When I say “self-storage signage,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it a giant set of illuminated channel letters? Maybe a large monument sign with a digital display? It’s common to focus on what’s outside the facility, but your signage shouldn’t stop there. It’s an important part of your customer experience! How can it improve the way you serve tenants?
Interior signs are crucial to helping renters use your self-storage facility efficiently. Think of them as employee helpers, educating customers on how to make the most of your services. If you use them correctly, you’ll spend a lot less time answering common questions and more time focusing on the important stuff, like selling and marketing!
There are many types of interior signs you can and should use at your self-storage property. Let’s take a look at some of them and how best to leverage them for your business.
There are many sign types and styles on the market. Here are a few general design details to consider:
- Materials: Signs are commonly made of acrylic, metal, glass and vinyl. What you use will depend on where a sign is going, the type of message being conveyed and your overall brand aesthetic. You can really achieve any look if you’re willing to pay for it.
- Lettering: Pay attention to the fonts you use. Do you want something with a thinner profile or more depth? You can use thicker letters or standoffs to extend the signage from the wall. There are many options. Choose what works for your brand.
- Illumination: Illuminating your signage through front- or back-lit lettering is a great way to draw the eye.
Navigation Signs and Unit Numbers
If customers can’t find their self-storage units, you’ll have complaints and other problems. Your goal is to guide them to their destination as quickly and safely as possible. It’s important to use building and hallway signage as well as unit-door numbers to help people navigate your site. A 3M vinyl application is a cost-efficient option. If you’re looking for something sturdier, you can use vinyl applied to aluminum, PVC or acrylic. (Most suppliers recommend aluminum.) Flat, cut-out signage can also offer a nice dimensional look.
The bigger your self-storage facility, the more signage you’ll need to keep customers informed. Displaying signs for things like office and gate hours and common rules and regulations is just good business.
The number, size and look of your signs will vary based on preference and visibility. I recommend sticking with neutral colors like black and white. If you use color, make sure it’s cohesive with your brand. Put your signs in places that are relevant to the messaging, and make sure they’re easy to see and read. You can mount them with screws or double-sided tape.
When it comes to glass windows and doors, vinyl can be produced with a first- or second-surface application, meaning it can be mounted inside or out. This product is easy to clean and can easily be removed without damaging the surface. It can be used for pretty much anything.
ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) Signage
Having proper ADA signage is a huge deal, and there’s much more to creating compliant signs than just adding braille. You must consider where they’re placed and what material is used. For example, there must be no glare and high visual contrast. Even the size of the lettering is important. Fortunately, you can reach out to a variety of professionals such as your architect, general contractor or signage provider to help you properly design and install ADA-compliant signage.
Do you want some flexibility in your signs? Perhaps you want to change up your messaging to share promotions, celebrate holidays or announce policy changes. Digital LCD and LED displays are perfect for signage that requires frequent updates. Mounted screens can be configured in multiple formats, and information can be fed via your local network, internet or USB drives.
There are many different brands, types and specifications to consider when choosing a digital product. One thing I strongly emphasize is budget. Self-storage operators often focus on the initial cost, which usually isn’t cheap, without considering how it can save money in the long run. When you consider the expenses involved in designing, creating and maintaining print signs, a digital solution may be beneficial. Create a long-term marketing plan so you can be sure you’re earning the highest return on investment from day one.
Final Sign Tips
As self-storage facilities become more automated, interior signs are going to become much more important. You should constantly evaluate your signage and consider ways to improve it. Tour other storage sites to see how they use and display signs. Keep track of the questions you consistently receive from customers and consider making signs to answer them. You can also work with an experienced signage company that can guide you in making decisions.
Finally, have some fun with your signs. They don’t always have to be serious. There are tasteful but humorous ways to make people smile while also getting your point across.
While your front signage is an important component of your self-storage facility branding, your interior messaging can’t be overlooked. Consider how signs can better support your brand, staff and customers.
Steve Weber is a national sales representative for Blink Signs, a Cleveland-based sign company that provides a turnkey service for self-storage facilities. Blink works with facilities of all sizes, from permitting to manufacturing to installation. To reach him, call 216.815.0330; email [email protected].