Anyone who has ever said that printing can’t be fun has never met print owner Dennis Trump and his trusty sidekick, Manager and Marketing Director, Mikayla Lehman of Trump Direct in Decatur, Illinois.
With their infectious energy and positive attitudes, these two seem to possess something that is so often hard to find: JOY. Through tumultuous and unforeseen challenges to sought-after uphill victories, the team at Trump Direct has taken a decidedly “human” approach to their audience… and it’s working!
“There came a point during the start of the pandemic where we literally had to ask
ourselves, ‘Do we want to give up or do we keep pushing forward?’” says Mikayla.
“We just didn’t have it in us to give up. I coach high school basketball on the side, and many here at Trump Direct have been involved in sports at some point in their lives as well. We teach our players to push on despite circumstances, and we all knew we had to do the same. So, we made a decision — we decided we could still make it the best year ever and got to work.”
But let’s back up a little.
Trump Printing is no stranger to change or uncertainty. As a 42-year-old company, Dennis Trump and his wife, Christa, along with their team, have seen the ups and downs of the printing industry.
“From 1976-1979, I managed a Sir Speedy. In those days, they only printed black and white copies. I saw the need for color and founded Trump Printing, Inc. on January 2, 1979. We wanted to be more than a quick printer, so we started as a commercial printer and later, got involved with mailing services. I have a degree in accounting and data processing, and that helped us grow within the mailing industry. Today, we continue to mail (though not as much), but we’ve also expanded into wide format. That continues to be a growth area for us,” explains Dennis.
“It wasn’t so long ago that we started looking for a customer service person and found Mikayla,” Dennis continues. “Turns out she had a degree in Digital Media Marketing, and whatever she has put her hands on has done nothing but grow. We collaborate well and have come up with a lot of good (and some not-so-good) ideas.”
Before social networking came along, ABC stood for “Always Be Closing.” But in today’s digital world, and with the uprising of social media, ABC has come to mean “Always Be Connecting.”
Connection is an ideal that Mikayla and the Trump team take seriously. “When I first started focusing on social media, I went to Dennis and said, ‘Dennis, people don’t even know what we look like. They don’t want to see our building. They want to see who’s in the building.’ It became a mission to get ourselves out there.”
Dennis and Mikayla have seen their Trump Direct Facebook audience grow from around 230 page likes to 1,016 at the time of this writing during the pandemic. Want to know how they did it? Check out these tips from the team at Trump Direct.
“I’m huge on quotes and motivational inspiration,” says Mikayla.
“Halfway through 2020, we started focusing on the ‘Good Vibes Only’ mantra. We put our focus on simple things like orders getting done correctly and creating happy customers. I spent time creating private online ordering portals for those we do business with. The idea we wanted to get across was for our customers to know that we were there for them regardless of what was happening in the world.”
“Another mantra we focused on was ‘Small Business. Big Heart.’ Yes, we’re small,” says Mikayla, “but our main driving force is that we’re good people, and we want good to happen to other people.
We’re big on community and focusing on shopping and supporting local businesses. When people come to pick up their orders, we’ll ask them if they’d mind taking a picture of their completed job, posting it on Facebook, and tagging us (Trump Direct) in the picture.”
“I can’t ever seem to get away from Mikayla and her iPhone pictures,” says Dennis with a chuckle.
“True,” says Mikayla, “but those pictures create a personal experience for our customers. We’ll snap photos with them, post them to Facebook, and tag walk-in customers and/or businesses. Doing this connects us to their followers, and it’s a trickle effect. It makes us human, and people appreciate our humanness – that we’re real people here doing the same things as everyone else.”
“Social listening has been really effective for us,” Mikayla explains.
“A ‘Support Small Business’ Facebook page was created here locally that has nothing to do with Trump Direct. The point was simply to support small businesses, especially during the hardships experienced during COVID-19. As a member of that Facebook page, we’ve been able to ‘listen in’ on those social conversations. Sometimes our competition hops on the page and will offer their services, so we immediately swoop in, hence the ‘Vulture Effect,’ and message the prospect privately. We’ve seen over 90% conversion there.”
“It’s important to us that every individual who walks in our door is treated as a person – as a part of the Trump family.
We work hard at that, showing people that we’re human, that we grieve when unexpected adversities hit, and we celebrate victories together.”
The COVID pandemic left our world changed, but it isn’t all bad. It’s forced businesses and people alike out of their comfort zones and forced many to explore new ways of doing things.
“Diversification has been what has seen us through this past year. Branching out into wide format more, trying new things with social media, and Mikayla’s tactics,” says Dennis. “Being more than a printer means you’re always trying to move forward. I mean, if we fail, it’s not because we didn’t try. We’re hustling. It’s things like this and the nationwide aspect of our ordering portals that helped carry us through.”
When asked what advice Dennis and Mikayla would give to other printers, they offered some words of wisdom.
“Don’t underestimate the power of being community-focused and showing others that you’re just normal human people,” says Mikayla. “Reach out to local businesses. Focus on the start-ups instead of the giants and start cross-promoting and tagging everyone involved.”
Mikayla continues, “Being more than a printer is backed by plenty of positive inspiration, but I really think it comes down to this lifestyle approach: At your lowest, stay hopeful. And at your highest, stay humble.”
This article originally appeared in the August 2021 issue of NPSOA magazine. For more information on how you can become an NPSOA member and enjoy the many benefits offered there, contact Member Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or head to their website at NPSOA.org.