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A Marketer's Guide To Simple Digital Signage

Are you a marketer who's been given screens to fill? Here we guide you through simple digital signage, what it is, when to use it and how to optimise for success.

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The job span of a marketer is vast. More recently, marketers are finding the gulf of their workload opening up between digital and traditional marketing channels, both on and offline. Every day seems to come with a host of new tasks. From social media and SEO, to event campaigns and ‘is that really part of my job spec’, the list can go on and on. 

Digital signage is increasingly becoming one of them. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, perhaps you will recognize a few of these scenarios:

  1. The office is under a spruce up and suddenly you’ve been tasked with keeping the design ‘on brand’ - including the screen content in the foyer
  2. Your CEO has decided that exhibiting at a tradeshow is an excellent idea - now it’s down to you to sort everything from the booth design to the content that goes up on the screens
  3. Your team are working on a big pitch for a key investor in your board room - the slide deck? It’s all yours

To help you navigate this seemingly difficult (we promise it’s not) and previously unknown stretch of responsibility we’ve put together this short guide on digital signage. From choosing the right type of digital signage, through to easy digital signage templates for your screens and optimizing the content you present for success. 

What is Digital Signage?

We’re all about nutshells at ScreenCloud so in one of them: Digital signage (occasionally called dynamic signage) is when you display video or multimedia content in public places for information, advertising or selling. All of the scenarios mentioned above make use of digital signage. It’s everything from the screens showing clothes and model displays in Hollister, through to the billboards on top of taxis and the rotating messages you see in airport lounges. 

Why is Digital Signage so important?

According to Jim Freeman at the Telegraph Media Group, in 1970 the average person saw 500 marketing messages a day. In 2016 they see 7,000 marketing messages a day. While not all will appear in digital signage form, many of them will. 63% of people report that digital signage catches their attention, that’s significantly higher than TV, internet and billboard advertising.

In a multi-screen world where we’re vying for customer attention over mobile, social media, TV and more, digital signage could be your quick win way into their hearts. 

Where to start with your simple Digital Signage display

Herein lies the traditional problem with digital signage. Many marketers are stumped when it comes to what to put on their screens, often reverting to a company video or showreel that isn’t always the most effective use of eyeball space.

Our efforts at ScreenCloud are to help marketers (and any other screen mavericks) do more with the simple, cheap tools available to them. Here are a few questions we find useful when thinking about the setup and use of your digital signage screens:

Who is your audience?

The type of content displays you show on screens need to be tailored to your audience. This will depend on location and access. For example, if your job is to manage the screen content for your office foyer, the content could be exposed to anyone from the postman through to potential employees, clients and company stakeholders. Perhaps this content is slightly more generalized - a great introduction to your company, news and updates on your latest product or a really excellent image or video showreel from the previous month. If you’re managing the screen content on site at an event, your audience is likely to be made up solely of potential clients and perhaps the odd competitor. This is where the content can be much more tailored, for example providing discount codes specific to the event or highlights from the day before. Or even a live feed of selfies taken on your stand the day prior, giving your audience a reason to return!

Personalization is key when it comes to creating content specifically for your audience - just like you would on a landing page, email campaign or social media update. 

What time of day is it?

This is where simple digital signage software really earns its bacon. The type of content you show should be tailored to specific days, holidays and real-time events. For example, if your screens go up in a store space within a busy city the audience you’re likely to see on a Monday will be very different to the audience you’re likely to see at the weekend. Perhaps at the beginning of the week the screen is informative - here’s where you’ll find our pants, socks and payment desks. As you reach the weekend perhaps it’s more family orientated, showing the discount and deals a parent might be interested in for their children. When Paris Fashion Week arrives, perhaps you want live updates from the shows of the designers you stock. Or when there’s a freak snow blast in March, perhaps you flag the coats and scarves you still have in store. Even with B2B audiences, the content should be tailored to season, time of day and date, allowing you to reach your customer in the right mindset and moment.

How long will they be watching your content?

