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Street Advertising Experiment (Increasing random foot traffic walk-in's with a sandwich board)


Neville

I was walking down the street here in Austin, TX.....and noticed this little Shoe Hospital:

 

Here's some pics of it:

Shoe hospital in Austin downtown

Shoe hospital in Austin downtown

I live nearby.....so I've walked by this place probably 500+ times......and the only thing I've ever noticed about it was this dinky sandwich-board sign:

Shoe hospital sandwich board sign

All it says is "SATURDAY SPECIAL! 1/2 price heels no limit!"

I have no idea what that means.

So I got to thinking.......

"How can I make this Shoe Hospital street sign get more random people in their doors?"

One of my favorite copywriting exercises is to "mentally re-write advertising" I see in the real world.

So my first step was to analyze what was wrong with the street advertising this shoe hospital was already doing:

"What is wrong with this advertising?"

This is what's going through my head when I see the shoe hospital's advertising:

Shoe hospital wrong advertising

1.) I have NO CLUE what the hell a shoe hospital does!

The guy who runs the place told me, "We're a shoe hospital....we fix shoes!"   ....but I'm just Joe Schmo who's walking by this place, I don't know what the hell a shoe hospital does!

2.) They mention they "repair shoes" which means NOTHING to me.

You have to show me some real examples of shoes that got fixed!

3.) Tell me "1/2 price heels"....but I dunno what the service is!

This shoe hospital desperately needs to SHOW me the service they do.

One of the biggest sources of retail traffic is random walk-in's.

So having bad signage is a serious problem if you are a brick & mortar business.....because you're losing a percentage of ALL the people that walk by!  That's free customers you're losing!

A random dude walking in may spend $50 on his 1st visit.  BUT that doesn't end his relationship with you.  He will come in time-and-time again.  His LTV (Lifetime Value) might be in the thousands.

In the short amount of times I've visited this shoe hospital, I saw purchases from $50 to $200+ from ONE VISIT.  I was blown away, I had no idea what this place does, yet there were people dropping hundreds of dollars per visit.

The owner of the shop said he gets on average 8 - 10 random walk-in's per day.  

Let's make this a conservative estimate, and say only 8 random walk-in's come through per day.

With this estimate, let's figure out what this Austin Shoe Hospital location is missing out on:

Let's do some quick & dirty math:

8 walk-in's per day.

300 days per year open for business.

=======================

8 x 300 = 2,400 walk-in customers.

 

Now.....through re-doing this sign, let's say we increase the amount of walk-in's to 15 per day.

15 walk-in's per day.

300 days per year open for business.

=========================

15 x 300 = 4,500!

Holy shit....that's 2,100 extra customers per YEAR just because we improved the damn street sign from 8/day to 15/day!!!!

Now let's see what those 2,100 new people will be worth at different average purchase prices:

  • Average purchase is $35....at 2,100 customers = $73,500/year

  • Average purchase is $50....at 2,100 customers = $105,000/year
  • Average purchase is $65....at 2,100 customers = $136,500/year
  • Average purchase is $80....at 2,100 customers = $168,000/year
  • Average purchase is $100....at 2,100 customers = $210,000/year

This doesn't take into account repeat business!

Out of respect for the Austin Shoe Hospital, I will not publish that sensitive info.....but you can easily extrapolate that simply making a better sign can make an extra tidy profit!  Giggity.

I asked my friend Jude who runs DowntownAustinBlog, to do a quick analysis of this shoe hospital at 8th & Congress here in Austin, TX.

The foot-traffic estimates are based off some old 2010 data that was collected, and during a regular workday this shoe hospital is estimate to have 700 - 1,000 walk-by's per 8-hour workday.

That would mean their current signage is converting at around 1% of walk-by traffic (remember, they get about 8 walk-in's per day with the existing signage).

So I would like to get the Austin Shoe Hospital from about 8 walk-in's per day.....to 15 walk-in's per day.

"How can we get from 8 per day...

...to 15 per day?"

Street advertising change to sign

Well my first thought was to change that damn sandwich board sign!!!

The primary psychological things I wanted to happen were:

1.) People on the street would intensely look at the board and process it. 

2.) There should be a call to action on at least ONE side .....telling the person to come inside the store. 

3.) I wanted to clearly explain what the shoe hospital can do for YOU.....with simple images.

This was easy enough because the Downtown Austin Shoe Hospital website had plenty of before & after shoe pics like this:

Austin shoe hospital website

All I had to do now was steal some of their before/after pictures and mock them up in Photoshop.

Fortunately I'm a guy with WAY too much time on his hands, so I know Photoshop reasonably well (mainly for making dumb stuff like this):

neville-photoshop-dumb

.....anyhow, I took a bunch of the images from the shoe hospital website and made two mockups.

