Anyone who runs a home improvement company knows the importance of generating leads, especially early on

When you’re first starting out, you don’t often have the budget to hire a marketing team or purchase paid advertising. But just because you can’t invest in some of these costlier marketing methods doesn’t mean you can’t generate some qualified leads of your own by putting in the work, time, and energy.

Generating leads isn’t very difficult, but it does take quite a bit of time and diligent effort in order to get them on your own. Leads are unlikely to just “show up” out of nowhere unless you put in the work. The trick is knowing where to put your efforts to ensure you’re getting your business’ name out there as often as possible.

We’ve got a few creative ideas to help you expand your business and generate home improvement leads for free.

Here Are 7 Home Improvement Lead Ideas You Can Try

[ But you must read, choose one or two, and then execute! Doing nothing won’t help. ]

7 ways to generate home improvement leads at no cost, just by working hard.
7 ways to generate home improvement leads at no cost, just by working hard.

1. Ask for Referrals

Let your work speak for itself. If your company completes every job with an exceptional set of skills and pristine values, your happy customers may be the best marketing campaign you could ask for. Work for referrals and references, because the first place homeowners look for home improvement contractors is in one they trust. This could be via word of mouth, community groups on Facebook, or other platforms in the community.

Call your existing or past customers and ask for referrals. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive, and there’s no harm in reaching out. If your work truly was exceptional, most customers are more than happy to tell their friends and family about your company and recommend your services.  This is one of the quickest and most effective free methods of lead generation that requires only a simple phone call on your part.

To increase the likelihood that your customers will refer you to their friends, ensure that every step of every job is completed with the utmost of integrity. Show up on time, perform the work on the parameters promised, and always give exemplary service. Little things like treating the home with respect and cleaning up after each day’s work go a long way in leaving a customer happy. The more you can make your work stand out each and every time, the more enthusiastically people will refer your business to others.

2. Actively Build Positive Reviews

After word-of-mouth recommendations, online reviews are the second best way to generate home improvement leads. Selecting a business to work on their home involves a huge amount of trust on the part of the customer; after all, it’s where they live and they have to be able to trust that you’ll do the job as they envision it. Building that trust requires as much knowledge about your work as possible from a variety of objective and trustworthy sources.  Online reviews are excellent for building that trust because they’re difficult to fake and they show the consistency of your work over time.

Although reviews will come in on their own gradually over time, there are ways to amp up the speed in which you accumulate them. To quickly grow your online reviews, you’ll need to work at it. Make customer reviews part of the process every time you start a new project by showing your reviews to prospective customers when quoting them or discussing proposed projects. Tell them you’ll be asking for a review from them once the work is complete, showing them that you’ll be putting your full effort into their project. 

Follow up with them once the project is completed by calling and checking that they’re satisfied with the work you did. At this time, request a review on whichever site you choose (Yelp is currently one of the best sites for generating home improvement leads). Explain the importance of their feedback to your growing business, and send them an email a few days later with a link to the site for them to review. Although you won’t get a review from everyone even with all this effort, you’ll grow your business much more quickly than if you didn’t.

3. Use a Targeted Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing is not just for large companies but is a great way for smaller companies to generate leads as well. Email marketing has one of the highest conversion rates for purchases in comparison to other methods such as social or direct mail. But the trick of a successful email marketing campaign is to not just send emails blindly but to have a specific and targeted strategy. The more you can fine-tune your emails to target customers in the right way, the more likely you are to generate leads rather than having your emails sent to the junk folder.

One of the positives of email marketing is that your audience has chosen to receive your content, as your email list will consist of existing customers or prospective customers who’ve filled out the contact form on your website.  Never purchase an email list, because this is a waste of money that will only help you reach unqualified leads who will not buy your services. Again, this should be a free method to generate leads that requires time and effort, not purchasing leads from questionable sources.

Start by making your emails easy to read and skim, because customers are less likely to read convoluted emails that require effort to understand. Ensure your emails are mobile friendly and have catchy subject lines to attract attention. Highlight your finished projects with emails full of details and customer anecdotes to show people the quality of work you regularly complete. Regular email newsletters are a great way to keep in contact with existing customers and potentially tap them for further work.

