Part I of this series highlighted the advertising value of a truck (around $15,000 per month). Part II presented good truck design practices. Part III presented practices to avoid. Part IV offered tips for your vehicle marketing program. Here are more tips. Some tips are mutually exclusive. Some might appeal to you, while others will not. The purpose of these tips is idea stimulation.
• List Products & Services on the Back – If someone is stuck behind your truck at a stoplight (and isn’t texting), the driver to your rear will be almost compelled to read the back of your truck. This gives you plenty of opportunity to talk about your company. Do it.
• Make the Back Memorable – A number of companies feature wraps on the back half of truck doors, showing products and inventory inside. It causes drivers to look twice, driving home a brand impression. Some contractors have featured images of them, swinging the door open from the inside, leaning out and waiving. People can’t help but notice.
• Push Your USP – The truck is a great place to emphasize your unique selling proposition. However, make sure it’s subordinate to your logo, especially from a distance.
• Push the Product – The packaged goods industry spends more on marketing research than any other industry. If packaged goods companies follow a practice, you can be assured it has been thoroughly researched. Bread trucks and potato chip trucks almost always feature the products they offer. Since a service is hard to show, consider following suit and featuring the products you sell. Just remember to keep the emphasis on your brand.
• Picture People – People like pictures of people more than they like pictures of stuff, so picture people. Project your target customer onto your truck enjoying the benefits of your product. Remember, your target customer is the person who calls. In most cases, it’s a woman calling, not a man.
• Make Yourself Friendlier With Warm & Fuzzy Images – A moving storage company features a teddy bear next to its name. That completely changes the image of the company, suggesting care and concern. Many contractors feature friendly dogs, children, or babies on their trucks.
• Make a Positioning Claim – A positioning claim differs from a unique selling proposition, which is benefit oriented. An example of a positioning claim was the way McDonald’s restaurants used to proclaim the number of hamburgers sold until the number became too astronomical to count. You can claim the number of homes (or better, homeowners) served in the area, your market share based on your share of permits issued, your rating by consumer services, the energy you’ve saved homeowners, that you are the oldest or first company to offer a particular product or service, and so on.
• Shout About Awards – If you win a Contracting Business Quality Home Comfort Award or a local “Best Of” award, put it on your trucks. Shout to the world how your company is an award winning company.
• Mesh Over Windows – If you purchase trucks with rear windows for safety, mesh over them so you can use the space for marketing. This also makes it harder for would-be thieves to peer into the back at your tools and inventory.
• Be Unique – Chesterfield Service in Missouri has a rather unique truck. It’s a cargo van that’s been jacked up with big mudder tires. I don’t know if the truck is ever used for service, but it attracts attention and is memorable.
• Make It Hard to Show Dirt – Scotts Lawn Service wraps the bottom couple of feet of their vans with a yellow that fades the higher you go. The yellow has the effect of hiding dirt along the bottom of the van. You can use a similar approach to keep your trucks looking better between washes, especially during winter in snowy regions or rainy regions year round.
• Wash the Trucks – It shouldn’t be necessary to suggest washing trucks of a professional service company, but given the number of dirty service vehicles on the road, it’s necessary. Wash them. Work out a deal with a local car wash. Find someone with a power sprayer and pay him to wash all of the trucks during your service meetings. If consumers see a dirty truck, they transfer that to your technicians and believe this will result in a dirty house.
In the next issue of CB Hotmail, the final collection of truck marketing tips will be offered, along with practical tips for upgrading your fleet.
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