Put Out a Sign and They Will Come

As you will find out by reading my blog posts, I am obsessed with all things marketing. I’ll point out the good, the bad and the truly ugly with helpful insights along the way.

In my last post, I shared an example of bad marketing. This post does the opposite, sharing an example of an effective marketing technique I recently observed.

One of the easiest ways for brick and mortar shops to bring in foot traffic to their store is to put out a sign on the sidewalk or along the roadway/driveway. Unfortunately, too few stores do this and, when they do, they don’t do it very well.

However, Stage Door Deli in downtown New York City does a terrific job with their sidewalk signs and these pictures should go in your swipe file along with the new customer welcome letter we provided you with in an earlier post.

[image img=”https://smallbusinessbonfire.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/stagedoor1-226×300.jpg” alt=”” title=”stagedoor1″ width=”226″ height=”300″ rounded=”all”/]

The top half of their sign presents what a lot of marketers like to call “the irresistible offer.” To really make it irresistible, the word “FREE” is in all caps and uses a larger font size than the rest of the copy below it. If you were walking by this sign, don’t you think the word “FREE” would make you stop and read the rest of the sign?

The second aspect of the top of the sign that I want to bring to your attention to is “Over $5.00.” Now, I don’t know about you, but you can’t go to any deli, including Subway, and get a deli sandwich for under $5.00. So already the majority of purchases will qualify for this offer and it seems very reasonable.

But the deli doesn’t stop there; with each qualifying order, you get soup and either a can of soda or bottle of water for free. In NYC, the soup and beverage would have cost you $5.00 alone. What a bargain!

By setting the qualifying purchase at $5.00 on the sidewalk sign, the deli overwhelms their prospective customer with their offer and brings them into the store. And once they are in the deli, there is no turning back despite the fact that the sandwiches cost no less than $8.00.

[image img=”https://smallbusinessbonfire.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/stagedoor2.jpg” alt=”” title=”stagedoor2″ width=”250″ height=”279″ rounded=”all”/]

The bottom part of the sign isn’t as important as the top (that’s why it’s not at eye level) but it does grab your attention with the pictures of the over-sized sandwiches and an invitation to “Join Us for Lunch.”

Looking at the Stage Door Deli’s sidewalk sign in its entirety, it does a great job of getting people to stop, read the sign (and offer) and possibly decide to go buy a sandwich from them. What more could you ask from a lousy sign that probably cost them under $100 to have made?

What signs have you seen your local stores use that have caught your attention? If you’re a Small Business Bonfire member, login and submit pictures of your signs to be shared in the Bonfire community’s Small Business Library.

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10 comments

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  2. Signs work. I did this when I owned my discount tool store on a plaza. In fact, I would even put out large items to catch people’s attention in addition to a sign. I’d roll out a 3-level tool cabinet and our portable concrete mixer onto the sidewalk, and it was an immediate attention grabber. It’s hard for people passing by to ignore the easel-type signs when they are left out on the sidewalk.

    • Jason Gregory

      Great idea adding a physical product along with your sign! Like with all forms of advertising, the more you standout from the crowd, the more likely you will get noticed.

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