Early Steps to Take Before Opening Your First Local Store

sign installationIf you have a dream in your head, you can make it a reality. As you prepare to open your first retail location, this is probably an ideal you hold very close to your heart. But what exactly goes into the beginning stages of a business? Here are the first steps you must take in preparation for opening day. 

Step One: Branding

The beginning of your business happens well before you even sign the lease on your retail location. First, you need an idea. After your idea, you need to craft an image for your brand. The public face for your company will be crucial for setting yourself apart from other businesses in your field. What will make people want to use your services, why are you providing these services, and who will want to buy them? Ask yourself these questions. 

After you have the answers, start brainstorming custom sign designs. Custom signage is important for every retail store since it is the best way to visually impress your brand imagery to the public. Before building your custom signs, make sure they reflect the branding strategy you have decided on. Then you can move on to step two.

Step Two: Building

Building starts with an online presence these days. This is actually good, though, because you can test out your sign designs before actually placing them in and around your business. Once you’ve cultivated a social media presence, you should talk to a local company regarding sign installation. Figure out the optimal locations for sign installation outside the property you decided to rent, as well as in the building. 

Do this before building up your product inventory, as signs will start to impart your branding on the town. Since on-site signage is worth the equivalent of 24 full-page newspaper ads per year in terms of marketing, it is never too early to install signs. They will reach a number of eyes before you even open, likely cultivating intrigue along the way. 

Step Three: Being

It is time for you to be the business you built. On opening day, you must act like the brand you are trying to project. You have prepared for this, taking your time to ensure you have an established theme and attitude for your business. All you need to do now is follow through. 

From branding to sign installation to opening day, you will come a long way when you start a business. Going through this process is difficult, emotionally taxing, and infinitely rewarding. Even if your business doesn’t succeed, you will learn so much.

Why Location Matters When Designing a Custom Sign

custom sign designsSignage is one of the most impactful classic advertising tools any small business owner has at their disposal. You can reach a large number of people with your brand imagery, continue reaching new people that move to your location, and do so at a fraction of the cost per lead than other marketing strategies. It sounds almost too easy, but this isn’t exactly the case. Before you invest in custom signs for your startup business, you should know a few things about different custom sign designs. Here are some of the most popular sign design trends that work based on location.

  1. Roadside Signs
    Since 71% of people look at roadside signs, reading what they say, investing in billboard space might be a good use of money. This is conditional on how close your business is located with respect to the highway on which you’re placing your signage. It’s also contingent on how applicable your services are to the average highway traveler. There’s a good reason that you mostly see fast food signage on the highway.

  3. Indoor Branded Accents
    Start thinking about the custom sign designs you intend to use indoors. When people walk into your store, what will they think? Will it leave an impact? Design your indoor sign with class and creativity in mind, keeping brand imagery in focus as much as possible without allowing it to become distracting.

  5. Directional Signs
    Have you ever had a hard time finding the entrance to a store you wanted to visit? Many people will persevere until they find the door, but you will almost certainly lose a few fleeting customers to confusion. Install simple signs directing them to your door to rectify this problem.

  7. Lit Signage
    If you live in a city where there’s a lot of nighttime foot traffic, light up your signage to grab the attention of the more nocturnal customers. Custom lighting can work wonders in drawing attention to your store. It doesn’t necessarily need to be bright and flashy either. Some subtle spotlight accents on your custom storefront signage might be all you need.

There are many different ways to utilize signs as a lead generation tool. For brick and mortar stores, signs are the first line of brand image building to reach consumers’ eyes. Make sure to have a good first impression by spending time with a sign designer.

7 Most Important Early Storefront Investments

custom signStarting a retail store is difficult these days, but it can still be very profitable. Early on in the life of your business, you will most likely be on a very tight budget, but there are certain things that you absolutely must invest in to grow your business. Here are a few examples.

  1. Custom Signage

    You might think that custom signs should come later after you’ve settled into your new role as an entrepreneur, but you would be wrong. Custom outdoor signs are one of the most important things you can invest in. In fact, 60% of consumers say that a lack of signage has prevented them from entering a business.

  2. Decor

    You want your customers to feel a certain way when they enter your business. Proper decor is the first step toward establishing a professional store.

  3. Sensual Triggers

    You want people to remember your store and come back later. One way to do this is burning a familiar incense scent or lighting candles so that customers have a firmly implanted memory of your shop. Lighting, music, and comfort are all important as well.

