Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Good First Impression Starts with Your Sign

In business,first impressions count. Giving a bad first impression can lose you the confidence of prospective customers and clients, and even cost you business. The first impressions you give a customer or client will set the tone for your future business relationship and shows that you are professional and prepared. However, it is not difficult to give a good first impression every time by following a few simple guidelines. "We judge books by their covers" is the old saying and a customer will make a judgment in as little a 100 msec seconds according to one Princeton study. Once made they are very difficult to change.

In other words, first impressions are fast, firm, and very sticky. So how do you make a great one with your business?  Attend to the basics. In business, your storefront and its signage is your customers first impression.  In the book, "Predatory Marketing," C. Britt Breemer states that 53% of shoppers base their initial perception of your store and their decision to buy on the appearance of the store exterior. Your storefront signage gives clients all the important information for them to make a snap judgement. 

Looking polished, professional, and welcoming is the foundation for any good first impression for a storefront. Whether we like it or not, looks matter a great deal and affect people's perceptions.  Many small business owners don’t realize the value of their business’ appearance. Once the customer makes it into your store, it’s up to you to make the sale and convert them from a customer to a loyal shopper. But keep in mind...make a good first impression and potential customers will not pass you by.

A good first impression starts with a good sign. A good sign brings in customers and is
  • an appropriate size for its location,
  • develops a theme that fits in with your other marketing,
  • keeps the message short and simple,
  • illuminated so it can be read day or night.
At Fire House Neon Signs, we are here to help you create that all important first impression! With a custom neon sign your business will be perceived as professional, exciting and fun. More importantly, a sign from Fire House Neon will have that unmistakable glow that is sure to get your business noticed.

Monday, November 24, 2014

How to Make Your Business Stand Out

How to Make Your Business Stand Out

If you own a pizza business, the last thing you want is for people in your town to say “Let’s get pizza, but I don’t really care where we get it from.” This type of reaction could mean the end of your business because it means that the local customers don’t find any difference between you and your competitors. For a small pizza business, what you want is for the local population to demand YOUR pizza when they want pizza.
In order to earn this type of reaction, you need to make your business stand out. Although this may sound hard, there are some very specific types of actions you can take to achieve this goal.
  1. Provide excellence in your product. Excellence does not mean perfection and it doesn't always mean highest quality. What it means is that you do something special that ensures people prefer your product to your competitors. Using the pizza shop example, this may mean you make your own sauce or it could mean you sell a deep dish pizza that other shops don’t
  2. Provide superior customer service. Your customers are your bread and butter – or garlic bread and butter for a pizza shop! You should work to build relationships with customers by showing them how much they are appreciated. You can do this by listening to their concerns, meeting their needs and going a little bit above and beyond normal expectations. This may mean that first time customers get an extra 10% off coupon for the next order. Or it could mean that you provide something extra every fifth order.
  3. Reach Out To Customers. People in your community need to know that you are taking the extra time and effort to reach out to them. Build up a social network presence on Facebook, support a local little league time or get involved in community charities. This not only shows the community that you care about them and their needs, but that you also take the time to communicate with them directly.
  4. Do something different. Many people can provide pizza, but most don’t always provide the extras that draw people in. This could be anything from specialty sodas, locally crafted beers, weekly prize drawings, free doggie biscuits for pet owners, or a kid’s area with games and toys. These types of differentiation strategies can help people select your business over others.
  5. Market Locally. Anyone can place an ad in the local paper, but you need something more than that. You need something that will make people stop and look. You need something that will catch their eye even when they’re in a hurry to get somewhere else.

    Neon signs meet this need. Neon signs, especially when advertising that niche need that you meet or when showcasing your brand, are great tools because they are easily seen both during the day and during the night. They are colorful, fun and nostalgic and can be specially crafted to meet your specific marketing requirements.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How to Find a Quality Neon Sign Manufacturer

