My assistant and I were reviewing lumber dealer websites as part of our research for a building materials company. Most of them are poorly designed. A poorly designed website wasn’t that big of a deal fifteen years ago. But today, it makes a real statement about how up to date the business is.
We found Parr Lumber by accident. They had written a blog post about Improving Curb Appeal that showed up in one of my Google alerts.
I frequently advise building materials companies who want to sell through lumber dealers to help the dealer improve their online marketing. But in the case of Parr, I think it’s the other way around: they could help many manufacturers improve their marketing.
If you want to see for yourself, spend some time on their website and compare it to what other lumber dealers are doing online.
What Sets Their Site Apart
Yes, they have a clean, nicely designed site that is easy to navigate. But there are of other things I really liked about their website and their overall approach to marketing.
For one thing, they haven’t given up on homeowners and DIY’ers. They offer clear reasons why consumers should come to them instead of going to a big box. Just look at the subjects in the drop-down menu under the “Homeowners” header.
They are also very aggressive and creative with their “Weekend Warriors” radio program.
You can tell their blog isn’t just a last-minute afterthought. It is regularly updated, features good content, and is designed to be of interest to their different types of customers.
They are all over social media – Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and more. Whatever social media their customer prefers, chances are they will find Parr Lumber there.
Just like marketing is not the strong suit of most lumber dealers, it also isn’t a strong suit for specialty contractors and small builders. Parr is committed to their customer’s success and offers them marketing support with everything from website design to direct mail and site signs.
They can do this because they have an in-house marketing department. I’ll admit that it’s usually a bad idea to have an in-house marketing department. Most of the time, companies have one because they think it’s going to save them money. The result is usually a marketing effort that doesn’t get any results and could even harm sales.
But Parr is the exception. They have built an excellent in-house marketing department. They then can use this in-house expertise as a marketing tool to attract and keep builders and contractors.
It also looks to me like Parr has a bigger marketing budget than most other dealers, judging from their website. You might think that this is because of the money they save with in-house marketing. I think it has more to do with management’s confidence in the return they’ll get from investing in marketing.
Consider Parr Lumber
If you’re a lumber dealer or a building materials manufacturer who sells through lumber dealers, spend some time learning more about Parr Lumber.
I know the next time I’m in the Northwest, I plan to visit one of their locations. I want to see if the in-store experience is as good as their online presence. I’ll bet it is.
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