While The Wills Co., in Nashville, Tenn., concentrated on marketing its handyman division, president and co-owner Ridley Wills found that “people forgot we do design/build.”
Wills says that the company was not sufficiently proactive with its marketing efforts earlier this year, and he soon realized that in this economy it would take hard work to bring in leads.
As part of a plan to concentrate on promotion and leads, Wills hired Aris Yowell as full-time marketing director, a change he says was needed to jump-start the company’s marketing.
Wills and Yowell used a design contest “as a new avenue for obtaining leads and putting a fun twist on it,” Yowell says. The goal: to encourage prospects to think about larger projects. The prize: four free hours of design consultation.
Contest entry requirements were left open-ended, but most entrants described their design challenge and included photos in their submission.
An e-mail promoting the contest was sent to 2,000 friends, past clients, professional networking acquaintances, and referrals, with a follow-up e-mail sent several weeks later.
Four homeowners submitted entries. And though that number of entries is small, “they all fit the profile of our ideal client,” Yowell says, so Wills and Yowell awarded all four entrants consulting time with Wills.
Projects Come In
Wills has so far met with all but one contest winner.
One of the four projects is for a $38,000 terrace for which Wills has completed schematic designs and provided conceptual estimates. The other two projects are a $370,000 addition and a $275,000 renovation. Both of those customers will likely sign a feasibility agreement.
Wills says that, conservatively, he expects a minimum of $38,000 in construction revenue from the contest.
Though each of these prospects had heard of The Wills Co. before the contest — one is a past client — the promotion inspired them to actually call the company about projects they were considering.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.