Marketing Feature for SignLink Magazine – offering advice on digital marketing for Sign Writers

signlink marketing for sign writersBamsh Digital Marketing was honoured to be interviewed by SignLink magazine.

Martyn Lenthall, founder and SEO Director, faced the tough questions on marketing and the signage industry.

“How can signage companies utilise marketing to promote and grow business?”

The days of relying solely on word of mouth and traditional advertising are long behind us. Only a few years ago a good sized, coloured advert in Yellow Pages was enough to keep a sign business busy. Although the customers are still out there, some may say more now than ever, the way to attract them to your business has changed.

For many traditional sign companies, with either a retail space or an office, the online world of marketing is either where the low-cost competitors or the “big boys” are based. However, there is room for the small to medium size business to get their fair share of the business. In an area where there is heavy competition, the first to use online or digital marketing in the area will likely take more than their fair share!

When it comes to being found online there is only one place to concentrate on and that is Google search results. Many businesses shy away from trying to get the most from Google as it can seem daunting or costly. It does require a degree of expertise to get the right enquiries from Google, however that expertise can be bought relatively cheaply and deliver a great return on investment.

It is thought, and our at Bamsh Digital Marketing experience shows, that Google prefers small businesses in its results. Google wants to give the users of their search engine their preference, which is a reliable and authoritative local accompany. Increasing your online presence can greatly promote and grow your business.

“Is there a set of marketing strategies that you would say form the foundation for successful marketing for sign writers?”

The foundation of any marketing strategy is the company’s website. However you get traffic to the website through digital marketing, the website itself MUST have some of the “best practice” to convert a website visitor to a potential customer. Otherwise, all efforts and budget to drive them to your website will be wasted. Best practice includes:

  1. First 15 seconds – when people land on your website they will, on average, make a decision if your company, products and services are what they are after in the first 15 seconds. At that point they will leave and look at a competitor’s website or will stay and read your information. Is your website such that within 15 seconds a visitor can tell if your business is high-end or offering a low-cost solution? Can they see images of all of the types of services or products your offer? Is there an immediate sales message to grab attention? If the answer to any of those are “no” then you need to review your current website.


  1. Make it super easy to contact you – what is your preferred method of a potential customer to send you their lead? Would you like them to call you or send an email? Which method has the best conversion rate?

Potential customers will not spend time hunting around for a way to contact you. If your website has the contact details on a “contact page” or your telephone number at the top or bottom of the page, you may as well not have a website at all.

Once you have decided your preferred way for people to contact you then add that to your website at every “page scroll”. A page scroll is where on a page a visitor has to scroll down to see more of the page. Wherever someone is on any page there should be in view your preferred method to contact you. This can be an “email us now” button that opens a contact form or a “call us now button” that starts a telephone call.

  1. Make your website fully responsive – regardless of your type of sign company, services, products or location, over half the people that visit your website will be doing so on their mobile phone.

Does your website have a mobile friendly version? This doesn’t mean that it can be just viewed on a mobile, it needs to adapt or be responsive regardless of the size of the screen the user is using. This is called a “responsive website”. It is widely unknown that Google has two search engine results. One for laptop and desktop users and one for tablets and mobile phone users. If your website is not fully responsive, then it is quite likely that your website will not be shown in these results – meaning that over 50% of your potential customers will not be able to find or see your website.

  1. Authority – Website authority has two meanings. Authority, as seen by Google, and authority as seen by website visitors.

Google reads and scores every website for “authority”. Whilst some of this score is associated to the age of the website address, most of it is attributed to the content on your website and the number of other websites that link to yours. The higher your authority with Google, the higher you will rank in the search engines.  Digital marketing agencies, such as Bamsh Digital marketing, start the process of ranking a website by reviewing the “authority” of the client’s website and the authority of the local competitors who are ranking well. This forms part of the strategy to getting our client at the top of the rankings and taking website traffic from local competitors.

Authority with website visitor is completely different. Remember, you have 15 seconds to make an impact, so high on the home page of your website should be examples of the signage and work you have completed with well-known businesses, highlighting that these well-known and recognisable brands trusted you with their signage.

  1. Let previous customers make the sale for you – have you ever bought a product online or booked a holiday? What was the deciding factor? Price? Or was it the previous customers reviews and feedback? A recent large-scale survey found that 93% of people stated that reviews influenced their buying decision.

Customer reviews and testimonials are a simple way to hugely drive up the conversion rate of your business. Genuine customer reviews, added to the website in the correct way, will also help with rankings and being found by local customers.

6. Keep the website fresh – Google loves fresh content. A long article (2000 words) or a couple of short articles (600 words each) each month on a subject related to the signage industry will give your website a huge boost in rankings. Google prefers and promotes (in the rankings) websites that regularly provide new content.

