For Mark IV Builders’ 25 th anniversary, owner Mark Scott asked past clients if they would allow him to place a commemorative sign in their yard for 25 days in May, the company’s anniversary month. In all, the Bethesda, Md., remodeler placed 48 signs and received two leads and a $10,000 handyman job from the effort.

During each installation, Scott either gave clients a thank-you note or left the note for them to show his appreciation for their cooperation in helping the company celebrate. In that note, he also asked them if they would provide a testimonial that Mark IV could use on its website and in its e-newsletters.

Scott says that he has received a flood of great responses, including a two-page letter from one of his clients. From this marketing effort, he learned that:

  • Installation can take longer than anticipated: Scott underestimated the time it would take to install the signs. If a client was home, the remodeler would chat with the homeowner for about 30 minutes and, although he says it was rewarding to catch up, having just a few of these conversations per day effectively limited the number of sign installations he could get done.
  • The method of outreach affects the response: Though Scott called most past clients, when he ran out of time he began to email them instead: “All but one of the folks who I called happily said yes. None of the folks that I emailed even responded. The personal touch matters,” Scott says.

In San Diego,  Marrokal Design & Remodeling asked its past clients to place a sign in their yards to celebrate the company's 30th anniversary. The signs feature Marrokal’s logo, updated with a banner that reads “30 years in your community.”

The company chose to place the signs in yards for a six-week period in one neighborhood at a time, with about 40 signs in each community. “Our hope was that people were seeing the signs fairly close together,” says vice president and COO Lori Bryan, noting that it took two years for the company to move through all its 14 targeted communities. During that time, the company received 40 leads, resulting in 12 projects. Marrokal’s best practices for the sign campaign included:

  • Evening calls: The company hired one of its retired employees to make phone calls in the evenings. “A lot of people had moved, so this was a good way to update our client database as well,” Bryan points out.
  • Outsourced installation: Marrokal printed 75 signs and hired the subcontractor that installs the company's jobsite signs to install the anniversary signs. The sub charged $60 per sign for installation and removal.
  • Prompt removal: Bryan says that if the company was late in removing a sign, clients would inevitably call about it. Tip: Make sure you remove signs on the agreed upon date.
  • Always improving: Job signs have proven to be a great lead generator for the company, so Marrokal is always looking for ways to improve its signs. Signs have solar lights and brochure boxes, and the company installs a rider across the top for jobs completed early that says, “Another job completed early.”
  • Strength in numbers: Owner Gary Marrokal says that future clients appreciated seeing several signs from one company in their neighborhood. When he received leads, he was able to take these potential clients to the homes of past clients that had posted the sign. —Nina Patel is a senior editor at REMODELING. Find her on Twitter at @SilverNina or @RemodelingMag.