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3 Digital Strategies for Operations of All Sizes

While it certainly doesn’t hurt, having a full marketing team is not necessary to build a successful digital presence. Busy Beaver Home Improvement Centers employs over 450 people but its marketing team is made up of one full-time and two part-time employees. Despite the small marketing staff, the operation offers a comprehensive and dynamic digital presence. Director of marketing Karen Mayer, who shares marketing duties with part-time employees Molly Collins, social media coordinator, and Lizzy Pusateri, promotions coordinator, gives insights into her team’s digital strategies, resources and best practices operations of all sizes can utilize to improve their online presence.  

“Prior to the pandemic, we had a website and were somewhat engaged in social media, but the pandemic really drove up our efforts to add e-commerce, focus on search engine optimization (SEO) and improve our social media efforts,” Mayer says.

Partner with vendors. Mayer says she works with the company’s wholesalers and vendors to leverage the marketing and digital programs they offer, such as e-commerce capabilities, product information management (PIM), digital assets and marketing campaigns. 

“They know how to sell their products, and we know our customers, so it’s a great partnership,” she says. 

Mayer also suggests getting involved with industry events and activities like markets, roundtables and educational sessions. 

“We are a part of the North American Hardware and Paint Association’s marketing and merchandising roundtable, which has been a wealth of knowledge and best practices,”  she says. “We also attend various shows and conferences to find new ideas.” 

Send your weekly or biweekly sales circular digitally. One of the most successful marketing activities Busy Beaver engages in is sending out a biweekly sales circular through the mail.

“I know a lot of other retailers are getting away from mailing circulars, but we still see success with it,” Mayer says. “But we are working to transition that same sales flyer digitally so customers can get the same amazing deals digitally.” 

Busy Beaver also sends out a “Deal of the Day” promotion every day to email subscribers with an excellent deal on a specific product that’s good just for that day. 

“That’s been good because for the most part, we’re very confident that these people, these footsteps are coming in because they saw that deal,” she says. 

Leave it to the experts. For digital marketing tasks like SEO and Google Ads, sometimes it’s better to rely on third-party vendors and service providers. These aspects can become complicated and time-consuming, so in 2023, Mayer began using HubSpot and Webex Studios to improve efficiencies with the company’s digital marketing.

HubSpot allows the company to send more targeted emails and provides opportunities to follow up with customers in more personalized ways. Webex has improved the SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to achieve the goal of meeting customers where they are digitally, Mayer says.

“As a marketing person, you can learn SEO, pays-per-click and other tasks, but often your time and efforts are better spent in other areas of marketing,” she says. “I’d rather pay these experts; it allows me to focus on what I can. Plus, as experts, they’re really taking it to the next level.”

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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