Imagine you have an important client waiting in reception for your CEO, who’s running late. How many times would they be subject to the same two-minute video clip playing over and over again? Make the most of every minute! Create a playlist that mixes up client testimonials, image galleries, social media feeds and ‘how to’ videos on your latest product or service. The more content you can provide, the more likely your audience is to resonate and find something of interest. If you know your screens are only going to be viewed for a fleeting second - for example, in a shop front or restaurant window, then focus on one key message and absolute clarity. Perhaps an image that compiles a discount code, one of your tastiest meals and a quote on how great your food is. Then sit back and wait for your customers to claim an impulsive lunch!

What action do you want them to take?

Many simple digital signage displays will focus on brand recognition and awareness. But perhaps you also want your audience to take an action from seeing your content. A simple call to action on screen could direct potential clients and audiences to a web page, social media feed or even a mailing list sign up. 

Creating a simple Digital Signage marketing strategy

Once you’ve answered the questions above on who your audience is and what they want to see, it’s time for the fun part! Creating your simple Digital Signage marketing strategy. This is where you pull together all of your great content, apps and data ready for a shiny new display. Here are some ideas on the type of content you could showcase:

Web apps

Something we love saying at ScreenCloud, is that if it works in Google Chrome, it works on our digital signage software platform. So your news aggregators, Google docs, social media scheduling tools and social help desks are all up for grabs on your digital signage screen. This is something that your in-house web developer will easily be able to create for you and there are many interesting uses for web apps that could turn your dumb screens into pulsating dashboards. For example, an energy app that allows you to visualize your energy output and compare it to previous years will be a great tool for showing off the level of sustainability your company is working towards. Or a customized data dashboard that correlates the sale of your dresses against the sale of ice creams in the summer months may be a quirky tool to entertain your customers.

Videos and images

If your work is pretty or your product slick, then perhaps you do want to showcase a simple image or video showreel. One thing ScreenCloud does is allow you to drag and drop different images and videos into a playlist system, allowing you to rotate your key visual content. Just remember the key points above and ensure that your content is timely, reactive and relevant!

Live data

Perhaps you have an impressive Google Analytics board, where thousands of visitors can be on your website at any moment. Or, a customisable CRM that allows you to pull up the excellent customer service support going on with your customers at any given time. Let’s get even more creative and say that you have van trackers that can pinpoint where your hundreds of delivery drivers are to plot on a realtime map for your customers to view. The power of live data captures attention and brings your customers into the real-time moment of where you are and what you’re achieving. 

Traditional documents and presentations

Sometimes only a powerpoint will do, we get it. If you really do have an amazing slide deck or spreadsheet that you need to share with your customers then by all means, go for it. Our one piece of advice is to allow your document or presentation work harder by telling a story. Storytelling in digital signage helps to engage your audience and create a fleeting moment of interest, as well as giving them a story to take away and tell their friends/colleagues/family about. Perhaps you want to share your company’s social message about the real reason you do what you do, through a series of slides or images. Or perhaps you want to recognize the ‘unsung’ heros of your organisation, the Marys and the Keiths who work day in day out, to get your brand’s deliveries out on time. Some great, free tools we recommend to create picturesque documents and presentations to share include Google Slides (like PowerPoint but online), Canva and PicMonkey

Social media feeds

Social media is a hotpoint for growing generations and can be guaranteed to catch the eye of your audience - they’re used to staring at their own social media feeds after all. A live Twitter feed may stop their eye for a moment, but it’s also super simple to setup your own, customized social media display. We use a little tool called Zoomph, which pulls the tweets and updates from your customers front and center. Providing excellent social proof to any lingering clients, while updating in ‘real time’ to the trends and events going on within that moment. 

Reach out with ScreenCloud

We believe that if something is easy, people will do it. Screens and displays are hungry for great content - as are your audiences. All of the ideas and content forms above can be managed with ScreenCloud’s simple Digital Signage software - in one simple, online interface that can be updated in real-time and managed from anywhere. Our ScreenCloud signage platform allows you to create playlists of content and schedule different content to show at different times. Drag and drop your files and we’ll help optimize them for your screens. 

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