7. Be found for what people are looking for – the words and terms that people put into Google, called “keywords” in the marketing industry, need to be used throughout your website.

In an industry full of technical jargon it can be easy to lose sight of the basic, general and sometimes old-fashioned terms that people might use when trying to find a sign business.

An out of industry example would be for a removal company. More people search for a “man with a van” than they do a removal company, in fact, in the UK around 1,500 people a month search for a removal company, over 27,000 searches for a “man with a van”. Most removal companies would be horrified to be associated with the man in a van service, however, virtually all removal companies offer “small moves” and guess what? They complete the small move with a man in a van.  Having a page or content on their website regarding “small moves” and mentioning a “man with a van” service could attract 18 times more traffic and potential customers to their website.

The most used terms in the signage industry and associated products are (Monthly UK Volumes)

Keyword           Avg. Search Volume

banner printing             3559

sign writing                   2900

shop signs                     2400

sign makers                  1092

custom neon signs        1058

vinyl signs                     1058

vehicle graphics             1000

shop front signs             1000

sign makers near me     1000

magnetic signs              1000

metal signs                   880

business signs               872

custom signs                 661

sign company                624

sign maker online          590

sign shop                      542

outdoor signs                476

neon sign maker           387

custom made signs       170

commercial signs          138

outdoor business signs  121

store signs                    38


Nearly three times more people search for “sign writers” than “sign makers”, yet most businesses would use the latter term throughout their website. Worried everyone is buying online? “Sign makers near me” is searched almost as much as “sign makers” – people are looking for local companies and this is why Google loves to promote local companies.

8. Show examples of your work – when someone has a need they prefer to see an example where their need has been fulfilled by you. Case studies are a perfect way to showcase examples. A short article regarding the last sign you made. Where it was to be placed, any restrictions on the signage, any specific customer requests and how you satisfied them – are all good content to add to a case study

“How can signage companies utilise social media in their marketing strategies?”

Many businesses still don’t realise the power of social media and this is a mistake. Social Media platforms, for example, Twitter and Facebook have become respectable places for any company to attract qualified prospects. Facebook has in excess of 38 MILLION active and frequent users in the UK and the number is expected to rise to a number exceeding 42 MILLION by 2020. No matter if your company sells to consumers (B2C) or other companies (B2B), your potential customers are on Facebook and using it often.

Facebook is excellent at raising awareness during the customers “research” stage, reminding them of your services or products during the “consideration” stage and putting your specific products and solutions in front of prospective customers at the “buying” stage. With such a substantial target audience and also the versatility to target customers through the entire buying process, Facebook is often a good avenue to obtain leads and sales and to deliver a wonderful return on investment.

To set-up a business Facebook page (called a fan page) is free and relatively easy to do. Although marketing and remarketing through Facebook require investment, having a Facebook page allows customers to recommend you through Facebook.

“As most of the businesses in the Sign Industry are Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs), do you have any advice for those wanting to improve their marketing strategies, on a small budget?”

Online or digital marketing does not have to expensive. Most new clients with Bamsh Digital Marketing start with a small budget and increase this as new sales are achieved. In fact, the budget is rarely a factor. If a marketing company said that they expect to return double the money invested in advertising as profit i.e. £2 of profit for every £1 invested – what would you set your budget at? Return on investment and capacity within the business to fulfil orders in a timely manner actually determine the budget that should be invested.

If you are a SMB or SME on a limited budget, I would suggest the following is the order of priority:

  1. Get an eye-catching, visitor converting website that is fully mobile responsive
  2. Use an agency to optimise this website so it ranks well in the search engines for local searches. This is called “search engine optimisation” or SEO.
  3. If there is capacity in the business after the website is ranking or there is a need for immediate sales – consider a Google Adwords campaign. Ensure you use an experienced agency who will be able to deliver low-cost leads.

If you have absolutely zero budget there are a number of activities that could get more leads. Find and claim your businesses “Google Maps” (actually called Google My Business) and ensure that the details are correct. Add images and examples of work.

Create videos of your work, your customers and staff. This doesn’t require expensive equipment; your phone will do.  Add these videos to your website and Facebook page. They are likely to appear in the search results and will almost certainly be shared by the companies or people featured in them.

“Can you offer any advice on where to start, for those who are new to marketing?”

Firstly, use a free online tool to audit how well your current website is seen by Google. One such audit tool can be found at

Next, find a digital marketing agency. As mentioned before, it need not be expensive to buy in the expertise. The return on investment should make it a profit generating service, rather than a cost. Getting leads online is a series of time-consuming activities that generate small, but frequent improvements. Experience and expertise are the key.

