Homeowner Service Picks Outrider

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MyHomeKey.com Inc., an online marketer that helps homeowners with maintenance, repair and service needs, has named Outrider North America as its interactive agency.

Outrider, Farmington, CT, won the account after starting work in early September on a project basis for myHomeKey. There was no incumbent on the interactive account, though advertising will continue to be handled by Clear Ink, Walnut Creek, CA.

"What we're asking Outrider to do is to build our base of customers and then also help us to remarket to them," said Phil Clement, vice president of marketing at myHomeKey, San Francisco.

Founded last year, myHomeKey links consumers with 30,000 local-service providers for home repairs and maintenance. It also sells more than 1,000 brand-name appliances on its site, at www.myhomekey.com, and provides home energy analysis and management.

Outrider, which originally created banner ads for a campaign, now has been specifically charged with banner development, search engine optimization and creating opt-in e-mail programs, including newsletters.

"We're currently marketing in four major markets around the country -- New Orleans, Texas, San Diego and the Northeast -- and we have co-branded partners in each of these markets," Clement said.

Partners include Sears, Carrier Corp., Amana Appliances, AllConnect, A&E Signature Service, ServiceVillage.com and The Home Service Store.

Outrider will use its Search Engine Optimization tool to raise myHomeKey's visibility in search engines.

"We'll use those efforts to target qualified people," said Chris Williams, account supervisor at Outrider.

In addition, the agency will continue creating banner ads and HTML graphics for the myHomeKey site.

More importantly, Outrider will handle e-mail marketing for its client. Such mailing list management will include insertion of links in newsletters, and creating and writing the missives.

But myHomeKey does have its work cut out. Installinc, New York, has a similar service at www.installoncall.com that links consumers to handymen located within their ZIP codes. Improvenet.com and servicemagic.com also are close competitors, though they only refer jobs.

"Our strategy is to build the base of customers and then remarket to them," said Eric Knight, vice president and director of marketing at Outrider, "and through our other results-measurement services we'll be able to measure how well these programs are working so that myHomeKey can get the best return on investment."

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