Remodelers who want to capitalize on word-of-mouth marketing should consider the opportunities afforded by online review and referral services such as Service Magic (now HomeAdvisor), CalFinder, and Angie's List. Some of these sites charge the contractor a fee, while others charge the consumer. Though the models vary, the goal is the same: connecting consumers with reputable contractors.

Of such sites, consumer review website Angie's List has the broadest reach, boasting 1.2 million subscribers and serving more than 185 markets. In her latest post for BUILDER online, Mary Lou Denny blogs about the reasons why small-business owners should take advantage of free registration with Angie's List, and how to use both positive and negative reviews to your marketing advantage. Read more...