Jim Pitcher, president of Castle Rock Construction in Suisun, Calif., doesn't have a lock on his northern California market, but his strategy is to act like he does. Pitcher has five rules.

Know your market intimately. “I focus my marketing efforts on homeowners who meet my client profile in a narrow geographic area,” Pitcher says. “Working in Napa Valley is great, because just about everyone fits my client profile.”

Participate in your community. “I'm game to support most any community project that's worthwhile,” Pitcher says, “so I'm planning to participate in RemodelingAmerica.org next year.”

Take advantage of local advertising opportunities. Pitcher advertises in neighborhood and homeowner association newsletters to reinforce jobsite and truck signs, and he sponsors events, too.

Jim Pitcher Keep your brand in front of your market. “Every home in Napa Valley gets a reminder that I'm here and available for their remodeling needs,” Pitcher says. He uses direct mail and will soon complete his fifth project in one country club community.

Seek out projects that produce the best margins. Pitcher controls costs, ruthlessly tracks leads, and makes smart decisions. “I spend my marketing dollars on homeowners within communities where I have built a solid reputation and where my margins are highest,” he says. “I maintain at least $1 million in my ‘marketing funnel' and have an equal amount sold and on my books at all times.” —Stephen Wilson is a partner in Biz-comm Inc., [email protected]. Download complimentary marketing tools at biz-comm.com/downloads.