Try public events
- Host a food truck party or a food truck Friday near your office. Coordinate one truck every Friday, or invite many trucks to your parking lot on a Saturday. Obtain approval from local officials. Publicize it and make sure staff hangs around to talk with potential clients.
- Host a “dumpster” party. Rent a large, commercial trash container, place it in your parking lot and invite prospects to a barbecue. Price of admission: one household item to throw in the bin.
- Sponsor a local 5K fun run, concerts in the park, community theater, or a youth sports team to build brand and create goodwill within the community.
- Host free workshops to educate consumers about the building or remodeling process. Charge nothing, offer food and drinks. Take names.
- If you have a showroom, put on a cooking class with a local chef and invite clients and prospects to learn how to cook, and eat.
- Invite a Boy Scouts troop to your shop for lessons on and help creating Pinewood Derby cars. Proper supervision required, of course.
- Convert a box truck or cargo van into a mobile billboard with modern vehicle-wrap products.
- Place ads on the back of city buses or taxi cabs.
- Rent a traditional billboard.
- Buy ad space on grocery store shopping carts or public benches.
- Add an artist’s rendering of the finished project. This will alleviate neighbors’ anxiety about what the home will look like, and showcase your vision at the same time.
- Upgrade the sign’s framing material so it looks nicer.
- Speak at meetings of local associations such as the Chamber, Knights of Columbus, Rotary, etc. Topics could include, “What to expect when you build/remodel your home,” “Kitchen and bathroom design trends” or “How to hire a remodeler/builder.”
- Give talks in high school or community college classrooms about your profession.
- Offer to be an expert for local newspapers, radio shows and cable channels.
- Give presentations at your vendors’ events.
- Ask satisfied clients to open their home to their friends and your prospects and throw a party. Pay for catering and clean-up.
- Participate in or organize a tour of new or remodeled homes. Keep staff there all day and answer all questions with a smile.
- Ask past customers to display a jobsite sign on their lawns in exchange for one entry into a giveaway for a computer, TV, tablet or dinner at the nicest place in town. Ask people to supply contact information in exchange for their entry to the giveaway.Give away products for the home such as tubular skylights, lighting control, windows or doors.
- If you work in an area with lakes or rivers, give away a canoe or kayak, or fishing equipment. Tailor your giveaway prizes to local interests and hobbies.
Meet a new audience. Offer to speak at a meeting of the local organic gardeners’ club, the artists’ club, the craft beer makers’ association, a gathering of train enthusiasts or other hobbyists. The goal is to try something different and expose your business to a new group of prospects.
Hit the streets. Adopt a highway and wear clothing with your company’s logo when cleaning up the road.
This post was contributed by Rob Heselbarth, director of communications for Petersen Aluminum and a member of the National Association of Home Builders Business Management and Information Technology Committee.