by Ben Lindberg, LionTree Group

We’ve compiled a list of the Top 15 marketing concepts that contractors, builders and remodels can start working for them today. Take some time to look through the list below and grab a few advertising ideas to help grow your business. Some of the items with the greatest impact require effort, not treasure, but in the end, can pay huge dividends. I’ve tried to include some very practical and cost-effective ideas that can help drive lead generation and lead aggregation to help your business in all seasons.

1. Mine YOUR client basemine your customer list
If you don’t take care of your customers, someone else surely will. There’s something magical about that statement, and it sets the foundation for your client base. Take time to develop a nurturing plan for your past clients. Some ideas include:

  • Special Offers
    Many contractors are reluctant to spend money on “sure thing” clients. Exceptional customer service evolved from going the extra mile for customers. Make your customers feel special. Pitch them with a special offer that makes it worth their while to continue working with you.
  • Email
    Stay in touch with your clients with informative and engaging emails including newsletters or special offers. It is a very inexpensive and unobtrusive contact point for many homeowners, and if you deliver a quality product, you will be rewarded with a reputation boost or better yet, a needy homeowner.
  • Follow-up – talk about your referral program
    Don’t hide behind the wheel of your car too busy or overburdened to connect with your customers. Make it a priority to reach out once a week to customers and remind them of upcoming events, services you provided that they may not know about, or your paid referral program.

2. Hyper-local advertising
Demographic data is getting so refined, especially through the behavioral analysis offered from Facebook and Google, that you can now target down to a specific buying pattern. For years, demographics were based on income, age and sex, but never took behavior into account. The path to your specific customer has changed. Take advantage of Facebook demographics to boost your special offer or reach a neighbor that fits a very specific customer trait. In fact, I’ve seen clients have more success reaching out to a behavior-based target more than 10 times rather than carpet bomb an entire  ZIP code once. The game has changed.

3. Google-proof your website
In my office, we talk a lot about real estate. Google real estate to be specific. Page 1 Google search engine rankings capture 97% of all search traffic. If you are able to maximize your Google presence, it will not only drive potential buyers to your doors, but more importantly, take them off the market from less savvy competitors. There are typically 20 available spot placements on Page One – 7 paid results, 10 organic and 3 local. I’ve had clients buy into Our Strategy and capture 6 of those 20 spots. Talk about cornering the market! Consider Google Adwords, get Google My Business working for you, and find a talented website company to help improve your organic rankings.

direct mail isn't dead4. Direct Mail
Direct mail isn’t dead. In fact, it is still the only GUARANTEED impression vehicle for your message. People that have written off direct mail are likely expecting too much from small batch mailings. I recommend bunching in ZIP codes based on demographics, but more important than demos is beauty. Make the investment in a designer that will incorporate edgy graphics with your brand to pique the interest of your clients. It will pay off!

5. Job signs
Never leave a job site without your mark on the project. This tried and true method is so simple, it’s almost silly to think that people don’t do it, but to anyone reading this I ask – do you actually believe your field crews are doing this on every job? I guarantee they aren’t as much as you’d wish, and it’s costing you money. Develop a process that makes it automatic and stop leaving it up to your crew to decide whether or not to ask the homeowner if it’s okay to leave a yard sign behind.

6. Refresh and relaunch your brand
I talk a lot about giving sales people a reason to follow-up – upcoming home show, special offer, etc. But how often do we talk about giving your brand a reason to impact your homeowners? We update homes every day, so let’s not forget to keep our brands up to date. Don’t try to reinvent the foundation you’ve built your business on, but a simple updating of your look including your logo design, website look and feel, or even your trucks and business cards. You will generate a buzz in the office and give your team a reason to keep talking about your business. It’s a sign that you’re still alive and growing!

7. Do a seminar
There are a lot of seminar opportunities through home products shows, training events, or even civic-minded organizations where you can showcase your industry knowledge. I am constantly helping develop exciting presentations for our best clients because they know this works. The key to any presentation is to practice. Don’t just sign up and expect to kill it. Run through it over and over and work on your slides until it is seamless. Seminars are a great way to work with clients that are timid.

8. Home tour with Builders organization
Most local Builders associations have annual tour and some even include a remodeling tour as part of the event. Work with a client that you’ve done a special project for and develop a plan to participate in the tour from the start. Build the experience you want for your homeowner ton convey and they will engage with tour-goers with a special message about what its like to work with your company.

9. Join a club
There are an endless number of professional networking groups including RotaryChambers of CommerceLion’s Club. They all have a civic-minded mission for community betterment. We all know these groups are great for creating business connections, but their purpose for existence isn’t focused on getting you business. Don’t fall into the do-business-with-me-or-bust trap that is BNI. Find a group with an energy that meets your needs and do your best to further the cause. It will pay off if so many ways long into the future. The construction industry is the #1 business segment underrepresented in professional civic groups.

10. Leverage strategic partnershipspartnerships
Partner with a local supplier or home furnishing company to hold a seminar in their showroom, or work with a financial planner to present a seminar about aging in place. The financial planner can talk about financing remodeling and growing a nest egg so that older persons can afford to remain in their homes. You can speak to the benefits of aging in place design.

11. Press Release
Local papers and magazines are hungry for content. Feed them with important information about your business, your employees, your project stories. A well-written piece will have legs far into the future and can get you seen in places others avoid. You’ll also be able to re-post the article via Social Media or on your blog.

12. Write an article
Position yourself as THE expert in your specialty. As someone with an ear close to the ground, you can drive the conversation and extend your reach to become a go-to connection. A thought-provoking article can deliver dividends by building familiarity and approachability. It can become the topic of conversation for others as well as a point of conversation for you to hang your hat on.

13. Host a radio show or podcast
Radio is still effective, especially in markets without a topic-specific show already. See if you can host a remodeling talk show that tackles homeowners’ biggest questions about maintenance tips, products and project ideas. You may be able to do a remote broadcast if you have a showroom, or you can host the broadcast from the studio. You never know, you could be the next Car Talk!

14. Open House
Host an event at your showroom. Market it as a special event. Add value with seminars or demonstrations. Remember, the leads you generate with your open house will likely be yours alone. Treat your potential and past clients to a meal and make it worth their time for visiting your home base.

15. Volunteer
Volunteer. Become a real part of the fabric of your community. Involve your entire staff and make volunteering part of your mission. Make annual traditions or events out your volunteering efforts. Some of my favorite office volunteering opportunities include: Adopt-a-highwayHabitat for HumanityRAMP No LimitsRed Cross blood drives, and holiday giving/meal service. Embrace your community and in return, you’ll receive so much more than you give.

While this list isn’t exhaustive, some ideas presented will give you a shot in the arm when you need it most. It can help to even out the slow times and pile on during the seasonal stampedes. Don’t ignore opportunities to engage with your community. Most importantly, strive to be a brand that you, your employees, your clients, and your community can believe in.

If you’d like to learn more about our process for brand growth and the services we offer, please check us out at www.LionTreeGroup.com.


About the Author

Ben Lindberg, CR is a partner in Lion Tree Group, a marketing agency in Madison, WI. His expertise is in multi-platform brand messaging with a focus on inspiring homeowners. As an industry insider, he has walked the walk and developed a winning strategy from experience with one of Wisconsin’s largest remodeling companies. His agency specializes in digital design and branding face lifts. He regularly blogs on his company’s blog: The Bark and Roar.