4. Use Bargain Sites

Offering discounted rates and special offers is a method of generating leads that work well, but knowing where to promote those offers is one of the keys to successful marketing. While you can send promotional rates through email marketing or via direct mail, one of the best places to stand out is to use a special offer site such as LivingSocial or Groupon. Customers are actively searching these sites for various deals, so you’re sure to reach an audience of qualified leads that’s more than capable of being converted.

Both of these sites are e-commerce marketplaces that connect subscribers with local companies, offering coupons for customers to purchase to redeem for discounted rates. You can find anything from promotional rates for teeth cleaning to discounts on photo printing, and these sites often allow home improvement companies to post their promotional offers on them.

Standing out from your competitors is one of the struggles of small businesses, so making your promotions stand out by posting on special offer sites is vital to generate leads without having to price yourself out of the market. You don’t have to necessarily offer a lower rate than your competitors if you can market your deals more successfully.

5. Write Useful and Interesting Content

One of the best ways of attracting customers is by investing time in writing dynamic and useful content about something in your field and then posting it on your website. People love to learn more about the things they’re interested in, and if they’re shopping around for a home improvement company they want to know that you’re knowledgeable about the industry. The more useful and engaging content you write, the more likely you are to position your company as an authority about home improvement, and the more likely customers are to trust your expertise.

Post blogs regularly about trends, current news, and home improvement tips in order to position yourself as an expert in your industry. Anything that you think you can write a post about, do it, because writing as much (quality) content as possible will increase your chances of being shared.  Guides on home improvement are an excellent way to bring people in and get them interested in what you have to say, because people love free advice and information. 

Share your posts as widely as you can by posting it on your website and all social media in order to generate engagement. Try and get people to comment on your posts to further increase engagement, and make sure to employ SEO tactics within your blog posts to increase their likelihood of appearing in online search results.

6. Answer Questions Online

Regularly interacting with customers and other homeowners online is a great way to generate contractor leads. Customers value being able to engage with a business and learn about what it is they’re looking for, so spend a few hours on the computer each week answering questions on Facebook groups for homeowners or even on Reddit communities. You can even reply to Instagram comments to further engage with customers and improve your chances of generating leads online.

Search out where homeowners are engaging online and make a point to establish a presence there. Try asking customers and other homeowners in your community what they use to search for information online to see if you can find more people to engage with. The more widespread you are online, the wider the net you cast for leads.

Active social media use is a useful tool for home improvement companies, and it’s one that many don’t fully utilize. Regular posting will help you attract followers, but engaging with customers is what will help you stand out amongst the competition. It shows that you’re willing to go above and beyond to help and inform homeowners in your community even if they aren’t officially clients, and it shows everyone that your company values the customer interaction.

7. Be Creative With Business Cards

Handing out business cards may seem old school, but it’s a tried and true method of lead generation that works no matter what business you’re in.  Handing somebody a physical object that represents your business is a strong way of implanting your home improvement company in someone’s mind and reminding them at a later date of your services. But to make business cards work for you the best they can, you’ll want to be diligent and creative with how and when you hand them out.

Make a habit of passing them out every weekend wherever you can.  Local events, trade shows, and even volunteering your services at local charities are all great places to network and get your business’ name out there. Be sure to also engage the receiver of your business card, taking the extra step to secure their business. Try adding a personal touch to your card by handwriting your personal number on the back and telling them to call you anytime. This is a great way of making them feel special and increasing the likelihood of their call.

Creating a new business is always a struggle because you suffer from a lack of name recognition and brand awareness. In the beginning, your biggest priority should be accruing leads in order to prove the quality of your work through these projects. Once you get a few projects, you can quickly turn that into more by leveraging your outstanding work into generating more leads. Active pursuit of leads is an absolute requirement for any business that wants to get its feet off the ground; time is of the essence if you want to start earning more money than you spend. These creative ways of generating home improvement leads are sure to attract the customers your business needs.

Once you’ve generated a good amount of leads, your business will earn you enough revenue to start investing in further forms of lead generation that will help your company grow even more rapidly. Lead services for contractors are a great way to help you generate exclusive home improvement leads.  Steadily build your customer base with these unique free methods of lead generation until you can afford to take the next step in marketing.

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