbie DeWitt: Well, there’s that and a lot of people, what I’ve seen happens, especially again, if you’ve got a corporate campus near, let’s say, a row of cafés , they’ll actually give them a special coupon code or something for their screens to try and entice those people from that business into their business. So yeah, no, even selling a little bit of ad space is still gonna offset the cost of the system.
Derek DeWitt: That was 14 different things you can do with business digital signage. But honestly there’s a lot more you can do. We could make a much longer list.
Debbie DeWitt: Yeah, absolutely. I mean those are kind of being put into the benefit categories. But you know, in addition to that, there’s just your general messaging. You know, you can post important HR announcements and deadlines. You wanna celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries. You can use games or contests, promote training and professional development, remind workers about benefits and perks. I mean the list goes on and on. And you know, as you use the system more, you’ll figure out what content works best for you.
Derek DeWitt: So, there you have it. Lots and lots of ideas for business digital signage content. If you want still more ideas ’cause you’re hungry for ideas, you can download our free Masterclass guide for digital signage content from the resources section of Visix.com. And also under resources, there are some of the other things that were mentioned earlier.
Well, I’d like to thank my guest today, Debbie DeWitt, marketing communications manager for Visix, for talking to me today about business digital signage content. Thanks, Deb!
Debbie DeWitt: You’re very welcome!
Derek DeWitt: And thank you everybody out there for listening to this episode of Digital Signage Done Right.