Oregon Small Business Development Center Network

How important is signage for marketing my business?

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A look at small business questions from the Southwestern Oregon Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
By Arlene M. Soto CMA, CGBP, Southwestern SBDC Director

How important is signage for marketing my business and what do I need to know before installing a sign?

Signs telling potential customers what your business does and who you are is critical for any business. According to the International Sign Association, “In order for the independent merchant to fully realize the potential earnings of signage, he or she must look at signage not just as a way of marking the business but also as a way of marketing the business.” So, having a sign is very important, but it’s just as important to know what the local signage regulations are and have a sign that is a good reflection of your business.

Communities typically issue sign permits to businesses who want to install signage for their business. Sign professionals will be aware of the local codes and be able to guide you in creating signage that meets city ordinances and is attractive to customers. To find potential sign companies, look at what other businesses have installed and ask for a referral to the sign company they worked with. Check with the city about sign regulations. Typically sign permits can be issued to the sign contractor, the business owner or the property owner.
Create a budget for signage. The cost will include city permits, the sign contractor, design time, materials, installation and maintenance. Most cities require the sign design to be approved prior to installation so to save on costs, get approval of all design elements prior to having a sign created.

According to Bill Blumberg, retired Coos County sign professional with over 50 years’ experience in the industry, signage needs to be well designed and appropriate for the business. Colors and content are important. Signs need to be easily read by potential customers in the normal flow of traffic, usually a time span of 5 to 7 seconds.

Once a business sign is installed, regular maintenance is necessary. Maintain lighting if it’s a part of the sign. Pressure wash signs regularly to remove dust and keep the sign looking good for potential customers to notice. Many sign professionals offer ongoing maintenance as a part of their services.

A sign that tells potential customers who you are and what you do is an important part of your business marketing plan.

The SBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network, the Oregon Business Development Department and Southwestern Oregon Community College. Arlene M. Soto has been the Director of the Southwestern Small Business Development Center since July 2007. To ask a question call 541-756-6445, e-mail, or write 2455 Maple Leaf, North Bend, OR 97459. Additional help is available at the OSBDCN Web page