We’ve mentioned the importance of treating your medical practice as a business and how vital branding is to differentiate yourself from other healthcare services in your area. Signage is an essential aspect of branding. Too many practices simply put up a plaque with the physician’s name and credentials. Are you guilty of this, or does your signage form a strong part of your medical marketing strategy?
Here are some pointers for professional signage that can make (or break) the awareness of your healthcare business in your community.
Types of Signage for a Practice
Signage typically falls into one of four categories. You might use any or all these in your healthcare communications:
- Outdoor signs: billboards, bus shelters, and buses, or parked advertising trailers alongside a busy roadway
- Location signs: placed on the exterior of a building to announce the fact that your practice is situated inside
- Promotional signs advertise the services you offer and the reasons your practice is unique
- Information signs display your contact information, hours of business and the types of healthcare you provide
The top image shows a good example of signage that could fall into any of the first three categories. Choosing the right type of signage depends on your budget as well as your marketing needs. Most medical marketing strategies include at least one or two of these options.
Appearance of Signs
Signage for your healthcare business needs to be highly visible. A design needs to be clean, simple, and inviting, and display good quality textual and graphic elements. Make sure the resolution of any pictures and logos used is high enough to deliver clear, crisp images. Use text that is visible at the distance viewers will see it from and select material that lends itself to the design you choose. For example, signage with a dark background may not work well on a dark-walled building, unless it has a contrasting frame to make it stand out.
Signs must reflect your medical practice’s brand personality and market positioning. Are you promoting your healthcare business as a discount primary care provider or an upmarket facility that specializes? If it’s the former, then expensive-looking metallic signage with embossed lettering might be anathema to your target audience. Choose a practical, one- or two-color sign that doesn’t look too costly and epitomizes a fundamental approach to primary care. Don’t just go with a Caduceus next to your name–that’s so last century!
Right, so you’ve figured out the type of signage needed, in the colors and brand personality you want to present. Now, what words go on the sign? The content is as important as the other aspects, to avoid overwhelming the sign with copy that is difficult to read. Of course, this depends on the type of sign, but even with information signs, don’t include too much.
The content should include a primary focus and a secondary focus. The primary focus is the header, which is the name of your practice, your tagline or slogan, or the priority information. The secondary focus supports the first. Any sign with more than two ideas is too busy.
Examples of Effective Practice Signage
The first image above is an excellent example of good medical signage. The sign presents a primary and secondary focus, it’s simple, visible, and clear. It uses graphic and textual elements to represent the brand, the type of healthcare service, and announce the location. The sign offers additional information that doesn’t detract from the design. The information is light enough to avoid making the sign busy; anyone wishing to read it must stand close enough. The sign conveys a brand personality that is upmarket and specialized.
Compare this with the second image, which uses a more basic design and is harder to read but conveys a brand personality more suited to an affordable, general healthcare business.
Your choice of signage is important, but it remains just a single piece of your overall branding and medical marketing strategy. Unless you’re a marketing expert, your best bet for getting it right is to consult with an experienced strategist who understands the nuances of signage.