People Love to Buy, but Hate to Be Sold To: How This Applies to Your Internal Communications

Communicating with your employees is a sales job. You’re trying to get them to buy ideas and information that are important to you and your organization, so how you go about it is important.

Have you ever walked into a clothing store and immediately been approached by a sales representative who proceeds to follow you around suggesting things to buy? If you’re like me, you’re out of there about a minute later. On the other hand, being in a store, whether online or in person, with a great selection and competitive prices, can be a real pleasure. People really do love to buy and hate to be sold to.

If you’re using digital signage (DS) to communicate with your people, you need to consider the way you do it. Done properly, employees will welcome the source of information and look forward to reading it. On the other hand, poorly executed DS will be ignored or even mocked.

At Marlin, we’ve been in the workplace communications business for decades and have plenty of experience in how to do this correctly. Here are a few tips that will help:

1. Keep it fresh. Just like in retail, you’ve got to rotate your inventory, adding new content every day or two and – just as importantly – getting rid of the old stuff. By “old” I mean anything that’s been up longer than one week.

2. Have a call to action. There’s a reason retailers use methods like, “Buy one, get one free.” They do it to help make your buying decision faster and easier. So give your employees a reason to get engaged with your content, for example, ask them to send in a photo related to that safety topic you just posted – then post those photos. Your dry safety piece will now be an interactive employee experience.

3. Use size and design. Like a “sale” sign in a retail store window, you want to call attention to the content on your DS, otherwise employees are likely to just walk by. To do this, consider a large font for the first few words or headline, using some color/bold/italic styles to make it stand out.

4. Don’t use a “fire hose” approach. I often see DS with 40 or 50 pieces of content in rotation. That’s too much! No one can absorb that amount of information, plus people are just not in front of DS for that long. Ten pieces in rotation at a time is the limit. 7-8 is even better.

Overall, think of your DS content like the produce section at a grocery store. Everything is fresh, ripe and tempting. The aisles are clean and uncluttered. You just want to buy. Now imagine how you’d feel if last week’s veggies were still there, the fruit was shriveling away and there was scattered debris on the floor.

Which does your DS look like?

Frank Kenna III
August 29, 2017

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