The Big ROI Sign

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This one sign has accounted for over $150,000 in client revenue… and it only cost $270. Not bad for a return on investment. And now my personal design is all yours – Plus, listen to me explain how I “customized” my sign for massive client attraction! Plus, I’ll tell you exactly where to have it made up for you in less than 3 days. Don’t miss this one…

Here it is:

Since I’m on the 4th floor of a brownstone and don’t have any signage I knew I needed to come up with a way to let potential clients know that I’m there. Now although a lot of people do “A Frames” I made sure mine would stand out.

Many people also don’t know how well they really work! In the beginning when I opened the studio and 1st put it out more than 25% of my new clients came from this one sign!

I’ve also made come CRUCIAL modifications that have dramatically added to my bottom line. In the image below I’m going to show you how I modified my A-Frame to create a “lasting effect” with people passing by. Take a close look at the plastic rack card holder on the frame. I screwed this in and it allows for people to take one of my rack cards home with them – this has worked unbelievably well!

>>> Download my 22×28 A-Frame sign here

I’m also going to be back with a video showing you how I screwed a plastic rack card holder into the sign on both sides so that potential clients walking by could take one of my studio informational rack cards home with them! This helped a lot too!

(This full length video is now included in the DVD of the Tour of my studio – enjoy!)

Here’s a photo of our current aframe so that you can begin to visualize where it is placed and how we use it. (2 photos to the left)




It’s time for some UPDATES! (2012)

I just had a new “A-Frame” created that I know is going to create some major buzz around town! Now that we’ve been open for awhile and have some killer success stories I decided to showcase some of our favorites on the new a-frame.

This file was designed in “In-Design”, but I’m going to attach a JPEG and a screen shot below for you to pass along to a designer if you’d like to model my design. (By the way if you ever want my private designer to make anything for you just let me know and I would be happy to help you out on a few small projects – but he’s mine so you can’t keep him ; )

Here is what changed and stayed the same (New A Frame):

1. We kept the same great headline that has been working for us and made sure to continue to use the eye-catching RED font.

2. We added a new QR Reader in the left hand corner (right hand corner on the other side). This allows all those to “smarty phones” with QR Reader apps to scan the bar code and then be directed right to our “get started” page on our website – how cool is that!!!

(I’ll be talking a lot more about this in the future after I run my tests for you)

3. We used 9 client success stories with 18 total before and after photos!

4. I took the best caption for each success story and placed it below for easy and quick reading by people passing by.

5. We kept the Studio name prominent and made sure to include our contact information even though we are right upstairs from where the A Frame stands.

6. I made my photo a lot smaller to allow room for the success stories. I think it’s important to showcase your photo to let people know that your studio stands behind a real person and a small business – people like that.

7. I added the “Personal Trainer of the Year” logo to let people know what-is-up. However, I would have just used my training cert logo, or something else had I not be crowned royalty ; )

8. I made sure to keep our “Nutrition – Exericse – Lifestyle” 3 word blurb below our headline to let people know that we also offer nutrition and an entire lifestyle program. It says a lot in just 3 words…

9. Lastly, I will no longer be attached the plastic rack card holders directly to the aframe front and back (although they’re both really fronts right ? (I kill myself ; ) We’ll be instead attaching the plastic holders to the sides of the  a frame (photos of that to come).

>>> Download the A Frame JPEG here

I just want you to know ahead of time that this only cost me $68 to have just the 2 waterproof posterboards made up (I’m keeping the old heavy duty plastic standup to attach them to). That means that if I get a client to sign up for 2 sessions I will have made my money back… who wants to bet that you will get more than 2 measly sessions out of a sign designed like this.

I personally think this sign alone will net us another 6 clients in the next 6 weeks alone.

I’m not kidding, but of course, I will test this out and see how it goes. Just for some quick math: Each of our clients Life Time Value is now over $4,000 PROFIT (not gross revenue, but actual profit). So that’s a $24,000 return for those 6 new clients… and I’m sure we’ll have a few more sign ups because of it ; )

So what are you waiting for – go make up your A Frame if you haven’t already!

And if you don’t have a studio that is on a main street, just drag your A Frame out to the intersection of the main street sidewalk. I did this for years when I was consulting for health clubs and put an arrow pointing the to gym – it worked great!

Remember, always create more possibilities for yourself than reasons why you can’t do something and I have no doubt you’ll continue to grow your business each and every year!





Comment on this Content

  • LJ Lewis

    Hi Stephen,

    You mention a place where I can get this created in 3 days but I am not seeing it. Please help.


    • Hi LJ,

      I recommend using any local sign shop. In the US there’s a franchise company called Sign-A-Rama ( ). This is the company we use for all of our decals for windows, cars, and our Aframe signs.

