One of the most frustrating realities for small business owners is that size really does matter. Too often, many of the exciting options available in the marketplace are simply not priced or packaged for small business. Sure, the cost of screens has dramatically fallen and there are a lot of media players out there. But some of the most effective and impactful commercial applications of digital signage – such as video walls, social integration and truly professional-level quality content – have remained out of reach for small business owners or marketing managers who want to do it right.

However, the good news is that the industry has continued to evolve. Small and medium-sized business owners really CAN take advantage of digital signage in its most engaging forms…IF they have a clear strategy on what they want to accomplish and know what to look for in a solution. Here are our recommendations for those small business owners who are hungry for a (truly) high-performance digital signage system that is also affordable and easy to install and maintain.

1. Choose a multiple-output device that delivers separate streams of full high-def content

One of the most popular digital signage applications is the video wall. Who doesn’t stop and look at an impressive 2- or 4- screen display? For most small business owners, one of the main obstacles that prevented them from seriously considering a video wall (or any multi-screen installation) was the fact that it usually required multiple full high-definition players to drive multiple streams of content at the proper level of quality. Of course, multiple players cost more and require a more complicated setup and expensive installation.

TODAY: With increasing demand, select providers are offering affordable, high quality players that provide multiple outputs for exactly these types of application, keeping setup simple and labor costs low.

2. Partner with a turnkey provider who delivers screen-ready content

However, always remember that a player is only as good as the content it plays. Up until recently, content packages often only included PowerPoint-like templates, offering a disappointing level of quality and diversity unless you were prepared to pay for full custom content development.

TODAY: Savvy buyers should be looking for turnkey providers who provide affordable, screen-ready, high-quality content as a part of the package. Look for a range of high-definition content feeds or packages by subject or industry ready to schedule, along with highly flexible, professional templates that allow you to quickly and easily customize and update content that is specific to your business – and pull in content from your social media properties.

3. Look for an online content management system that is full-featured AND user-friendly

Finally, day-to-day management of content needs to be quick and easy. After all, small business owners don’t need another job, and most don’t have the luxury of hiring a new employee to manage their digital signage – or the extra funds to pay a provider for full-service maintenance.

TODAY: Most high-quality digital signage solutions include access to an online content management system that allows you to manage and schedule all your content – from any screen-ready content channels to your customized templates and social feeds. Don’t be satisfied with a DOS-based interface and no flexibility – look for a user-friendly interface that allows you to update and schedule content on individual screens with considerable flexibility, plus training resources and ongoing technical support.

At Mood, we specialize in end-to-end digital signage solutions that function as a productive part of the in-store experience, for businesses and brands of all sizes. We realize that small businesses don’t just have small needs. It’s our privilege to advise many small business owners and managers who are interested in Visual solutions on how to get the most for their money as they look to connect with customers and boost their bottom line. For more information about Mood Visual Solutions or to learn more about cutting-edge digital signage solutions for your small business, contact us at 800 385.5000 or visit us at www.moodmedia.com.

- Submitted by Michele Davies, Communications

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