Many HVAC contractors consider refrigerator magnets an affordable way to keep their names in front of customers. Most use cheap, white, truck-shaped magnets, which is a mistake, because refrigerator real estate is too valuable and must be earned. Here are 20 ways to do that.

1. Heat Index/Wind Chill Magnets — These magnets show a heat index chart (temperature versus humidity) or wind chill chart (temperature versus wind speed). Kindly remind people you can keep it a perfect 72°F inside.

2. Poison Control Hotline — The national poison control hotline number can be added to just about any magnet, enhancing its value. The number is 800-222-1222. For pets, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) poison control hotline is 888-426-4435.

3. Local Phone Numbers — Provide a magnet with important local phone numbers, like yours, city hall, the local high school, and so on. Leave space for the homeowner to write additional numbers.

4. Babysitter Checklist — Create a magnet with space for a parent to write information for babysitters, such as allergies, proper medicine dose amounts, TV shows allowed, bed/bath time, the parents’ mobile numbers, etc.

5. Cross Marketing Magnet — Partner with other local businesses to create a business directory magnet that lists each company, phone number, and website. Each company shares in the cost, and each company gives them out, cross marketing for the rest.

6. Coupon Magnet — Turn a coupon into a magnet the homeowner can redeem for $10-$25 off future work.

7. Picture Frame Magnet — Give homeowners a picture frame magnet to frame a child’s school picture.

8. Dishwasher Magnet — Stainless steel refrigerator doors limit refrigerator magnets to the sides. Move to the dishwasher with a magnet indicating the dishes are clean in one position and dirty in another.

9. Laundry Magnet — Move into the laundry room with a magnet containing stain removal tips.

10. Cooking Times Magnet — Move to the grill with a magnet showing the grill times required for the perfect steak based on the temperature, cut, and thickness of the meat.

11. Measurement Conversion — Show conversion rates for cups to ounces, tablespoons, teaspoons, and milliliters. This is something experienced cooks know, but less experienced cooks do not.

12. Baking Substitutions Magnet — Present substitution options for cooks who find themselves shy of a key ingredient, such as a cup of white sugar plus two tablespoons of molasses for a cup of brown sugar.

13. Green Cleaners Magnet — Environmentally sensitive homeowners will appreciate a magnet with a chart showing how common household substances like white vinegar, lemon juice, or baking soda can substitute for commercial cleaning agents.

14. Cold/Flu Symptoms Magnet — Another magnet for parents helps them identify the difference between a cold and flu based on symptoms like fatigue, fever, and body aches.

15. Wine Pairings Magnet — The wine pairings magnet, obviously, indicates which foods pair well with specific wines.

16. Sayings Magnet — Create a magnet filled with different sayings, such as ways to praise or encourage a kid.

17. Calendar Magnet — Calendar magnets are old tried and true magnets. Their disadvantage is they become obsolete and subject to discard in a year or less.

18. Thermo-Strip Magnet — It’s possible and less expensive than you might think to create a magnet with a thermos-strip that indicates the temperature.

19. Clock Magnet — Thin screens using electrophoretic display technology, like many e-book readers, can display the time in a thin clock magnet.

20. Sports Schedule Magnet — While only good for a season, magnets with sports schedules are popular among team fans. Consider local pro teams, NASCAR, and high school sports.

These ideas, as well as others with events schedules, holidays, QR codes, grocery lists, chip clips, and countless more, help earn refrigerator real estate. Make sure the company’s unique selling proposition, website URL, and phone number are on each one. Give them out on service calls, include them in mailings, attach them to door hangers, place them in cloverleaf bags, give them to 5K race promoters, distribute them at home shows, put a couple of dozen on each company vehicle so people can steal them, give a stack to the receptionist of each commercial account to distribute around the office (people always find uses for magnets), etc.

Ultimately, the purpose of a magnet is to keep people away from the Internet the next time they need a contractor. Just make sure they’re compelling enough to earn a prominent, long-standing position on the refrigerator.

Publication date: 4/4/2016 

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