  4. Social Media

    You simply can’t run a business these days without having a website and social media pages. Hire a professional to build these if you don’t know how.

  5. Online Reviews

    This is critical. Get good reviews early on or else your business doesn’t stand a chance. This can mean asking your friends to leave good reviews, but it really means providing the best possible service you can manage.

  6. Referrals

    Use a referral program to build a customer base. Give early customers a sizable discount when they invite their friends, and keep the program running until your store is more popular.

  7. Employees

    Nobody can do everything by themselves. Unless you own a very small shop with limited hours, hire employees you can trust to be bastions of customer service excellence.

When starting a new business, the environment is everything. Custom lighting, signs, scents, decor, and aura are the most important early investments you can make. They will help form the image your business wishes to present and bring in customers that are eager for a visionary new place to shop.

5 Unique and Effective Signage Strategies

signsSignage is always an important step toward creating a retail store that’s bustling with happy customers. This is reflected by the fact that 79% of Americans remember a business from their signage. The signs you use to advertise your business and strengthen your brand need to be both memorable and effective at targeting your key demographics. The following are different strategies you can use to convey a message to potential customers.

  1. Guerrilla Marketing

    This type of marketing takes time and creativity but can reach many more people than typical custom signs. While the idea behind guerrilla marketing is found in using company pens with your phone number on them, it has grown to be a form of viral marketing. Temporary street art with brand imagery, flash mobs, and skywriting are all in the spirit of guerrilla marketing. Combine the ephemeral nature of these ideas with the viral-worthiness of your sign design and you will be well on your way to wide-reaching signage.

  2. Informational

    Using concise and visible font, convey what your business is about. The key to informational signage is to keep it minimal and direct, but compelling and actionable all the same.

  3. Contact Point

    A very short description or catchphrase about your business, coupled with a phone number or web address, can provide people with a means to get in touch with your company.

  4. Mysteriousness

    Going with a minimalistic design without too much information about what your business does might seem like a bad idea. Well, it can be, but if you execute it correctly, consumers will be curious enough to look into it themselves. Make sure to have a page on your website ready to explain the intriguing signage.

  5. Location Based

    If you’ve ever seen signs for a fast food joint on the highway telling you exactly where to go, you know just how effective this strategy can be. If you provide necessary goods or services, consider sign placements on busy roads.

When choosing a sign company, make sure it is versatile, accommodating, and shares your desire for a well crafted and highly creative finished product. This is how you will ultimately find the best outdoor signs Pittsburgh has to offer, no matter what strategy you employ.

3 Most Critical Marketing Tactics For Brick and Mortar Startups

sign companiesStarting a business is a daunting task. There are seemingly hundreds of millions of tiny details that are pivotally important to get correct from the very start, yet not enough time or money to worry about them. One thing that you absolutely cannotneglect is proper marketing. Since there are many hundreds of different marketing tactics to choose from, yet only 24 hours in a day, lets narrow down your marketing strategy to the three that are most critical for your business’s success. 

  1. Signage
    Did you know that signs bring in half of a start-up business’ new customers? Half of your initial customers generated from one one-time marketing expense? That is possibly the most cost-effective thing your business will ever spend money on.

    Spend some time on building your signage with experienced sign companies, though, because you want your brand imagery to speak for you. Going through a one-stop shop style sign company could get you custom lighting, design, and installation from experienced sign installers. This will save you time and energy.

  2. Store, or More?
    Once you get people interested with signage, you need to give them a reason to actually be in your store. With the online marketplace as competitive as it is today, customers are less likely to leave their homes for simple products. Wow them with an experience instead. Provide something they cannot get from the internet or anywhere else. This will not only play into your brand identity but into how the public perceives your company. 
  3. Database Is King
    Create reward programs for existing customers and collect contact information. This will allow you to retain customers more easily. Since only 20% of your customers will be responsible for 80% of your future revenue, it is extremely important to have great customer relationships. This all starts with forming a database including everyone that makes a purchase. 

Marketing is more than simple TV commercials. If you want your startup business to flourish, you need to be nimble, adaptable and operate on a shoestring budget 25 hours per day, eight days per week. The three marketing tactics above check all those boxes. Sign companies will help you bring customers in, your environment will make them want to come back, and a customer database will work to ensure that they continue shopping with you.

