Editor's Note: As part of Marketing Month, we're revisiting some of our best, and most importantly timeless, articles of marketing advice.

Most people find a remodeler either from a friend’s referral (in-person or via social media) or by researching online. During the recession, when homeowners put their projects on hold and financing was hard to come by, “people spent more time in the research process,” says Rick Storlie, owner of New Home Sales Coach, in Minneapolis, and a construction industry consultant.

Storlie says that remodelers should capture prospects when they’re not ready, willing, or able to buy — “They might purchase something three months or three years down the road.” Here’s how.

Think Virtual
Storlie suggests thinking of your website as “a virtual showroom where people can walk in and out 24-7-365,” and adapting to the way remodeling prospects want to research.

Make your site “consumer-” — not “business” — centric,” so it’s easy for people to find solutions. E.g., Pratt Remodeling, in Vadnais Heights, Minn., recently simplified its site and focused it on the consumer. The main landing page has three large buttons that lead to either a remodeling planning guide, a photo gallery, or ideas for your home. By clicking this last button, viewers can use the calendar that’s right on the page to sign up for a 10-minute phone conversation with Pratt’s “homeowner adviser” Mike Taurinskas.

Set a goal for “capturing” contact information — 5%, for example, so that if you have 100 people visit your site each week, five end up in your database. Since the site update, Pratt now averages 90 visitors weekly and is getting three to five leads per week.

Site visitors who click on “remodeling planning guide,” can receive a guide via email — once they provide their contact information — that has been broken down into chapters that are sent weekly over several months.

“You want to find people who are ... still researching. You want to be their source for relevant information,” Storlie says. Your site should build value over a longer period of time, “so when [homeowners] are ready to talk with someone, they’ll be more likely to contact you, not the other guy.”

Related articles:

Your Website as a Sales Tool: Your site stinks, and you know it. Here’s how to fix it

Data Dream: Using Google Analytics to analyze your website

A Great Website Starts With These Essentials

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