Message from NARI: Focus on the Business to Be Had

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NARI's executive vice president, Mary Busey Harris, urges remodelers to focus on promoting the industry -- and their business.

May 01, 2009

Mary Busey Harris
Contributing Editor

This is a tough time to be a remodeler. Home values have dropped, credit markets are tight, consumers are nervous. You know the story well.

Despite challenging conditions, we focus on the business to be had versus the business lost.

During these hard times, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry is even more focused on capitalizing on its core purpose: to advance and promote the remodeling industry’s professionalism, product and vital public purpose.

Our members have told us, “We need leads.” Consumers have told us “We need a remodeler whom we can trust.”

NARI is addressing both of these issues head on with a new marketing and lead generation campaign that is in the first stage of a multi-year consumer outreach. The objectives are simple: to communicate to remodel-ready consumers that NARI members are the trusted professional choice committed to delivering quality remodeling projects on time and on budget with a customer-centric approach; and to provide additional search tools to help consumers find NARI remodelers.

This campaign has three components: print and Web ads; online search; and online video. Ad space will be purchased in publications and Web sites the remodel-ready consumer reads and uses. Online search will be enhanced both through purchasing keywords and search engine optimization (SEO).

When a homeowner types in “Knoxville remodeler” into a search engine, the NARI landing page for that market area will be in both the top section marked “Sponsor Links” and at the top of an “organic search” — the non-highlighted links you see in a search.

Each NARI market landing page will include a search tool for consumers to find and contact NARI members in that area in a variety of ways, including by industry expertise. This service augments the search functions on the main NARI Web site, giving members a higher likelihood they will be found by the remodel-ready consumer.

The third component involves online videos that educate consumers about what NARI is, the importance of its Code of Ethics, how to choose the best remodeler for their project and testimonials from NARI members clients. These videos will be available on the new market landing pages; on NARI’s main Web site; on chapter Web sites; and on YouTube; and other online video sites. NARI members are encouraged to link to them on their own Web sites, and the videos will be available for members and chapters to use on display at local home shows.

The goal is to have NARI members gain greater market share and position them with greater search prominence for current and future business.

Now it’s more important than ever for homeowners to choose a professional remodeling contractor. Members across the country have said that they’re losing projects to the neighbor’s sister’s husband’s uncle, who was laid off from his job and is “kind of handy,” so he’s going to tackle the electrical wiring in the master bedroom or install the new kitchen cabinets or bathroom sink, or dozens of other jobs that need to be done around the house.

When something goes wrong with those jobs, the people who lose out are the homeowners, who can’t recover any losses through an insurance claim because the person who did the work (damage) isn’t insured — or conversely, the homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it because the person wasn’t properly registered in that county.

Homeowners from Better Homes & Garden’s Home Enthusiast Panel (with whom NARI did preliminary research about the campaign) were ecstatic that there was an association that preformed the preliminary checking for them (NARI members must be in business for a year and properly licensed, registered and/or insured for the area in which they work). They appreciated the fact that NARI members are required to comply with a Code of Ethics and that there is a grievance procedure the homeowner can go through if an issue does arise during the remodeling process.

There remains business to be had, and even during the worst of times, we strive to position NARI members as the professional remodelers of choice.


Author Information
Mary Busey Harris is the executive vice president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. She can be reached at info@nari.org. For more on NARI, visit the association’s Web site at www.nari.org.

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