This article was originally published in the January/February 2024 issue of ProRemodeler . Written by Drew Barto.

Do you have concerns that your lead flow will be light in 2024? Are you looking for new ideas on how to market your business?

Leads are the lifeblood of any exterior remodeler and this list of marketing tips for contractors will reveal what some of the industry’s most successful companies are doing right now to get, qualify, and close leads.

1. Set Same-Day Appointments
A growing number of home improvement companies are achieving significant sales success by setting appointments for the same day that customers call them. You can close the sale before someone else even has a chance.

2. Outsource Your Re-Hash Efforts
Do you have a growing list of unsold leads and a lack of resources to follow up? Consider outsourcing this task to a company that specializes in qualifying and re-setting old leads that you didn’t sell.

3. Promote Lower Ticket Items
Do you have a strong sales team? Consider promoting your lower ticket items like storm doors or sliding glass doors in your marketing pieces. You’ll generate more leads and your sales team can upsell these prospects to higher-margin products.

4. Educate Homeowners on Tax Credits
Most homeowners aren’t familiar with the tax credits made available to them for the next 10 years as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. Educate them on how much they can get by including details in your marketing promotions.

5. Become The Neighborhood Contractor
Proximity marketing can help you become the contractor in a neighborhood. Send letters or postcards to the 10 or 20 houses closest to a home you’re working on. Time the mailing to reach homes when your crew will be working in the area. Optimizing your company’s exposure in a neighborhood can help you generate low-cost leads.

6. Negotiate Pricing with Lead Gen Partners
If you have underperforming lead sources, try to negotiate with those vendors for a reduced cost or a pay-per-lead structure. They don’t want to lose a client, so it doesn’t hurt to ask before deciding to quit the lead source altogether.

7. Ask for Referrals at the Right Time
The two best times to ask for referrals are immediately after the sale and on the final day of installation. These are when customers are at peak happiness with their decision to hire you. Take advantage of their good mood.

8. Use Co-Op Dollars Provided by Product Partners
Some manufacturers will award you with co-op dollars toward marketing as long as you’re promoting their products. Check with your partners to see if you can get a little extra help reaching new customers.

9. Be Bold with Your Offers and Calls-to-Action
The tighter the market, the more critical it is to emphasize direct response marketing over branding. Highlight deals and discounts, include bold calls-to-action, and feature specific expiration dates to get the phones to ring now. Consumers always want a good deal.

10. Diversify Your Marketing Mix
Always strive for a diverse marketing mix. If you rely too heavily on one or two sources to generate leads, your business will be in trouble if those sources stop producing results for any reason.

11. Demonstrate Project Affordability
In a soft market, you need to convince customers that home improvement projects can fit inside their budgets. One way to do this is by showing real examples of low monthly payment options in all of your marketing efforts.

12. Get Back to In-Person Networking
Want marketing insight from other successful contractors? Nothing beats in-person industry events with expert talks and networking with like-minded pros. Grow your business by growing your network.

13. Use Impending Price Increases to Generate Now Buyers
Manufacturers typically give you advance notice of price increases on their products. Use that to your marketing advantage by running a “Beat the Price Increase” promotion. Show customers proof of the price increase by sharing correspondence from the manufacturer that reveals the numbers.

14. Budget for Social Media Advertising
Any marketing budget should include room for paid social media advertising. Even if you have a lot of followers, most platforms suppress reach and require paid promotion to get your message in front of your followers.

15. Maintain Brand Consistency
While marketing messages and offers may change regularly, you should keep your design elements (colors, logos, fonts, etc.) consistent across all media to help build brand awareness.

16. Avoid Cutting Too Much Marketing
Avoid dramatically cutting your marketing budget when leads are lean. You should consider shaving some dollars when the market is tight, but large home improvement companies will gain an even bigger market share if small to medium-sized contractors cut back too much. The rich will get richer and you’ll be left behind. Your marketing budget should be at least 10% of your revenue goal. Any cuts should only reduce that number by one or two percentage points.

17. Send Customer Maps to Set Leads
Consumers are more likely to trust contractors who perform a lot of work in their towns. Provide prospects with street maps featuring pinpoints of satisfied customers in their neighborhoods to help increase your closing percentage.

18. Share Photos of Satisfied Customers
Ask your customers to pose in front of a completed installation holding a sign that reads “100% Satisfied Customer” and features your logo on it. Use these photos in your social media marketing, on your website, and in direct mail pieces as social proof of the customer experience you deliver.

19. Monitor and Address Online Reviews
If a customer gives you a low rating on a Google review and you later resolve their issue, ask them to update the rating. The majority of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars on local reviews. Your best laid marketing plans will be for naught if you have too many negative reviews.

20. Start a Referral Program That Wows Customers
Reward customers with money or gift cards for their referrals. Have a brand ambassador hand-deliver a gift—like a bottle of wine—at the completion of every project. Do all of this and more while consistently reminding your customers about your referral program. If you don’t remind them, they’ll forget about it, no matter how happy you’ve made them.

21. Plan Ahead to Combat a Difficult Fourth Quarter
A presidential election, health insurance open enrollment, and holidays make for a difficult digital lead gen landscape during the fourth quarter. Big businesses and politicians will be outspending you while trying to reach the same audiences. Make plans to spend those digital dollars earlier in the year.

22. Promote Unique Customer Experiences
Use your marketing pieces to highlight things that you do differently and better than your competitors. Homeowners can buy windows, doors, roofing, or siding from hundreds of companies. Why should they call you over anyone else? Demonstrate how unique products or processes will benefit customers.

23. Answer the Most Asked Questions Before the Sales Call
Find out what questions your ideal customers are asking online. Ask your sales team for feedback on what customers ask most at the kitchen table. Then, write articles or record videos that answer these questions and post them to your website or social media feeds.

24. Use Artificial Intelligence to Enhance Marketing Efficiency
Artificial intelligence can help your marketing team become more efficient by assisting you with writing copy and video scripts, designing marketing pieces, and even creating lookalike audiences of your ideal customer. AI is not a replacement for your marketing staff, but it can be a tool to help them do more in the same amount of time.