It’s fascinating when you have the data of exactly what a properly designed and built sign can do for a business. With a sign, the business owner understands that every inch of letter height increases the readability. A good business owner in retail understands you’re staring at the bumper of the car in front of you. You are their potential customer. You have a mission to get from point A to point B and you’re staring straight ahead. They have to get creative and use things like neon, chasing bulbs, and rockets on the rooftop.
In marketing, your potential customer is the driver, and instead of staring at a bumper, every day they go through life staring at a laptop, a desktop, or a cell phone. They’re staring straight ahead and they have a predetermined target of where they’re going during the day. Your job is to get them to look your way. Learn the fundamentals of the signs of marketing so you can turn the lights on and start going deeper into targeting.
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Signs Of Marketing
As some of you know years and years ago, not only did I work for a brief period of time during college for a sign company, when I first started our consulting business, the first six months, the tip of the spear was an indoor window sign. We eventually widened that wedge we created with outdoor electric signs. We bought one of the biggest sign companies in Illinois, did neon. We custom fabricated this, that and then we offered radio, banners, direct mail services and cable TV affiliate agreements.
We basically began growth consulting in mass a good couple of years after I started selling a sign. We did extensive homework on the value of a sign to a business in regards to the traffic driving by. It is quite fascinating when you have the data of exactly what a properly designed and built sign can do for a business when you’re relying on foot traffic.
Here are some things to think about as I lay a foundation for this podcast. When it comes to a business that has foot traffic, you can think about a website that has traffic from the internet as foot traffic. When it comes to foot traffic via a car pulling into a parking lot and walking into a door of the data from the Small Business Administration, which hasn’t changed since 1972 says the following, “For every inch of letter height on a sign, the sign is readable from 35 feet away. If a sign in front of a business has letters on it that are ten inches tall, if you’re 350 feet away in a moving car and looking in that direction, you can read that sign. If the letters are twenty inches tall, you can begin reading that sign from 700 feet away.”
This is one of the reasons that McDonald’s in every city they go in for the first time, they do something interesting. They basically bribe the locals into paying an exorbitant fee to have the largest sign in the city and they do. If you look around and then you’re able to go to the city office and find the zoning ordinances for signage, the McDonald’s Golden Arches are typically 300% larger than what is allowed. They know that they need to be able to be seen from close to a mile away, so children in the backseat of the car who don’t even speak yet English know that those Golden Arches equal French fries. They can begin to pull the hair of their mom driving that car. That said, those are the standard numbers for a wooden sign that is lit either by the sun or from spotlights shining on.
If you back light the sign, then you shine light through a piece of plastic and the lights are technically facing the street. When it comes to rainy days, cloudy days or nighttime, you basically can increase that readability by a full 30%. Imagine Las Vegas, could you imagine if every one of those hotels simply had a huge wooden sign on the building as opposed to a double-sided sign on the street blinking and dancing with chasing lights in neon in a way that it’s physically impossible to miss?
How does this relate to marketing in general, to marketing any product in any way? Ironically, it’s very similar. If you go back and look at signage, you can even think back as a kid in whatever town you grew up in. Did you ever drive by a building and notice that they had a 40-foot balloon on the roof top? A big balloon or instead of a hot air balloon, it was a balloon of Godzilla on a car dealership.
Sometimes you would drive by a one or two-story building and you would see people with huge speakers on the top of the roof and a radio station would be doing an onsite broadcast from a rooftop. You’ve sometimes driven by these places and they have people in costumes, flashing signs as cars drive by. Maybe when you were a kid, and still now, you used to see what are called praying mantis signs where they had a blinking arrow and changeable copy. One day it would say, “Steak and eggs, $3.” The next day you drive by it says, “Pancake special, $1.99,” and they’re always putting a different special.
The point is with a sign, the business owner understands that every inch of letter height increases the readability. A good business owner in retail understands you’re staring at the bumper of the car in front of you. You are their potential customer but you had a mission point A to point B. To get to point B, you have to stare at the bumper ahead of you and gauge your gauges in the weather and this and that. You’re not looking left and right at all the businesses driving by, you’re staring ahead. They have to get creative and use things like neon, chasing bulbs and rockets on the rooftop.
Let’s go to marketing. Your potential customer is a driver. Same exact way whether you’re purely eCommerce, whether you’re a door-to-door sales rep, it doesn’t matter. Your customer, I promise you, is currently driving his or her car. Instead of staring at a bumper, every day they go through life staring at a laptop, a desktop or a cell phone. Make no mistake, they’re staring straight ahead and they have a predetermined target of where they’re going during the day.