      Sometimes they call these signs “Sandwich Signs,” or “Sidewalk Signs,” and a Google search in your area will turn up at least a few places. The signs cost about $50 and the heavy duty plastic frame (so it doesn’t blow over) itself cost about $150-$200.

      To this day, this one sign is still one of my BEST marketing resources!

  • Michael Warren

    Hi Stephen,

    Quick question: I’ve had an A-Frame design created. Im ready to print. Which option on Next Day do you recommend I choose…option and size? Im thinking it’s going to be a poster print, but please confirm. They hold up pretty well in the elements, yes?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Michael,

      I would highly recommend going with a print shop that does both the Aframe and sign. The sign is specially coated on plastic to withstand the elements.

      I believe my sign size is 22″x28″. It’s in the above document.

      Hope this helps and after 9 years this is still a great way for us to get at least 1-2 new clients EVERY month!

  • John Donaghey

    Hello Stephen,

    have you attached the rack cards to the side of the a-frame yet? How did you do this? I am working on my Aframe right now.



    • Hi John,

      I always recommend attaching a rack card holder on both sides if it does not block the images or text on your sign. All you do is screw in a plastic rack card holder to the foam board and aframe.

      With our new aframe design we decided to screw the rack card holder into the side of the aframe that faces the people passing by. I will try to get a photo of this up on this page for you.

      Hope that helps and it’s very easy to do!

  • Jeff Katz

    do you have any info on how to do a grand opening?

    • Jeff, you are in luck ; )

      It just so happens there is a monster post on how to do a grand opening (or re-opening), or client appreciation party on Smart Studio Systems.

      It walks you step by step on how to do it. Here it is:

      Enjoy the post and if you ever can’t find something just type the keyword or phrase into the search box above, such as “grand opening” and it will pull up all the posts with that term in it.

      Hope this helps!

  • John Donaghey

    If I was to use this as a Rack card – should I put the “complimentary fitness session” somewhere on the front. I assume it would be a good idea to put the benefits of training with me on the back.

    • Absolutely and please check out my rack cards for ideas and templates to go by.

  • John Donaghey

    I like your idea about putting the A Frame not he street but unfortunately local government laws do not allow us to do it in Sydney. I have been told that I will get fined.

    I will find something else that works.

    Thanks for the idea.


  • John Donaghey

    Hello Stephen,

    Great A Frame. Currently my building will not allow me to use an A Frame out front. However, I love the style of this. Would it be a good idea to use a similar style for a rack card? Obviously I will use my own text etc but add in the free complimentary session.



    • Hi John,

      Thanks for the comment and you could absolutely use this as a rack card design – you beat me to it and we’ll actually be doing that same thing in about 4-6 weeks!

      Also, even when a building won’t allow you to put your Aframe out infront of the building you can often place it near a busy street corner with an arrow pointing to your facility. I’ve seen it done by a few businesses and I actually did this for a gym that I was consulting for. I think it’s worth giving a shot even if someone makes you move it…

  • Like any marketing piece I roll out I have just a few criteria:

    1. It must be in keeping with my brand and paint us in a positive light – no silly direct mail marketing sleaze ball tactics or letters…

    2. If must cover its cost – I refuse to lose money on a marketing piece. I may not make money as I am tweaking the details, but I at least plan to break even. Keep in mind all the marketing pieces you receive on Smart Studio Systems have been tested time and time again and are winners!

    This A frame is a guaranteed winner – especially at only $68 (I think it was originally $200 with the plastic “a frame” stand up (one time cost). I wish there were more $68 marketing pieces that last 5 years and brought in dozens of new clients!

  • Cary Gordon

    What if I don’t have any walk by traffic. Just drive by and my studio is not visable from the road and traffic moves at about 70km/hr. How do i grab attention with my A-frame sign.

    • Hi Cary,

      You can only work with what you have… what I would do is concentrate on other avenues of marketing and possibly try to position an Aframe near the street or as I’ve suggested to some other S3 members in your position is to place an Aframe on the corner of the nearest high traffic street.

      You could also try posting some guerrilla marketing signs on the side of the highway or on telephone poles.

      There’s always a way!

  • Steve Long

    I’m not seeing a video.

    • The video is not there… but it’s coming.

      I will film it soon, but all you need to know really is that I screwed in 2 plastic rack card holders (one on each side) to allow passerbys to grab one of my rack cards.

      The details are also on the MP3 in the resources section.

  • All design work is done in professional design programs such as photoshop and Quark. Original works can’t be created in or saved as word or excel docs.

    There is a resource in the “resource” category that will allow you to convert PDFs to word docs or edit them right in PDF format.

    Please see that post for details…

  • Lisa Howell

    Call me stupid, but I cannot for the life of me edit the PDF’s! I have tried opening in Adobe Acrobat Pro but nothing seems to work… Any suggestions?