Finding a way to make its company Facebook page fun and engaging, Capstone General Contracting, in Worcester, Mass., held an online bathroom giveaway contest. The effort was at once creative, manageable, and relatively inexpensive.

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For Capstone General Contracting, an online bathroom giveaway contest proves to be a creative and relatively inexpensive marketing idea to gain Facebook fans and promote the company.

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“You can spend a lot of money on fliers or ads, but we wanted to do something different,” says president Christine Najem. “We knew the cost of doing a bathroom would be minimal and that it would be a fun way to please a client and get people to ‘like’ our page.”

To run the contest, Najem created a contest page using Facebook’s built-in, fee-based functionality. Capstone fans were encouraged to visit the contest page, post photos of their ugly bathrooms, and spread the news about the contest. People without Facebook accounts could access the contest via Capstone’s website.

“We had about 25 completed entries, and then people were able to vote for their favorites if they ‘liked’ our page,” Najem says. The campaign drove up Facebook traffic, and Najem says the contest winner is now a raving fan and “marketing billboard” for the company — well worth the cost of labor and materials.

Capstone added the giveaway project to its standard job calendar, ensuring that it received the same attention as any paid-for remodel. “Just because it’s free doesn’t make it less of a job for us,” Najem says. “People think we’re going to take our time and not make it a priority, but that’s not how we view things. Contractors get a bad name for not keeping promises, and we believe in building our reputation on integrity and building great relationships [with our customers]."

Najem plans to build more buzz for future online contests, knowing this first run was a success. “Even for contests with smaller prizes like an iPad, people think there's probably a catch. So if we're giving away an $8,900 bathroom, then [they think] there definitely must be a catch,” she says. “I wanted to get 100 entries. Now that people know we’re serious about the giveaway and that there are no strings, I think we’ll definitely have more interest next time.”

—Lauren Hunter, associate editor, REMODELING.

This is a longer version of an article that appeared in the November 2011 issue of REMODELING.