If there is one spot on the truck where clutter makes sense, it’s the back of the truck. Yet, the clutter should be reasoned, focused. The objective is to make an offer that will get the guy stopped in traffic immediately behind your truck, to pick up his cell phone and call for information. The back of the truck offers an opportunity for direct marketing.
Before cell phones began to proliferate, the back of the truck was the best-read real estate on a service vehicle. Now, it’s more. It’s a direct response moneymaker. Its value has increased.

I know one company owner who operated in an affluent area of California. He found that over half the cars in his town either had built-in cell phones or the driver carried a mobile phone. Not to pass up a good opportunity, he made up magnetic signs for the back of his vehicles and rotated them. Some of the signs were purely image related (e.g., “While you’re stuck in traffic behind us, we thought we’d take the time to wish you a happy day!”). Some were community service oriented (“This is election day. Did you remember to vote today?”). Some of them were offers (“Find out how you can get free cellular service for a year. Call for details.” and if a consumer bought a specific, high end product, he paid the base, minimum cellular bill for a year).

If you don’t want to go to the expense of having magnetic signs made up, you can make small ones yourself for about $10 a piece. Print your message on 8-1/2-in. by 11-in. paper — use huge, bold letters. Get it copied onto an attention grabbing day-glow type color, then laminated. Copy stores sell 8-in. by 10-in. magnets with self-adhesive glue on one side. Presto, you’ve got a mobile magnetic sign.

Spend more time on the design for the back of your truck than on the sides because more people see the back. Done right, a message on the back of the truck will make the phone ring. It’s valuable real estate. So don’t waste space with windows. Order vans with full, windowless rear door panels. And keep the bumpers clear of stickers. You want that driver looking at the money making message, not the bumper sticker philosophy of your employee.

Matt Michel is president of the Service Roundtable (www.ServiceRoundtable.com), an organization dedicated to helping contractors prosper. Matt is also the publisher of Comanche Marketing, a free marketing e-zine. Subscriptions are available at www.ComancheMarketing.com. You can contact him directly at matt.michel@serviceroundtable.com. Or send your comments to Contracting Business at letters@contractingbusiness.com.