Proof that a small company can cast a giant shadow, Steve Gray Renovations has leveraged technology and big-business branding “since day one,” back in 2004, Gray says. SGR, of Indianapolis, redefines just how effective — and fun, engaging, and surprisingly affordable — a remodeling website can be.
At first glance, the site is a riff on pop culture: There are virtual bobbleheads for each of the four employees and the SGR mascot, a chocolate Labrador named Moe. There are retro cartoon graphics, animated holiday cards, a link to the SGR Facebook page, videos framed within 1950s-style “TVs,” and slide shows within 35mm-style “film strips.” But behind the playfulness, Gray is an always-thinking, brand-building, home-remodeling icon. Consider:
- SGR worked with a design firm and a PR agency to create a consistent logo and brand reinforced by every marketing tool, including four impeccably clean and crisply logoed vehicles. “At all times, we’re trying to drive traffic to the site,” Gray says.
- Several of the site’s videos and slide shows showcase actual SGR projects: before-and-after images set to music, project challenges articulated, clients effusing, team explaining.
- Through SurveyMonkey polls on the site, SGR collects valuable market research: What project types are homeowners leaning toward? What have been their remodeling highs and lows?
- Because SGR subcontracts nearly all of its work, a page called “Meet Our Partners” showcases 15 “preferred partners” — design, materials, financing — as well as its professional memberships.
- Gray also knows who visits his site (average: 39 first-time visitors a day), how long they stay (average: 307 seconds per visit), and that they like what they see. In a statistic practically unheard of for corporate sites, nearly 80% of visitors add the site to their “favorites” tab, Gray says.
Most surprising is that Gray says his total marketing budget is only about 2% of revenue, which was $1.2 million in 2008. The SGR website “is how we want to market our company. It’s what we’re good at and where we get the most bang for our buck,” he says. It helps that Gray is game to try just about anything that’s fun, new, and low-budget — like those bobbleheads. —Leah Thayer, senior editor, REMODELING.