July 31, 2023

7 Key Components of a Successful Digital Signage Program

Digital signage is everywhere.

Are you contemplating ways to deploy dynamic signs for your office or clients but unsure of where to start? Don't worry. This guide outlines the 7 key components that you should consider for your deployment. Planning doesn't need to be complicated, but having an overall goal and answers to specific questions will help maximize the reception and effectiveness of your digital signage.

Digital signage is a communication tool, much like other communication methods. Its success hinges on identifying the right audience, crafting the correct message, and following an effective process.

1. Your Objectives

"If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time." - Zig Ziglar

This holds true for almost everything, and digital signage is no different.

Ask yourself:

Why am I considering this?

What benefits will it bring me, my organization, or my customers?

Examples could include:

- Reducing the frequency of common questions
- Providing creative and dynamic reminders for my team
- Increasing retail promotions at the right time
- Improving visibility of team performance metrics
- Enhancing safety messaging to reduce incidents

Whatever your reason, set an objective and stick with it to see what messages work best for your audience. Try to limit yourself to no more than four objectives so that efforts remain focused.

2. Audience

Who will be looking at your sign? Knowing this and crafting the appropriate message is key.

Key questions you need to answer for this component are:

Who is my audience?

- Customers
- Co-workers
- Visitors

What activity are they engaged in when walking by or in front of the screens?

- Are they preparing to order food?
- Are they waiting for a meeting?
- Are they on a break or between activities?

What is their intention when they are near the screen?

- Restaurant customers seek out different information at lunch versus during happy hour.
- Visitors to breakout sessions may desire granular details about the host and agenda.

Is there a problem that they are trying to solve? Can you provide a solution that might help in that moment? Answering this question can drastically increase the effectiveness of your digital signs, and your viewers will tell you how helpful your signs are. For example, during lunch at a quick-service restaurant, the common problem your viewer wants to solve is finding something appealing to eat. However, if you take it one step further, many people don’t want to read through menu descriptions. The ability to showcase today’s special or promotion has proven to increase sales of that item. Your signage has helped the customer expedite decision making while focusing your sales goals. That's a win-win proposition.

3. Content

The strength of a digital sign is that it can be highly contextual to the viewer at the location. Having the right content can be very impactful for your organization, employees, and customers.

Pillar Content: Pillar content is a key message or content that you want to distribute and that has a longer lifespan. This is the core message that will be based on the audience and context you determined in the previous step.

Leaf Content: Leaf content is content that you can change, update, and use to make your signs look fresh. This can be as simple as office updates, daily news, local traffic, and social feeds. The goal is to have something that gets updated fairly regularly to keep your viewers engaged. User-generated social content could do well here.

The combination of Pillar and Leaf Content will help you maintain a balance of key messages to be sent and fresh content to keep your viewers engaged and coming back for more.

Content Calendar: Create a calendar for your signage content so that your signs stay fresh and updated. Over the long term, this will help keep signage updates organized and reduce daily administrative tasks.

Content: Can you curate the content instead of creating it all by yourself?

If you are a large organization with many signage screens:

- Who else in the organization has messages, content they need to push out?
- Who else can help you with content creation?
- Is there an existing communication channel, process that you can leverage?

For example, existing Tableau, PowerBI, JIRA dashboards, or monthly newsletters that you can create a few highlight slides for.

Tools for creating content: OptiSigns provides a wide range of tools and integrations such as Weather, News, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tableau, PowerBI, and more to help with your content automation. OptiSigns also offers an Editor and Templates so you can create or modify your content quickly.

Many organizations still choose to use PowerPoint or Google Slides for collaboration and content creation, then publish to OptiSigns. With Google Slides, you can share, and multiple people can edit the same slides. When changes are made, they will be automatically updated on OptiSigns screens.

For royalty-free stock images and videos, we have a connector right in our designer app.

4. Hardware

Pick based on your needs:

How many screens do I need?

Do I need enterprise grade hardware support? (10,000+ hours continuous running) Our commercial signage player is the way to go.

Do I need reliability, support and cost effectiveness? Our android player is the way to go.

Need easy and low cost deployment? Amazon’s Fire Stick is the way to go. You can also buy a SmartTV such as Insignia or Toshiba TV with Fire TV built-in.

We have a variety of options for hardware that you can view here.

5. Software

Here are the questions you should ask when selecting a digital signage software system:

What kind of content will I be uploading? Images, documents, videos?
Will I need a playlist or just a single static asset?
Do I need to schedule content far in advance? Should I include recurring or overlay schedules for one-off events?
Can I edit content online in the digital signage system if I need to?
Will I need apps like Google Slides, Instagram, Facebook, Google Reviews, Weather, etc.?
Should I cache content offline in case the internet connection is interrupted?
Will my screens be in landscape or portrait mode?
Will I be dividing up the screen for different content?
Will I be inviting more users from my organization?
Will I need security for different groups of users?
Is the software easy to use?
Is there good documentation, a guide on how to use the app?
If I need help and contact support, how quickly and effectively will the support team respond?

OptiSigns checks all the boxes above and more! You may not need all of these features or you may need more, but this list provides a point of reference at least as you review various software offerings.

6. Deployment

Now that you have a good idea about your audience, the content you'd like to communicate, hardware selection, and the software solution that provides the best value, it's time to start thinking about your deployment plan.

This process will involve several logistical steps including screen installations, network connections, software setup, etc. It would be beneficial to think through the kind of resources and help you might need for this. It could be a do-it-yourself project or you might need local contractors. The idea is to plan out each step over a specific period of time.

For projects involving 30+ screens across many sites, you may require a larger implementation partner. If you need help or recommendations on this, please feel free to reach out. OptiSigns has a nationwide network of installer partners that can assist with most projects.

7. Maintenance

Maintenance and support are crucial to keeping your new signage program relevant and dynamic to meet the needs of your audience. The maintenance plan should provide resources for two areas:

  1. Consistent Content Plans: Identify resources for content creation and scheduling deployment updates. For your "Pillar Content", gather support early on from key partners within your organization and create or support the messaging efforts that they need. For "Leaf Content", leverage existing content from your internal news/goals, social media posts, public news, etc., using the apps provided by your software platform.
  2. Troubleshooting and Problem Resolution: Sometimes, your signs will have issues. These could be related to networking, screen hardware, power, or software. For those of you with multiple site locations, designate a partner on-site in advance who can provide basic troubleshooting of power, network, or simply offer a first-hand assessment of the situation. In larger deployments, IT should be involved to help provide guidance around rollout and long-term support and expectations for these devices.

In Conclusion

Digital Signage can help in multiple ways to improve communication with your audience, but it all starts with a plan. Spend some time developing your seven components, and your signage deployment will be on the right track. OptiSigns exists to build dynamic visual solutions to transform how organizations attract, engage, and interact with their audiences.

Try For Free

While you are outlining your program, consider trying out our software and creating your own content. You could even try pairing your screen to see how the content is displayed. We are here to help at every step of the process, so don't be afraid to reach out to our team!