For Iron River Construction, in Minneapolis, offering a monthly promotion to prospects and past clients is one way to stay top-of-mind and ensure homeowners know about the various services the company offers.

The promotions are influenced by the time of year at which they’re offered, the company’s marketing schedule, and the types of jobs the firm wants to pursue. Past promotions have included a 42-inch television (basement project), a stainless steel grill (deck project), a dishwasher (kitchen remodel), and a tree (new roof).

The idea grew out of a holiday campaign Iron River had run in past years in which it marketed a different promotion (granite countertops or backsplash, egress window, handyman work) for each of the 12 days of Christmas. Owner Tracy Dahlin liked that idea but felt that 12 consecutive days of email promotions overwhelmed some clients at an already busy time of year. So in 2013 she decided to apply the same concept in a new format: monthly promotions.

Dahlin says the promotions raise brand awareness and alert homeowners to the company’s services. For example, the client who does a bath remodel may not be aware that your company can also replace his storm-damaged roof. “People don’t necessarily make those connections,” Dahlin says.

For every email that the company has sent to the 2,500 or so people on its contact list, it has received six to 12 responses. And though it’s difficult to gauge if a job was a direct result of one of these promotions, Dahlin estimates that three jobs totaling $725,000 stemmed from the first six months of the campaign; the largest of which was a $48,000 basement.

Fine Print

Dahlin has found that it’s best to offer promotional items—such as a grill or a TV—that are clearly distinct from the services her company provides. “Don’t offer an incentive that [involves a service] you already offer,” and from which you could make money, she says. For example, Dahlin considered offering a gas fireplace as a promo item for basement remodels, but decided against it because fireplace installs are profitable for her company.

To get the promotion, clients must sign a contract within 30 days of the email announcement. But because the time between initial phone call to signed contract may exceed 30 days, Dahlin usually honors the promotion a bit beyond the set time frame. She also doesn’t draw attention to the fact that clients can receive a cash credit in lieu of the promotional item—she waits until the client asks. “If you give too many options at the front-end, they know you are open to negotiation,” she explains. Though most clients have chosen the cash option, Dahlin says she considers the promotions a success because they do garner attention.

Not Quite Cooking

In an effort to increase leads for high-end outdoor kitchens, remodeler Chris Dreith became a dealer for the Big Green Egg ceramic charcoal cooker. Dreith’s hope: the expensive but versatile product would appeal to serious cooks and this would, in turn, generate leads for her Woodland, Calif., company, The Home Improvements Group.

Her company was the only one in the area to offer the dealer-exclusive cooker. During the four years that Dreith carried the Egg, she enjoyed hosting cooking demos and classes conducted by the distributor’s rep. But it turned out that most homeowners wanted the free-standing version of the Egg and weren’t interested in building it into a full outdoor kitchen.

When the distributor began selling directly to the public, Dreith dropped the dealership. But although the results didn’t meet her expectations, “we brought in people who might not otherwise know what we do,” Dreith says.

Nina Patel is a senior editor at REMODELING.