ONCE UPON A TIME, in a land far, far away, the accepted business model was to maintain multiple websites with vanity URLs in order to broaden online informational reach. But times have changed—in so many ways.
Following years of maintaining strong websites for the overall association, as well as separate sites for Eastern White Pine, SPFs, and the Sustainable Versatility Award (the industry’s first-ever student design competition), the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (NELMA) has launched a brand-new, completely redone website clearly and concisely encapsulating all interests for all NELMA audiences. The new NELMA.org launched in late summer 2021.
“The new NELMA.org zeroes in on each of our audiences – retailers, architects, builders, contractors, students, and consumers—with a one-stop shop approach,” commented Jeff Easterling, president of Maine-based NELMA. “This is what our audiences have been asking for, and this is what our members need.”
“We’re bucking the old trend of vanity websites for separate products and programs,” continued Easterling. “Our audiences don’t have time for that anymore. Retailers need to know how to sell more wood easily and clearly. Consumers want instant inspiration. Builders and contractors need help from one source. Architects don’t want to search and hop around the internet—their time is valuable. Now it’s all in one place in a better, clearer, cleaner format.”
Why One Site?
As the association brand and awareness has grown over the last few decades, the overall strategic marketing plan for the association has morphed and changed to meet the changing needs of audiences. Based on consumer research conducted by NELMA earlier in 2021, the decision was made to combine all existing pages into one superwebsite with extraordinary navigational capacity to properly administer the correct piece of information or inspiration to the needed group.
“In speaking with consumers and representatives of our other audiences, we realized that each target NELMA audience wanted to know what the other was doing,” said Easterling. “Consumers wanted to know what builders and architects were asking, as did retailers. This novel approach allows everyone interested in eastern white pine and SPFs to peek through the curtain and consumer information at all levels. The outcome for us? Continued and increased growth of the NELMA reputation and brand as a source of wood knowledge and information. No more siloed messaging; it’s all out there in one place!”
For You, the Retailer
Everything you’re used to finding and using on NELMA4Retailers.org has made the journey over to the new NELMA.org. And it’s just as easy to research and find what you need to help sell more lumber! The NELMA Retailer section focuses on sales tools and tips specifically for selling eastern white pine and SPFs; everything from tech info, span details, the much-beloved grade swatch—it’s all in one place.
If you haven’t registered to be part of the NELMA Retailer Directory, now is the time! One easy and free registration later and you’re out there for builders, contractors and consumers to find you. Inspiration leads to purchase, and we want all eastern white pine and SPFs purchases to be from YOU!
Recent NELMA-funded consumer research painted a clear path of how to best get wood inspiration and information in front of homeowners, DIYers, and more. Using this information, the consumer interface of the new NELMA.org represents newly directed and informed content and delivery method.
Number one on the list: inspiration. How best to use eastern white pine and SPFs? Show, don’t tell. Beautiful images of timely, trendy possibilities for the home, and even commercial environments. Shareable links to show family and friends their dream, and how easily it can become a reality. Accurate, up-to-date information about the sustainability of the greenest building product on the market: real wood. Tutorials on how to handle and use lumber to achieve the desired effect. Research material, in the form of the new “Profiles in Pine” book, which provides a new way of getting beautiful case study information directly into the hands of consumers.
When it’s time to purchase, consumers can click over to the NELMA Retailer Directory to find the closest eastern white pine and SPFs dealer near them.
All consumer outreach will be echoed with purpose-driven social media marketing in the months and years to come.
Calling All Architects
NELMA has long been a source of technical information and learning opportunities for architects nationwide, and that won’t change with the new NELMA.org.
Architects will continue to receive the same level of solid technical information on eastern white pine and SPFs they always have. From load details to span tables, proper usage, and even a little design inspiration, it’s all on the new site.
Architects love reading and learning more about how wood has been used in the past from the White Pine Monographs; don’t worry, they’re still around! These unique case studies, highlighting multiple wood uses from Revolutionary-era homes and projects to current day, are a staple of architect-facing education.
Speaking of education, you can find easy access to NELMA’s AEC Daily class, “Eastern White Pine: Sustainable Versatility,” at the click of a button on the new NELMA.org.
Architects wanting to know more about the sustainability of real wood won’t be disappointed: throughout the website, NELMA has included consistent, accurate, updated information on both the forestry industry in the U.S. and how well-managed and healthy our modern forests are. Thomas Jefferson would be proud.
NELMA Members Only
With the combination of all NELMA information sources into one location, a giant library of marketing materials is at the disposal of all NELMA members. Access to sales tools and technical information for direct meetings with architects? Check. Clearinghouse listings of industry news, trends, and events? Check. Member directory so they can follow up with the guy they met at the NELMA Annual Meeting? Check.
If you’ve become a fan of the last two years of “Lumber 411” columns printed in this fine publication, we’ve gathered them into one place for you at the new NELMA.org. Check them out, and let us know if there’s a topic you’d like us to cover!
Two years ago, NELMA members asked their association for help in recruiting talent for jobs in the lumber industry. The NELMA Jobs program was born, and it’s still going strong. Members list job openings within their mill and, with support from their association, these listings are shared far and wide to hopefully bring new and much-needed employees into member mills.
This Contest Is for You!
Back in 2012 NELMA launched the industry’s first-ever student design competition with the Sustainable Versatility Design Award. Over the years, the association has awarded both cash and publicity to budding architects who have accepted the annual challenge of specifying a unique project centered around eastern white pine or SPFs.
While the contest wasn’t held in 2020, it will come roaring back in the spring of 2022 with all-new challenges leading to all-new inspiration. And all contest information will be located on the new NELMA.org.
NELMA.Org in a Nutshell
The new website is easy-to-use, with a beautiful, easily navigated interface. It represents a visual branding evolution from the previous pages, with all open encouragement to all visitors to explore and learn from other audiences represented on the website.
The first look at NELMA.org exposes the visitor to inspiring, beautiful pictures of current projects from around the country. A sort of visual “this is what’s possible with eastern white pine and SPFs” statement. Following this immediate hit of inspiration, users are invited to find their home within the website.
More project photos, more information, easily cross-referenced data and knowledge—it’s all there, topped off with a touch of the simplicity needed when attacking complex challenges like bringing multiple audiences with multiple needs together under one virtual roof.
“The industry as a whole is a holistic ecosystem of education with tools that can translate from one audience to another,” concluded Easterling. “With the new NELMA.org, we’ve created that necessary central portal for all things Northeastern and Great Lakes softwood products.”
– Kim Drew, APR, handles all media and public relations for NELMA.