Charles Gindele, owner of Dial One Window Specialists, in Orange County, Calif., believes that 20% of a company’s business should always be coming from new lead sources. His example: In 2007, 9% of his company’s leads came from various Internet sources. Today it is 24%. “If I hadn’t made the commitment to change things, to understand the Internet and take advantage of what was available — a new site, pay per click, video online, optimization — we wouldn’t be getting that business,” he says.

Shelf Life of a Lead

“Lead sources have a shelf life,” says Daniel Gallegley, marketing manager for Durante Windows & Siding, in Birmingham, Ala. “You could have a good source, and suddenly it starts trending down.” Which is why, he says, he is always looking for new lead sources. Gallegley trolls home improvement websites looking for
ideas, and he finds other companies often willing to share specifics.

Home improvement marketing consultant Rick Menendez says that brainstorming sessions are especially productive — more so if you include staff from outside the marketing department, such as salespeople, receptionists, and installers.

American Exteriors, for instance, draws everyone into the process. “Our biggest resource at this company is our human capital,” says Greg Garcia, vice president of marketing for the Colorado business. He says the company aims to “find out from actual people in these demographics where they go and how they shop.”

What has recently worked well is the company’s Partnership Marketing program. Past customers are contacted, for instance, with the proposal to host a neighborhood get-together where company representatives can talk about windows and siding. Another idea: the company’s recent launch of a Facebook page for referrals.

Sources & Demographics

One trick for companies looking to generate business from new lead sources is to find the sources that reach their customer base. Older homeowners, for example, still respond to direct mail marketing and print advertising, while younger demographic segments are more likely to be reached online.

And some ideas reach all segments. For instance, Budget Exteriors, a Twin Cities home improvement company, recently added additional advertising signage to its company vans. “We got quite a few calls from that,” general manager Cassie Meyer notes.

The company also contacts past customers twice a year with new promotions. Most recently that was Budget Exteriors’ new line of blown insulation for walls and attics. The company reached out to all its past customers and found a ready response. Meyer, like others, notes that it’s important to constantly be looking for fresh lead sources.