Your Digital Signage Checklist: Planning Displays That Drive ROI

May 17, 2019
As you think about the often-advertised benefits of digital signage, you may be eager to adopt this technology to create a new, exciting point of engagement with your customers.

Well-designed digital signage is powerful. Signs can be augmented in real time to adapt to changing factors, ranging from new sales to customer behavior. It serves as another digital outlet for interacting with an audience, and it can uplift the entire brand experience for customers.

Digital signage is a form of branding and should be driven by a strategy.

For digital signage to be successful and drive positive ROI, there are seven specific components you need to consider.

Digital Signage Planning Checklist

Here are the seven components you must consider when preparing for this technology.

1. Objectives

Signs serve many different purposes. They can be employee- or customer-facing. They can advertise sales or support customer service. You will need to decide which objectives you want the solution to accomplish. In other words, what do you want the sign to do?

Some options include:

  • Sell a product or service
  • Promote add-on products or services
  • Advertise a promotion
  • Direct people to a location
  • Promote your brand
  • Encourage attendance at an event

If you don’t start with an objective for the sign, it will be difficult to complete the next six steps.

Your objective defines your focus and how your will achieve the goals of your digital signs.

2. Content

Once you know the objective of your sign, then you can plan the content. 

Is the purpose of your sign to entertain your customers? In some cases, the display simply needs to play a program of some sort, such as a sporting event or news channel. This video entertainment is indeed a form of content.

Does your content need to answer questions? Digital signs can take the place of a salesperson in certain situations. For example, if the item on your shelf is particularly complex, a digital sign placed nearby can serve to explain details about the item. Further, if that sign is interactive, your customer can make selections to learn more; just like navigating a website.

Content for a digital sign is essentially marketing content. Conduct a creative brief to help your marketing team, designers, or content agency understand exactly what you determined the sign should accomplish. Every digital sign has parameters to work with. The size and scale of the display matters, and its location and orientation will affect how it is used, how visible it is to consumers and/or employees, and how likely it is to receive ideal engagement.

Remember that location in a business environment is as much a part of digital signage design as its digital imagery.

Digital signage content can be as simple or complex as you wish it to be. Typically, a graphic designer can manage simple to medium-complex content. An interactive designer or a designer with experience with motion graphics and/or website design are great candidates for complex design.

Your digital signage software will likely have some built-in templates that can help to bring your design to life.

3. Design

Designing your digital signage solution has several component parts. For example, will your displays be indoor or outdoor? If they’re outdoor, how will you protect them from weather and damage, and how will you secure them against theft or vandalism?

Considering where your display will best achieve its objective is a key component to its success. At times designs are a simple mount to a wall, and other times very complex and sophisticated, like multiple screens or video walls.

Refer to your objectives to help define the scope of your design. Furthermore, you can work with a professional to ensure that you’ve thought of everything in this critical planning stage.

Get your digital signage questions answered 

4. Software

Digital signage will require some form of content management system in an on-premises or cloud-based software solution. Thankfully, these solutions are becoming easier and easier to use, and can often be managed by your marketing department. Many software solutions even allow users to deploy content from a central office location to displays around the world, making synchronized promotions a breeze. Here's why centralized deployment is much better than using a flash drive

5. Hardware

While it may seem simple to mount a large screen that connects to a player with some cables that plug in, wait…which cable plugs in where?

If you’re not a technology guru, it’s definitely okay to ask for help with this part.

Digital signage equipment is made up of screens/displays, players, cables, mounts, and software or video subscriptions. They may also require Internet wiring, kiosks, weather-proofing, beacons, recognition capability, and so on. From simple to complex, you want to make sure the component parts are up for the job they have to do.

Consumer- or Commercial-Grade?

There’s a lot of discussion about the differences between consumer-grade screens that you buy online or at your local big box store, and the commercial-grade screens purchased from a digital signage partner. The differences between the two is like comparing a household oven and a restaurant oven. The restaurant oven needs to be on continuously and, accordingly, is more expensive because of the additional engineering. However, a household oven wouldn't stand a chance in that environment, and would likely break after a short time. 

So, when considering your hardware, think first about the question:

What is the impact of a screen that stops working?

Many businesses simply can't afford for a display to go down midday, which is why commercial grade is often the best option. 

6. Connectivity

Your connectivity requirements are determined by your content, how that content is delivered to your screens, and your available Internet service. This item in the checklist is listed as a separate and integral consideration, however, because it’s an area where many people experience challenges.

7. Optimization

Measurement is the only way to know if your digital signage is meeting your objectives and generating a positive ROI. However, the beauty of this marketing tool is that you can test many different components to build content and displays that help you realize the significant benefits you desire.

Your software may have metrics built in. For example, you may want to know gender statistics, dwell time, traffic patterns and flow, or real-time interactions. These measurements will help you optimize your content to fit the needs of your audience, and deliver the result you seek.

In summary, when you keep these seven considerations in mind, you’ll be off to a great start to launch a digital signage strategy that makes an immediate impact and drives strong returns for your business.

Get your digital signage questions answered