A Small Business Guide to Digital Signage

digital signage

In this guide, we take a look at digital signage and consider the benefits that it can offer to a smaller business. But first, what is it exactly?

When we talk about digital signage, we refer to any kind of digital media that is displayed on a screen. The growth of digital signage means that you will see it in your day-to-day life but may never have really thought about it.

There are screens in dentists’ and doctors’ waiting rooms; you’ll see large digital advertising hoardings on roundabouts at the roadside; and there are changing digital signs at shopping centres or outside retail outlets. Wherever customers turn, digital screens are popping up to offer a new channel for advertising, marketing and communication.

Research suggests that digital signs catch the attention of 63% of consumers, making them a worthwhile investment. Digital signs are:

  1. Impactful and immediate
  2. Flexible and suitable for permanent and temporary signage purposes alike
  3. Cost-effective
  4. Engaging
  5. A great marketing channel

In this guide, I want to explore the growing importance of digital signage from the perspective of a small business.

Digital Signage Strategy

A successful piece of digital signage needs a content management system and the software that shows your content. The hardware required includes the display screen itself and any mounting equipment. The sign also needs displayable content which can include videos, images, text or calendars – and a strategy is required to ensure a healthy ROI.

There are many other considerations to bear in mind when planning your digital signage project and these include:

Plan the project

Start with a digital sign strategy to determine what you want to get from your investment and work. For example, you might be looking to signpost a pop-up eatery, to market a new campaign or to signpost visitors to your stand. Set some goals and objectives, so that you can measure success.

Define the audience

A user persona is a great tool for bringing your ideal or typical audience to life. Know exactly who you are aiming to target and you can far better deliver a piece of digital signage that meets their needs.

Assign an owner

Digital signage is a branded communications channel like any other, so make sure that it has a nominated owner to ensure that the content doesn’t become outdated and that the signage’s potential is maximised.

Pick your location

Digital signage can go anywhere; from a lobby or roadside through to an exhibition stand or retail POS display. Know where you plan to locate your sign so that you can make the practical arrangements. The best way to decide on the sign’s location is to consider the type of content you are planning to share on it.

Creating Amazing Content

A graphic designer will be the ideal choice for complex or bespoke pieces. Alternatively, with a CMS, your designer can create templates and digital branded assets that simply need updating with the latest information. Keep the design simple and pay heed to any clear spaces.

Colour and Font

Look for colours that pop and which are part of your brand’s colour palette. For readability, your main body content will be about 24 pt, and headers about 42 pt. Other things to remember are legibility and accessibility. Avoid complex and serif fonts which can be hard to read.


Your signage location will determine the type of content that you create and the call to action. For example, Point of Sale or Service digital signage could include menus, opening times, a menu or other information that can be read for a longer period of time. Point of Wait content is used typically at building lifts and lobbies, or in reception areas. It’s great for displaying content which helps the time to pass more quickly and which reduces the perception of waiting time. This could include calendar information, company information, trivia and so forth.


Always test the signage before you set it live. Media players can require some training to master, as can the Content Management System itself. Train at least one other person in the equipment and software so that you have an available backup for any content changes. Implement a sign-off process for content approval before it goes live.

In Summary

With technology constantly evolving, the opportunities for digital signs in the future look stronger than ever. Systems will evolve, graphics will become increasingly sophisticated and user experiences will become richer. At the same time, the cost of production and installation will continue to fall as demand grows and production methods standardise. This will offer increasingly impactful, cost-effective signage solutions for businesses of all sizes.