March 27, 2015

5 Reasons Why Signs Work For Your Small Business

business sign

In a square mile radius in Germantown, Maryland are about 6 Asian grocery stores. Yet I visited the one store whose location was way off the main road and was difficult to find. I saw a sign for the business in another Asian grocery store and knew that they stocked goat meat, which is a delicacy for meat eaters from the Indian sub-continent.

I can’t tell you how many countless times I have used a new business based on their business signs. Business signs work – and here’s why.

5 Reasons Why Business Signs Work


For a brick and mortar small business your sign is important as it acts like a  guidepost to guide customers to your place of business and attract the attention of new customers. If you are a new business, people driving by will be attracted to stop in and try your business. People moving to the area look for local businesses that they can start visiting.

Brand Promise

A sign should always be neat and bright and should convey the promise of your brand, convey the high standards of your business, your differentiation. A sign board that is damaged or smudged may fail to convey your brand.

business signs

Special Occasions

In the photo above, SXSW is a large event in downtown Austin and this small business is attracting event attendees walking by. Find local events and community gatherings like parades to create awareness for your business


When Groupon rented ad space outside Living Social’s offices in downtown Washington, D.C. it created some buzz. You see these signs often on highways advertising restaurants or gas stations just a few miles ahead of an exit ramp. Signage is important in a high traffic location as overflow traffic from other places can find your business and make an impromptu decision to use your business.

Online-Offline Connection

Take a look at the picture at the very top of this post from an Irish pub in the Cleveland Park area of Washington, D.C. that advertises their Facebook page.

Adding your website url to your sign is a good idea for people who don’t have time to stop and can check you out later. Adding a QR code is a good idea if your sign can be scanned easily.

In photos of your business on your website, it may be a good idea to include pictures of your businesses physical location, signage and neighborhood. So that when people visit, they are already familiar with how the business and surroundings look.

More and more people are finding your business online, but that is only half the story. If you have a great location, you can also appeal to new people who are walking past your business every day.

Do you have a success story about using signs for your business?


Shashi Bellamkonda

Shashi Bellamkonda Shashi Bellamkonda is VP of Digital Marketing, AKA "Social Media Swami" at Visit Shashi Bellamkonda's blog. He is also an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University. Shashi is a regular contributor to the Washington Business Journal, DC Examiner and other tech blogs like Smallbiztechnology and Techcocktail. Shashi has been in the list of Top 100 Small Business Influencer Champions list for 2011 and 2012.

11 Reactions

  1. The whole premise of advertising is to reach the right people. If there is a location where you know your customers are, then a sign can very effectively reach them.

  2. Very well said Robert. Thanks.

  3. Signs are particularly useful for impulse purchases. Restaurants and bars fall into this group, particularly those that are in a popular entertainment/recreation neighborhood. Often people plan in advance where they’ll go to eat or to party. But often they will just head down to a popular neighborhood and wing it. The signs help lure them in.

    • I can tell you of the times I have chosen a business because of their sign, an impulse purchase. I remember a time I searched for thai food on Google maps and of course got confused with the directions but the sign was useful to point me there.


  4. Great ideas, Shashi.

    Adding your website url to business signage is a definite plus.

    I have a rolling sign for my business; I had a small sign made for my vehicle that’s magnetized…with my url on it.

    The Franchise King®

    • Having a url on your car is a great idea. Keeps the business in memory and in the olden days we had the 800 number now having a memorable url is good.

      • If you put any form of advertising on your personal vehicle for your business, even just a website, be sure to inquire with you insurance company. Insurance companies usually increase your rates if you use your car as a billboard for commercial purposes. If you fail to inform them, you may have problems later in the case of claim.

  5. Shashi – Useful tips. A sign is a first contact of potential customer with your business. Even in these days of everything digital, physical signs still play a very important role in getting attention of potential customers and converting them to regulars. Like your idea about including additional information on the signs.

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