Guest Post: Debbie DeWitt, Visix
It seems everyone these days is getting digital signage. But there are still some holdouts who have not yet realized the benefits a good system can offer an organization. Here are some common objections, and responses to them.
1. It’s too expensive.
It doesn’t have to be. Sure, it’s a chunk of change to set things up initially, but think of the savings over the long run. No more printed flyers and posters – so no paper and printing costs, recycling costs or having an employee run around taking down old signs on company time. Digital signage can also replace many “for your information” emails, which saves people time. In fact, because your message is repeated, you will most likely have a better response than with a single mass email.
Digital signage is also scalable – you can start small and build the system out as need be or as funding comes in. For even lower set up and maintenance costs, you can use cloud or software subscriptions services, and lease your hardware instead of buying it.
2. Hardware and software are always changing.
If you plan ahead, you can get your hardware to last quite a while. The only time you really need to totally replace things is when the manufacturer stops supporting an old OS, or the components physically wear out. Just like office PCs and workaday software, you can budget for periodic updates to your signage system. And, as we said above, you can always lease your hardware, swapping out new models as need be. You can lease software as well, or get a maintenance subscription that includes upgrades and updates.
3. It’s too complicated to set up.
Your in-house team should be able to get you up and running in no time. But if there are some challenges, a local integrator or reseller will have experts on hand to help. They can offer you choices when it comes to both hardware and software, and can educate your staff quickly and efficiently. They’ve been at this for years, so why not rely on their experience and expertise?
4. It’s too complicated to run.
Most digital signage platforms as fairly straightforward. What you need is a champion – someone who really “gets it” and is enthusiastic about the possibilities of a good digital signage system. When people are enthusiastic about something, dealing with it doesn’t feel like work. Get buy-in at multiple levels, so everyone understands what they can accomplish with the system.
Using fill-in-the-blank templates for messages takes the burden off people who want to create content – they just put information in the correct fields and the message is done in seconds. If you have a networked system, multiple people can interface with the software – creating and scheduling content, so the day-to-day work gets spread around. You can also use data integration to pull in automated feeds, so it’s the system itself that does the work.
5. It doesn’t look good.
Your screens will look as good as the content you put on them. Message templates go a long way to making sure that all your messages fit within your brand identity and design parameters. If you don’t have in-house designers, consider purchasing a starter pack of artwork from the software vendor with matching layout and message backgrounds. And there’s a lot out there on the web about designing clear and effective messages for digital signage.
If you publish your design guidelines on your intranet, then everyone knows what to do, and what not to do. If you have in-house marketing or design staff, creating attractive messages can be a fun way for them to get a little variety in their work.
As for the physical displays themselves, place them in areas that are easy to see and that don’t clash with your facility. If you want to, you can recess screens into walls, or design custom frames to match your décor.
6. It’s too distracting.
Distracting means attracting, which is great for communications. You want to attract people’s attention, and movement is a very effective way to do that. Just plan things with your audience in mind – don’t have things going by too quickly on your screens, or they won’t get noticed.
Don’t overload your screens. It’s better to have 12 messages that cycle through often, than 60. It’s better to change your playlist frequently, even daily. You can also use dayparting – where messages are scheduled for just certain days, or hours in the day. This allows you to get many more messages out to your audience. And interactive touchscreens and kiosks let you stack lots of information on one display, which your audience can sift through at their own pace.
People today expect and even want lots of input from multiple sources. This is especially true of Millennials, who are entering the workplace in droves. Good digital signage is also less distracting and confusing than lots and lots of emails, which we all know often just sit cluttering up people’s inboxes.
7. It isn’t eco-friendly.
Actually, it is. Obviously, you’ll still be using power, but many locales now offer the option to request electricity form clean energy sources, like solar and wind. You can also use device control for your hardware to power down your equipment when not in use, or at low traffic times of the day.
And think about the environmental costs of all of those printed posters and memos. The costs of printing go beyond buying the paper and toner. The paper had to be shipped to your facility, which adds cost and fuel emissions to the air. Even recycling has environmental costs in transportation and processing. And when old paper enters a landfill, it decomposes into methane, which is a major greenhouse gas, and the inks poison the soil. So, digital is a cleaner way to go.
8. I don’t care about being eco-friendly.
You should, because your audience sure does. Over half of all global consumers say they will pay a little extra for products and services from companies that are eco-friendly. And the largest growing segment of both consumers and workers, Millennials, are overwhelmingly in favor of green solutions whenever possible. If your employees and visitors see you taking a green approach, it will increase their loyalty to your organization. You can also use real-time energy statistics on screens to educate your audience and encourage conservation.
9. I don’t know if it works.
You’ll know if you include calls to action in your messages. By giving people something to do besides just read and comprehend your messages, you can see who responds and get immediate ROI. You can include a QR tag or short URL that takes people to a dedicated webpage where you can track visitor stats. You can also do something simpler like displaying a code word for a discount at an on-site facility (like a giftshop of café) and then see how many people take advantage of it.
10. It doesn’t make me money.
Digital signage doesn’t just save you money in printing, it can affect your bottom line. Study after study shows that good communication motivates employees, and motivated employees are far more productive than unmotivated ones – they work harder, and longer hours, generating more revenue. They also stay on the job longer, reducing the expense of having to find and train new employees.
You have the option to turn your signage into a profit center by offering ad space in your playlists to various departments or local businesses. You can also advertise your own on-site services to drive people to revenue generators like shops and cafes, further increasing your income.
So really, there’s really no excuse. Digital signage saves you time and money, increases your bottom line, is better for the environment, and engages your audience and your community. What are you waiting for?