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Sign spinning is an art

21 Jun, 2013 McKell Naegle

Last Saturday was a very hot day in the Salt Lake Valley. I was out running errands with my family. At a stoplight I saw a man on the sidewalk working harder than anyone should on a blistering summer day spinning a blurry sign. I assume he was trying to attract customers to the restaurant he was standing in front of. What do you think went through my mind?

  1. “Lets stop and eat at the restaurant that guy is spinning the sign for! His superior spinning skills are making my mouth water in tasty anticipation. Because he is working so hard the food has to be absolutely delicious. I just can’t pass this up. His God-given sign spinning talent has thoroughly convinced me that I must spend my money. I beg you, take my money!”
  2. “I am glad that I have air conditioning in my car. That guy is sweating so much he looks like he is going to pass out from heat stroke. What is he even doing out here in the blistering heat? Oh, he is advertising for . . . um, I can’t read the sign since he is spinning it so much. Green light! Hey, lets look up some restaurants in the area on Yelp.”

If you chose B you are right! Here is my brand core strategy statement and the point of this article. I am trying to convince small business owners that sign flippers and other similar means of advertising is a waste of money because it doesn’t generate leads, increase sales or brand awareness. I am here to convince the small business owner/marketing leader/digital marketing guy that online advertising is a much better investment than the sign-flipping guy because online advertising is a measurable, actionable and effective way to market your brand in a digital age. So do this, not that.

Lets dive into the numbers a little bit. Minimum wage in the wonderful state of Utah is $7.25 per hour. Lets say that you employ a sign spinner for eight hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. That is approximately 261 working days a year and at $7.25 per hour equates to $15,138. That’s 15K completely immeasurable dollars. The point of the sign spinner is to bring in more business than it costs to employ him. Do you really think that a sign spinner has a great ROI?

In another post of mine, I explain how to verify your Google Places listing for local SEO. Stop wasting your money on sign spinners! Your competitors are online; your customers are online. You might be online with a weak website with no emphasis on gaining customers through social media. Here is a revolutionary idea: let’s can the sign spinner and employ a digital marketing agency.

If you want to see exactly how many customers your marketing dollar is bringing in, digital marketing can do that. If you want to see how many people came to your website from specific search queries, digital marketing can do that, too.

So, in closing, take the $15K and turn it into $30K. Instead of investing in a young man’s useless sign spinning abilities, invest in your success and make your dollar go further in a digital world.


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