It’s easy to get distracted with new technology and forget about the content strategy behind it all. However, the need to deliver focused messaging across your digital signage network is more important now than ever to your brand, as your audience is being saturated with messaging and advertising on a daily basis. To have a successful content strategy for your digital signage, you should approach it like you would with any other type of message – strategically with your SMART goals and objectives in mind. Spending some time to thoroughly plan your strategy will create a solid base to deliver effective, engaging content, while being efficient with your time resources and budget.
Here are six tactics to achieve a successful digital signage content strategy:
1. Identify your SMART goals
To set effective goals, they need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. By setting goals with these guidelines, you’ll be able to more effectively set realistic goals that you can achieve, and then look back on to measure your success. If your goals are vague, it will be easy to accidentally stray away from your original goal and forget what you had set out to achieve.
Regarding your digital signage, is your goal to entertain people while they wait in a queue or a waiting room? Is the goal to boost your sales using promotions? Or perhaps to increase engagement from your customers? You need these goals in place before you start a project so you can check back on them to make sure you are still heading in the right direction. Learn more about SMART goals here.
2. Layout your screen locations
One of the first steps that you’ll want to start with your digital signage project, is to decide where you will put the screens. This is because you can then create suitable content for the location, rather than putting a sign up where the information and messaging may not be relevant, or there may not be any foot traffic going past. For example, you may design a welcome screen, but then find that there is nowhere to install it at the entrance to your facility.
By having a plan of where your screens will go, it will help you decide how many you will actually need, and what kind of content you will need to create to cover these locations. Once you’ve decided where a screen will go, you can start creating specific content for that area – will it be noisy there? If so, you will want to avoid any screens that need to have volume or sound for the message. If your screen is outside in an area that is often bright, you will need to decide which colours are best for visibility.
3. Who is your audience? What information do they need?
When designing any content to be displayed at your facility, you need to remember who is going to see that content so you can design it specifically for them. It’s important to know that your audience is not going to be “everybody”, but instead a specific group of people who share common traits in some way - persona. For example, signage at a gym may be aimed at people who have an active lifestyle, who like bright colours and succinct information. Whereas signage at a school may need to be more directional and simple. To find out what kind of messaging you need to show, you need to look at the world through your customers eyes, and think about who your ideal customer is. One of the most common ways to find out this information is to talk to your customers – perhaps via an email survey or through your social media channels.
The reason it’s important to know who your audience is, is because it will dictate what type of voice and tone you use, and what kind of imagery or colours you use when developing your content. By talking specifically to your audience type, you can create really tailored content to encourage maximum customer engagement, and addressing their specific needs.
To make sure your signage is effective, you will usually need to address the type of information that it’s delivering. If the audience needs information from the sign to guide them to different locations or areas of your facility, you should be utilising maps and wayfinding signage. You may need to use signage to educate them, in which case you need to ask yourself if you have included messaging to teach them about your product, service or locations. And finally, if your signage is in an area where people may be waiting, you need to make your signage entertaining so it will occupy them while they wait, and their perceived waiting time will be significantly lessened.
4. What is your call to action? What do you want your audience to do?
When creating a content strategy, you need to make sure you have an end-goal in mind. What do you want the audience to do after they see your signage? This goal may be as simple as creating brand recognition and adding to the quality of the feel of your brand whilst they shop in store. Your signage may encourage people to follow your company on social media, including the contact details needed or a particular hashtag that you want them to use. It could be directing your audience to your location so they can engage with you and purchase from you, or you may want them to take immediate action with a promotion that you’re offering. Make sure to incorporate a call to action in your messaging.
5. Who oversees updating your signage? Who is in charge of creating your content?
It’s a good idea to have one person in control of managing content creation and the responsibility to approve content from the outset. This means that there is a lower chance of any miscommunication, and delays in content approval which could affect a campaign. Having one person in charge, either creating the content themselves or leading a team of content creators, means that the brand messaging and tone of voice can be consistent throughout your digital network.
This team of content creators can include a copywriter, designer, graphic artist, and a programmer, depending on your needs. This team needs to be assembled early on in the project so you can consider all options before heading down a path that is not right for you.
6. How often do you need to change your content?
To decide how long your content should stay on screen for, you need to know how long your customers spend looking at the screen. Is it only a few seconds as they walk past? Is it 5 minutes while they are in your waiting room? Or 1 minute while waiting in a queue? People have a short attention span – if your content doesn’t change regularly enough, they will become bored and look away. But how long is long enough? This is something that will be specific to your screens, and may vary throughout your facility depending on the purpose of each screen. For example, a two-minute waiting zone shouldn’t have a 10 second segment on loop, as people will get bored of seeing the same segment again and again.
Another consideration is when to update your content – how often do your customers visit your site? If you run a doctor’s office, people may only visit you every couple of months, so you don’t have to have a constant updating of content. However, if you run a restaurant or fast food outlet, you may have customers visiting you every week. You must also think about the time of day and seasonal variations – you wouldn’t advertise a breakfast special at 5pm, and you might not advertise hot chocolate drinks in the middle of summer.
It’s important to make your digital content strategy relevant to the location of the screen, relevant to your customers, and be sure to include a call to action for each screen and check back on your SMART goals to ensure a successful content strategy.