Trimm, Inc., is a producer and supplier of DC power distribution panels and electrical accessories, such as breakers, fuses, amps and adapters.
The 40-employee company in Youngsville, a town of about 2,100 residents 45 minutes northeast of Raleigh, has an onsite manufacturing facility and a large national and international customer base in the telecommunications industry.
To increase business, remain immediately accessible to customers and be more competitive in a worldwide digital society, Trimm contacted the Small Business and Technology Development Center [SBTDC] office at N.C. State in June 2022 about participation in its Digital Jump Start program designed for mid-sized businesses.
The result is a thorough, five-page Executive Summary and five-page Digital Media Audit that assess Trimm’s digital presence with recommendations to “jump start the client’s digital shift.”
“What we wanted was an independent review of our website and suggestions of how we could expand our marketing presence to reach other markets,” says vice president Ricky Brummitt, who also heads Trimm’s sales and marketing. “What we’re doing with the SBTDC is we wanted a more modern website — that was one of the keys — because it needs that, then we can expand on it in the future. We’re also adding to our social media, like Twitter, and we created a Facebook page and Instagram, and we’re expanding more on LinkedIn.”
The LinkedIn account, he says, helps target personnel for Trimm to contact.
“It’s not like we can advertise on a billboard,” he says. “We need to contact the decision-makers within different companies.”
Keeping pace with the continual evolution of social media is vital.
When the firm was founded by Walter Trimm more than 100 years ago in 1922, it had one, solitary communications device: A POTL.
“Plain ol’ telephone line,” says current owner and president Will Newton, who has been with the company about 15 years and is a third-generation owner, though he’s been involved with Trimm for a while. (His grandfather bought the business in 1980, and his father took over 10 years later. Newton bought it in 2010.)
“Back in 1999 we had dial-up internet, then one of the changes was to an ADSL [Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line], in about 2000, and we were spending so much per line,” Newton says. “We’ve had a website since around 1998. I was involved in one of our first website rebuilds, and so this is about our fourth- or fifth-generation website. Back then it was mostly tech space, very light graphics, no video.”
The majority of Trimm’s business is conducted within the United States, Brummitt says. “Since we primarily are in telecommunications, our revenue flows from the major telecom people in the U.S. But we also supply gear into the utilities, such as the railroads, and 911 operators, where we provide equipment for them. They’re not all major players — some are local mom-and-pops who have smaller areas they provide for, and we provide the same service to all of them.
“We ship to all 50 states, and we ship a lot into Canada. We want to ship more into Mexico, so we’re building a lot of different customers. What we’ve found is that once they come to us, the retention rate is very high.”
All products are manufactured at the Youngsville facility. Newton and Brummitt say they also hope to expand their presence in the Caribbean and Saudi Arabia.
Through Digital Jump Start, Newton says, “We enhanced our digital marketing presence by redoing the entire underlying structure, and we’re going to automate the generation of our data sheets and make it easier to keep our information current.”
The SBTDC Executive Summary outlines recommendations for Trimm’s website and its LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram social platforms, then pinpoints specific changes to integrate into each. The Digital Media Audit analyzes each site and reports 90-day numbers in categories such as visitor demographics, follower recommendations and categories to highlight through posts. It also identifies the company’s main competitors.
“We were able to identify people we need to contact. We added ‘best-sellers’ to our website and talk about our mission, our values, so people can start to learn about Trimm,” Brummitt says. N.C. State masters student Martha Topolniski worked on the Jump Start project, as did Regional Center Director Alex Viva and International Business Development Counselor Ginny Vaca in the SBTDC’s regional center at N.C. State University in Raleigh.
“They all are helping us with building the brand and brand recognition,” Newton says. “We are building connections and hopefully can attract more millennials as employees. The SBTDC helped us identify things we should be putting on the website, and the feedback has been very positive.”
Trimm moved to its current facility a year-and-a-half ago, a detail that’s included on the revamped website.
“It’s a website that’s easy to use, easy to get the technical info, easy to get installation instructions, and easy to get us a request and inquiry,” Brummitt says. “When people do that, it comes directly to our customer service people, and myself. Putting best-sellers, our mission, those were some of the suggestions. We feel people used to know who Trimm was, but they didn’t know everything about us.”
For example: “When we moved into this facility, we put in maybe the largest rooftop solar installation in Franklin County,” Brummitt says. “We put a bunch of solar panels up there.”
“It’s over 250 panels,” Newton says. “The bottom line is, during summertime especially, we can put more power on the grid than what we pull back. We’ve saved more than 600,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in one year; that’s the equivalent of 400 trees planted. We’re trying to do our part. When people here turn on their air- conditioning, they’re actually using some of our electrons.”
One immediate success area from the SBTDC analysis, they say, is a large increase in LinkedIn followers. “We haven’t been able to tie the followers [amount] with our revenue [increase] yet, but it’s been working,” Newton says.
Brummitt says the top goal “is to increase Trimm awareness and get into as many markets as we can. Will has made investments in the building for us to do that. In the next five years, we hope to expand our sales group to reach more people.
“I still love face-to-face. You can do video calls, but it’s good to meet people face-to-face. We want to increase awareness and establish some long-term customers, and once you do that, you’re setting your company up for down the road. You want to leave the company in as good of shape as you can.” ■
112 Franklin Park, Youngsville