Ask anyone in the home improvement industry and they'll probably tell you advertising doesn't work anymore. Which is why so many companies have shifted their marketing to events, canvassing, and the Internet.

Meanwhile, George Nordine of Nordine Remodeling, in Normal, Ill., is getting the largest share of his leads from radio. Yes, radio. Nordine has been around long enough that he gets plenty of business from repeat/referral, signage, and word of mouth. He also keeps a fresh supply of new customers coming with advertising.

The Basics

Here are four simple principles that Nordine uses:

1) Be cautious: Nordine is in a small town where radio is fairly inexpensive. He started on one station, then moved to two, both of which deliver to his demographic. He spends only about 20% to 25% of his monthly budget on radio. Note: As you get started, don't spend more money than you can afford to lose ? it might take you a while to find the right formula.

2) Be consistent: Nordine runs an average of eight spots a day, every day, and has for two years now. There's a marketing principle called "consistency credit": People equate your ability to consistently market to them with your ability to actually fulfill on your services.

3) Be different: Don't run the same worn-out ads. Get people's attention by being unusual, unexpected, and interesting. Nordine says, "We wrote one radio ad that used 50 different words that rhymed with Nordine, and then told people to remember Nordine when they needed remodeling ? not jeans, spleen, machine, Irene, or submarine." Enough people were annoyed that the station started receiving complaints. Meanwhile calls for jobs poured in.

4) Be patient: Once you start to run your ads give it a week or two. Or eight. Confidence to pick up the phone is not earned overnight.

Success boils down to standing out and building enduring credibility. It takes some time to ramp up, but there are people out there who want and need what you sell. You've just got to present yourself as the credible choice.

­? Rich Harshaw, author of Monopolize Your Marketplace, is a marketing expert;