10. Home sweet home tour. Take part in (or create) a local remodelers’ home tour. You will find motivated clients in people who tour, and they will already be familiar with your work. Many NARI and NAHBR chapters have remodeled home tours that generate a lot of local traffic. These events typically generate local news coverage and the promotion costs are shared with other remodelers.
11. Join the club. Establish a referral incentive with service organizations, discounting the price and donating to the club.
12. Constant contact. Current customers are more satisfied when you stay in touch. Satisfied customers are five times more likely to refer you to others. Keep in contact via a series of planned touches: personal site visits, phone calls, end-of-project walk-throughs, monthly e-newsletters and special offers for past clients. Schedule follow-up warranty visits and use them to start conversations about new work.
13. It’s in the mail. If you have never used coupon mailers, now may be a good time to give them a try. Use coupon mailers like Valpak or other direct mail services, and offer a discount or freebie.
14. Wrap it up. Use truck-wrap signage with big logos and full wraps to increase your visibility in your community and in the areas you service. With the widespread use of mobile phones, your phone number on the side of the truck when associated with a strong marketing message is more powerful than ever.
15. Special services. Try ads in the “special services” section of your local newspaper. These often offer better rates than display advertising and keep your name in front of potential customers for a longer period of time for a reasonable cost.
16. Person-to-person networking. You’d be surprised how many remodelers don’t take the time to network the old-fashioned way. Join the Rotary Club, chamber of commerce, Toastmasters or similar groups. Make it your job to take people who are centers of influence to lunch, such as property managers or interior designers.
17. Seek complementary partnerships. Partner with a local home furnishings company to hold remodeling seminars in their showroom, or work with a financial planner to present a seminar about aging in place — financing remodeling and growing a nest egg so that older persons can remain in their homes.
18. Stop the presses. Submit press releases for awards, training classes and anything else you think might be newsworthy. Develop a relationship with reporters — business, lifestyle, home, for example — so that you become their source for remodeling information.
19. Association ties. Leverage the ties you have to professional associations. Use those affiliations and professional designations, such as CR, CGG, CKD, etc., in your advertising and promotional materials.
20. Promote lower ticket items. If homeowners aren’t in the market for a full kitchen or bath remodel, suggest countertop or sink packages as an alternative to a full remodel.
21. Make it personal. Instead of — or in addition to — mass mailings and advertising, send personal notes to potential clients as well as to previous customers.
22. Offer what the house needs. Provide handyman services. If homeowners aren’t remodeling, they still need maintenance and repair work. Make sure architects, designers, trade partners and previous as well as current customers know you’re offering this service.
23. Sign up for Internet referral services. Advertise online and sign up with a lead-generating company such as Yodle.com, ServiceMagic.com, EveryContractor.com, RenovationExperts.com and Contractor.com, to name a few. Your phone will not ring, but your computer will ping. Remodelers find that being fastest and first to respond is critical to proper utilization of these leads. Second best is not good enough in this arena, so your team must be set up to jump on local leads as soon as possible.
24. Keep it moving. Send a letter to past clients and prospective clients who were hesitant to commit and urge them to “keep the economy moving” and offer them a discount on projects signed by a certain date.
"Instead of mass mailings, send personal notes to potential clients as well as to previous customers.”