So you have decided you need a neon sign in order to increase your sales and bring in new business. Congratulations! You’ve made an excellent choice – one backed by years of results. Your next step is to find the best business to make your sign. Certainly, we at Fire House Signs, believe that we are the best sign maker anywhere. But we’d like to prove it to you by listing what we believe exemplifies a quality sign maker.
Provide you with time and information. It’s important for businesses to spend time with their customers. Many businesses will provide you with time, but only during the sales process. We don’t think this is right. We believe that businesses should freely provide you with their time before, during and after the sales process. We are happy to share our expertise on how to take care of your sign, protect it from breakage and how to best clean and maintain your sign.
Listen to you. Sign makers need to listen to your needs and understand your goals. This makes sure that you get the right product to meet your specific needs. After all, you know your goals and you understand your long-term business strategies. If a sign maker is not willing to invest their time in you, why would you invest your money with them?
Help with design. Sometimes the customer needs something a little unique. In this case, a good sign maker will have experts in sign design to help you figure out the best design for your unique needs.
Provide options. Even if you don’t have unique needs, you need to know that you have more than one option for your sign. We have standard signs with many different options. For example, perhaps you want something as simple as an OPEN sign. We have more than 50 different options for an OPEN sign. These include Spanish signs, signs with a coffee cup next to it, signs that flash, signs that have multi-colored lights and even one that show you’re open 24 hours.
Provide Novelty. Neon signs are meant to be fun and nostalgic. A good sign maker will provide novelty options which include channel letters, border tubing or outdoor signs in addition to the traditional indoor neon sign options.
Have a history. Quality sign makers have a history of satisfied customers. We will provide references and testimonials so that you can verify for yourself that you will be getting great service and a great product from a great sign maker.
Show quality workmanship. Neon signs are intended to last for many years. Quality sign makers not only have a great reputation for customer service, but a long list of customers who’s signs are still up and running even years after being made.
Provide warranties. We make a great product right here in the USA and we stand by our product. We believe in the quality of our manufacturing process enough that we provide a full one-year warranty against any defects or errors made by us on almost every purchase. And before you buy a product, we will provide more detailed information on this warranty and any exclusions or exceptions so you know what to expect.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to Differentiate Your Business from Your Competitor

In today’s world, differentiation is often difficult. This is especially true if you are selling products or services that are similar to the products or services being sold by your competitors. As a small business owner in a market with tight competition, you need to ask yourself: “What would cause people in my market to buy from me instead of the other shops?”
Certainly, you have to look at the level of service being offered. You also have to look at quality of the product or service. These are great activities that are designed to keep customers coming back in. But to entice new customers to walk into your door and select your shop, you need to show people you are different from the competitor before they even walk in your door!
Proven Differentiation Tactics
Two of the primary differentiation tactics to attract new customers is by using signage and by branding your name. Signage could be anything that promotes a product, service or your business. It could be a 50% off sale sign. It could be your business name above the door. It could even be a large-scale menu in your front window. Basically, signage is external advertising that is designed to bring people inside.
The best way to know if your signage works is to simply go outside and look at it. If you are not drawn to your business by glancing at your signs, it may be time to rethink your tactics. Your signs should be eye-catching enough that it makes a passerby give your signs their full attention.
Secondly, you need to boldly brand your name in a manner that makes you look successful. If your business name is “Carol’s House of Beauty”, you had better make sure that people who pass by can clearly see that this is your business and be impressed at the same time.
Not only does it help when people are trying to find your business, it helps make your business name one that’s well known and well thought of even by people who have never frequented your shop. As a local business with an impressive business sign, potential customers are more likely to call you when they need something simply because they already know your name.
How Neon Signs can differentiate you!
Neon signs may be one of the oldest methods of advertisement in the modern age, but the reason is simple: they work! By adding a neon sign (or two or three), you are using a unique, eye-catching and cost-effective method of making sure potential customers know that you in business and ready to serve their needs right now.
Unlike conventional signs, they are always easy to see and they always attract attention. These signs can be created to your specifications and can contain your name, your mascot, specialized products that you offer or even just a simple open sign. These signs provide differentiation at a time when differentiation is difficult. Your business stands out and your business name gets remembered.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Neon Bridges Aglow