Avoid any agency that talks about a “secret sauce” to get rankings. There isn’t a “secret sauce” or “silver bullet” to achieve results. There are only solid working practices. Although quick wins and early successes are achievable, the best results come from implementing consistent working practices.

Although the best results take a time to achieve, avoid SEO agencies that try and tie you into a long contract. This is an early indication that they either have little faith in the results they will achieve, or their working practices take longer than the norm. The best SEO agencies will have a contract length that holds the business partnership together for a period that will start to see results, allowing you to make a commercial decision after that based on return on investment. This would normally be a 6-month contract.

Great questions to ask a potential agency you could work with

When interviewing or just having an informal discussion with your potential service provider there are some key questions to ask.

  1. What processes will you use to accomplish the goals of the business? Why those processes?
  2. How will you report work carried out and results? How often?
  3. What involvement will you need from us?
  4. What do you do when things just aren’t working?
  5. How does Google rank results? How do you work with this?

If you do not know the answers to these questions, it doesn’t matter. It is the confidence the agency has in their answer that counts. Can they explain the processes without trying to bamboozle you with jargon? Can they show examples of doing what they say they do? It is as important to understand how they communicate the answer, rather than the answers themselves.

Lastly, the agency should show as much passion for your business as you do yourself. How interested are the goals you want to achieve? Do you feel like they are keen to help your business grow?

About the Author:

Martyn Lenthall is the founder and SEO Director of Bamsh Digital Marketing.

In 2012, from his back bedroom, he launched his first SEO company (SEO Company Bristol).  A rapidly expanding client base of small businesses, national companies and international organisations, as well as adding more diverse digital marketing products to the portfolio meant a new, more internationally recognised and all-encompassing brand was required, and so Bamsh was born.

Martyn is considered one of the UK’s leading experts on search engine optimisation.

He has 17 books published on website optimisation and lead generation for business websites.

Website and SEO consultant to multi-national brands.

Public speaker on subjects of SEO, digital marketing and lead generation for businesses.

SEO recipe

Recipe For WordPress SEO


1-Month Prep

6-Months Baking



Website Owners Happy

SEO Recipe Ingredients

  • URL For Brand or Services

    Choose a URL (website address) that is either your company name/brand or relates to your services and location (optional)

  • Hosting

    Fast and reliable hosting, with great customer support. Cheap hosting means a website that is slow to load.

  • WordPress

    WordPress loaded into your hosting with a theme that is fully mobile responsive (changes how it is displayed on mobile phones and tablets)

  • Pages

    A page for each service you offer. If you work in different geographical locations – a service and location page for each.

  • Images

    Clear, high quality images that instantly demonstrates the service or location the page relates to.

  • Plugins

    Add the plugins that will make your website more search engine friendly such as Yoast, caching plugin and image optimisation plugin.

  • Content / Copy

    For each page, create a list of the search terms (keywords) people are likely to use to find your website. Ensure these are, in a natural conversational way, are included in your content.

  • Call To Actions

    More for “conversion rate optimisation” than SEO, but have clear calls to action throughout each page. Make it easy for potential customers to contact you.

  • Video

    Website visitors (and Google) love videos. Create a relevant video for each page, if possible and sensible.

  • Blog

    Google loves fresh content. Blog posts will attract visitors to your website. Create a blog section on your website.

SEO Recipe Method

  1. Choose a URL that is either your brand or company name. A few years ago if you wanted to rank, you had a domain name that included the services and location i.e. Google is more brand aware, and a brand name URL has as much chance of ranking as a keyword filled one. If you work only in the UK, then choose a “” domain name. If you work anywhere else in the world (instead of or as well as the UK), choose a “.com”. If the required domain name isn’t available, consider adding hyphens between the words, but NEVER more than two hyphens in the whole URL.
  1. Your website needs to be hosted on a server that is reliable and fast. In case of any issues, you will want the best support 24-hours a day. Broadly speaking, the more you pay for your hosting, the faster and more powerful the servers and the faster your website loads. For the balance of speed versus costs and superb support, we recommend these guys for the best WordPress hosting with brilliant support. A fast loading website is essential for good rankings and customer conversion.

Free Website Audit

Our SEO audit tool will analyse your website and provide an in-depth report on how Google reads your website and also provide advice on how to improve your website so it ranks better in search engines.

