Finding new customers

It's spring, and for many contractors that signifies it's time to seek new customers. Although every company probably has its foolproof method for finding new work, consider some tips Lois K. Geller, president of Mason and Geller Direct Marketing, Hollywood, Fla., shared with Fortune Small Business magazine.

Geller says direct mail campaigns work—but only if you do them correctly. For example, she says sealed letters work better than postcards.

"To most consumers, serious mail comes in a letter, which is private," she says. "The act of opening an envelope and unfolding the letter is engaging."

In addition, impose a deadline for when a special promotion or sale will expire and focus on the benefits of your service, not just the features. For instance, rather than saying only that you are licensed, bonded and certified to install certain roof systems, explain how a roof can save energy costs and increase a home's value.