Just last month, Remodeling revealed its Big50 Class of 2016. They provided us with numerous tips and suggestions to develop and run a successful remodeling company. Many of those remodelers wouldn’t enjoy the success they have today if it wasn’t for good marketing, so we’re passing along a few of their most important lessons learned.
Using the internet as a focus for marketing is hardly a new idea, but its value—and versatility—for remodelers shouldn’t be understated. To attract initial attention, help visitors learn more about your business, and showcase your previous work, your website is a crucial customer touchpoint.
In the early days of running his business, Building Company No. 7, Matt Millsap looked to the internet to help build its brand awareness and reach out to potential clients. Now that the company has a foothold in the community, the purpose of the website has shifted. “It used to be 90:10 internet to word of mouth,” said Millsap. “Now it’s reversed. They hear about us and then they get on the website.”
And for a presence beyond your own website, social media can be a valuable way to emphasize a personal connection. It’s worked for Maida Korte, owner of Designs by Maida. “Facebook and Twitter we do an update once to twice a week,” she says. “Every Monday something goes out on Facebook. I look back at it midweek and post or comment again. If Maida says something, they’re more interested.”
For many members of the Big50, lead generation comes not through traditional marketing, but by reaching out to the community or being positioned as an expert. Stephanie Vanderbilt, owner of Coastal Windows & Exteriors, achieves both by writing a column in the local newspaper. “I just use the knowledge I have to educate the community,” Vanderbilt says. “We get leads from it all the time.”
Brian Hogan, owner of Hogan Design and Construction, calls this community engagement “high visibility marketing.” For him, this means personally visiting four different customers each week, whether they’re past clients or his company is currently working on a job there. Hogan also buys a skybox for the local minor league baseball team and uses it for customer appreciation.
Community service is not just a form of marketing for Greg Rehm and Liberty Hill Construction, but also is a way to showcase their value to potential customers. “It’s a core component of our marketing budget every year,” Rehm says. “We’re not the cheap guy, but a lot of people know us from our participation at their kid’s events. They recognize we’re giving back. That creates the argument to pay a premium. I believe the return on investment is pretty high versus some ad in a newspaper.”
Successful marketing doesn’t have to exist in a vacuum or focus just on homeowners who’ve been flirting with the idea of a remodel for some time. Andy Lange of Drake Homes actively reaches out to local real estate agents to meet clients who just found a dream home—with one minor flaw. Those relationships are “a huge benefit when someone’s going to purchase a home but they don’t like the kitchen,” says Lange. “We go out, give them a quick cost, maybe run a feasibility study.”
Some of the most efficient marketing can pull double duty, doing more than just building name recognition among homeowners. “We’re putting money into great photography and developing relationships with architects and designers,” says Cathy Haldeman of HC Remodeling and Design. Once the professional photos are taken, they’re provided free of charge to the architects and designers as a thank you for job referrals. Those pros can then use those photos on their own websites or as part of their promotional material.
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