An obvious use of your campus digital signage is to promote events. Whether these are school-sponsored or originate with student groups, everyone wants their happening to be successful. And that means getting people to show up. Well, with a little planning, you can use your digital signage to not only advertise events, but increase participation in them.
Integrate Calendar Apps
First off, you can hook your digital sign software into whatever calendaring system you already use (Exchange, EMS, Google Calendar, CollegeNET, etc.). So, you update the event info in just once place, and your displays show the changes automatically. This saves a huge amount of time. Plus, once the event is over, it just drops off the playlist.
Democratize the Process
Another way to save time is to open source your events. Let student groups, departments, and colleges create and post their own event notices. You just set up your design specifications and policies, and give them access to the system. Provided they follow all the guidelines you have in place, their events get published immediately. If you want more standardization, create a few events templates – people just fill in the blank fields. A good digital signage system that is web-based makes it possible for people to create messages from literally anywhere with an internet connection.
You can bring in the community around your campus as well. If there’s a café a lot of students go to, why not open up your campus digital signage to them? They can offer special discounts for students and staff, and also promote on-campus events their clientele (your students and faculty) might find interesting. You can even charge a small fee for this service – most small businesses will immediately see the value in promoting their goods and services to people at your university, and will have no problem paying a bit. This way, your digital signage system can pay for itself.
Cross-promotion works well within the university as well. If there’s a big football game happening, maybe the book store can sell hats and other gear, or have a special sale on an alumni player’s autobiography; or maybe the student union has episodes of Season 2 of “Friday Night Lights” on offer. If part of the English Lit reading list this year includes Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, maybe the theatre club wants to mount a production of it, and the bookstore has copies of his complete works for a discounted price. Or there’s a podcast discussing Shakespeare’s relevance today that could also be promoted.
These are all ways to get people informed about and interested in your events, with the advantages spilling over into other departments and colleges. But what about afterwards?
Use your digital signage to get feedback on your events, so you can tweak future happenings and make them better. Use QR codes or URLs to point people to online surveys with questions like “Was the play ticket price – too high, just fine, too low” or “How was the podcast’s length, or quality?” Or put your survey right there on an interactive digital sign with the survey beside an events playlist – while people take a minute to answer the questions, they are being exposed to more events that are coming up.
Even during the campaign leading up to the event, there are things you can do to measure ROI. Offer special coupon codes or pass phrases – again using URLs or QR tags – that drive interested people to a unique landing page you’ve created. This lets you immediately track how many people used that code or phrase, and so it tells you how many people saw your event message on digital signs.
You need to offer something substantive, however, to make it worthwhile for your audience. Offer a discount in price, free spirit gear or a welcome drink – something tangible that participants can point to and say “I got this because I used this code”. This encourages others to do the same in the future. For a very small outlay, you can have measurable data on how effective your digital signage promotional efforts have been.