Every marketing campaign has the potential to be greator fail miserably. In fact, for every great slogan, such as Nikes Just do it, or the Armys Be all you can be, there are dozens of ideas that dont pan out.
For self-storage operators, finding new ways to say, store here is daunting, to say the least. Over the years operators have tried just about everything from clever signage and print ads to movie-night themes and community events. The explosion of Internet marketing and social-media sites have added to the pressure to create a unique and successful marketing campaign.
So how can a self-storage operator formulate a winning marketing campaign? I did a little research online and culled together five questions you should ask yourself when creating a marketing campaign.
1. What is my goal? Is it company branding, generating higher occupancy or selling ancillary services? If you dont know what you hope to accomplish, you cannot build a marketing campaign. Moreover, how will you determine if youve met that goal? Having a basic outline of what you hope to accomplish will help you shape your campaign.
2. What marketing avenues will I use? If youre considering social media but have yet to create a Twitter or Facebook account, youre already behind. Social-media branding takes time to establish. You cant simply create a page today and expect to have hundreds of followers tomorrow.
Likewise, adding a flashing billboard to a property that doesnt have much drive-by action may not yield interest. A facility located along a busy highway or main street, on the other hand, would definitely benefit from this kind of signage. Carefully consider all marketing avenues available, determine your top choices, then move onto the next stepyour marketing budget.
3. How much am I willing to spend? If youre marketing budget is limited, dont expect to launch a far-reaching direct-mail campaign. But if you do have a decent-sized budget, use it! Some operators are finding success with non-traditional self-storage marketing such as TV and radio spots, and even pay-per-click online advertising. Others are keeping costs down by focusing on referral programs and low-cost online marketing such as their own websites and claiming free spaces on Internet websites such as Google Places.
4. Whats my message? This relates directly back to No. 1. Once you know your end goal, you can move forward with your marketing hook. Half off your first months rent isnt it. Nearly everyone is doing this. Same goes with offering free use of your facilitys rental truck. Forget words like safe, clean, climate control, secure and similar words or phrases. Unless youre in a relatively small market and your competitors are little more than lots with rundown buildings, marketing your facility as clean or secure means nothing. Sorry, these are no longer unique features in todays busy self-storage environment.
Instead, ask yourself what makes my facility stand out? Why should someone rent here instead of my competitor? Youre already telling potential customers these thing when they walk through the door. Now you just need to turn those words and ideas into a visual marketing campaign.
5. How will I track the success (or failure) of the campaign? If youre not tracking, youll have no idea if its working. You know what they say about throwing good money after bad ... The last thing you want is to continue spending money where its not effective. There are many ways to track your marketing efforts and determine if the cost per lead is worthy of the money youre spending. Heres a great article from the ISS archives on tracking leads.
Self-Storage Talk has numerous threads about marketing, as do the ISS archives. Take advantage of these resources. There are likely dozens of people in your life who can also help. Ask your spouse, kids or your neighbor what comes to mind when they think of self-storage. Borrow ideas from national brands and put your own spin on them. Use humor or be straightforward. The goal is to catch your customers attention. While you may not have millions of dollars to spend on an advertising campaign, your Just do it could be around the corner.
Have you recently launched a creative marketing campaign? Share your story by posting a comment below or contributing to Self-Storage Talk.