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Five Tips for Purchasing a Sign That Will Make Your Business Stand Out

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While returning patients are key to your business, new patients are also a necessary piece of any practice’s growth. Many new patients will come to you by way of referral or research. Some, however, will be people who just happen to see your practice as they pass it by. With the right sign, however, this “some” can easily become “many.” We checked in with sign businesses, sign-displaying ECPs, and even a business outside the industry for tips on how to make the best choices when it comes to putting your “name in lights.”


Images featured clockwise from top.

Alberta Eye Care in Portland, OR, worked with Hannah Sign Systems to create this eye-catching piece. The practice had some creative limitations from its landlord, but ultimately ended up with a sign that works well. James Armstrong, owner, says practices should “make sure to have their sign professionally designed and use materials that will last in the elements.”

Diana Canto-Sims, of Chicago’s Buena Vista Optical, installed a sign with an LED screen displaying 13 different messages. “We ask everyone how they found us. I need to know where my dollars are going and where to continue to invest,” she says. “A lot of them say it’s because of our sign. We document that so we know if it’s worth paying a monthly fee to maintain. For us it is.”

Using a sign that truly stands out from the crowd can create the difference between success and struggle. A customized sign, like this one from Jantec for a coffee shop, is  a chance to grab the attention of potential customers and to increase engagement with the public.

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When Competitive Signs started work on the sign for a restaurant in New Jersey, one of the first things owner JC Aviles did was call the town’s zoning officer to make sure he understood local regulations. This made it easier to find solutions to keep the project moving.


What Retailers Say About Buying Signage

Jon Hepner
OWNER, AROY-D, THE THAI ELEPHANT

“Our goal is to get people in the door. Once they come in, we’re confident that they’re going to come back. So, having a sign that brings people into our business was what we needed to grow. Without a doubt, our restaurant is much more visible now.

“As the plan came together, Competitive Signs and Graphics worked within our budget and stayed on our schedule, which is something all businesses should look for when they’re hiring a sign company.

“Before we had the new sign created, we were not growing at the rate we needed. We just didn’t have the visibility necessary and the location was virtually impossible to see. Since we had the sign made, we’ve seen the business grow—passersby just can’t miss it.”


VENDORS
ADAMS SIGNS

adamsigns.com

BEST NEON SIGN

bestneonsign.com

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COMPETITIVE SIGNS & GRAPHICS LLC

competitivesigns.com

HANNAH SIGN SYSTEMS

hannahsignsystems.us

JANTEC SIGN GROUP

jantecneon.com

NEON MFG

neonmfg.com

THE SIGN CHEF

thesignchef.com

Points to Consider

Plan ahead. Permits can take time, and if there’s an issue, you’re back at square one. With the potential for delays, JC Aviles of Competitive Signs and Graphics in Montclair, NJ, says, “It’s important not to leave your sign as the last task before you open.”

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Invest. “One of the worst mistakes business owners can make is to buy the cheapest sign they can find,” says Scott Bryant of the Jantec Group — a neon sign business in North Carolina. The long-term investment is worth the additional upfront cost.

Measure up. “In many cases, some necessary measurements are overlooked during development,” says Justin Myers of The Sign Chef in South Carolina. They offer a helpful sizing guide online and he recommends always accounting for where the letters will go, their size, and the viewing distance.

Don’t settle. Your sign is a big commitment, don’t settle. Dan Defilla at Neon Mfg. says owners need to “work with a company that listens and understands their vision.” Jason Green, of Adams Signs, agrees, suggesting ECPs “work with a company experienced in capturing the audience they’re looking for.”

Keep it up. Diana Canto-Sims purchased their sign 12 years ago from Best Neon Sign in Chicago. They invest in a monthly maintenance plan covering polishing, cleaning, bulb replacement and LED upkeep.


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SPONSORED VIDEO

SPONSORED BY SAFILO

Safilo’s “American Eyes” Video Celebrates Elasta and Emozioni starring ECPs Peter Tacia and Heidi Dancer

For the third year in a row, Safilo has looked to trusted eyecare professionals to star in its American Eyes campaign for its Elasta and Emozioni collections.Their latest testimonials are from Peter Tacia, O.D. and Heidi Dancer, optician, of Alma, MI, talking about two best-selling collections: Elasta and Emozioni.

