Your sign represents a sizable investment in your company. You paid for a professional to design and install your sign, and now you hope to reap the rewards for the effort. But if you let the sign go, you will leave your potential customers confused and worse, you could become the butt of many jokes.  For example if your business is called Maryland Hotel and only land Ho shows up, what are people to think?

You’ve invested in the sign, so make it work for you.  If you fall into the trap of the following common mistakes, your larger-than-life letters might hurt, rather than help, your business.

Turning Off Exterior Signage at Night

As a business owner, you likely want to save money wherever you can. When you turn off all your lights, you easily cut some of your utility bills. However, if you turn off your exterior signs, too, you also undermine their marketing value. Rather than saving money, you lose potential customers because drive-by traffic can’t see your business name in the dark. Even after you lock up for the night and turn off your interior lights, keep your outdoor signs lit for as long as possible. If you can’t afford to leave them on all night, at least leave them illuminated until midnight.

Leaving “Open” Signs on After Hours

While good lighting and illumination help others see your business, you don’t want to give customers a false impression about your regular hours. When customers see an “open” sign flashing, they assume you or a friendly staff member will be available and ready to serve them. During an emergency, they may choose your business first simply because of the misleading sign. They might even try to pull on your door for a few minutes, leaving them embarrassed and frustrated.

To avoid this problem, set your “open” sign on a different timer than your business name or logo. Turn off the             sign right before you leave for the day. If you can, post your typical hours on your door or window where                       passers-by can easily see them.

Not Repairing Broken, Faded or Burnt Out Lettering

Your signs should reflect your company. If you have an old, rusted sign with damaged lettering, customers may worry that you will care for them the same way you care for your property. Broken lettering could lead to awkward changes in your sign’s meaning. There are so many examples of this, like the above hotel one. But, say you ran a donut shop and the letters D and O burnt out, people might assume you sold almonds, cashews and pistachios. Hire a professional to regularly maintain and repair your sign to ensure it stays in good shape. If necessary, replace old signage and update old lettering to reflect your company’s modern persona.

Failing to Correct Misspellings and Grammar Errors

Many people make a hobby out of looking for errors in flyers, posters and signs. Misplaced apostrophes (it/it’s), mixed up homophones (to/two/too) and common misspellings (“a lot,” which is two words, not one) does more than generate a chuckle or two. They make you and your business look unprofessional, and they can lead to misunderstandings and confusion about your general message. Before you ever approve a print for a new sign, check and double-check for any grammar and spelling errors. Your sign company should have a qualified staff of editors to double and triple check spelling and grammar.

If you own a business or frequent a business that has a broken or burned out sign, signage with misspellings or illumination signs that aren’t illuminating, contact the professionals at Forerunner Signs & Graphics.  After all, we want your business to GROW, not OW.

Michael Ryan