The art of digital signage and the questions that can make it pay. Before considering deploying digital signage there are some basic questions that you should ask. The first, and most important, should always be ‘why do you want to use digital signage?’Digital Signage in Time Square, New YorkDigital signage has a wide range of use-cases which vary according to the space your business operates in. With the advancement of software and additional bolt-on technology, these scenarios are steadily evolving. Some of the most common applications for digital signage include:As a direct selling tool within your business – integrating digital signage into eye-catching displays showcasing the products or services you offer is a fantastic way to engage and inform customers to influence their planned purchasing decisions or drive impulse buys.As a colleague communication or training tool – digital signage shouldn’t be restricted to a customer-facing role. Having the ability to engage and educate business staff through a visual medium quickly is hugely beneficial, especially for businesses with multiple sites.As a footfall driver to attract new customers into your business – whether it’s the latest large-format LED window display or a well-thought creative deployment of high-resolution screens, digital signage is replacing traditional print as a means to show off your brand, products and services to potential customers.As a dynamic wayfinding or customer assistance tool – this is where interactive digital signage is becoming increasingly important by acting as the bridge between your digital and ‘bricks-and-mortar’ business presence.Having clear objectives for what you want your digital signage deployment to achieve for your organisation is essential. To achieve these objectives, you need to ensure you have the following:The right digital signage hardware solution in placeRelevant content and a strategy to display itA management tool for that contentLet’s consider each of the above...Digital Signage HardwareYour screens may have several functions but establishing the importance of these will allow you to address the other questions that will help ensure that they are fit for purpose. These include:What’s the best type of screen to use and will it be good enough to attract the viewers’ attention and clearly communicate the content you have created?There are many screen types and sizes to consider, not to mention the different display technologies on offer. Selecting the right tech for the application is crucial. For example, high-brightness screens are essential for in-window installations if they are to be seen clearly in bright sunlight. Similarly, large format LED screens aren’t going to be ideal for showing off a high level of product detail at close range based on their restricted display resolutions – they are more suited to longer viewing distances where the objective is to catch attention from afar. It’s also recommended to consider the lifespan and warranty of the screen solution you are selecting to ensure the use-case meets the manufactures guidelines.Is the screen located at the appropriate stage of the customer journey?It’s obvious but incorrect placement of a screen can significantly reduce the impact it has. Understanding the use of space from the customer viewpoint will help identify the optimum engagement opportunities and therefore where to locate a screen.Does your display need to be interactive?Interactive screens can help build brand loyalty by making the customer experience more engaging - whether it’s through taking a selfie on an interactive mirror screen or using a touchscreen to trigger informative product details displayed using creative video content, for example.If the screen is interactive, can it easily be engaged with?Most interactive screens require the customer or user to be in close-proximity or directly in front of them - they should therefore be accessible to all and not sited in a way that will make the user feel uncomfortable.Should the installation be innovative and interesting in itself?Making the most of the install opportunity is a wise idea – whether that’s by creating a feature wall using a range of screens (depending on your objective) or ‘dressing’ the Digital Signage screens to match your store / business environment (e.g. utilising a well-designed branded housing or deploying vinyl graphics to surround the screen).A Wonderful Content StrategyIt is worth considering that in taking the decision to go ‘real world’ shopping, your customer or visitor has chosen to leave behind two of the three screens that they regularly engage with - namely their computer and their TV (they’ll have their phone / third screen with them). This should be kept in mind when creating content and perhaps should prompt the question:Do you want to show your customers something they’ve already seen or something new, brave or unexpected?In anything other than a pure information setting, the content will have to earn the right to communicate your message. Ask yourself: is my content interesting, amusing, attractive, stimulating, intriguing and fun enough to beguile the viewer into engaging with the message? If the viewer had a remote control in their hand, would they stay tuned into your on-screen content or look for a more entertaining channel?Other questions to ask of the content might include:Is your message clear?Is there a call to action? If so, is it clear what you’d like your visitor to do next and how to do it?Are you selling items or the lifestyle they inspire?Is your content an animated version of your static PoP (Point of Purchase) creative or is it a window to a wider range, or previously unknown opportunities, a favourable lifestyle, an original idea etc?Is the content too wordy? Is there an image that can communicate the message faster and more effectively? A picture is worth a thousand words.Is there a longer story to tell? Can you keep regular visitors engaged and does your business have a heritage or values that might help form a stronger bond with your customer?Content is king! It is far more common for screens to be let down by the content than the content be let down by the screens. If what’s on screen isn’t wonderful they won’t be earning their keep!Content Management - Everything In Its PlaceHow content is managed is just as important. Do you want to upload, publish and manage your screen content yourself? Or would you prefer it to be managed by a trusted partner? These are questions that should be considered with long term management in mind. Initially it may seem attractive to have a ‘hands-on’ approach, but do you or your team really have the time to manage your campaigns and ensure that you have published the right content, to the right screens, at the right time - all the time?A web-based Content Management System offers the ability to plan media campaigns and react quickly to any strategy or creative changes.It is more important to most users that a CMS be clear and intuitive and allow you to quickly and easily upload, schedule and publish your campaigns than for it to have hundreds of complex functions that they will never use. The Imagesound Dashboard is a great example of an approachable CMS portal that lets you get the job done quickly and with certainty.If you prefer to let someone else ensure your customers are always seeing the best of your business, our media team will be happy to look after that for you. Our creative team can help you design an effective content and campaign strategy that will make the best of your screen network.Whatever your questions, we will have the answers. We can get your message across. We’d love to help.