Maybe I am a little slow in coming around to this, but I am beginning to think this Instagram thing may just work. Perhaps even FaceBook and Twitter will catch on. Admittedly, I have been trying to ignore social media for as long as possible - what a colossal waste of time, I would tell myself. Though I missed being a baby boomer by 6 days (way to hold out, Mom), I do still prefer to read the Wall Street Journal in newsprint and I get surprised (and a little freaked out) whenever a mere acquaintance comments on an adventure of mine that someone posted. How did you know about that?!
So how then will a digital Neanderthal like me figure out how to market our wonderful company to the next generation? I'll finally admit that the old ways of meeting builder prospects at jobs sites and getting someone to pick up a cold call are long gone. Anyone out there? Expect a response to a voicemail - forget about it?! In some cultures, it's now rude to even leave one.
So maybe they are checking us out online first? A little research of reviews, photos and testimonials before committing to a personal encounter, perhaps. Not wanting to waste their time with yet another sales call? Hey, I get that, I'm the same way. Well, good thing we re-did our website a few years ago (except that was 7 years ago - in dog and digital years, a lifetime!).
Professional Marketing. We clearly need help, but it seemed everyone I asked about digital marketing just had theories. We try a little of this, and a little of that, and we're up to beaucoup "Likes" and umpteen "Followers" - but does it really work? Does it open doors? Does it impact the bottom line? It was like this mysterious fog-shrouded Kong Island that no one had actually landed upon, much less seen the creature. All I knew was that we couldn't find builders on job sites anymore, no one answered calls and gatekeepers were really talented. So we're taking the next big virtual step in 2019. We've been interviewing digital marketing firms and frankly, have already learned a tremendous amount. Like who knew that automatically posting our Instagrams to FaceBook and Twitter didn't really reach those audiences? Turns out our SEO was from the Stone Age, and how old was that bad review on Yelp?
Strategy First. Actually, I am beginning to discover the beauty of professional marketing - and it all starts with strategy - the uncluttering of my mind and the focusing of our business on what we really do well. So often, it has been tempting to try to be all things to all people - "sure, we can do that", when such efforts just dilute and distract. Marketing is forcing me to slow down and think about what is our compelling story, what makes us different, unique, special?
Focus in the Pacific Northwest. I recently visited Builders Alliance, a fine lumberyard in Bellingham, Washington and as I admired their thriving business, Drew Orem responded "If we can't be number 1 or 2 in our market, we get out of that line of business". Similarly, Western Pacific in Portland, Oregon, knows who they are and executes flawlessly in that space - doors, windows, moldings and stair parts to new construction. Everything about their marketing reflects that simplicity and focus. I want Davis-Hawn to be like that!
So I believe our next steps to more boldly enter this digital marketing and social media world must be strategic, measured and focused - we must tell a good story that is not convoluted or overly complex. It must be clear, focused and targeted - just like our business strategy must first be. Ah, won't that be a crisp, engaging and refreshing story to hear? So please stay tuned.
p.s. follow us on Instagram! davishawnlumber