A digital signage solution can sometimes represent a hefty financial outlay, but the cost of digital signage can be offset by its income potential. Whether you have corporate digital signage, digital signage for education, government digital signage, hospitality signage, or whatever, your messages can not only end up paying for the whole deployment, but actually become a regular source of income for your organization.
1. Monetize Your Screens
Strategic partnerships with local business is a straightforward way to see some revenue. The idea is simple – you advertise their products and services on your screens, and they pay you for the exposure.
However, you want to make sure that what they offer appeals to your viewers. It might be an obvious fit, like a local coffee shop near a university campus, or a quick and affordable lunch option near a corporate hub. Or ads might need a little more tweaking to fit in with your audience. For example, it may seem like there’s no point in partnering with a local car dealership if you’re a K-12 school, since kids don’t drive. But staff and parents do, and so do older students who get their driving permit. Adults will be looking for larger vehicles that can fit a whole family, gets good mileage, and has a reasonable payment schedule. Teenage drivers will be looking for deals, probably used cars, they can use to get to school and events. Tailoring ads to those specific audiences might be beneficial to local car dealers.
You can show one-off static ads that are displayed in your regular playlist rotation for one price. For a bit more, you can show short video commercials. You can offer long-term campaigns, daily or short-term specials, or even branded screen layouts. If you have the capability, you can even make the ads for your local partners (for example, you are a school with AV students who could use some hands-on practice). Even if they make their own ads, you want to ensure that those ads fit in with your overall look and design specs. Creating templates for partners can streamline the whole process while ensuring design standards remain consistent.
You also know when traffic is highest at certain digital signs, and might have a sliding price scale accordingly – higher visibility signs cost a bit more, as does displaying an ad during peak traffic times. Some offers can even be specifically targeted to certain times of the day – a nearby place that offers a sandwich and drink lunch special is likely to see more success with an ad run between 11am and 1pm than, say, at 4pm. Digital signage is known to drive impulse buys (19% of consumers say they’ve made unplanned purchases of products they’ve seen advertised digitally). And digital ads are 34% more effective than traditional ones.
You can also use your digital signage to promote services and products that you offer on site – the company or school cafeteria, bookshops, gift shops, restaurants, you name it. Targeting certain areas at times of the day that make sense will result in increased traffic to these venues. And yes, you can charge a small fee to those venues as well.
Using specific, targeted codes can help both you and your advertising partners track the success of digital signage ads, and so can special loyalty programs just for your audience.
Charging for advertising space on your signs is a straightforward way to increase revenue and offset set-up and maintenance costs. But there are intangibles to consider as well.
2. Inform and Educate
People today love information – the more the better. Your digital signage can not only tell people what products and services are available, but go deeper. Where does the café get its gluten-free cheesecake from? Why are fair trade products a good idea? Why is this 401k better than that one?
When you give people more than they expect, they like it. Info-junkies love it, and people that don’t really care that much about the specifics (“I just need a cup of coffee because I have a meeting in 20 minutes”) will still see that you have done your homework and remember that. They might not care the first time they see the messages, but with repeated exposure, they might start to. You can even change behavior and nudge people to prefer one thing over another, simply by using your digital signs effectively.
Interactive displays let you make even more information available, with the added bonus that people can decide how much information they want on a given topic. You can also tie in wayfinding to make it easy to find the things you have just convinced them they want.
3. Turn Them into Cheerleaders
Include messages that encourage people to actively interact with what you offer them, and with your organization. Ask them to leave reviews on websites or social media pages, take pictures and share them, invite others to participate, etc. If they like what you do, and how you do it, they will become advocates for you and your brand.
Again, interactive displays and kiosks make it easy for people to immediately interact with your other online portals. Having a digital signage app that drives content and connectivity right to their mobile device helps create a close-knit network of interactions that raises your brand’s profile and lets more people know about who you are and what you do. Word of mouth is still the greatest form of promotion – get people talking about you, even if it’s online.
4. Save Money in the Long Run
Once you have paid for a digital signage system, the only upkeep costs are hardware and software maintenance and updates, and electricity. No more money spent on printing things which then have to be disposed of, plus the work-hours involved in putting up and later taking down those signs, posters and flyers.
Not to mention that digital messages are easy to update – details change, or you repeat a promotion or initiative. With a cloud-based system, you can literally update messages from any web-connected device. Imagine how easy it is to walk past one of your digital screens, see a message, realize that something needs to be changed, whip out your smartphone, log in, make the change, schedule it, and watch as the new information immediately goes up on your displays. What once took hours now takes only moments.
Advances in technology make hardware better all the time. In fact, a study from a few years ago found that LED signs cost less than 10% per 10000 impressions than any other form of advertising.
5. Streamline Your Signage
Real-time metrics can give you accurate information about who is doing what, when and how. Some touchscreens allow you to know exactly how many interactions there were on the screen, which areas and buttons were pushed most, etc. This is invaluable information that allows you to constantly tweak and improve your digital signage offering.
Having effective calls to action also lets you track exactly how effective particular messages are, so you can repeat successful messages and campaigns, and improve ones that don’t perform as well.
Once you look at everything a digital signage system has to offer, from ways to actually make money in the short term to long-term savings, brand recognition and loyalty, and the ability to fine-tune your offering, you can see that there really is no other form of communication that reaches as many people as effectively for the cost.