If you lived in Lincoln, Neb., you might think that Innovative Siding & Windows was the only home improvement company in town. Innovative has developed a, well, innovative campaign to make itself more visible in the community, while also generating leads. This is how it works. Several times a year, signs are placed on lawns all over town with a simple message from the company: “We're in Your Neighborhood.” The signs include Innovative's company logo and phone number. While many home improvement companies use lawn signs to advise neighbors of a job in progress, Innovative uses its signs to promote its name and reputation with the assistance of its past customers.

Cover All Zones “Lincoln is a town of about 250,000 residents,” president and CEO Phil Sutko explains. “We go through each ZIP code and make sure we get a few signs in each one. So everybody in Lincoln, in every ZIP code, has to see our signs every day for 30 days,” he says.

Sutko chooses names from the company's list of some 2,200 past customers. He then calls several homeowners in each ZIP code with an offer. Allow Innovative to put a sign on your lawn for the month and you'll be entered in a drawing. The grand prize winner receives $250. Thirty others win a free dinner out.

In addition, the company, “makes a little pact,” with some homeowners, “on roads that are heavily traveled, so that every spring and fall, or at least once a year, we put a sign up and give them a dinner automatically,” Sutko says.

Leads And Sales The program started just last spring with about 150 signs and ran with a similar number again in the fall. Innovative's yard sign campaign generated 50 to 60 leads each time, and several sales. Sutko says he considers it a success and plans to repeat the program each quarter this year.

The program also carries a little bonus, Sutko points out. “We have the salesmen go out and give the awards to the winners in the drawing and while they're there, they get referrals.”