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The Power and Cost-Effectiveness of Exterior Signs

Architectural Signage, Branding, Exterior Signage, How Much Does a Sign Cost, Sign Design

Signage offers a visual and branding advertising strategy with tremendous power. Essential for building brand visibility and increasing awareness, well-designed and thoughtfully placed signage can last decades and will attract thousands of customers to a brand over time.

The Cohoes sign combines face lit and halo lit with marquee lights.

Exterior signs stay evergreen, delivering continuous, repeated impressions to help reach business goals by:

  • Attracting prospective customers—76% of consumers enter businesses because of the signs.
  • Creating brand value—68% of consumers believe a business’s signs reflect the quality of its service and products.
  • Driving impulse sales.
  • Establishing a brand—a sign can attract up to 50% of a new business’s initial customers.
  • Giving customers a first, and lasting, impression of a business—75% of consumers told others about businesses they noticed because of the signage.
  • Paving the way for discovery—about 35% of customers say a sign that caught their eye alerted them to a business they weren’t previously aware of.
  • Providing businesses with a competitive advantage, because exceptionally-designed signs become business differentiators.

Make Signage Your Marketing Partner

These “silent salespeople” have a tremendous range of flexibility with messaging. Signs give information about products or services and establish branding. Their direct and indirect economic impact is significant. 

Signage really is a key aspect  of a brand—and if it’s been a while since you’ve updated your signs, maybe 2022 is the year for that project. After all, you don’t want your brand associated with outdated signs.

Signage’s promotional power remains strong, with exterior signs lending themselves to 24/7 advertising to reach a wide audience, especially in busy areas with high traffic flows. Signage from a high quality manufacturer like Metro can last 10 years or more. You’ll reap your investment’s benefits long after you’ve paid off the cost for its design, manufacturing, and installation.

For example, if 1,000 cars pass a sign each day, averaging 1.25 occupants per car—and 25 pedestrians walk by a business each day—a sign will garner 1,275 impressions per day. Over 30 days, that’s 38,250 impressions. Over 12 months multiplied by a sign’s average 10-year lifetime, that single sign will have generated 4.6 million impressions—the kind of reach usually associated with TV! 

You can calculate your new sign’s potential Return on Sign Investment (ROI) with Metro’s ROI Calculator. Try it yourself. It’s educational and fun. Here are the results using the default values:

Maximize Your Signage

Since exterior signs are often a customer’s first touchpoint with a brand, readability is critical. In fact, it’s the most important factor influencing potential customers to try a product or service.

  • Make it readable
  • Use compelling (not competing) colors
  • Consider placement carefully
  • Size matters
  • Add a little lighting for that extra punch

Nearly half of consumers said they have driven by a business they were trying to find but missed because of insufficient or ineffective signage. About 50% of customers said poor signage deters them from going into a business.

Kicking Signage Up a Notch

Illuminated signs elevate your brand even more above the competition. Many perceive lit signs as high-end, sophisticated branding. Sophistication equals credibility, success, and a solid reputation. Lit signage can also attract more impulse buyers who tend to process visuals quickly and make snap decisions to explore further. Even when the business is closed, a lit exterior sign keeps on advertising 24/7/365 and an extra benefit? Always-on signage can dissuade would-be vandals from targeting businesses and make customers feel safer in a well-lit space.

At Metro, we design, build, and install a variety of exterior lit signage including blade signs, pylons, lit channel letters, monuments, pylons, and solar signs.

The JMAC sign features an exposed neon channel letter set.


Majestic 7 Theater’s sign includes color-changing LEDs.


J. Borstell’s sign combines halo and edge-lit pieces with face-lit push-through graphics.

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