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It's hard to beat a sign for value

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One of the remarkable things about signs as an advertising medium is their longevity. If made with quality materials, a sign can last a long time—often longer than the business itself. That’s not something that can be said about most other types of advertising.

Online ads disappear in seconds as you click off the page. Radio and TV ads are just as fleeting. The newspaper gets thumbed through and goes out with the day’s trash.

Not so with a sign. It’s out there day and night, doing its job year after year.

It’s something most customers never consider. Most think of the cost of a sign as whatever they have to write the check for that day. They don’t spread the cost over the life of the sign, which can bring it down to dimes per day.

Randy Carvell of Graphic Services, Manassas, Virginia, shared some great examples

of the long-term value of signage in these signs that were produced for businesses at Snowshoe Mountain Resort—some of which are over 13 years old. Gary Godby did the designs, and Randy helped produce most of them.

“It’s amazing how well a sign will hold up,” says Randy, “especially considering 

the harsh environment up in the mountains of West Virginia. The winters are really cold and summers are hot. We used HDU and PVC to build most of these, and finished them with Matthews paints [www.matthewspaint.com]. PVC expands and contracts quite a bit, but the paint stays put. If you use quality materials, a sign can last for years.”

So the task is to help customers realize that this longevity makes their sign an investment rather than an expense. How can you do that quickly during the sales process?

Start by talking about the sign as advertising. It will shift the focus away from 

the sign being just letters on a board. Explain that the goal is for the sign to generate sales and give their customers an accurate picture of their service or products.

Tell them the estimated life of the type of sign they are considering. Give a round number price of such a sign, then show what that sign would cost per year, month or even day. (This is a great time to watch for their reaction and get a sense for their budget.) Point out that spending a little more to give the sign more impact can pay off in added advertising value that lasts for years.

Talk about the quality of the materials you’ll use to help maximize the value 

of their sign. Explain that there are materials that cost less but won’t last as long—even though the sign would look the same to them at first, the long-term durability would suffer.

Clients, of course, usually often see their sign just as an expense, like paying for a repair or a store fixture, rather than advertising. It’s up to sign people to help them see it differently. As Mike Meyer [Mike Meyer Signs, Mazeppa, Minnesota] often tells customers, “You’ll make more on this sign than I will.”

--You'll find more examples in the Sep/Oct issue of SignCraft Magazine.

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