Submitted to Investment Real Estate by Jason Martin at Caskey Group
Signs are tricky. They can look great and grab someone’s attention, or they can look old and dated and give off a bad first impression. If you think about it, we are inundated with signs and billboards every day. How many of them do you actually notice? How many signs have intrigued you enough to stop in or drive by without a second look? Signs are everywhere for all kinds of applications, but we cannot deny the importance of great signage and the roll it plays in bringing you walk in business. This is especially important for a self storage property, where a majority of customers choose your company because they drive by frequently.
There are many factors to having great signage that will actually work for your self storage property and bring you new business. One of the most important factors is placement. How many times have you driven past a location and drive right by without a second thought? Maybe it isn’t clear at a glance what the business is or what they do. You may see a sign, but it is hidden behind a tree or shrubs and it isn’t that visible. It may be a situation where there are just so many signs in the area from other businesses that they all get lost to a certain degree. If shrubs and trees are obstructing the view of the sign, you need to remove them entirely, or have them professionally landscaped. If there are a tons of business signs all around, make sure your sign is different enough to stand out in the crowd.
Your road frontage and drive by traffic is one of the most valuable assets for your self storage business. The placement of your sign on your property to get the most exposure to traffic is incredibly important. Signs are not cheap, and depending on the speed limit, most drivers only have four seconds to see it and grab their attention. Studying the traffic patterns and having a specific plan to maximize the exposure of your sign is the first step.
So now you have a great spot for your signs where everyone can see them. The next thing to consider is the design. There are many self storage facilities that miss the boat when it comes to creating artwork that will function well. Readability and letter height play a massive role in whether or not a sign will work visually. Imagine all the signs that you have seen and have no idea what it says because you simply cannot read it as you drive by. Or there is so much information on the sign that you cannot begin to read it going 50 mph down the road. Again, the viewer has four seconds or less to read what you have to say. Less is more in this instance, along with using high contrasting colors and easy to read and large fonts. You want your logo or business name large, your phone number and your website. Don’t put more on there unless absolutely necessary.
The other major factor in creating great signs for your storage facility is the materials and the construction method. A lighted sign using LED will maximize your exposure at night. With the correct materials and construction method, the sign can pay for itself many times over within the life of the sign. Consider converting the old internal bulb system to LED, which uses less energy and will last longer than standard fluorescent or incandescent bulbs. If you cannot have a lighted sign in your township, consider reflective materials to help headlights illuminate it at night. You can also consider placing your sign under an existing pole light on the property if the location works; or consider installing a new pole light near the entrance to help customers see the keypad and gate with the added benefit of lighting up your sign at the same time. Be sure to have an expert who knows the right materials for the job. Signs don’t last forever; but picking the right materials and construction method can prolong the life of your signs and give you the best exposure.
Temporary signage can be created out of banner materials, feather flags and more cost-effective materials; but they won’t last as long. Maintenance is key. The impression of your signs can set the tone for how people feel about your entire storage property. If signs are wearing out, replace them. Make sure you budget to replace these temporary signs once or twice each year. Using temporary banners and signs for specials and promotions and changing them throughout the year can give a fresh look and attract new business if done properly. First impressions are very important when trying to obtain new customers.
There are many other sign applications that come into play after someone has found your location and is now a customer. Directional and wayfinding can be a significant improvement for new customers when they are trying to find their way around your storage property. If you have a lot of buildings and storage units, make sure all units are clearly numbered (replace old faded numbers) and consider giving each building a letter to help with navigation around the property. Make sure you have a nicely designed map where your property manager can pinpoint the customer’s unit and hand out to them when they rent. If you have keypads, consider signs with the instructions on how to use them with the correct code format. For example, press * then enter your code and press #. You want to make sure your customer can easily access your property and their unit when they visit.
The bottom line is that signs can significantly impact your business. Having great signs can be one of the most significant investments you will make in your storage property. The goal is simple: convert drive by traffic to rentals. One of the most powerful ways to do that is with effective signage.
If you are looking for a company who can help you design, produce and install great signage for your storage business, Caskey Group is a great place to start. With locations in Pennsylvania and Maryland and an entire team of design, print and signage experts, they can handle projects large and small for self storage properties in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states.
About the Author:
Jason Martin is the Vice President of Creative and Business Development for Caskey Group. He has 17 years of experience in the field with a wide variety of sign projects ranging from outdoor signage, indoor signage and wide format printing. Jason also leads the outside sales team at Caskey and helps develop successful signage strategies for clients in many different markets. You can reach Jason directly via email at [email protected] or by calling 717.764.4500 x204.