Canadian Contractor

Regina Gadacz   

4 old-school marketing hacks guaranteed to deliver results

Renovation Contractor

While it seems everyone is focussed on Instagram and other social media options for getting their name out there, many older marketing options still have benefits.

There’s no denying that word-of-mouth is a great way to get new clients. But your company is liable to wither rather than thrive if you rely exclusively on the grapevine to get your name out there. Which is why you need a marketing plan. While it seems everyone is focussed on Instagram and other social media options for getting their name out there, many older marketing options still have benefits, particularly when you’re trying to reach on older audience. Here are the pros and cons of four old-school options.

Lawn signs

The simplest way to tell everyone passing by the jobsite your company name, number, and website address. (Just make sure you have some business cards or flyers handy for those who stop to ask questions.)

COSTS: You can buy plastic sleeves that slide over a U-shaped wire frame printed with your company info for about $2 each. Or you could spend a couple hundred dollars on materials and a few hours of downtime to build professional, long-lasting wooden signs.


PROS: It’s homeowner nature to stop and see what work the neighbours are getting done. If they like what they see, they’ll call you for a quote.

CONS: If you leave them up too long, customers are liable to toss your signs in the trash. And you need to triple-check that there are no typos on your sign. Nothing says amateur like a sign proclaiming, “Joe’s Conctracting Services.”


Another low-cost way to get your name out there, either handed out, hand delivered, or mass mailed.

COSTS: Can be as little as the price of some paper and ink on your home computer, paying a helper to stuff mailboxes, or buying space in “Dollar Saver” booklets or coupon envelopes for pennies apiece. Items shipped with Canada Post’s Addressed Admail program – which allows you to target specific neighbourhoods – start at $0.37 each.

PROS: Regardless of how it arrives, if someone happens to be in the market for your services when the flyer lands at their door, you may get a call.

CONS: If they’re done cheaply, customers are going to question the quality of your work. (See note above about typos.) And most junk mail goes straight into the Blue Box.

Consumer shows

Some homeowners are willing to pay admission for the privilege of having a number of contracting companies gathered together in one spot.

COSTS: On top of the show fees (booth space at a regional home improvement show starts at about $20 a square foot), you need to build – or buy – a display both, staff it, and print up promotional materials to hand out.

PROS: In a single weekend you get face-time with hundreds of potential customers, probably more than visit your show- room in an entire year.

CONS: Weeklong shows can be physically and mentally draining, not to mention near-impossible to staff.

Mass media

You know you’re ready to join the big leagues when you’re contemplating print, radio, or television advertising campaigns.

COSTS: A one-time classified ad in a niche magazine may set you back $1,000; you can book a series of 30-second radio spots for $50 each or less. TV time tops out at nearly $200,000 a second during the Super Bowl.

PROS: A well-designed ad adds instant credibility to your company and makes a nice addition to your glam-our-shots portfolio. A catchy radio jingle or cheesy TV spot will stick in people’s minds.

CONS: Aside from the potentially astronomical fees, you need to ensure you’re reaching the right audience; most eyes on your ad will be out of your work area with a national campaign. And some people will hate you for that jingle.


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