4 Tips to Send the Right Message With Digital Signage Advertising

By: Gary Froniewski on May 18, 2022

Have you ever been frustrated with an outdated menu? Spent way too much time in a shopping mall searching for a specific store? What about excitedly heading to the register only to find out a sale is over?

These experiences are inconvenient at best and failings that keep people from returning at worst. In retail especially, earning new customers (and keeping them) is challenging enough without shooting yourself in the foot with inaccurate in-store information. If you’re a small to midsize retail business owner (SMB) or manager struggling to keep up with the flow of info in your store, we’ve got good news.

An effective digital signage network with thoughtful implementation can not only help you attract and retain customers, it can also help you earn more money. After all, more customers = more sales = more revenue.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or optimizing an existing strategy, this guide offers four tips you can apply today to stay ahead of your competition when it comes to digital signage advertising.

Here’s what we’ll cover

What is a digital signage network?

A digital signage network is a system of software and hardware that aids in the creation and management of multimedia content (audio, video, web, etc.) across multiple displays. These networks allow businesses to convey marketing messages, share information, and engage customers through branded content.

Even through the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person shopping has remained the top sales channel for retail SMBs. In fact, in a 2021 *Software Advice survey, 65% of retail SMB respondents named in-store shopping as their number one or number two sales channel.

This has not gone unnoticed, because over the same period all but 14% of respondents had already implemented or are planning to implement digital in-store technology. If you’re not doing the same? You’re losing business to those who are.



These graphics show the most effective sales channels and the adoption rate of digital in-store technology for retail SMBs.

Tip #1: Tailor content to your digital signage strategy

Our first tip deals with what content you should display in-store and where. The goal is to tailor content to the type of digital signage screen and application you choose which ensures a consistent, professional-looking experience for your viewing customers.

Striving for a professional look and feel will leave your visitors impressed and—depending on the goal of your digital signage system—more likely to give you their business.

Some examples of this include:

  • Using the correct aspect ratio for graphics. Make sure content fits on the digital signage screen correctly and looks good without the need for unnecessary formatting or negative space.

  • Displaying video content prominently on appropriately sized screens. Find a location that draws peoples’ attention to key locations in your store.

  • Showing ads meant to draw people in at the front (our outside) of the store. Signs created to draw people into your store should be featured in a location that can be seen from outside, especially promotional materials or sales.

Next steps

Make a list of the types of content you want to show in-store. Ads, menus, loyalty program materials, video content, etc. Put this list in order from the highest priority to the lowest. This will help you determine where you need to optimize your content strategy, what you can potentially omit, and if you need the help of digital signage advertising software to manage your content.

Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to edit (and get creative)

A key advantage of digital signage over static signs is the ability to easily edit content. Take advantage of this early and often by rotating menus and promotions throughout the day, showcasing timely content, or fixing errors. In the past, a typo on a menu just meant you had to live with it until next season’s menu.

This is also a chance to flex your creativity a little bit. If you identify an opportunity to have some fun with wordplay, pop culture current events, or even a special you come up with in the moment, try it! You can always revert the changes if you don’t like the results.

Next steps

Brainstorm opportunities where editing would be beneficial. Also include times when the ability to edit could save you from a mistake. Keeping these things in mind and being proactive about updating your content will let you take advantage of opportunities to delight your customers and avoid instances where they may be disappointed by outdated information.

Tip #3: Engage customers with calls to action (CTAs)

Another added benefit of a digital signage system is the ability to engage users in the moment. Whether it’s collecting information through loyalty programs, enticing people to share content on social media, or informing them of timely specials, the interactive nature of digital signage can help you connect with your customers in a whole new way.

One important aspect to consider for this tactic is that you avoid simply pushing sales messages to your customers. Sure, sharing timely promotions is a great use of a CTA if your goal is to alert people to a special product, but try not to be too heavy handed with it.

The idea of creating content in this way is first to delight your target audience so they genuinely want to interact with your messaging. After all, how excited are you to provide your name and number for a loyalty program if you can get something free from your favorite store afterwards?

Next steps

Ask customers to create social content for you. User-generated content (UGC) is a goldmine since it’s free content that builds brand awareness. People are more likely to respond to others like them sharing positivity, so come up with a hashtag and/or share your own social media accounts in your message. Ask people to share a picture of their visit, and offer a small reward.

Tip #4: Embrace “location, location, location”

As the old saying conveys, the location of your digital signage can have a huge impact on your results. Depending on your goals, choosing the right place to set things up can make or break your strategy since people need to see the right message at the right time in the right place for it to be truly successful.

What we mean by this is that, for example, you wouldn’t leave a new customer offer squirreled away in the back of the store. You’d display it prominently out front so prospective customers are the ones who see it first—not those who are already inside.

In the case of loyalty programs, these are most commonly found at the cash register. People are primed to make a purchase already, so adding more items to fulfill a deal or offering their information to earn savings for the feature is an easy move.

Next steps

Review where your digital signage currently resides and make changes if necessary. Whether it’s to level up your store’s aesthetics or increase the success of an engagement or conversion-based sign, it will only serve you to think critically about where and how things are displayed.

Apply these tips to stay ahead of the competition and take your digital signage advertising to the next level

Now that you know how to get your customers’ attention with engaging calls to action, easily edit and tailor your content, and you understand the ins and outs of placing electronic signage in your store, you’re poised to revamp your strategy and lead your business into the all-digital era.

Thinking critically and making the right decisions when it comes to your in-store signage using tips like these will help keep your nose ahead of the competition, attract new customers, and impress the ones who already love your business.

The best part? These are tips you can start applying today, and digital signage software can help you manage the entire process.

If you want to know more about digital signage and the strategy behind using it, visit the Software Advice blog and start with the resources below:

*Software Advice conducted this survey in June 2021 of 703 retailers to learn more how they’ve pivoted their businesses in the area of fulfillment and alternative payment models. Respondents were screened to confirm full or part-time employment in the retail or restaurant industries for businesses with both a physical and ecommerce location. Respondents were also screened for a role as executive, president, director, founder or equivalent role.