For years Steve Gray, owner of Steve Gray Renovations,Steve Gray Renovations, in Indianapolis, sent a monthly e-newsletter to nearly 6,000 people. But, he says, “It was becoming repetitive. And we didn’t need to touch our clients 12 times a year. ” Yet Gray wanted to continue showcasing projects and “give them their due.” The newsletter format didn’t allow for that. The solution: a quarterly e-magazine.

Page Turner

Like most remodeling company owners, Gray has neither the time nor the inclination to create content for a publication. Office manager Deanna Gray works with a PR firm and a marketing and Web team from Wilkinson Brothers to create the content for the four e-zines and a special holiday edition.

Called Smart Remodeling, the e-zine features projects; company and trade partner news; tips for homeowners; abundant graphics; and video links to activities such as demolishing a garage or a behind-the-scenes look at a craftsman at work.

The project section includes a “renovation partners” area, which shows the origin of floor, cabinets, or countertops, for example. Vendors pay $2,500 annually to appear in the e-zine and on the “Preferred Partners” page of Gray’s high-traffic website, which includes links to partners’ websites and products.

While it takes about the same amount of time and effort to produce the e-zine as it did 12 newsletters, Gray likes that there’s no limit to the amount of space he can give a project. He says that he would like to eventually produce a physical magazine of projects and products.

“The feedback’s been pretty cool,” says Gray, who has found that videos, especially, are helpful. He has fewer conversations with prospects about cost and quality, and the higher level of engagement with prospects means that when Gray first meets a client, “they feel like they already know me when I get there,” he says.

—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.

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