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Tools and Equipment

Tools to Help Eyecare Businesses Increase Their Social Media Reach

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SOCIAL MEDIA can be time consuming but imagine being able to carve out a set bit of time each week to schedule automated posts in advance, putting your practice in front of current — and potential — patients as often as you’d like. This is not only possible, but important as you consider broadening your reach in the digital age. The world of social media management tools is vast and sometimes intimidating. Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction, even if your practice is still small. 


Points to Consider

“Businesses should post relevant messages multiple times a day so they’re seen by as many followers as possible,” says Deborah Smith, owner and president of Foxtrot Media, LLC, a digital marketing agency specializing in social media. Smith highly recommends MeetEdgar to accomplish this goal. She says, “We use this tool for scheduling evergreen tweets like ‘Follow us on Instagram and Facebook’ and ‘Subscribe to our newsletter.’”  

Dr. Katie McElvaine of Springfield Family Vision in Springfield, MO, says the different tools have different strengths. She likes SocialOomph’s versatility for organizing content but finds Buffer (pictured) more user friendly, if limited. Crowdfire is strong on analytics but weaker on Instagram functionality.

Eyecare of Florence uses Hootsuite through iMatrix, an optometry marketing service provider, to post on Twitter via Facebook, but also creates content beyond its scheduled posts. “We have a very active Facebook page,” says Billy Isgett, optician-owner of the Florence, SC-based business. “Our patients love to be featured and it increases likes and shares.”

“Figure out who your audience is,” says Dr. Cynthia Sayers, owner of EyeShop Optical in Lewis Center, OH,  when you’re developing your content. She uses Hootsuite to schedule posts to her Facebook page, shown here.

 

Vendors: Social Media Tools

Buffer, buffer.com; Foxtrot Media, LLC, foxtrotmediallc.com; Hootsuite, hootsuite.com; iMatrix, optometry.imatrix.com; MeetEdgar, meetedgar.com; Sprout, sproutsocial.com

 

More to Remember

Save time. Schedule multiple posts in advance for continuity and efficiency. Dr. Sayers uses Hootsuite and has been satisfied with her experience. “We schedule a week’s worth of social media postings at once so we don’t have to think about it unless something comes up,” she says.

Stay clean and relevant. Tony Damceski, owner of Eyeglass Wearhouse in Reynoldsburg, OH, has used Hootsuite to manage Facebook and Twitter for five years. He advises that ECPs always “double check, triple check,” for typos, regardless of their preferred tool. And Isgett strongly recommends that content creators have some optical knowledge.

Delegate. Let multiple people contribute to save yourself time — and for variety. Michelle Wright, practice director at DePoe Eye Center in Stockbridge, GA, gets this done with Sprout. “I can give my team assignments, then I review [everything] on one page,” she says. “Before Sprout, I did it all.”

Save as you start. Free trials can help as you explore your options. However, Dr. McElvaine recommends saving any posts you set up during a trial run. “Some [services] will lock you out of the content once your free subscription ends,” she says. 

Avoid quick fixes. Smith points out that no matter what you use, no tool is a true “set it and forget it” solution. “Businesses need to constantly assess,” she says. “Are you attracting the right types of followers? Are you getting the right engagement? If not, your strategy needs to be looked at and adjusted.”

Cynthia Sayers of EyeShop Optical

What Businesses Say About Using Social Media Solutions

Cynthia Sayers, OD
EyeShop Optical, Lewis Center, OH

We use Hootsuite to manage Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We come up with a monthly schedule based on national observances and events around town, and then we typically set up our posts a week in advance. Our Facebook and Twitter accounts have a daily post, and Instagram has three or four posts per week, depending on the topic. We find that personal types of posts fare better than generic ones. Patients like to see people they know in the glasses. They like to hear personal stories, and that’s what makes a brand. There has to be a ‘wow’ factor.”