Bridge lights have to be functional because of what passes underneath and travels up above. On the bridge, people need light to see where they are walking or driving, but in order for that traffic to travel in some manner of comfort others passing around the bridge have to know it is there. For towers, this means lights bright enough to alert air traffic that something could be obstructing their path, and those wishing to pass below need to have some idea where the supports are.
Unfortunately these are often objects more of function than fashion. Bridges are put there to do a job and dandying them up may detract from their purpose. A low point is crossed and there is no need to make a show in doing so. Fortunately, many believe that a bridge is the best place to enhance the look and style of a city.
Why Municipalities Would Choose Neon Lighting
Neon, as most aficionados understand, is a relatively inexpensive lighting method. The gas impregnated tubes offer more light than a standard bulb at a lower cost. The advent of technologies such as light-emitting diodes (LED) has surpassed neon as a cheap source of light, but there are still ways in which neon outperforms LED, such as color and style.
A Few Examples
A few cities have decided that due to the unique aspect and the color palette available through neon, that they would adorn a local bridge in this unique style. In Shreveport, Louisiana, The Texas Street Bridge crossing over the Red River to Bossier City was hung with more than 7000 feet of orange neon tubes to create a signature piece of public art that would transform the bridge in the nations largest neon sculpture. It also provides some local flavor for tourists. 
The Xiying Rainbow Bridge located in Magong, Taiwan is an elevated pedestrian walkway. The bridge is lined with a thin neon band that reflects a rainbow onto the water’s surface below at night. Neon lights affixed to the side of the bridge illuminate the water, below, following a rainbow’s spectrum of colors. 
For show and distinction, what else could a city want. Check the internet for uniquely marked neon-lighted bridges. They create a remarkable light show that should not be missed. Do you have a local bridge illuminated in the glow of neon near you? Tell us about it.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Make a Good First Impression

In many cases the appeal of your business sign is what brings a customer in through your doors, and obviously, it is always the first thing that they see. You may be thinking that it’s your services that they’re looking for that brings them in, however, what distinguishes you from your competitors that offer the same things? Your sign. Professionally it is always important to make a good first impression, and that stands for your business as well. 

Have you ever seen a handwritten sign in a store window? I hope not, because it communicates disorganization, lack of planning and un-professionalism. Sure, it also communicates that “you have a sale going on”… but the unintended messages often stick with the person longer than the primary message.Your business sign is the first impression you give your customers, and it will be the basis of their opinion of your business. An effective business neon sign will capture their attention, provide information and show that you are professional and trustworthy. In a tough economy, where advertising budgets are cut to the bone, that first impression is more important than ever.
The Small Business Association has observed that business signs are the most cost-effective – highest value – form of advertisement for a small business. While spending less money on signs than on TV, newspaper or magazine ads, signs will have a more direct impact on increased sales and awareness. Studies have shown that placing just one sign outside of your business can increase sales by 30%! Those are staggering numbers that show just how important business signs can be.Providing an illuminated sign, that is professionally designed and will be viewed hundreds, or thousands of times per day may be the most important advertising dollars spent.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Roof Over Your Head

Well maybe not for long.... if repairs are not done soon. While busy planning the build-out of the American Sign Museum annex, the annex roof was busy decaying.  Recent torrential downpours have brought the roof to a critical point, and they need to act now to secure it.  Estimated cost: $325,000.
Sol Hurok said “The sky’s the limit if you have a roof over your head.”  We tend to agree.  Thankfully, a VERY generous donor has contributed $150,000 toward securing the roof and is challenging museum supporters to raise the additional $175,000 needed to complete the job!  We love the American Sign Museum. We would love it to be even bigger to accommodate the museum’s ever-expanding collection. The current space features 19,000+ square feet of exhibit space, 28-foot ceilings able to display the museum’s large signs, working neon shop, flexible event space, and an extensive archive of books, photos, and documents reflecting the art and craft of sign-making. 
We ask for a little support from anyone that would like to help the American Sign Museum continue their mission of preserving historic American signs and their stores. To repair the historic Machine Flats annex roof that will double the size of the museum (an additional 20,000 square feet), please make a tax deductible contribution today.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Neon Light to Accessorize Your Car

People want to be unique. Some want it so much that they will go to extreme lengths to prove that they are distinct from the other rats that occupy the same planet. They climb and jump off of buildings, perform tricks that only incredibly juvenile teenage boys normally would for an MTV audience, or just decorate themselves in some way to show their mastery of pain. Other will use some object to proclaim their individuality. A car is a perfect example of personal taste and, in some cases, abandon. Neon has always been used as a means of brightening these individual gestures and automobile art is a perfect medium.
Under the Car
To certain age groups, it is important to have a car that stands out from the crowd. On any weekend evening across America (at least during the warmer months), car enthusiasts gather to show off how they have designed a better sound system or look than anyone else. One of the primary features of many of these cars is undercarriage lighting that accents every other piece of the car. With a variety of colors and patterns, these kits do show off a certain individuality. However, to avoid getting a ticket from the local authorities, a good general rule when installing neon lights is to have them activate by a separate switch from your headlights that can be turned on when wanting to make a statement. 
Inside the Car
Stereos were not just meant to produce ear-blowing and ground trembling sound, they are also meant to show off an individuals specific style. Neon lighting on speakers, woofers and other components is designed to do just that. But the stereo is not the only item that can be accented. License plates and doors and other inside elements can be trimmed in neon to brig a car to life. It can show up in the motor  compartment when used inline to replace spark plug wires. Heck, how about a custom neon sign fitted in the back window?
Whether it is for a contest or just to show personal style, neon is the perfect medium to accent your car. The undercarriage kits are available from local car shops, but a custom neon install will take the look over the top. If you are worried about the installation have a local shop do it for you. The results are worth the expense.

