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Digital signage is a great marketing method that many still don’t know about. We all have dead TV screens around us - in our offices, in bars, even at the gym or our local library. The reason most of these screens are dead (or showing boring, generic content) is because the person in charge of them didn’t have the chance to think of a strategy.
Without a digital signage strategy, your content is set adrift and it’s really difficult to know what to show, and when. A strategy also ensures you have regular “checking in” periods so that you don’t agonize over your first batch of content, then once you’ve shown your boss, forget to ever look at it again.
A few other benefits of having a documented digital signage strategy include:
- A solid foundation for great internal communication
- More engagement with your screens
- More user generated content on social media and feedback sites
- More traffic to your website or other owned channels
- Digital signage content that is easier to update and manage
- The ability to track the results of your digital signage
In this guide we’ll help you build out a powerful digital signage marketing strategy.
Top tip: If you’d like a free workbook that takes you through your digital signage marketing strategy, check out our ScreenCloud University course on setting up a digital signage strategy.
1. Set goals
When we don’t have clear goals our digital signage content becomes a hash of everything we have sitting in our company Dropbox.
To avoid this, the first question to ask is: what do you want to accomplish? Common digital signage content objectives could fall into the metrics camp:
- Increase web traffic (send audiences to a specific URL from your signage)
- Sell more products (in the case of restaurant promotions and upselling)
- Increase signups to an event or mailing list
- Gain more social media followers or user generated content
Alternatively, they could drive viewers towards more desirable behavior such as:
- Improved internal communications
- Sales teams to achieve higher target goals
- Ease of wayfinding or room booking processes
- Increase in brand awareness across key verticals or new products
Let’s take an example of this in action. PC and Tablet manufacturer Lenovo needed to increase the awareness of specific products within their physical store locations. To do this, they needed to find a way to get customers interacting with them, to learn who Lenovo are and what they do.
From these goals, Lenovo’s digital signage strategy was twofold. Firstly, they created a digital signage “selfie” wall in store, which setup a series of backgrounds and allowed visitors to use Lenovo’s tablets to take images and push them to social media channels.
First goal achieved; visitors were learning about the products and were helping to spread the word to other potential users across social media.
Secondly, Lenovo ensured that they consistently pushed new messaging to their digital signage screens, updating promotions and providing key product releases. This kept visitors engaged with the brand and its developments, rather than simply pushing the same advertising content over and over again.
The result: a much more engaging digital signage strategy delivered for customers, using goals as the targets through which to define content.
2. Set measurables
When your content is going out on the web, it’s perhaps easier to convince stakeholders of the value and importance of content marketing. You have companies such as Buffer and Kissmetrics who have defined entire business models around their power to draw in people using great content.
With digital signage content, you may still come across those who are skeptical.
This leads to a very important question - how will you measure your goals? Whether it’s by dollar, number, referral, follower count, web sessions, ice cream sales… the metric is your choice. If you can’t think of a concrete way to measure what you’re promoting then you probably aren’t ready to begin implementing it in the first place.
Don’t let this overwhelm you, it’s simple! Set a goal, choose a KPI. Then repeat that until every piece of your content strategy has a start, middle and end.
This doesn’t need to squash your creativity either. Simply adding a unique URL, a promotional code or a call-to-action will help tell visitors what to do (they like that) and will ensure you get your measurables. You can also use Return on Objectives (ROO) if you’re struggling for a tangible metric.
Remember how successful the Coca Cola “Share a Coke” campaign was? They printed names on a bottle and it led to millions of user generated content on social media, uploads of fan images and a real alignment where people began to identify with the drink again.
This is a powerful example of how the right content, with a simple metric such as “get people sharing more” can take affect.
Don’t think creativity is just for B2C either. With a B2B brand you could achieve the same goal by using company polls, dashboards and private social media channels that encourage staff to share more.
3. Position your screen(s)
You may already have a TV monitor that you’d like to utilize, or if you’re adding a new one, think carefully about its positioning. Digital signage screens don’t necessarily have to be in areas of high footfall but its positioning will help you to answer other important questions. For example; how long will visitors be in front of the screen for, or what type of activity will they be undertaking when they get there. Screens in a restaurant queue (where patrons know what they want to eat) would look very different to screens in a restaurant window (where viewers may still be undecided). You also have the internal/external split where the former is likely to be viewed for less than half the time of the latter, so where you position your screens really does make a difference.
4. Define your audience
If you haven’t already, you need to create buyer personas. Hubspot have this great buyer persona guide that can help you dig deep into who your customer is, what their personal goals are and how you can help achieve them.
You can see how one of our digital signage customers has done that for their audience in the diagram below. Mamuska is a Polish restaurant based in London who have made digital signage a core part of their content marketing strategy. By doing this, they are able to connect what’s happening on screen to their core business goals of increasing profitable peaks and enticing new audiences into the restaurant.
