What aspects of your remodeling business put it in a class of its own? By “branding” them and featuring them prominently on your Web site — and then using other marketing tools to drive traffic there — you'll help your company shine in a competitive landscape increasingly characterized by Web sites that all look the same.

For Minneapolis remodeler Silver Bullet, www.silverbulletdb.com, two components that make it stand out from the pack are its “Perfect Project Program (P3)” and its “2+6+10 Year Limited Warranty.”

“Every remodeler has its own process,” says David Alpert, president of Continuum Marketing Group, which helped Silver Bullet develop the Web site as the centerpiece of an integrated marketing campaign. “We helped Silver Bullet codify and brand” its process as P3 — a catchy term for a detailed breakdown of five project phases: pre-design, feasibility evaluation, preconstruction, construction, and post-construction. P3 “shows the company is organized and knows what it's doing,” says Alpert.

Similar thinking is behind the warranty. Local law requires that all remodelers warrant their products and services for certain periods, and Silver Bullet's warranty was no better or worse than its competitors'. Continuum suggested adding an additional level of protection and branding it.

The photo of a Silver Bullet construction detail was selected for the home page “because it was interesting, unusual, and communicated craftsmanship and attention to detail,” says Alpert, “and because it was not the typical photo of a kitchen, bath, or addition.” Prospects can see those in the photo gallery.

The overall look is subtle and refined, and that's a must. With remodelers of all sizes hanging their shingles on the Web, “being tasteful and well-designed is now merely the ticket you need to be considered,” Alpert says.

Results: More than showcasing Silver Bullet's remodeling strengths, the new Web site has boosted the percentage of calls to the company from qualified prospects, from 43% over 10 months of 2003 to 62% for the same period in 2004. That means less time wasted on unqualified tire kickers and more time for growing the business. The percentage of all leads who “converted” to Silver Bullet customers also rose significantly.

Caveat: Alpert believes that a Web site shouldn't be a stand-alone tool but part of an integrated marketing campaign in which every piece has “the same brand feel, tone, texture, messages. And in order for the site to be cost effective, there have to be certain activities to drive traffic to it,” such as mailings, jobsite signs, truck graphics, and — in the case of one resourceful client — “signs on Dumpsters.”

David Alpert, Continuum Marketing Group, can be reached at dalpert@continuum-mg.com.