Is your retail store’s signage failing to attract the attention it should? Signs are great marketing tools when used correctly. However, the wrong design can often result in almost no response to your signage and little effect on your store’s revenue.

Signs are advertisements for your business, even if they’re located close to (or right outside) your store. Like any advertisements, they can be designed to enhance your brand or to produce an immediate, action-driven response.

In this blog post, we’ll share four design tips that you can use to give your signs the highest possible response rate, leading to more foot traffic, more attention in your area and, most importantly, more sales for your business.

Use an eye-catching, engaging headline

The best signs are written like direct response advertisements. Since the headline is the first part of your sign that most people will notice, it’s important to make sure it attracts attention – and more importantly, the right type of attention.

Your sign’s headline should be eye-catching, engaging and action driven. The most effective headlines typically list your product or service, tell people the best reason to shop with you or sell a major benefit of the product or service you’re offering.

“Clever” headlines attract attention, but only from passersby that are attentive and intelligent enough to notice them. Many people won’t understand your puns or take notice of your jokes, no matter how clever or amusing they are.

Keep your sign’s headline simple, eye-catching and engaging in order to produce the best possible response rate. Make sure it’s action-driven and inspires people to visit your store; if it doesn’t, it will often be read, processed and promptly ignored.

Include a unique selling point

Imagine you’re walking down a busy street feeling hungry. You pass two identical Italian restaurants, each with signs advertising their menu. The only difference is a small sign on one restaurant’s door saying “Home cooked by an Italian chef.”

This is a unique selling point – something that differentiates the business from its, in this case very nearby, competition. A USP adds additional value to your business and sets it apart from its competitors, encouraging people to enter.

If your retail store, café or restaurant is located in an area with lots of competition, a USP can give you a huge advantage over your competitors. Study what they lack and make it a point of strength for your business that you can use in your branding.

Signage appeals to impulse shoppers – people who’ve noticed your business purely by chance and feel like browsing inside your store. With a USP, you provide another reason to enter your store, café or restaurant instead of the competition.

Focus on benefits, not features

The most effective advertising focuses almost entirely on a product or service’s top benefits, not its most interesting or impressive features. The reason for this is easy to understand: people are far more interested in themselves than in the product.

Instead of listing features in your signs, list the benefits of coming into your store or buying your product. If you sell health supplements, mention how people will “look and feel better” about themselves – a focus on the benefits, not the product itself.

If you’ve got a new vehicle to promote, mention its unparalleled comfort, not how many seats is has. If you offer a professional service, mention how much time you can help people save, not your qualifications or experience.

People are sold on features, but they’ll enter your store and inquire about your new product or service because of its benefits. List benefits prominently in your signage and you’ll notice far more curious shoppers entering your retail business.

Include a persuasive call to action

Just like every great advertisement includes a call to action, every great sign should include a message telling people to come into your store. Calls to action encourage your audience to act on the marketing message in your sign.

Your call to action can either be explicit, such as “Come in to learn more” or implicit, such as “500+ other products inside.” It can even be non-verbal, like a pointing arrow or icon showing people how to enter your store.

What’s important is that it’s there. Without a call to action, even the most interesting and persuasive sign will often be ineffective. People need to be inspired to act on the copy in your signage, and a call to action does just that.

Choose a call to action that’s congruent with the message in your signage and built to encourage immediate action. The right call to action will give people a reason to take time off from their day and enter your store, even if just for curiosity’s sake.

How effective is your signage?

Are your signs performing as well as they could? With the right blend of headline, unique selling point, benefit-focused copy and call to action, your signs can make your store stand out from the crowd and attract a qualified, interested audience.