How Offline Marketing Is Still Huge In An Online World

commercial signsWith everything moving online these days, you might think it would be hard to find a place for traditional marketing. While on the surface this seems logical, there are very good reasons signage is one of the best marketing tools available. 

  1. Traffic
    If your business is in a city, placing your signage in a place that can be seen from the road while residents of the city are suck in rush hour traffic is almost guaranteed to get you some new customers.
  2. Moving
    Your potential customer pool is actually more like a river. People move into the city, people move away from the city, and this process repeats every day. A big and endless stream of new customers. In fact, 13-20% of the population moves every year. This means you could have literally thousands of new customers to acquire every year. 
  3. Promenance
    Web banners, pop-up ads, and clickbait internet articles are all glossed over and largely unnoticed these days. They lack presence, something commercial signs have in spades. Custom lighting that shines on custom signs can make your branding stand out in your community. 
  4. Cost
    Compared to almost any other advertising medium, signage gives you the most bang for your buck. This is typical of inbound lead generating strategies, but signage is particularly effective. 
  5. Actionability
    Even though online ads promise your purchase is ‘just a click away’, you often have to do several thousand little things before you buy that odd looking potato dicer, and by the time you get to the point of buying it, you don’t want it anymore. Well, signage is much more actionable. If you get the customer’s attention, they will walk into your store. All you need to do then is have a great staff and a quality business and you’re good to go. 

Though internet marketing makes a big difference and can help your brand become better known, commercial signs can convert leads to customers in real time with only the slightest effort and small starting cost. If you are interested in outdoor signs for your business, contact us today. We are the best sign company Pittsburgh has ever encountered. 

5 Signs of High Quality Signage

custom lightingHaving a high-quality sign to represent your business is more important than you might expect. In fact, 70% of consumers suggest that the quality of a sign reflects the quality of the business itself. When looking for sign companies in Pittsburgh PA, you should pay attention to the various factors that determine the quality of a sign. 

  1. Visibility
    Signage is largely dependant on location. The whole point of putting up signs is making your brand visible. Whether you are implementing onsite signage or outdoor signage across town, you must ensure it is in a desirable location. 
  2. Custom Lighting
    One of the often underestimated aspects of signage is lighting. Your sign is a stationary object that generates passive interest and inbound leads. It could be active day and night, but not without lights. If you want the potential customers that are out at night to see your sign, you’ll want to have some sort of custom lighting Pittsburgh can see at all times. 
  3. Brand Prominence
    Making your brand imagery the focus of your signage is important for driving awareness for your business. Budget your sign space appropriately and allow for enough room to get your message across, but to highlight your brand as well. 
  4. Clarity
    What message are you trying to convey? Make it simple, straightforward, and actionable. People driving by signs don’t have time to ponder deeper meaning or untangle the web of words associated with your brand. If you have a confusing message or a sign with too many words, people will ignore it completely. 
  5. Catchiness
    Coming up with a catchy slogan or creative idea for your sign might not be the easiest, but it makes a huge difference. When you look at successful signage, you’ll see all of the above, but the x-factor is always catchiness. Come up with something clever associated with your brand after doing everything else.

When consulting with sign companies in Pittsburgh PA, make sure they’re dedicated to bringing your vision to life. Getting the best outdoor signs is important, but knowing what you want and how you’d like to execute it is just as crucial to your lead generating success. 

4 Clever Ways To Use Signage When Growing A Business

sign companyIf you’re trying to start a business and are having a hard time getting your brand out there, you might consider hiring a sign company. Signage is an excellent advertising tool that can enforce your brand and generate an additional 75% to your customer base. The reason signage is so effective is the sheer volume of individuals that will see your sign every day. Getting your brand, and subsequently your products, in front of as many eyes as possible is crucial to your success. Here are some clever ways to optimize your signs.

  1. Social Media

    Find a way to slip in your social media links. Connecting a store in a physical space to an online store can give potential customers confidence in buying online. This strategy also helps you build an online following, which can be incredibly useful in establishing brand loyalty.

  2. QR Codes

    Whenever possible, include a QR code box that directs to your website. That way people won’t need to remember the name of your site (or your company) to find your website. Protip: QR codes work better on street signs than they do on billboards.

  3. Lighting

    Do you want people who are outside to see your sign? Custom lighting can double the time your sign is passively attracting the gaze of customers. Weigh electricity costs and the benefit of running your sign lighting overnight. More often than not it’s a good idea to have lights illuminating your sign at night.

