Remodeler builds business with podcasts

Home improvement radio shows are an effective way for remodelers to market to new customers; using your Web site to partner with a TV station; offering "green" workshops

October 31, 2008

Photo courtesy of Apple

Taking radio into the 21st century

Home improvement radio shows are a popular and effective way for remodelers to market to new customers.

Not only does it remind past clients a company is still around, it exposes a firm to new customers who may never have known it existed. That's been the case for Grand Rapids, Mich., remodeler Thompson Remodeling, which has gained a much higher profile in the local community since taking over the Home Improvement Show on WOOD-AM four years ago.

“Everybody says they hear us on the radio. It's great at building awareness,” says President Ben Thompson, who hosts the show along with his parents, the station's Pat and Sandie, the company founders.

But where the company has taken a step beyond the norm is by leveraging the Internet to create a bigger presence for the show. Text versions of selected episode segments are archived on the Thompson Web site at www.thompsonremodeling.com.

And for the last three years, Ben Thompson has recorded “WOOD 2 Go” podcasts. (Available at www.woodradio.com.) Each podcast is one to five minutes long and focuses on a specific subject, such as green remodeling or chimney safety tips. Some of the podcasts are created off of segments from the hour-long call-in show and others are specially recorded by Thompson when he goes in to record his weekly promos at the station.

“It's extended the show from a one-hour show to 24-7,” Thompson says. “They don't have to be listening at 8 a.m. Saturday morning to hear us anymore. If they're interested in it, they can find it.”

For more on the benefits of local radio, see our October 2007 profile of Houston remodeler Bob Birner, available at www.proremodeler.com.



Class is in session

Homeowners are hungry for information about green, so offering workshops can be an effective way to get your message out and build business at the same time.

That's what The Hoots Group, an Atlanta-based full-service remodeler, has been doing for the last few years in its community.

Company President Matt Hoots makes at least one presentation a month on green remodeling and other subjects, usually at the company's showroom but sometimes at other locations as well. The showroom includes a classroom set-up that lends itself well to the presentations, Hoots says.

He often partners with other companies, including trade contractors, lenders and real-estate agents.

For clients, it's a demonstration of the company's dedication and knowledge of green.

“They're glad that we're doing it and glad to have a resource like us,” Hoots says. “They're more confident in us because we are educated and willing to share.”

The workshops usually draw at least 20 people and average 30 or 40 attendees, including other contractors.

That's fine with Hoots, because he'd rather have informed competition than have companies out there doing green remodeling incorrectly. In fact, he also offers some workshops aimed at professionals on topics such as recycling on the job site.

“Some of it's networking, some of it's educational and some of it's self-promotional,” he says. “The important thing is to make these things available.”



A different take on the Web

Steve Gray Renovations has an award-winning Web site and e-newsletter that goes out to past clients, but wanted a way to reach new customers.

The Indianapolis remodeler now reaches its target audience (home-owners with more than $150,000 in income and homes worth more than $300,000) by partnering with NBC affiliate WTHR-TV through its Web site www.wthr.com.

But instead of simply advertising on wthr.com, the company went further, working with the team there to build a page dedicated to the company, under the “Home Central” tag on the site. The microsite includes videos, project profiles, newsletter archives and more. The section (available at http://sgrenovations.wthr.com) has been live for only a few months but has already resulted in increased traffic and company awareness.

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