From this outline Mamuska has identified:
- Who their core audiences are
- What their typical day looks like
- What their typical day looks like during the week vs the weekend
- What they are interested in at each peak time (breakfast, lunch, dinner etc.)
- What their objectives are for these core groups (encourage them to return more, buy more desserts etc.)
Once you have your audience personas it should be much easier to choose and design content. Which leads us onto….
5. Choose content for your audience
After doing all of the work on your buyer personas it would be silly not to use them to drive content right? There are many different ways to create digital signage content, from social media displays using ScreenCloud’s apps, through to existing content you already have like videos and images and repurposed presentations.
When choosing content it’s important to give things a “sense check” before they get displayed on your digital signage screens. This ensures you cement your digital signage content with your viewer’s behavior. As a viewer, there would be nothing more annoying than being shown an advertising reel, but not being able to find the toilet. Your digital signage content’s primary goal is to help, inform or impress your audience.
If this means creating a display that shows the way to the toilet, cafe or exit between every slide then so be it. The content needs to be interesting but shouldn’t hinder the experience. Basically, it needs to be worth the watcher’s time.
6. Segment your content times
Once you have your content you can segment it in order to create the optimal display for your audience. To work this out you may want to think about:
- What type of audience will be passing by and when?
- Who are my customers and how will they be feeling when they see my displays?
- Are my customers different in the morning compared to the afternoon?
- What information is going to be most useful/relevant/interesting to my audience at any given moment?
Something we discuss in our guide to creating the perfect playlist is how to tell a story or “anchor” your digital signage display with slides or notices that lead each section. This only really works if your audience are going to be watching the content for more than a few seconds.
In an office, reception, restaurant or hotel bar, your audience are likely to linger longer. You can use this opportunity to create one full piece of content (such as a video infused with client testimonials, action shots, interesting stories and case studies) or you could create lots of short pieces of information, perhaps led by a theme or with introductory slides.
In Pixar’s 22 rules of storytelling number five is:
“Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.”
Once you have created your content and set it up into playlists and schedules this is a great way to check that the narrative makes sense.
Could you simplify your messaging for those who will only catch a glimpse? Is there too long a pause between each slide? Watch it back as if for the first time and try to condense your messaging and format.
7. Design playlists and schedules
Now you have your content, it’s time to look at what you will show and when. A great digital signage playlist could help customers upgrade, buy more or connect with you on multiple channels. It serves your message at the right time, something we long for in every marketing discipline from web copy to email sequences. Scheduling also allows you to change your content so that it reacts with real time events, specific audiences (e.g. the late-night shopper) and multiple audiences.
8. Use campaigns to engage audiences
The more exciting your campaigns are the more likely to are to attract and retain users.
Some of the digital signage content tactics you could try include:
- Social media conversations that ask for audience participation
- Voting and polling
- Product competitions
- Live data - website hits, sales metrics, conversions
- Team insights
- Customer storytelling
- Points of interest
- Using your digital screen to gather UGC has also been proven to be effective.
9. Ask for feedback
So often we create marketing material without ever checking in on whether it works in a real scenario. At ScreenCloud, we have a “preview screen” feature which allows you to watch your entire playlist from your PC or laptop. While this is great for editing content and adding items, you can’t beat setting your screen up and running through it with someone who’s never seen it before. Asking for feedback from a fresh pair of eyes will help spot typos and any design issues where the text isn’t big or clear enough to read. This step is crucial to creating displays which are well-designed and will have higher effect when shown to your audience.
You can also test different formats in front of your audience. Perhaps you want to try a fun way to sell more deserts by creating a distinct promotional code, hiding it within a video and telling every viewer who finds it that they can grab a free ice cream.
Or maybe you want to react to Pokemon Go, or the latest Presidential elections by popping up a slide or image that gives your insight to the topic.
The true benefit of cloud-based digital signage (like ScreenCloud) is that your content is never set in stone. Unlike print, static signs or old digital signage displays powered by USB sticks, there’s endless potential to create content, test ideas and refine your offering.
10. Review and adjust
As we mentioned earlier, the purpose of a digital signage content strategy is to ensure your content doesn’t get stale. Don’t spend time and effort setting up your digital signage then let it rot away like an unloved website or weather-tarnished static sign.
This guide can be revisited at any time. Your measurables can be tracked at any given moment. We become much better marketers and our money is better spent when we review and adjust our digital signage campaigns and uncover what really works for our audience.
To get started with simple digital signage software that allows you to setup all of the above, head to screen.cloud for a 14-day free trial.
Guess what, we now have a course and free workbook to help you Create your Digital Signage Strategy. Head over to ScreenCloud University to sign up for free.