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10 Tips For Better Digital Signage Call To Actions

Do you want to make future-proofed connections with your customers? Get them to come back for more, and tell their friends too? Then you need this guide…

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Digital signs today are a different animal than what some of us grew up seeing. Screens are a gateway into a digital world that customers are as used to as they were a bricks-and-mortar store 50 years ago. At ScreenCloud, we believe in making digital signage simple but also in making it work hard. Because if you’re going to invest the time and money into creating beautiful screen displays, why not also make them a key sales tool and reason for your customers and clients to come back?

An effective call to action tells your customer exactly what you want them to do next and let’s be honest, we all welcome a little direction. It sends customers to your website or a social media site and reminds them of an upcoming event or incentive. Even within B2B offices and reception setups, a sweet call to action could provide clients with something to take away with them. Perhaps a special discount for the deli around the corner, or a video that will help them at a later date.

With that in mind, here are 10 of our top tips for creating tried and tested digital signage calls to action on your screens.

1. Audience

Like a good suit, digital success is all in the tailoring. Just like you would on your website, you need to think about the audience receiving your digital signage displays. Just the other week, I visited a favorite store during the holidays when it was packed out with children and teens. The store digital signage displays were advertising a special discount that the customer could claim on their next purchase of beer. Very nice of course, except that half the patrons in the store at that time weren’t old enough to claim it!

Calls to action need to be tailored as closely as possible for the audience that’s in your store or business at that very moment. It’s why we’ve implemented schedules and playlists in our ScreenCloud Signage app that allow you to change-up what you show, dependent on time or day of week. Which leads us on to….

2. Time of day

As well as thinking about your audience you need to consider how your call to action serves that hour of the day. When a customer visits first thing in the morning, their mind is likely fixed on the work day ahead. Asking them to fill in a survey or report back on their experience probably isn’t the most effective use of your CTA.

Fixating on time of day will help you determine how much the call to action should ask of your customer. For example, if they’re going to work or school, they could check out your Twitter feed along the way. If it’s the weekend or evening, perhaps they might be open to providing a testimonial or claiming a discount code.

3. Purpose

An underrated question is: what purpose does this call to action serve? It’s all very well ticking the box, but if it doesn’t have a higher purpose you may as well swap it out for a picture of Donald Trump for all the good it will do.

Secondly, the purpose should be to serve the customer and make their experience better. For example, if you’re announcing an event, you can show them where to find the online events calendar. If you’re asking for feedback, make sure you offer a sweetener such as a discount code or free gift.

The main caveat being: give your call to action a purpose that serves the customer foremost and you second. That way, they’ll be much more likely to oblige.

4. Communication

How you communicate your call to action will have a huge influence on how many people actually do it. Limited time offers are seriously compelling. As are action verbs such as ‘go here’, ‘visit today’ and so on. Effectively communicate what you want your audience to do and when.

How to communicate your message in terms of colour and styling will also play a part. Use these six tips to create call to action slides and images that are perfectly positioned and optimized in layout and colour.

5. Wording

Keep the wording of any calls to action simple and engaging to avoid fatiguing overstimulated shoppers.

Avoid jargon or language idiosyncrasies at this stage. A good base is to use the Flesch–Kincaid grade level test to determine how accessible your wording is using a tool such as readability score. Basically, if an 11th-grader can read it, you’re good to go!

6. Visibility

Now don’t laugh, but as digital signage connoisseurs you’d be surprised at how often we see a great screen and great call to action, hidden behind a clothes rail or hanging sign. If your customers can’t see your beautiful call to action, unfortunately they can’t action it. Creating visibility of your signs by tweaking the positioning or set up of screens is key.

Make your call to action visible within the page as well. Employ bold and contrasting colours and fill the background with white space to make it pop. Keep it short and visible and make the font large enough to view from a distance.

Better visibility = more action.

7. Urgency

Trigger words such as ‘money’, ‘win’, ‘save’ and ‘now’ evoke a need and can draw more attention from your audience. Create a sense of urgency through language and also the offering. If you only have a promotion code available for the next 50 shoppers, say so! If your event is in five days time, use a clock to show the time trickling away.

Once your customer or client steps outside the front doors, their mind is already being pulled in eight different directions. Use urgency within your language to entice them to act in the moment - before they forget.

8. Next steps

Think about how easy your next steps are to complete. If you want to direct viewers to a unique URL that might be difficult to remember, use a URL shortener such as to make it memorable.

This is why Twitter handles have been so effective at taking a real-world conversation and putting it online. At a maximum of 16 characters, a Twitter handle is easy to remember and connect with.

To make your calls to action just as easy, use further directives that help your customers out. Instruct them to take a picture of the screen to refer back to at a later date, or make a promotional code something memorable like ‘Monday’ or ‘Christmas’.

9. The action

Once you’ve compelled your customer to act, give a little thought to how the action ties back into the overall experience. Bricks-and-mortar advertising and digital signage displays can potentially be difficult to track. This becomes a problem later down the line when you’re trying to sell your customer the exact product they just bought.

There are clever ways around this, they simply need a little additional support and data crunching. For example, asking customers to text a number on screen to receive a discount code will give you a time log that can be cross-referenced with any purchases made in store.

If you want to entice customers to grab a copy of a new brochure, or enquire about a special event, direct them to a sales member who can capture the conversation and any follow up details.

The action you want your customer to take is just as important as the ones that come after it. 

10. Reward

When it comes to providing brands and businesses with personal details and data, us humans are rarely motivated by good intention alone. If you’re asking your customer to do something for you, make sure it has something for them at the end of it.

Rewards can be as simple as saying you will follow back if they follow you on Twitter or as high-profile as a free session or product. Rewards are rarely about financial value, instead they’re about making your customer feel as though you appreciate their time and effort.

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