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Tools and Equipment

A Bodyguard for Your Glasses and More March Business-Boosters

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EyeCarry eyewear carrier

Find My Glasses 

EyeCarry is a portable bodyguard for glasses. It clasps to your purse or belt but if you go 100 feet away the Bluetooth-enabled case pings your phone and the GPS-powered find-my-glasses feature makes retrieval easy. eyecarry.com

$65 


Eye-themed necklace

Got My Eye on You

Be the center of attention with the I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You Necklace from JENNIFER LOISELLE. This statement piece ties in back and can be worn at any length. invmag.us/031703

$125


Eyelashes coffee mug

Coffee is Life

You can wake up each morning with this hand-drawn eyelashes coffee mug from SWEET WATER DÉCOR. Think it’s too cute for the dishwasher? Use it to hold your makeup brushes, pens or PD rulers.  invmag.us/031704

$15


Wastebasket from Mike & Ally

Top-Notch Trash

Never ask someone to take out the practice’s garbage again with this stunner. A splurge and an attention-getter, this wastebasket from MIKE & ALLY is made from genuine agate slices and available at Horchow. invmag.us/031706
$1,575


Eye Chart silk tie

Whatchu Lookin’ At?

Don’t blame them for staring at this Eye Chart silk necktie from CYBEROPTIX on Etsy. Made in Detroit, it is the perfect Father’s Day gift for the OD in your life. invmag.us/031705

$45


This article originally appeared in the March 2017 edition of INVISION.

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Tools and Equipment

Glamour Launches Editor’s Pick Eyewear and More Industry News for March

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Glamor Editor's Pick eyewear

Glamor Editor’s Pick to Be Produced by L’Amy America

L’Amy America signed a multi-year license agreement with Condé Nast to market and distribute sunglasses and ophthalmic frames for Glamour under the name Glamour Editor’s Pick. The new collections will preview at Vision Expo West 2017, supported by a host of point-of-purchase materials, including displays, lifestyle imagery, and bold product packaging. INFO: lamyamerica.com

Think About Your Eyes New Campaign

Think About Your Eyes launched its 2017 national advertising campaign on Feb. 13. Ads will run through the end of September, three months more than previous years. This includes 15 million spots on podcasts and online audio, 14 million online video spots, and 6 million digital banner ads across 2,000 websites, as well as broadcast ads in primetime on 27 cable networks. For the first time, ads will appear on ABC and NBC during primetime and sporting events. INFO: thinkaboutyoureyes.com

Prevent Blindness Partners With See Now 

Prevent Blindness, in partnership with See Now, a new global initiative created by The Fred Hollows Foundation, is taking the campaign to end avoidable blindness in the U.S. to congressional leaders. As Congress begins considering federal funding allocations, Prevent Blindness is urging them to commit an additional $6.3 million to sight-saving eye health programs. Prevent Blindness is asking the public to join the See Now campaign and commit to calling on Congress to increase funding by signing its petition: invmag.us/031702. INFO: preventblindness.org

Eyecessorize Releases New Trend Kit

The Vision Council’s Eyecessorize fashion eyewear campaign released its spring/summer 2017 trend kit. The digital kit includes an online booklet featuring products from Vision Council members, alongside trend descriptions. The kit allows for viewing of trend slideshows and downloading high resolution frame images. The kit was sent to approximately 400 editors from outlets like Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Glamour, GQ, Men’s Journal, Self and Shape. INFO: thevisioncouncil.org

INVISION Designs VEE Education

INVISION has partnered with The Vision Council to offer continuing education at Vision Expo East. The concept is based on our popular Manager’s-To-Do-List monthly column. The newly created Manager’s To-Do-List mini-track features six accredited hours of courses focused on Sales, Marketing, Merchandising, Management and Customer Service and will feature actionable takeaways attendees can immediately implement in their business. The courses will be offered on Sunday, April 2, at the Jacob Javits Center. INFO: visionexpoeast.com


This article originally appeared in the March 2017 edition of INVISION.

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