Friday, August 1, 2014

How to Design A Great Neon Sign

By creating an effective and memorable custom neon signs you can increase customer interest, knowledge and retention of your products or services. Whether you own a deli in New York, a surf shop in Malibu, or a coffee shop in Seattle, creative and eye-catching neon signs can be crucial for the growth and success of your small business. Making smart design choices can really make a difference to the effectiveness of your sign. The following are some helpful tips so you can spend your advertising money wisely on neon signs that are designed to draw your customers’ attention to your storefront and create that professional image:
  • Make header fonts bigger to create contrast. Contrast tells the eyes where to look and says "hey, look at me".
  • Add a graphic image to your neon sign. Signs that display large, bold graphics in full color have been shown to draw people’s attention much more than signs that don’t. 
    • Maybe it’s a graphic image with some text. Increase the size of the logo to make the contrast between the image and the font significant. Not only is the eye drawn to the super-sized image, but the small text now stands out too because it’s so different from the size of the graphic.
  • Add a neon border. When reading a neon sign that is not defined by a border, readers tend to get lost and disinterested. Signs that are rimmed with a border help focus the readers’ attention and allows them to read faster.
  • Use different colors. On a neon sign that displays text, displaying key information (prices, key words, etc.) in a different color increases the retention of that information by over 75%! 
    • For example, if you have a sign with 5 words and you want the 3rd word to stand out. Make it a different color than all the rest. Even better, make the word bigger and change the font too. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. 
  • Stay away from decorative and funky fonts. Stick with standard fonts. They’re already very beautiful and if you incorporate them into an already well designed piece… the end result is a masterpiece. To be honest, plain old Arial is one of the my favorite fonts to use when designing a neon sign.
  • Use a variety of contrasting colors. If the colors are too close customers will struggle to read the text and will therefore not retain the information. Also the more colorful the sign the better it will stand out. You want your neon sign to catch your customers’ eye.
  • Pick a color scheme and stick with it throughout all your signs. Repeating the same color in a variety of places, especially in a storefront window creates repetition. You want to incorporate repetition to unify your storefront and create drama. Think of you store window as one big sign! 
    • Repetition shows up best when you’re designing multiple signs. Now you can break this rule if you’re trying to create contrast… maybe you have one sign that has a totally different graphic or is a totally different size. However, what causes the contrast is the fact that you have some repetition going on and you have purposely broken the repetition using contrast.
    Neon signs are a great way to promote your business and increase customer awareness and interest in your products. Fire House Neon Signs can help you make stylistic decisions to create the right message for your business. If you’re looking to separate yourself from the competition and give your business a professional and colorful edge, use these simple design tips to create eye-catching and effective neon signs to entice your customers. We also make it easy by providing neon templates. Just add your business name and we will provide you a proof within one business day.

    Sunday, July 20, 2014

    A Neon Sign in Times Square New York

    Times Square in New York City has always been a place where people can find a good time, though that good time has changed drastically since Giuliani cleaned it up, and a place where advertisers know the value of a good neon sign. Alas marketers have forgone the tried and true for the latest and greatest. Every advertiser now believes in the value of video boards on store fronts rather than colorful artistic neon signs.
    Where did all the neon go? It did not all leave. There are still plenty of advertisers who use neon (McDonald’s is one) to advertise what they are and the uniqueness of their product. The Square does sometimes hearken to its classic past and introduce a new neon glass masterpiece for people to wonder at.
    Besides all of the video boards and scrawling ads, there are some businesses that realize the value of good long lasting signage. The city put up a giant flag made of neon that graced a sidewalk leading into Times Square and showed the city’s patriotic soul. Neon is also used beside the large boards in more subtle ways, not as the major advertisement, but to add color and grace.
    One sign still shines bright, although it is just off of Times Square (less than half a mile away, at Radio City Music Hall. The sign that continues to showcase the front of one of the most famous buildings in New York City features neon lighting. It is iconic because of its relation to the theater district and the cultural heart of the city.
    Just as neon has showcased everything from the dens of the city to the heights of culture and fashion, it has become an icon of America. New York is still America’s showplace, and what better advertisement than a richly dramatic neon sign.

