Nowadays many businesses have a website to complement their store or office. Some businesses even rely on their website solely as their business storefront. With a heavy reliance on a website comes a heavy reliance on digital marketing techniques such as SEO, PPC, email marketing, re-marketing and affiliate marketing to drive the relevant users to the website. Does this mean offline marketing has now been superseded by digital marketing? 

We can say that  there is at least one digital channel that can really benefit from display signs and that channel is direct traffic. Broadly speaking, direct traffic is any traffic where the referrer or source is unknown but for the sake of simplicity we can define it as whenever users enter your websites web address directly into the browser, this can be classified as direct traffic. 

But what about the good old fashioned display signs such as billboards, pavement signs, popup stands and poster frames? Have these old fashioned marketing techniques been superseded by marketing techniques of the digital age? Although the other digital marketing techniques are important if your business relies heavily on your website to drive customers, display signs can still be used effectively if you know how and where to place the message. 

The message, design, colour and placement of display signs is an art itself and very much depends on the type of industry your business is in. For example, a law firm may have a display stand in their reception showing the range of services they provide and a cafe may have pavement signs showing the types of coffees they sell and the prices. Display signs are most effective for walk in businesses such as retail shops, restaurants and cafes as these encourage unplanned impulse stops. Businesses that sell food can serve anyone and people are more likely to stop by and purchase something if they see something they like being displayed on display signs. 

Another great use of display signs is brand awareness and this can be applicable for all industries from office based law firms, accounting firms, marketing agencies, restaurants, gyms, the list goes on. Perhaps one of the most visible and effective display signs is the billboard. Billboards can be either digital or the traditional paper. For many smaller businesses, traditional billboards are the only cost effective option. Other factors that affect the price includes the artwork, the length of time the billboard is being displayed, the location and the size.   

For many businesses, displaying a billboard in the high street gives it’s website a major boost in traffic as well as implant the brands image in people’s mind. Given the fact that the cost of putting up a billboard for a fortnight is anything from a few hundred pounds to over a thousand pounds, for businesses with a marketing budget in the region of several thousand pounds, this may be a viable option to raise awareness of the brand. 

Aside from billboards, other effective display signs include wall mounted poster frames which are great for places such as train stations, metro stations, shopping centres as well as inside shops and offices. These signs are ideal for promoting a special offer, a new product or service when placed strategically. The pavement sign is also another effective tool to be placed outside a shop or in shopping malls. Like the billboard, the aim of the pavement sign is to advertise to a wide range of audience. But because of it’s small surface area like the poster frame, focusing on special offers or specific products or services will be more effective.

When it comes to display signs, the wider the target audience, the more effective it will be. This is due to the fact that unlike digital marketing techniques, display signs as with other types of offline marketing, have very limited targeting. Therefore, the wider the audience your products or services cater for, the more effective the display signs will be. Food and drink businesses, consumer items, travel agents, insurance companies tend to benefit more from display signs than specialised services such as solicitors,accountants and software companies as these are more on a per need basis so therefore not a good idea to advertise to a wide range of audience. But any business regardless of whether they have a website or not, can benefit from display signs from brand awareness or promoting a specific product or special offer. Display signs may be particularly important for startups as it helps increase brand awareness and get those important initial website traffic and allow the business to build a database of existing customers. 

With the exception of TV ads, display signs are probably the most effective form of brand building and also the most cost effective. By having your billboard, pavement sign or poster frame placed on the right location, it will be exposed to many thousands of potential customers over a period of a week and some of these potential customers will buy from you.