When it comes to meeting new owners of old homes, who better to introduce you than their real estate agent? Having guided the homeowners through the purchasing process, their agent should have a strong sense of their remodeling dreams and budget.

But first the agent should have a strong sense of you.

That's the thinking behind Remodeling Designs' new e-mail campaign targeting Ohio realtors. Marketing director Kelly Eggers is an affiliate member of the Dayton Board of Realtors, and a privilege of membership is e-mail access to the board's more than 3,000 member agents. Working with Dog Star Media, a media and marketing strategy firm in Spokane, Wash., Eggers developed two “e-cards” — brightly illustrated cards in e-mail form — that the board approved before e-mailing the card to its entire membership.

“We're trying to let them know that we are here in the community and this is the kind of work we do,” Eggers says. The most successful of the two cards (above) illustrates their focus with a photo of a high-end kitchen project. “We're not looking to do fix-up work before someone sells their home,” she explains. The goal is to let agents know “we're out there if they are looking for a good remodeler.”

Of the 3,000 agents targeted with this card, Eggers received about eight inquires. Even though 200 or so of the e-mails bounced back, she considers e-cards a cost-effective way to reach a notoriously hard-to-pin-down market. “Realtors tend to be really interested once you get their attention,” she says. The e-card approach “is an easy way to keep our name in front of them at a low cost. Very hassle-free.”

Eggers has some tips for getting leads through e-cards (other versions of which she sends to homeowners):

  • Don't make the recipient open an attachment. The successful e-card was the actual body of the e-mail. The other card was attached to a brief message and generated a lower response.
  • Make the message precise and easy to read.
  • Direct the call to action to the desired point of contact — Eggers herself, in this case. Then follow up with a phone call.