Event signage seems like a small detail, which is why many event hosts neglect to think about it until the last minute.
But your signs are an integral part of your guests’ experience. You should consider them as soon as you choose your venue.
Why are signs so important?
1. Signs Help People Find Places and Information
If you post poor signage – or worse, forget to post any – you’ll tarnish your guests’ experience. They’ll grow confused and annoyed when they can’t find the right rooms and spaces. The whole event could devolve into chaos.Event signage seems like a small detail, which is why many event hosts neglect to think about it until the last minute. Click To Tweet
2. Signage Stops Your Guests from Worrying About the Details
When your guests leave a section of your event, you don’t want them to ask each other questions like “Where’s room 302?” or “Does anyone know if we need to sign up for the healthcare presentation?” or “What time does lunch open?”
The right signs can give your guests this type of information. This way your guests will connect and network with one another. They’ll discuss your event and how it affects their lives. Signs prevent your guests from worrying about little things so they can realize the value of your event.
3. Each Sign Is an Opportunity to Please Your Guests
Every time your attendees use a sign to find a destination or learn some information, they have a positive interaction with your brand. It doesn’t seem like much, but these positive interactions add up.
This is due to the mere exposure effect, a psychological phenomenon where people develop a preference for something they’re repeatedly exposed to. Every time they use one of your signs to solve a problem, they’ll develop familiarity with your brand and associate you with pleasant experiences.
4. Signs Help Prevent Your Guests from Having Negative Experiences
Imagine you’re a guest who’s traveled to an event. Maybe you only drove an hour or maybe you had to fly in. You’re excited to hear someone speak, but you can’t find the right room and there aren’t any signs to help you find your way. Eventually, you miss part of all of the presentation.
How angry would you be in that situation? Tremendously angry, no doubt, especially if you traveled to get there or had to pay a hefty registration fee.
Any guest in that situation would (at the minimum) demand a refund, and probably post about their unpleasant experience online, which would hurt attendance at your next event.
5. Signs Create More Sponsorship Opportunities
Like many events, you probably want to sell sponsorship packages. These are great ways to get other businesses involved, grow the reach of your marketing, and recoup some of the event’s cost.
With the right signs in clever locations, you can help your sponsors post their images, copy, and logos to get the most value from their investment. Plus if you can offer unique signage options, you’ll be able to charge more for sponsorship opportunities and sign bigger sponsors.
Some Signs Are Absolutely Necessary
Signage is so important that it should be a part of your evaluation when you scout venues for your event. As you walk through a new venue for the first time, try to identify places where you’ll need to post signs, then fold those costs into your budget.
For instance, an out-of-the-way bathroom might not preclude you from using a particular venue, but you’ll have to consider the cost of creating useful signage into your total costs.
You’ll also want to ensure guests know where to find key locations, like vendors, stages, entrances, bathrooms, and exits. If you have any headlining guests or attractions you expect to be especially popular, you’ll want plenty of signs indicating where and when.
Once they come in through the doors, is it clear where they’ll register or pick up their swag bag? Can they locate booths, kiosks, stages, and speakers? Are the bathrooms clear or do your attendees need special instructions to find them?
Try to experience your event from the guests’ perspective. It helps to walk through the event space to get an idea of how they’ll experience it.
If you can, bring a friend who doesn’t know the venue well. Ask them to find certain places or amenities without signs. If they struggle, you need a sign.
Get Creative with Signage
Once you’ve established the places you need to add signage, your next step is to determine where to put signs that will improve your guests’ overall experience.
Remember that signs inform people how to behave and help them feel comfortable in new places. A sign can turn an awkward experience into something pleasant by giving your guests valuable information. This means that each sign is a touchpoint with your brand and an opportunity to impress your attendees.
For instance, if you plan to showcase a number of speakers on the same stage, you might place a sign on an easel off to the side with each speaker’s name and Twitter handle. This keeps your audience informed, gives them a means to learn more about the speakers, and even creates opportunities to engage with them.
Is that type of sign necessary? No, of course not. But it adds a lot of value to your guests’ experiences.
Here are some other unique signs you could post around your event:
- A list of icebreaker questions on the table so strangers have something to talk about.
- A guide posted in the elevator that matches your event’s stages/rooms to floors.
- A notice posted at the start of a line reminding guests of what information they need.
- Signs with the event’s social media hashtag to incite conversation online.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to event signage. Think about your customers. What kind of signs would improve their experience? Banners? Floor graphics or stair wraps? Cardboard installations? Human messaging? You have a lot of options at your disposal.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to add signage in unusual places. People tend to ignore signs if they all appear the same.
You could wrap stairs or escalators in signs, add signs to barriers (like velvet ropes or temporary walls), paint washable graffiti to big open walls, or add signage to the natural landscape, like bushes, trees, and plants.
“Strong signage strategy begins at the first place a guest will interact with your brand,” says Stacy Tandon, event planner and branding expert. “Consider extending your reach even beyond the conference center or hotel to that first touch point—the airport.”
Consider Using Some Digital Signage
Digital signage is a growing trend among event planners. This type of signage is a powerful way to keep your guests informed and promote your brand.
Digital signs are, simply, screens that display editable content. Depending on your needs, you might show lists of information, maps, images, demonstrations, schedules, previews, etc. You have a lot of options.
If you buy or rent a digital sign with a touchscreen, your attendees can even interact with the sign. They might use it to locate a room, zoom in on a map, or open a list item for more information. Admittedly, these are more expensive, but they greatly improve your guests’ experience.
The biggest benefit of digital signs, however, is that you can change them. If you have to move a speaker to a new room or change the time of a committee, it only takes a press of a button to make that information available to your guests.
(Digital signs are useful, but the best way to update your guests is to use a custom event app like Superevent with a built-in schedule. Through the app, your guests have access to real-time information about your event. If something changes, simply push the change to everyone through the app.)
Your signage won’t be a central feature of your event. It shouldn’t be. For most people, signage is an afterthought. At best, people will use them and forget them.
But if you lack signage, people will notice. They’ll sigh and grow frustrated when they lack critical information. They might not outright complain about your lack of signage, but they’ll know something isn’t right about your event, and they might not attend the next one.
With proper signage, you can create positive event experiences your guests will remember.