We heard you might be looking to buy digital signage. Great. But if you’re new to this, it’s easy to be a little intimidated by the options.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask yourself and the digital signage providers you are talking with.
1) “What is the main function of my planned network?”
If you’ve had a conversation with a digital signage salesman and they haven’t at least alluded to this question, I would ask yourself how they can claim to help. It’s important to get your own priorities clear in your head before you buy digital signage.
If the main function of your planned network is going to be uploading videos, you’ll want to check things like file formats and sizes before you sign on the dotted line. If scheduling content for certain times of the day, week or month is a must-have for you, make sure the solution you are looking into actually fits the bill. You’d be surprised how simple features like previewing the content you create can be missing from even expensive pieces of software.
The other benefit of discussing this question with a digital signage salesperson is they might actually give you completely new ideas you didn’t know were possible. For example, you might be looking to install screens in a school to display the lunchtime menu in the canteen. You might not have realised that their software could integrate with the web application that writes your menu, saving you the trouble of recreating this content. Similarly, they might turn around and mention that other schools are using their solution to integrate with their timetabling software, opening up a whole new application you hadn’t thought about.
2) “Do I really need to buy expensive signage screens?”
With a lot of digital signage providers, this wouldn’t be a popular question but we want to be 100% transparent with you. To be upfront: we’re a software company. While we are happy to sell you hardware, we really care about providing value and if we think something is overkill, we tell you.
Digital signage content is deployed through a media player. There are two types of media player – inbuilt devices sold as part of a screen and external devices that typically connect via a HDMI cable. Often described as a ‘signage display’, the former is significantly more expensive. They also ties you into a particular operating system that may or may not become out of date. For a lot of deployments, these monitors are surplus to requirements.
In some instances, you can get away altogether without investing in commercial-grade displays. The quality and affordability of consumer televisions nowadays make them a great alternative for budget digital signage using an external media player to deploy content. Better yet, repurpose existing TVs you have lying around. Unless you are looking to display Ultra 4K video, the majority of monitors will do the job and you can always convert VGA to HDMI.
3) “Who’s going to be responsible for content?”
This might seem an obvious question but the number of times a business owner or purchasing team want to demo our solution without involving the marketing or communications staff who would actually be using it is surprising. We appreciate they might not have the final say whether you buy digital signage but it’s a good idea to involve them in the buying process. They will have a better understanding of their priorities and pain-points. It will also make them feel more personally invested in the project, helping to provide better long-term results.
When speaking to a digital signage company, be sure to ask them about training. Even though our solution is user-friendly (quite simply drag and drop), we are keen to provide training free of charge to help you get the most out of the solution. There’s nothing worse than investing in something, becoming disillusioned with it, or under-utilising its potential value. Be sure to ask providers up-front whether training is included or whether there are hidden fees.
A reality often overlooked with digital signage projects, until it’s too late, is the risk of only having one individual familiar with the system. While there’s nothing wrong with having a member of your team take the lead and become a ‘specialist’, it’s good practice for others to at least be comfortable with the platform. Should that individual take a day off sick, go on holiday, or worst still, leave, someone else will be able to make changes on your screens. In rare instances where something goes wrong, being able to resolve issues without them can be crucial.
4) “Can I try the solution first before I invest my money?”
There’s no beating around the bush, to buy digital signage is a financial commitment.
Most solutions operate with a monthly license fee and often companies require annual contracts. For this reason, it is fundamental that you have complete confidence in your decision. The only way to do this is to physically see the product for yourself, or better yet, try it firsthand. Companies that refuse to provide online demonstrations or offer free trial accounts are to be mistrusted. What are they hiding? You wouldn’t spend hundreds of pounds on a television without seeing it, software should be no different.
At TrouDigital, we have a reputation for going beyond the competition in this respect.
We invite you to first see our solution at your own convenience in a virtual demo that lasts approximately 20-30 minutes. This is your opportunity to get your questions answered by one of our experts while being walked-through the platform and its functionality. Following this, we are always happy to create potential users free trial accounts of our platform. This gives you unrestricted access to our studio editor and the ability to create and schedule content as you would to show on a screen. Before any investment is made, staff can become confident on the platform, allowing them to hit the ground running when they sign up.
You can book yourself onto a demo below:
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Finally, at TrouDigital we uniquely offer an extension of our free trial to hardware. At our own expense, we are prepared to send you one of our loan media players in the post so you can get it connected to a screen and see your content exactly as it would appear. This reflects not only the confidence we have in our solution but our determination to bring value to potential customers. The unprecedented ability to try digital signage in situ is the best way to decide if it’s right for you.