Repeat and referral business is the cornerstone of any successful contractor’s marketing. We’re constantly working with our remodeler and builder clients to reach and engage past clients.

There’s nothing better than those raving fans. These are the clients who love you, who have given you their business in the past and hopefully will again. They’re the advocates who tell everyone they know what a great job you did.

A lot of companies hit the “pause” button on marketing in the last few months. Hopefully, you’ve stayed engaged with past and potential clients, but if you’ve stopped or backed off of your customer outreach, it’s well past time to get back to it. The best place to start is by re-engaging your past clients.

Texas Tech researchers Ted Waldron and James Wetherbe have identified a strategy for re-engaging customers, balancing the need for sales with customers that may be dealing with health and financial challenges. It’s based on successful efforts by companies both big and small and is called “HEART.”

Humanize your company – Let your customers know you empathize with the challenges of COVID-19 and the economic fallout. Make sure they see you as people, not a company. Put the owner and employees at the forefront with a personal message (e-newsletter, blog post, video, etc.) from them. This can even be a simple “We’re checking in to make sure you’re doing OK” email with no marketing message. That human touch can make a big difference.

Educate about change – Tell them what has changed. Inform customers of new ways of doing business, such as enhanced safety on the jobsite or social distancing when visiting their homes. If you have a showroom or other location with frequent drop-in customers, make sure your website, Google profile, social media pages, and other outlets are updated with any reduced hours or closures.

Assure stability – Assure your customers that despite any challenges or changes, you will continue to provide the quality work and customer service they’ve come to expect. For example, explain that even though your designers are working remotely, they still will be able to create unique solutions for clients’ homes.

Revolutionize offerings – Have you created any new services or ways of doing business that could offer unexpected benefits? Tell clients about those new offerings, whether it be a one-day bathroom remodel or new design services. Are you using technology to communicate in new ways?

Tackle the future – If you’ve reduced services/hours, let customers know when you expect to resume normal operations. Share information about your plans to continue operating in new, innovative ways.

Above all, make sure the information you are sharing with customers is relevant to them. Will they care about the changes you’re making? Does this affect their life? Make sure you’re not just sending an email to send an email. Be a source of knowledge and expertise.