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Finding Your Edge: Combine In-Store and Digital Marketing to Boost Paint Sales

In the fourth quarter of 2023, e-commerce accounted for $324.8 billion in total retail sales. This amount is a 7% increase from the same period in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, indicating a shift in consumer behavior toward online purchases. In this digital age, marketing your business online is more important than ever. Grabbing potential customers’ attention through social media posts and online ads should be a part of every operation’s overall marketing strategy.

Lumber King, which has four locations in southern Kentucky and one in Tennessee, relies on both digital and in-store marketing to drive business to its paint category. Sydney Hupp, Lumber King’s director of marketing, manages the operation’s social media and also plans events for the stores as part of her role. Lumber King hosted its inaugural Home DIYers Night at each location in mid-April, extending the stores’ hours to accommodate customer schedules and offering a canvas bag that customers could fill with products for a 20% discount.

“It can sometimes be hard for DIYers to make it to the store, especially with jobs and family responsibilities,” Hupp says. “For the DIYer night, we wanted to be able to support our customers in the best way possible, and building in extra time was the most effective way to do so.”

In the Facebook post promoting the event, Hupp says she intentionally filmed the video at the paint counter and featured a brush, roller and a gallon of their premium paint to promote the paint aspect of the DIYer night.

“When I think of a home improvement project, the first thing that comes to mind is the color,” she says. “It’s a natural step in the DIY process. If it’s an interior project, it’s probably going to involve paint in some capacity.”

While preparing for the DIYer night, Hupp says employees spruced up every section of each store. Although she came up with the idea for the event, Hupp wanted to plan and host the events in partnership with the individual store managers.

“I relied heavily on the store managers because ultimately, it’s their store and it’s in their community,” she says. “Together, we made the atmosphere of each store more inviting and the events successful.”

Hupp says at Lumber King’s Oneida, Tennessee, location, the store manager reorganized the paint display and counter to enhance visibility and draw customers’ attention.

“Giving that extra punch helped bring more people to the counter and grabbed people’s attention,” Hupp says. “All of our managers went above and beyond, which helped them focus on selling.”

Along with organic Facebook posts, Hupp ran targeted Meta ads leading up to the events, complementing the in-store promotions and driving customer traffic both online and offline.

“Whenever we do an in-store promotion, we always partner it with Facebook ads,” Hupp says. “They work really well together and definitely help drive traffic to our site, then into our store.”

When creating digital ads, Hupp says she focuses on having high-quality graphics, which they frequently receive from their
wholesaler. She assures the graphics they receive and the ones she makes are as easy to digest as possible. Simplicity is key.

“With anything we publish on social media, we want to make sure it’s consistent with our brand, voice and image,” She says. “When we advertise paint products, our posts are mainly about showcasing our deals and letting customers know we have high-quality paint and that we stand by our product.”

To keep the momentum going from the event, Hupp says she ran social media advertisements with BOGO deals on paint so
customers who couldn’t make it to the event were still able to get a discount.

“Running social media advertisements after the event is another way for the stores to connect with customers and bring in those who couldn’t attend,” Hupp says.

Social Media Starting Line

If you’re looking for an easier way to manage your social media and don’t have a large social media budget, Hupp recommends starting out with the Meta Business Suite, which is a free, user-friendly program available to anyone with a business page on Facebook and Instagram.

Hupp also says for any retailer interested in learning more about how to market their business, YouTube is their best friend.

“If you’re not familiar with Facebook ads or if there’s anything you want to learn about social media, YouTube is the place to go,” she says. “You don’t have to take a course or have a degree to use social media successfully. If you know your customers well, and you know your products well, you’ll be able to figure out how to use social media to your business’s greatest advantage relatively quickly.”

Marketing Know-How

In addition to the special events, Hupp says to promote the paint department, each location’s paint counter has a board with popular colors they’ve sold in recent months.

“The trending colors board is different in each store, naturally,” Hupp says. “Our managers will look at their most popular colors every month and update their boards. It’s interesting to track from a psychological perspective and how throughout the year, customers’ color preferences will change.”

Hupp says the color boards show customers what other people are using for their projects and give them ideas of possible colors to incorporate into their own remodels.

From a marketing perspective, it can be challenging to remind familiar customers that Lumber King is more than a building materials supplier and offers paint and sundries as well, Hupp says.

“We’re actually full service for home improvement, and we want people to know we’re willing and able to do whatever they need us to do when they come in,” she says. “Primarily people associate us with lumber because it’s in our name, but by prioritizing other aspects of our business, we’re able to capitalize on our paint offerings.”

Another way Hupp educates herself on digital marketing topics is through her involvement in the local chambers of commerce in the counties where Lumber King has locations.

“The chamber of commerce locations offer free workshops where business owners can learn about social media, SEO optimization, digital ads and how to market your business online,” she says “If I were a business owner and wasn’t educated on those topics, I’d definitely take advantage of those workshops.”

3 Ways to Connect With Next-Gen Consumers

Running a successful business requires forward-thinking and establishing relationships with the next generation
of customers. Social media is a great place to begin developing those relationships. Hardware Retailing has gathered three tips to make your store relevant to the younger generations.

Showcase your personality.

Social media should be fun! Don’t be afraid to post with members of your team, customers and even their pets. Try to fi nd a unique aspect of your store and showcase it.

Keep it local.

Work with social media influencers with shared interests for insights on home projects. Consider giving out gift cards
or discount codes to companies in your community to help drive business.

Engage the community.

Your loyal customers are your best influencers. Partner with some of your best customers to support events, nonprofits and organizations important to them. Consider sponsoring a local sports team or advertising at local restaurants. Getting your name in front of as many people, both virtually and in person, is a great way to expand your brand.

About Jacob Musselman

Jacob is the content coordinator for Hardware Retailing Magazine. A lifelong Hoosier, Jacob earned a B.S. in journalism and telecommunications with a minor in digital publishing from Ball State University. He loves making bagels, going to farmers markets with his wife Hannah and two dogs and watching Formula One.

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