David Pekel, CR, president of Pekel Construction & Remodeling Inc., based in Wauwatosa, Wis., says that every project featured on his Website is a NARI award-winning project, either locally or nationally.
“If it’s worthy for our Website, it’s worthy for an award,” Pekel says.
Since creating the Website, he has used the CotY award projects as his company’s online portfolio. But Pekel says that it’s not just the before and after photos that count—the most powerful part is the narratives explaining the background of the project, which is required for the CotY entry.
There are other benefits to bringing his CotY binder online. “From the cost standpoint, it gives people a good idea of what things cost and what a $30,000 kitchen looks like compared to a $60,000 kitchen,” Pekel says.
From conversations with clients, he knows who has viewed the Website and who hasn’t. “They will actually refer to the project in initial conversations, and say, ‘That is exactly how I feel about my kitchen,’” he says.
New clients being able to relate to previous projects has been a powerful marketing tool for Pekel, and it helps him gather information about new clients quickly when they point out the similarities.
For these reasons, the CotYs have become a critical part of the design for the Website when it was built. “The site is a 24/7 marketplace, and the statistics shows that people are visiting after hours during their ‘me’ time to investigate our company.”
Pekel uses the CotY Awards to showcase samples of niches that his company wants to pursue for future projects. For example, Pekel excels in historical renovation and restoration projects and aims to enter homes embodying that style to promote his company’s expertise.
“We want to be known for our architectural vernacular—bungalows, tudors—these are the projects that we want to be recognized for and have on our site,” he says.
Pekel has also noticed search engine optimization (SEO) benefits brought on by the narratives. He says that when people use the terms historical or bungalow in their Google searches, his Website is in the top five ranking in an organic search. This is both because of the keywords used in the narratives and because these pages are so highly visited. . –Morgan Zenner
NOTE: In consideration of the crisis caused by hurricane Sandy in the northeast, NARI National is extending the CotY deadline for all members in NARI Region 1; comprised of businesses in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Entry forms are still due by 2 p.m. Central time, but the binder for that region will be accepted until Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.