Your job is to get them to look your way. The way we teach this, the first ten inches of fundamental marketing of a sign, when it comes to a website or other things, is each inch is readable from 35 feet away. We want to expand that reach of readability as far as the eye can see. If we’re going to do a seven to ten-inch sign on a website, the first inch of letter height is Facebook.
We’re going to advertise that website on Facebook. It’s the first inch. The second inch is Google Pay-Per-Click. We’re going to test certain phrases. Those phrases are then going to tell us what type of long-term content to write. The third inch of letter height on a sign for a website and any other type of business is organic SEO. Trust trumps everything. If they cannot find you online and find you at least with, let alone above your competitors, you can’t be trusted in today’s society.If you can’t be found online or found at least with, let alone above, competitors, you can't be trusted in today's society. Click To Tweet
Inch number four is local radio. Inch number five is influencer marketing. I have podcasts on all these. Number six is ego bait. I have a podcast on that. Number seven, eight, nine, ten are things like booths at events, putting your arrows and other quivers like getting a product on Amazon or if you sell a service, having other reps or brokers selling your service.
Those are the first seven to ten inches. Those are the fundamentals. Those are the wooden sign. Those are the not optional, you must test them. If you’re not sure how to test them, please listen to Episode 314 of where I talk about setting KPIs on use and on performance. I would also dig into the podcasts between episode 62 and episode 72 where I talk about the fundamentals of marketing platforms, it even goes with a PDF document on KenCourtright.com that shows a physical map of those ten podcasts.
How can you turn that wooden sign into an electric sign lit from the inside, to where you’re almost jumping up and down, screaming at these people staring straight ahead at their laptop, their cellphone, living life, not wanting to be distracted? What we then do once 60, 90 days go by and that first wooden sign is built, there is eight to ten inbound lead sources coming in as I described. I then want to turn lights on that sign into lights inside that sign.
See a wooden sign has lights shining on it. As you’re driving by, the lights are shining onto the wooden sign. They’re not shining at you, the driver. If you think of simply put neon, bent glass with neon inside, which is very bright and that’s shining on you, the driver. If you think of an electric sign that has Plexiglas, the lights are inside the sign shining through the plastic to you. The lights are facing you.
When it comes to marketing, it’s very similar. We want to get neon, chasing lights or people in costume jumping up and down on the corners of the peripheral vision of your potential customer. How do we do that? We do that with retargeting. If you’re not sure what that is, dig into some of my older podcasts. Direct mail, if you’re not using direct mail in some capacity, shame on you. If you haven’t dabbled with it or tried it, I don’t care what your service is. If you can get a Shock & Awe box of some kind, there’s a podcast on that, you’re really missing out for your brand. Sending samples of your product, “I sell insurance. I don’t have any samples.” “You can’t send out ten months in a row, ten different testimonials via direct mail or Facebook? I think you can.”
What about sponsoring events that you already have booths at, showing off your product in a physical way? Those sponsorships at events year two and year three will lead you into being able to ask to see if you could speak at those events, because those event coordinators are not going to say no to somebody that consistently gives them money. My point of this is a traditional wooden sign works.
Meaning if your current marketing is say Facebook or dare I say word of mouth, your website, organic SEO, that’s great. That’s a good start but your sign is only two inches tall. You’ve got to get a sign today in business to seven to ten inches as a base. You then have to turn the lights on that bad boy from the inside and start going deeper as retargeting. Take somebody that’s already touched you, pixels their computer and puts your ad in front of them for the next six to twelve months. I don’t know of many major companies not retargeting now.
Direct mail, I don’t know of many companies not doing direct mail in some fashion at least once a year with a mini Shock & Awe box. I think Dan Kennedy years ago wrote a great piece on the effectiveness and the use of Shock & Awe boxes. I cannot tell you what speaking at and sponsoring events has done for our business from a branding standpoint. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into an event, spoke on a stage and someone says, “You’re that guy I hear all the time on Sirius Radio.” The bottom line is they get to put a face with the branding that I did with the first four inches of our company, which was radio. Hope this helps. Take care.
- Ego bait – previous episode
- Episode 314 – previous episode
- episode 62 – previous episode
- episode 72 – previous episode
- Shock & Awe box