The recession was a wake-up call for DiFabion Remodeling, in Indian Trail, N.C., a company that relied on word-of-mouth marketing and referrals. When leads became scarce, Mike DiFabion Jr. and his father sat down to brainstorm, recognizing that maintaining visibility would require investment.

In 2009, DiFabion Remodeling nearly doubled its marketing budget and hired Asterisk Creative, in Charlotte, N.C., to help craft a phased marketing and public relations plan. They addressed:

  • The logo: The company’s familiar logo is intact, but complementary colors add dimension to the various marketing materials.
  • The website: The revamped site is easier to use and includes a before-and-after tab on the home page and a portfolio that makes it easy for users to find project types. The DiFabions can update the site themselves. This ensures the site’s content is fresh, says Wendy Shanahan, principal partner at Asterisk Creative, and keeps the site at the top of search engine results. New content, she says, also gives people a reason to come back. “Call to action” buttons encourage users to ask a question, sign up for an electronic newsletter, or contact the company.

Social media: The company tightly focused its social media efforts on Facebook and a blog. The Facebook page drives traffic back to the website; the blog educates prospects about design, trends, and offers household tips.

E-mail marketing: The company keeps in touch with past, current, and potential clients with an e-newsletter and other educational communication. Newsletter software helps the staff easily manage the database and distribution.

  • Print materials: The company dropped its ads in an upscale magazine, DiFabion Jr. says, because the publication’s readers no longer matched the company’s target demographic. It is now running new ads in a more modest publication. Other new materials include brochures, direct mail, and door hangers.
  • Press releases: Asterisk Creative sends out occasional press releases to newspapers and other media highlighting the company’s awards, news, and hires.
  • Networking: Asterisk introduced DiFabion Jr. to several networking groups in Charlotte, and he has become more involved in trade associations.

Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.

More REMODELING articles about creating a marketing plan:

Delivering Your Message: Integrate marketing into all aspects of your business

Getting Schooled: Grading the quality of your marketing efforts

Campaign Season: How to build a marketing campaign