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

    Soda Pop Neon Signs

    On a hot day in the middle of the summer what do you reach for. Yeah, a lot of people would say beer, but many more suck down a Coke or Pepsi (to their detriment) than would even consider an alcoholic beverage. The soft drink industry has been going strong for well over a century and people are loyal to the brands they enjoy the most. Why then would it be a surprise that these same people would want a piece of that company’s history in the form of a neon sign?
    Collectors cherish certain names because they bring a sense of comfort or produce a product that they enjoy. Many collect items from their favorite fast food purveyors and sports franchises in the same way that they collect stamps and coins. Some items, among them neon signs, are more valuable than others due to rarity. So what makes a neon soft drink sign collectible?
    Since there are any number of soda companies, both local and international, many different types of signs exist. People like the flavor of local, but there are some sought after, and they can be hard to find, but some big name brands have designs that are coveted and difficult to locate also. eBay and other auction sites would be able to help find these.
    A simple Coke or Pepsi sign is probably going to be the most popular, but there are many designs out there. If you are a home brew master creating you own bottled Root Beer, why not crate you own neon sign reflecting your logo, local skyline or other local monument that adds to the desirability. Do an internet search to see what designs are available.
    Subject Matter
    Of course, the main subject is soda (soda pop, pop, brand name, etc), but there are other considerations. The coke polar bears have become very popular and they did a series of Santa Claus signs years ago. Whatever your particular fancy, there is probably a sign out there that fits it.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

    Servicing Your Neon Sign

    You finally got the neon sign you have always wanted. It is of your favorite sports team, beer purveyor, whatever and you now possess it. The problem is that all good things can come to an end if they are not properly maintained. So, you seek some advice on properly maintaining your cherished memorabilia.

    Well it is as easy as it sounds. Of course there are options to sign maintenance depending on the size, expense and what you want to spend. So, following are some tips on how to service the clock, sign you have purchased and turn it into an heirloom your children’s children can enjoy when you are long gone.
    Protect It From Breakage
    Some bar and pool room signs are large and expensive. By putting the neon signs behind plastic or away from guests who could imbibe too heavily, you further ensure the safety of the neon and the guest.
    Leave It Turned On
    Everything has a shelf life whether it is food or a neon sign. Though it is not as perishable as a food item, The transformers that power the neon signs can go bad after time. To properly maintain the sign, it is best to allow it to remain on all of the time. The reason for this is that more energy is required to warm up the glass and cause the reaction that allows the gas to glow. You won’t lose any of the glow, but you could cause damage to the power supply. Just leave it on and you avoid this issue. If this is a business neon sign will also be working for your 24/7 to advertise your company and make passerby's aware of your location.
    Clean Your Sign
    Keeping you neon sign clean and free of dust and dirt will ensure is shines brightly year after year. Be sure to always unplug your neon sign when handling. Next, use a feather duster or a very soft cloth to dust off your sign. Never use a cleaning solvent or water to clean your neon sign. In outdoor neon signs, remove any debris that may conductive power between high voltage connections and grounded metal. Ensure drain wholes are not blocked to allow moisture to flow away. Take this time to check all the wire connections to make sure nothing has come loose and that the end caps are in place.  Loose connections or exposed GTO wires can cause the electricity to arc across sign mounting surface, not to mention creating a safety hazard. Wiring connections in electrical panel or branch circuit can become corroded if moisture builds up. These conditions can exist particularly in an older outdoor installations.
    Buy a Service Plan
    Many larger cities have companies that will build stock and supply a fish tank. They place it in your location and then they sign a service contract with the owner that guarantees the tanks continued safety and maintenance. There are sign companies that design large neon installs in the same way. Whether the sign company is coming to your business to build your sign or you purchase it from them, think about signing a service agreement so that they are responsible for maintaining it. This can be particularly useful when the sign large or high out of reach.