Why digital signage is professional, versatile and crucial to your business
By Lori Lovely August 14, 2019
One of the first rules of advertising is to know your market. Millennials have grown up watching screens. One study estimates that the average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day in front of some kind of screen, whether a TV, a computer or their phone.
According to singlegrain.com, Americans spend 3 hours and 35 minutes on their smartphones every day and mobile devices are eclipsing television for getting the most attention. Nearly 60% of adults in America use Facebook regularly. Nearly 90% of B2C businesses report that social media is the most effective content marketing. More than 80% of shoppers go online, either to research, comparison shop or purchase.
People are on the internet – all the time. They consult a screen for everything: news, entertainment, socialization. There is no doubt that the surest way to reach them is to put digital messages on those screens.
Digital marketing is crucial for today’s businesses, no matter what their size, to reach their target markets, connect with prospective customers and retain their current customers.
Digital marketing typically provides a quicker return on investment than traditional ads because it costs less, for one thing.
Scott Campbell, owner of Scooter’s Family Skating Center, uses a Pepsi PowerPoint template that he got free at a tradeshow to create a digital snack bar menu board. It’s customizable, allowing him to change prices and add images quickly. “I just save slides as jpegs, put them on a flash drive and use them on our smart TVs. It looks more modern, is easier to read than handwriting, and I can change it in seconds.”
For more advanced designs, he sometimes goes to Fiverr for PowerPoint presentations for his custom menu boards. “They do good work fast – and cheap.”
Similarly, Tyler Cauvel, manager of The Rink Family Fun Center, uses a thumb drive and Microsoft Powerpoint to put images on a loop on the menu boards in his snack bar, although he says he’s in the process of switching to Google slides. “It’s 100% free, and I can access it anywhere on my phone. It looks professional and is engaging.”
Digital marketing provides a platform for more interaction and engagement than traditional marketing. People can leave comments on social media posts, they can share posts and they can contact the rink. According to singlegrain.com, 70% of consumers report having shared a brand’s video.
“The kids pay attention,” Cauvel insists. He runs ads in the rink for a game every 20 minutes, listing the next game up and the time. “If I’m late, the kids notice and call me on it.”
Digital marketing may be the most flexible, versatile and customizable form of marketing and advertising currently available. Changes and updates can be made – and seen – in real time.
“I can change images on the fly,” Campbell says. “I just type in the information and it goes out everywhere.” In addition to the screens in his snack bar, he uses other screens to project images on the skate floor. During public sessions, images notify the crowd what skate it is: all skate, boys skate, girls skate. During special events, he says information on the screens runs continuously.
It’s easy to personalize birthday parties and theme birthday parties. ‘It takes 3 minutes, using Google images,” Campbell continues. “It’s colorful and bright.”
Cauvel likes to use it for all events to announce rink hours, the next game scheduled, birthday skates and even when it’s time for floor sweeping. “It backs up what I say on the mic in case they didn’t hear,” he explains.
He also uses a screen in the entry to list skating hours, special events and a welcome for private events. “We do a lot of free skate nights that are paid for by sponsors, so we highlight the sponsors’ names for each one.”
One of the advantages of digital marketing is movement. Cauvel, who claims digital marketing is perhaps his biggest success, for which he has attracted national attention, started with 2-D ads on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Now, he uses motion and video.
Google slides allow him to embed GIFs. He explains that “if you can make a PowerPoint slide, you can use Google images.” His projection displays also show movies, games and Wii dance.
It’s easy to share videos – and project them in the rink – on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Increasingly popular today is live video that provides behind-the-scenes glimpses of the action on the rink floor, which entices people to come join in the fun. The latest is the 360-degree video, for an even more interactive experience. It allows the viewer to slide the image in order to see the action full-circle.
Because YouTube videos are displayed in the SERPs, SEO is important. Text overlays and closed captions allow you to include the name of your rink, as well as other information and messages that will show up in Internet searches.
Ease of use
Personalized video messages – the 1:1 video approach – is replacing emails and phone calls for more than just job interviews. It’s a way of generating excitement and urgency.
As smartphone cameras improve in quality and decrease in price, it’s becoming easier for rink owners to leverage this kind of digital marketing to reach a broader audience. Singlegrain.com reports that 52% of consumers make purchases after watching product videos, and 72% of businesses claim that video has improved their conversion rate.
Scooter’s features four TVs on the skating floor and two in the snack bar. “I run all of them from the DJ booth,” Campbell says. “It’s super easy. I bought cheap video switchgear so I can have a separate line to each TV.” When it’s game night, he says, he shows football on at least one of those TVs.
There are so many apps from which to choose, but Cauvel relies on a few favorites, such as:
Over, for graphics. It allows you to edit images and add your logo, text and video, as well as put text on video. It offers a free and a paid version, which features more graphics. “I use it daily,” says Cauvel, who does all his design work on his phone (vs. a computer) and advises using a big screen with Over.
Snapseed for photo editing, at around $12.95/month. The drawback, Cauvel says, is that it doesn’t permit you to save images and create a portfolio like Over does.
Canva, an online design tool, is not as user-friendly and runs a little more at $14.95/month, Cauvel says, but it has the most skate-centric pictures, so he uses it.
Most apps have step-by-step instructions, but Cauvel advises going to YouTube to learn how to perform the basics. “They show simple steps: add a background, add text, add your logo. It’s all demonstrated.”
Ultimately, he says, “If you don’t know how to do this, hire someone who does.”
As with all forms of marketing, it’s important to know your audience. For example, Cauvel says that people in his area don’t use Twitter or Facebook, so he focuses on Snapchat to reach his target audience. Wherever you post – even inside your own rink, it’s imperative to incorporate digital marketing if you want to reach an audience raised on screen time.
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