13 Household Items You Can Use to Market Business

1) Your Newspaper

Check out the Employment Section of your regional Sunday newspaper. The companies that advertise have money to hire, so they may have money to spend on your products or services. Pick out 20 new companies to call the following Monday. We've signed more than a few clients using this method.

2) The Dog

David Wase, owner of Claren Court Studio Inc. (703) 358-9449) in Arlington, VA, partners with his dog Taos when marketing his quality picture framing business.

Using his company's business card design, David has printed cards for Taos, a well-trained German Shepard mix. When David goes on errands, he's assisted by Taos, who carries the bank deposit or letters in his mouth. When the pair are stopped on the street by curious dog-loving folks, David always hands out Taos' business card, which includes info about Claren Court Studios. David has attracted much business thanks to his best friend.

3) Clean Out the Junk Drawer

Russell Anderson, president of Affordable Printing and Graphics (703 -352-7929) in Fairfax, VA, advises that you can get your mail piece opened and looked at by using a "lumpy" enclosure. According to Russell, research indicates that "lumpy mail" receives significantly higher readership than normal. Even blatant "junk mail" gets opened and read because of the recipient's curiosity. Try a piece of hard candy, pencil, post-it-note-pad, book of matches, coupon book, etc.

4) The Postcards You Forgot to Send

Ever wonder what to do with those postcards from far-away places that you forgot to fill out and mail during your last summer vacation? Send them to work! Mail them to some of your current clients. Include a message on the back about a new service or product that your company now offers that can help build business. Don't you know a beach scene will get noticed in a stack of December mail!

5) The Best Answer on the Machine

Does the message on your answering machine mention anything about your business? It's a marketing opportunity. Tell your customers about a new product, service or special price via your answering machine message.

6) The Car

Go the distance with your prospecting by taking an hour each Sunday to drive around at least one office park in your local area. Note the names of businesses and their addresses. There are probably many that are not in your prospecting database.

7) Your Greeting Cards

Have greeting cards around the house that have beautiful cover pictures by inappropriate messages inside, such as "Seasons Greetings" or "Get Well"? Don't let them go to waste! Cut the covers off these cards and what do you have? Postcards! Great pictures on one side and blank sheets on the other...perfect for writing a quick note to a client or colleague. Note: some cards may be classified as "oversized" and may require extra postage. Check the cost at your nearest post office before mailing them out.

8) Your Refrigerator

Choose 5 other business folks who are serious about marketing their businesses and invite them to your home for an informal lunch. Use the time to examine marketing problems and exchange advice. Lots of good things can come from this.

9) Your Junk Mail

Pay close attention to all your mail, including the junk mail that usually gets tossed in the "circular file". The junk mail you receive may offer clues to other local businesses who may be in need of your services or products. Plus the phone numbers are readily available for a quick prospecting call.

10) Your Magazine Rack

Flip through the magazines you've already read and clip articles that may be of interest to your clients. Mail these articles off with FYI notes. Your clients will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

11) Your Shoes

Put your best foot forward. Mike MacNair, owner of MacNair Travel Management (703-836-1100) in Alexandria, VA, wanted to meet with the Executive Director of a large trade association to talk about the organization's travel needs. After placing many calls, all of which were unreturned, Mike got creative. He visited the nearest Goodwill Store and purchased a pair of black wingtip shoes. He personally polished one of them, took the shoe to a local department store to have it professionally gift wrapped, and had the package couriered to his prospect. The Executive Director opened the package to find the shoe and a handwritten note from Mike that stated (in part), "I'm trying to get my foot in the door..." Result: Mike got his meeting and a brand new client.

12) Your Phone

Build your cold call confidence and sales by using the 6-by-10 calling program: make 6 cold calls by 10 a.m. every business day.

13) Your T.V.

Don't just watch t.v. - look out for prospects. Many of the shows you watch are sponsored by local businesses who may need your products and services. Keep a pen and paper by the remote control and jot down the contact info for these prospects.