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Once you see the benefits of digital signage and decide to bring the technology to your retail store or restaurant, it’s time to choose a digital signage provider. But, before you start talking to potential partners, you have one more thing to do.

You need to ask yourself the following questions.

By knowing the answers to these questions, you will be better equipped to research, talk to, and choose the best digital signage provider for your business.

What Are My Goals?

All new initiates should start with goals. You want to determine what results you want from your new system or strategy. The same goes here.

Consider the benefits of digital signage and choose the top goals you want to achieve. Some goals that you may have included:

  • Improve the appearance of your menus
  • Decrease perceived customer wait time
  • Increase sales
  • Promote new products and services
  • Encourage upsells and cross-sells
  • Educate customers about products
  • Promote social media and online channels
  • Upgrade atmosphere
  • Display custom content
  • Stop competitor ads from airing
  • Train staff
  • Stop spending money on new static signage
  • Run contests
  • Offer wayfinding assistance

When you know your goals, you can then share them with digital signage providers and ask them how they can help you achieve your desired results.

How Many Screens Do I Need?

Next, take an inventory of your needs. Consider where you want to place your digital signs so you can see how many screens you will likely need.  Places where businesses commonly use digital screens include:

  • Above customer service counters
  • On interior walls and columns
  • Standing alone as kiosks
  • On aisle endcaps
  • In waiting areas
  • In employee break rooms

As you decide what’s right for your business, consider where your customers spend the most time, how customers move through your location, and where you have the most unused wall and shelf space.

Knowing how many screens you need will help you get a more accurate quote from a digital signage provider. It will also help providers work with you to determine the right screen style and size based on your chosen locations.  

If you don’t have an answer for this question, then you need to find a provider who can give you a full recommendation on what signage to use and where to place it to best reach your audience.

What Are My Content Needs?

Now, think about what you would like to display on your screen. Consider the types of content that you imagine airing on your digital signs. Also, think about unique functionality that you would like to have with your signs.

Content and functions commonly found on digital signs include:

  • Presentation slides
  • Static graphics
  • Live action videos
  • Animations
  • Voice-overs
  • Music
  • Branded frames
  • Maps
  • Digital catalogs
  • Check-in and status systems

When you meet with a digital signage provider and have a list of your media needs, it will be easier for you to get an accurate quote and content plan.

Do I Want to Create Content Myself?

As you review your content needs, also consider the production of your media. Think about how involved you would like to be in the creation of your content.

You have a few options when it comes to content creation involvement. You can:

  • Create all of the content internally
  • Provide ideas to a third-party content creator who develops the media
  • Participate in the content production with a third-party creator
  • Pass the entire content creation process over to a third-party

Choose the level of involvement you know you can afford and commit to. Consider your available time and resources as you decide which process is best for your business.

You may also find that you don’t need or want to create custom content at all. In that case, look for providers that offer content libraries, live cable pass-thru, and private label TV.

How Often Will I Need to Update Content? Do I Want to Update It?

As with content creation, you have different choices for level of involvement as it relates to content management.

For digital signage, you should not create content one time and use that media forever. You should create a content calendar that outlines when you will update and revise your content playlist.

So consider how involved you want to be in that process, and how often you plan to update your content. Most content calendars are updated on one of the following types of calendars:

  • Annually
  • Semi-Annually
  • Quarterly
  • Seasonal
  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Daily
  • Time of the Day
  • Custom

When you talk to potential digital signage partners, let them know how much you want to involved and how often you want to update your content. This information will allow them to create customized plans and automated solutions (such as day and week-parting) for your needs and wants.

Do I Want My Content to Be Branded?

As a last content consideration, think about whether or not you want your digital signage media to be branded.

Branded content is media that is either unique to your business or includes your brand logo. The benefit of branded media is that it keeps your business in front of audiences at all times.

If branding is important to your business, you can use:

  • Branded content frames that sit around the main content on your screen
  • Custom content designed with your branded colors and fonts

Sharing your branding expectations with a digital signage provider will allow them to create a more realistic proposal for you as they will be able to factor in your customization needs.

What Is My Budget?

Finally, as you approach a conversation with a digital signage provider, have an estimate of the amount of money you would like to spend.

With digital signage, there are many powerful upgrades you can add if you have a larger budget. On the other side, there are areas where you can cut back if you have a smaller budget to work with.

Knowing what you can spend makes the purchase process easier as it will give your potential partner a better idea of what solutions, plans, and features to present to you.

Do Your Homework Before Talking to a Digital Signage Provider

The answers to these questions will help you find, talk to, and negotiate with potential digital signage providers. The more educated you are on the product and your needs, the better you will be at choosing the partner that is right for you.

So gather information about your needs, and also research digital signage as a whole before you make calls or decisions.

Grab our free Ultimate Guide to Digital Signage to learn all of the in’s and out’s of this powerful technology. After reading this guide, you can confidently go into meetings with potential digital signage providers and know you will walk away getting the best plan and deal for your business.