Not every business is conveniently located in a shopping center where customers can drive around casually until they find their destination. As pop-up shops gain popularity, many businesses end up renting spaces on busy streets with hard to spot driveways. Google Maps can only take a shopper so far.
When your Google My Business listing is published and your location marker is perfectly placed, the next step is to make your business visible in person. Remember that some of your customers won’t be familiar with the area or the nuances of traveling local streets. They’ll need some extra help.
If your customers have a hard time finding you, here are five ways you can help:
1 – Describe the parking situation on your website
Nothing frustrates people more than being unable to find parking or being unprepared for difficult parking situations. You can prevent frustration by describing your parking situation on your website. Let people know if they should come prepared to park on the street, in a garage, or bring coins for a meter during certain hours.
In addition to informing customers of any non-standard parking situation, craft a short description to help people spot you from the road.
2 – Intentionally design physical signage
When a customer approaches your business while driving, they need quick visuals that indicate where to pull in and park. This is accomplished best with physical signage.
Despite the fast-paced adaptation of digital technology, the majority of brick-and-mortar businesses rely on physical signage inside and outside of the store.
Physical signage seems old school, but it’s not outdated. In fact, it’s stable, reliable, and doesn’t distract drivers like digital signage can.
If your business is tucked away in a hard-to-find spot, the right physical signage will help customers spot you right away.
The first physical sign you want to upgrade is your address marker.
3 – Make your address marker visible
Since there’s no consistency in how businesses mark their buildings, people don’t always know where to look to find your street number. It could be painted on the window or the curb, nailed to a pole, or on the front door in small print. When your customers are driving, they don’t have time to hunt.
Make your street number prominent so that traffic from both directions can see it clearly. Increase the size of your numbers and repaint your curb if the numbers have faded.
4 – Mark your driveway
The next thing to do is realistically assess how accessible your driveway is from both directions. Some driveways are difficult to spot and there are multiple barriers that make it even harder to access after it’s been missed. Physical signage can eliminate these barriers.
For instance, if someone misses your driveway, can she make a U-turn quickly and access it from the opposite side of the street? If not, you need a physical sign close to your driveway to let people know where to turn. This is an easy fix by printing your business name and logo on a double-sided sign anchored in the ground by a simple stake.
If you have to place the sign a little way from your actual driveway, use arrows to point people in the right direction. You can also post a matching sign closer to your building so people recognize it after they’ve seen your driveway sign.
While it’s tempting to go high-tech with digital signage, there are good reasons not to.
5 – Skip the digital rotating banners
If you’ve ever driven by a building with a digital banner, you’ve probably noticed the content seems to change too quickly. When a message spans multiple screens, the only way you can catch it is if you’re at a red light.
If your business is hard to find, unless a digital banner directs people to your driveway, it’s only going to be a distraction.
Using digital banners to announce your location can work if someone driving a car can understand the message in a moment. This requires all screens to be variations of the same singular message: the name of your store.
Digital advertisements are a distraction
Some studies have concluded that digital billboards and other digital signage are definite distractions. On the other hand, in a separate study, the Department of Transportation concluded that digital billboards don’t significantly distract drivers any more than regular billboards do.
Regardless of which study is correct, when your business is hard to find, anything that doesn’t guide your customers into your driveway will be a distraction.
About the writer: Anna Johansson is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, Forbes.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter @Number1AnnaJo and LinkedIn.