Interview with Rona Chiera

Rona Chiera has been a client of OM4 since 2014. OM4 has assisted with the online presence of the family’s two separate businesses. In 2020, a new site was launched for the manufacturing business, Total Sheet Metal. Rona talks about the transformation of the business and her ongoing support from OM4 as the digital partner currently assisting with online advertising and service.


 

Can you describe your business for me?

Our main business is manufacturing. We’re a sheet metal manufacturer and we custom make only. Nothing off the shelf or from a catalogue. We bring your dreams to life. Whatever people dream up, that’s what we’ll make for them.

We have another business which is a tourism venture. OM4 built that website for us firstly and that’s how we came to know them.

Can you take us back to your online marketing before you started with OM4?

We used to spend a lot of money on Yellow Pages advertising, but it didn’t cater for our niche market.

What was the problem you were trying to solve with the Total Sheet website?

My husband Cos is a craftsman in his field. That’s why he does custom only because he’s almost an artist in what he does. Every weld, every piece that goes out, has to have our signature finish on it. That’s the niche market that we are in.

We didn’t want him to focus on the digital side of things, which is the internet because that’s not him. It’s taking him away from his main work. So we needed someone who lived and breathed the digital side of things. That was the problem we needed to solve, first and foremost so Cos and his team can do what they know best and not have to be everything to everyone.

You’d already worked with OM4 on your tourism website. What made you decide to choose them  again for the manufacturing business site?

OM4 did a great job for us in tourism and hospitality. It occured to me that so much of the manufacturing business is also catering to the hospitality market, food producers, cafes and the hotel industry. I saw a link between tourism and hospitality manufacturing. We felt confident that OM4 could develop the manufacturing website for us and I was right about that. I gave the brief and then stood back and trusted them to deliver. I knew they were good at this.

What’s been achieved for that business since that launch of the manufacturing website site?

OM4 helped us find customers looking for people to specialise in what they’re doing. They brought out more authenticity in who we are as a business, as manufacturers, as craftsmen. From that we’ve been able to employ extra staff. We tell the staff that they’re craftsmen, they’re just not making catalogue items or selling off the shelf. It’s had a snowball effect and that has been just wonderful. Just a really nice feeling.

In what ways has OM4 made your life easier?

It’s made my life easier because OM4 doesn’t have a set and forget attitude to me. I never get the sense that they are just ticking boxes. What the team has done over the years has challenged my thinking. They’ll ask me questions that I haven’t even thought about. I love that out of the box thinking that has helped us grow our business. We’re busier than ever. So the ongoing interest and challenge is a gift on its own. What you’ve chosen for us is absolutely phenomenal. It’s working.

Is there anything in particular that’s exceeded your expectations of working with us?

The internet is really busy with so much technology and social media. It’s overwhelming. I really appreciate that OM4 is not a bells and whistles company. They don’t make promises and pull people into doing everything at once. What OM4 does differently is that they specialise in making us succeed in our niche market. The focus has helped us become better at what we produce. The partnership with OM4 allows us to concentrate on what we’re good at.

The work OM4 has done has narrowed down our marketing effort to focus on the customers who are a good match for the business.They don’t have to spend hours or days researching the internet. It’s easy and enjoyable for customers to immediately find who they are looking for.  They’re getting exactly what they want. That’s the number one reason that OM4 has exceeded my expectations. It’s important how the customer feels before they get to us and now that is a very easy process for them.

What would you tell someone who’s considering working with us in an ongoing partnership?

I reckon they shouldn’t expect any Tom, Dick and Harry. They can expect a local person on the other end, people who work locally. They aren’t going to over promise you anything. They live and breathe and love the work they do. They care and they free you up to focus on what you specialise in. It’s almost like OM4 is another employee of our business.

OM4 are the team members who sort out the digital marketing side of things. It’s an honest partnership which has been priceless for us.  Without the raw honesty that between us and the team we couldn’t have grown the business to where we are today.

What have been the business results of working with OM4?

We’ve just been to the accountant. In the manufacturing industry, it can be really difficult. We’ve watched other businesses around us closing down. Our accountant told us he can’t believe where we’re going. It’s like full steam ahead. To hear that from an accountant who is really thrifty and really pretty cool about money and how things are done was amazing. He’s actually happy. It made us feel chuffed leaving there, thinking wow, this is all really working. It’s funny but you don’t realise how well it’s all working until an accountant says it. He says, “Wonderful. Just keep going, keep doing what you do.”

We are in a real niche market. We’re not everything to everybody. What’s really interesting is that our partnership with OM4 has brought out more of the craftsmen in us. That means we’re more authentically doing what we love and what we’re good at.

I’m thankful for that. Our staff go to work each day doing something that gives them a spring in their step. They are all enjoying and loving what they do and our staff retention is great. I credit OM4 with helping us grow into a strong thriving modern business that attracts and keeps talent.

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