Everywhere you go, it’s there. “Win a free iPad!” over and over in your e-mail inbox. They’re screaming the same thing from the television. Then there’s the 13-year-old girl who walked into you on the sidewalk this morning with her mind absorbed in her smartphone. While driving you get jarred out of your stupor because the billboard changes right in front of your eyes. Everything is covered in black-and-white TV-static QR codes. You’re learning how to fix your dishwasher from a how-to YouTube video, and you can’t stop the tidal wave of tech to even just drink a cup of coffee because that’s the perfect five minutes to check Facebook. It’s true, not everyone lives that way. But the tech frenzy is certainly no fad.
All the more reason it’s important for door dealers to stay on top of things. With how quickly the world is changing, it can sometimes feel like trying to stand on a bed of marbles. Much of our basic human interaction has moved online, as have our planning, shopping, and leisure activities.
In a recent “Professional Door Dealer” poll, about one-third of respondents said they most wanted mobile tablets for staff at their dealership. A quarter desired new software.
These dealers are on top of the game in one area—physical technology. Mobile tablets are especially helpful for door dealers because they can be taken to clients’ houses to show them what a new garage door will look like on their home, and even show them all the options from windows to colors. Something so small can speed up the process so much, which is why investing in technology like this will always be a benefit.
While door dealers are staying on top of the curve with physical technology, another PDD poll shows different sentiments about less tangible tech, such as social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. While a plurality of dealers uses their own website to market their dealership, according to the poll, only 10 percent are actively engaged in social media.
Think back to that 13-year-old girl on the sidewalk completely engrossed in Twitter. One day she’ll be a 28-year-old homeowner looking to replace her garage door or a 33-year-old business owner who needs a commercial door. The generation that first grew up with computers, smartphones, and the Internet is becoming the next generation of adult consumers who will need your help.
Still almost one-fifth of door dealers polled by PDD primarily market through Yellow Pages or another directory. However, the market is moving away from search directories. With all the great benefits it can bring a company, physical technology means nothing if the marketing isn’t done right. PDD even has a list of handy tech tools in which door dealers should invest.
The bottom line is, that you need to embrace social media. It’s where a lot of people are spending the most time that you can quickly access, so don’t pass up the chance. If your company doesn’t have a Facebook page, start one. Get on Twitter or LinkedIn. Maybe even start a blog so you can update customers and potential clients about garage door safety or maintenance, and tell them about your new products. However you do it, get on the websites people are using. One example is when the access-control company LiftMaster launched a Facebook contest. Not only did the contests snag the company a lot of “likes,” they also put their brand front and center in the online sphere.
Make sure your social media activity is consistent, too. There’s something a bit disheartening about checking a company’s Twitter feed to find they have a total of four tweets from a two-month range in 2012.
Marketing doesn’t work if the money’s going to something people don’t see. Market smart. Explore the PDD technology topics page to keep up to date on door dealer technology. Find out about new products and what vendors are doing. By using social media sites and new technology such as mobile tablets and smartphones, you’ll be in strong shape for the day that 13-year-old becomes an adult—and your next customer.
Molly Bilker is a sophomore journalism major at the Downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University. She is interning with the VIRGO Business Solutions Network, writing for Professional Door Dealer. She also writes for the “Downtown Devil,” a student-run, online publication for downtown Phoenix, where she has assumed the position of blogs editor and copy edits. Molly can be reached at email@example.com.