Neither of them were exceptionally clever, and honestly I didn't care.  So long as people looked at the BEFORE/AFTER pics and think in their head, "Oh....maybe I can bring in my old pair or shoes and make them awesome again!"

That's all I wanted from these boards:

 

Sandwich Board Mockup #1

Shoe hospital sandwich board 1

 

Sandwich Board Mockup #2

Shoe hospital sandwich board 2

Notice how Mockup #2 says, "Ask inside what we can do!"

That was done on purpose to give people an excuse to go inside and say, "Hey what do ya'll do??"

.....it also helps the owner track how many people are coming in through the sign.

 

Getting the sandwich boards made:

The next step was to actually make the damn things.  A standard sized sandwich board is 24" X 36" ....and I found out at the local FedEx/Kinko's they do these for about $60 per sign (plus tax).

So turned my Photoshop files into regular .jpg files and submitted both designs to Kinko's.

In about 6 hours I got back a giant flat box (people on the street thought I was holding a giant rectangular pizza!) and the signs were ready:

shoe1

The signs in all their glory.  $156 after tax for both:

shoe2

You can see for scale how big these are:

shoe4

Photoshop File to Real Life in 6 hours!

shoe5

Proud of my work:

shoe6

Delivering the boards to the Austin Shoe Hospital:

shoe7

Prepping the sandwich board sign holder:

shoe8

Affixed to the stand:

shoe9

One last goodbye before my baby goes out into the working world:

shoe10

See any changes from afar?

shoe11

The new sign working hard to bring in new walk-in's!

shoe12

Telling people to come inside:

shoe13

Now people can SEE what the Shoe Hospital can do for them!

shoe14

We could see people constantly glancing at the sign.  That didn't used to happen:

shoe15

Hopefully 2x the amount of people come in because of this sign.  The goal is 15 walk-in's per day:

shoe16

My theory is these signs will starting working immediately on a small scale (already a small uptick in walk-in's the very first day).

But the real value is when all the people that normally walk by this location walk by SEVERAL times.  I'd say this will take between 7 and 21 days.

SO ALREADY THE SIGNS ARE WORKING!!!

Crazy how just a small change like this can improve a business.

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sincerely-neville-shoe

 

P.S. I want you to comment on either A or B:

A.) How many walk-in's you think these signs will bring in per day (current is 8 per day).

-or-

B.) How we could re-do these signs to bring in more walk-in's.  Lemme know!! I might actually be making more of these signs for this experiment...

UPDATE: This experiment results in literally an overnight 50% increase in new-customer walk-in traffic!


User Feedback

Recommended Comments



Yeah we're thinking of making some more signs, would be fun to test!
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A nice double conversion I hope!

I think the next signs will have a strong call to get people IN the store.

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I think that sounds just about right :)

I really like the "Got bad shoes" suggestion! NevBox-worthy answer. Not bad for a first-timer!!

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It's funny, people actually stop to look at the sign, then checkout the other side.

It seems to be working really well like that!

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I think 12 or 13 is good also. Very realistic (and is already happening)!

P.S. Boron Letters kick ass :)

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Aww thanks Amy!

I got a good case study, they got some increase in customers!

And yes, I think the other signs should be cleaned to make em look nicer, but never thought of it till you mentioned.

NevBox-worthy comment Amy!

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A MIRROR!!! That is super clever :)

 

NevBox-worthy suggestion Bob!

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Ohh I like this. Make them take a glance at their shoes to get them thinking about it. Nice one Jay!!
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Bahahahah, great suggestions Ed!

Some of them sound almost a little overboard, but I like the creativity. For now will stick with basic signs, but no doubt some of this stuff could work :)

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He actually has a "1/2 priced heels" sign out in conjunction with the signs I made. He says it works pretty well!
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Lol....clever suggestions!

I actually think for the Shoe Hospital the more direct value is good enough for now, however maybe in the future some crazier tests will be performed :)

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Yeah we'll see....my estimate is 7-21 days for the sign to work it's magic!
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Great suggestion Bryan! NevBox-worthy!

They do have a fair amount of window space, and I think a cool display of actual before/after shoes would go well there.

Might suggest to them actually :)

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Great NevBox-worthy suggestions Jene!

They do purses also, and it's not shown. I think this could definitely be the next sign :)

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I like the chalkboards too, but I usually don't go in because of them. I think I first wanted to educate the customer what a shoe hospital does. But then daily specials could be written on a chalkboard, sounds plausible!
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That sounds reasonable Kathy!

I think the signs will take between 1 and 3 weeks to work fully, because then people WILL bring in their shoes.

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Good suggestions Patricia!

I like the pricing stuff. Unfortunately then you have to constantly change those signs, that's the downside.

But great suggestions!

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Good suggestions Neo!

So far most people haven't seemed to be too frightened by the time......I think people leave ample time for fixing.

However these might go on the next boards!

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