  1. In your hosting cpanel, use “Softaculous” software to install WordPress. If the “In Directory” field has “wp”, remove this and leave a blank field. “Sitename” should include keywords, location and company name. For large brands, only the company/brand name. Ensure the “username” and “password” are unique (not, repeat NOT “Admin”) but also easy to remember. You will need these everytime you login to the administrative back-end of the website. Choose a theme (you can change this later) and press “install”. In a few seconds, a blank WordPress website will be installed on your hosting.
  1. Plan and layout the pages on your website and navigation menu so that it is easy for website visitors to find the specific information they require. Ideally, these will be the different services. If a service has elements that can be split then do that. For example, we offer SEO. We offer SEO services for businesses, we offer SEO training and SEO Consultancy. Although all related to SEO, they are all very different services and website visitors looking for one of those services will be looking for very different information. Creating a page for each service allows you to write specifically about that service. In addition, if you offer those services in different geographical locations, i.e. “SEO training in Bristol” and “SEO training in London”, then a page should be created for every service in each location.
  1. A picture paints a 1000 words, so the saying and song will tell you. The images on your website directly reflect your brand and company. High-quality images make it instantly apparent to the website visitor the services or location the page is referencing. Investing in the best imagery available online will repay you many times over in customer conversion. Should you ever use low-quality images on your website? There are circumstances where it would be applicable to use low-quality images. If you are trying to portray your services as very low-cost or if you are trying to portray yourself as a 1-person or trade. Also, actual images of your work, captured on a smartphone, may better explain your services than a high-quality image from say, “Shutterstock“.
  1. There is a balance to adding plugins on your website. Too many, and your website will slow down. There are some WordPress plugins that we would recommend to make the website faster, more secure and make it easier to apply great SEO techniques in a simple, easy and tech-free manner. Website speed – you will want to add a caching plugin. There is any number of free WordPress caching plugins, such as “W3 Total Cache“, although most of these need a good degree of experience to set up the plugin correctly. If you are willing to pay a small fee, but want a very fast website, without any set up at all, then the best WordPress caching plugin, in our opinion, is “Viper Cache“. For the best security for your website, we recommend “Wordfence” a free plugin that requires no set up at all. For SEO, the only plugin to recommend is “Yoast“. This free plugin is fairly easy to use (even for beginners) and the SEO benefits are tremendous.
  1. Regardless if the preference for your website is a ‘minimal’ design, you need to add content. Copy, words and content are what Google uses to identify the messages, services or products that are on a page. Ideally, your page will have at least 800 words. If your local competitor has a page with 1200 words regarding a service, then you should have 1500 or 1800 or 3000. Not just words for the sake of it though. Use a keyword finder, to find the search terms that people are using to find that service. The keyword research tool we recommend is free to use, gives you a huge amount of alternative keywords you can include and if you add a location (Country or City) it will list the websites (competitors) that rank for that search term and the relevant information that will help you to outrank them!
  1. The reason we apply SEO to a website is to gain rankings in the “natural” listings so, in turn, we get targeted traffic to our website. The reason we do this is so to get enquiries and sales. Firstly, decide what course of action you want the website visitor to take. Do you want them to buy from the website? Do you want an email enquiry, telephone lead or a visit to your premises? Ensure that the preferred action you want them to take is very visible. These are called “call to actions” (CTA) and whenever a visitor scrolls down the page, a CTA should be visible. A CTA could be a “BUY NOW” button or “Visit Our Showroom” or “Call now for the best prices”. Make it clear and easy for the customer to make contact with you. As an example, we want businesses owners to either use our free SEO Audit Report tool (CTA above), to measure their website against best SEO practices or make contact with us by phone or email (CTA below).
  1. If a picture paints a 1000 words and a video is a 100 images? You can do the maths. Some people prefer to watch a video than to read through the content. Google will make an exception on the word count of your page if it includes a video. (However, you still need enough keyword-rich content to get the message across). A simple video, between 30-60 seconds long can show off a product, have a member of staff explain a service or a customer give you a review. All build trust with the website visitor. Wherever possible and relevant – add a video to your page.
  1. A blog or latest news section is a must for a website that wants to be found in search engines. It has so many possibilities and opportunities and only takes a little thought and time. If the word count on your pages is low, a blog post can raise the average word count of your website. It allows you write and discuss issues or problems that your potential customer could be suffering, and the solutions you offer to solve them, it can be industry news and your opinion on it, which builds the authority of your brand. It can be an article on a member of staff, so customers get to know you and your team. If it is relevant to you, your customers, your industry or competitors – write a blog about it. Linking from a blog to a page about your services will also help that page rank, as well as make it easier for your customers to navigate around your website.

Ranking Local Businesses with the Power of Schema Data

Bamsh Digital Marketing, “not just  SEO, not just Bristol” offer the full digital marketing services you would expect from one of the best Internet marketing companies in the UK. We offer search engine optimisation (SEO), Google Advertising, Pay per click (PPC), video creation and marketing, social media management. We offer a local SEO service for businesses in Bristol, work with companies throughout the UK and internationally. Find out what we can do for your business by calling 0333 900 3322

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