  4. Font

    This is a fairly obvious aspect of sign design, but it’s often quite overlooked. Make sure you can read the font from the average distance your prospective customers should be reading from. Also, check for any kerning issues. Kerning is the space between letters in a word. A great way to illustrate this is by looking at the difference between ‘kerning’ and ‘keming’. When you have improper kerning, the letters appear squished together and incorrect.

When you hire a sign company to help grow your business, they will be able to walk you through the difficult design tasks and ensure you get the sign that captures your brand in the way you envisioned. If you want the best commercial signs Pittsburgh has to offer, give us a call today. Whatever lighting, design, or content you want for your signs, we’re here to help.

A Short Glossary Of Common Signage Terms

sign installersDid you know that 83% of businesses that use LED signs saw an increase in sales? The creative use of signs to passively generate leads is a time-tested method for growing sales. Custom signs could have a huge impact on your business and will give you complete control of getting your brand in front of as many people as possible. When designing a sign you will find that there are a lot of terms surrounding signage. To understand the jargon used by sign installers, here is a glossary of common words and phrases. 

  • Aesthetics
    The way a sign looks. A sign would be called ‘aesthetic’ if people felt that it had a favorable appearance.
  • Animated
    The use of bulbs and lighting in a sequence to create the appearance of movement on the face of the sign. 
  • Ballast
    Heavy duty electrified substance that secures and provides power to sign lighting.
  • Building Fascia
    The exterior wall of a building. A great place to construct massive signs. 
  • Carved
    Typically wooden signs that have had the logo or lettering carved into it. The carved wood is then painted over, often with gold or silver for shining emphasis. 
  • Legibility
    How easy a sign is to read. Make sure your sign is legible from a distance as well as up close. This is a much bigger factor in sign design than some might realize. 
  • Point of Purchase
    A sign placement technique of setting signs next to products that show all of the information necessary to make a purchase. This information could include price markers, item description, and any information about what the price will get you. 
  • Transformers
    Electrical equipment sign installers use to turn current and voltage into elements of sign design.
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  • Variance
    Government permission for building a sign that is outside of the typically allowed sign guidelines. This normally involves a hearing in some capacity. 

When designing custom outdoor signs it is important to understand these terms. Many of them are relevant to both your sign’s aesthetics and its overall effectiveness. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to grow your business today, get in contact with us. We are the best sign company Pittsburgh has to offer, and we are eager to help you design your brilliant new sign.

Show Me A Sign: How These 3 Sign Ideas Can Score Inbound Leads

custom signsDid you know that 85% of customers that spend money at a store live within five miles of that business? In fact, these customers will likely see signage for that business over 50 times per week. This is a great way to generate leads in your area. Custom signs can really catch the attention of consumers everywhere, and at low cost to your business. 

Custom Signs For Inbound Leads
What are inbound leads? When you are setting information in front of people, allowing them to use it if they choose, that is the life of a successful inbound lead. 

The beauty of inbound lead generation is that it gets the word out in front of as many faces as possible, and does so at a low cost. If you own one of the custom signs Pittsburgh PA sees every day, you will reach thousands of eyes. All this for a one time cost. 

Ideas For Signs
If you want more customers, here are some strategic signage ideas. 

  1. Brand awareness oriented sign strategy indicates that you should focus on outdoor signs that are highly visible. Lighting options could contribute to nighttime visibility, and a prominent logo can assist customers with recognition. These ideas are great for recognition and growing a customer base. 
  2. Directional signs are an important way to direct customers into your store. For example, if you drive through a small town and see a sign that directs you to fresh organic apples, you might decide to stop. If it doesn’t tell you where the fresh organic apples are, you will likely never stop. The point is, you might believe that your business is quite accessible, but it could be less obvious to some. A simple LED Open sign up front, or a billboard that tells highway drivers your business can be found at the ‘next exit’ both funnel people to your store. 
  3. Interior signs help to reinforce your brand identity once you’ve drawn customers inside. They add to the environment and can provide information on your product. If you own a deli, you will need signs with your menu options on the wall for people to order more conveniently. You want to guide people with the message your signs provide. 

The number of leads you can generate by using inbound sign strategy is incredible. Custom signs play a pivotal role in the success of brand identity, and with strategic placement and top-notch quality, you are more likely to grow your business. If you are looking for the most qualified and versatile sign installers Pittsburgh has to offer, call today to explore our services!