An effective and smart content strategy plays a major role in the success of digital signage.
When the layers of the onion are peeled away, how does one accomplish this task? A plan begins to take form when the end user can answer several questions related to the overall project objective.
Take the time to ask the following 7 questions to all possible team members including IT, marketing, sales, facilities, and any others that may be involved in a portion of the project. It will be surprising how each department may answer the questions differently.
1. What is the objective?
The project objective is one of the most important items to define and should be cautiously defined! Be specific and set tangible goals. If a QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) is considering making the switch to outdoor digital menu boards, one should ask “Why do you want to go digital?” If responses from team members are “Digital menu boards are cool” or “All of our competitors are doing it,” then the road ahead may be tough. Sensible reasons to install digital may include that the signage will help increase the sale of promotional items or deliver messages quickly to customers or travelers. Once the objective is set, how will the company or QSR achieve these goals? Brainstorm various ideas and carefully create a concrete plan of execution.
2. Who is the target audience?
It is imperative to understand and identify the target audience for the digital signage. The target will include demographics, habits, frequency of visits, favorite item to purchase, etc. If the message is not relatable to the desired audience, the message will be lost and, therefore, the digital signage is ineffective. When mapping out a plan with team members, consider asking questions like, “What will grab the attention of the target audience?”
3. Where is the installation?
Consider the environmental variables that exist in an outdoor digital signage installation. Based on the relation of the signage compared to the viewer, the screen, colors, images, and font size for the message can be determined for the project. In addition, ambient light conditions and operating temperatures will affect the type of electronics required for a successful job.
4. How long will the content run?
During development, the content strategy, scheduling, dayparting, frequency, and dwell time are important factors to consider. For example, how often will the content loop in comparison to the frequency of visits by the audience? In a 24-hour day, it may be surprising how fast the time goes by. For example, a transportation authority looping bus schedules, in real time, must ensure important messages, such as traffic delays, are frequently repeated in the signage. Upcoming community events can be on the backburner during high traffic times. It is helpful to determine the content loop with specific times applied to each asset.
5. Who will develop the eye-catching content?
A valued partner will place the project’s success above everything else. Never let the driving force of the solution be based on the initial purchase price. Research a partner that has years of experience and has proven success in deploying successful digital signage. Ask for local store locations where one can see the products working in the field. Understanding the total cost of ownership (initial purchase price and on-going costs), planning for the future, and meeting the company’s original goal will help an end user make an informed decision.
6. Will the content strategy support ad generating revenue?
The ability to defer some of the costs of deploying digital through ad generating revenue can also be very attractive for end users. Consider selling a “spot or 2” to businesses that target the same or similar audience.
7. What is the feedback?
Do not forgot to test and re-test the digital signage! Testing will not only ensure that the hardware and software work together smoothly, but can also determine if the content is effective in delivering the intended message. Simply recruit average people in the target audience and monitor reactions (both positive and negative) to share with the creative team. Evaluating - before deployment - will ensure a more successful launch.
Gain the most potential from digital signage by using it the correct way and taking advice from other companies that have successfully deployed it. Factors such as thermal management and the brightness of the monitors should also be considered before installing digital signage. One misstep in the process can greatly hinder the effectiveness of the signage and end up costing more to right the ship. To create a buzz and boost sales/brand awareness, decision makers must have all of the facts before installation begins.
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