When you need a self-storage expert to consult on Yellow Pages advertising, who you gonna call? For the past 15 years, the answer has often been Peoria, Ariz.-based Michaels/Wilder Group. Though not exclusive to the self-storage industry, the consulting agency arrived on the scene storage-savvy, its principle players having spun off from MiniCo Inc. Over the years, the groups expertise has grown to include online Yellow Pages, Internet advertising, and other marketing and promotion strategies.
We know the industry as well as a lot of people who own storage, says Curt Ogieglo, vice president of operations. We bring that intangible, value-added quality. For instance, we know to talk to you about your unit mix and cap rate. We know what matters: service radius, occupancy, signage and frontage. If you dont have a good location, youll need more Yellow Pages advertising than if youre on a major thoroughfare. We put all that stuff into consideration when were telling you how to buy ads.
Michaels/Wilders pledge to clients is increased response and superior advertising programs. Yellow Pages know-how is an integral component of its self-storage services, due to the mediums paramount importance in the industry. A new facility can expect 60 to 80 percent of its revenue to be generated by the printed Yellow Pages; that number rarely drops below 50 percent for established facilities. Calculating the best bang-for-the-buck advertisement involves variables that differ from market to market.
Most self-storage owners recognize the confusion, complexity and expense of Yellow Pages advertising and seek assistance when coordinating their plans, Ogieglo says. Though purchasing ads through Michaels/Wilder is no more expensivein fact, the company offers discounted rates with more than 250 publishers of 8,000 directoriesthat isnt the reason to retain the agency. Owners want someone sitting on their side of the desk when negotiating with publishers, Ogieglo explains. If you need a bigger or smaller ad, Ill tell you that, and Ill tell you why. Our mission is not to sell Yellow Pages but to bring information to storage owners so they can make an informed decision.
The quagmire of ad buying includes design, placement and knowing which directory to use. Companies often purchase ads in multiple directories because they dont want to miss a call, yet a single publication may dominate the area. We know which books pull the most response, so the clients Yellow Pages budget will go down, or hell get more calls because he is making better use of his funds, Ogieglo says. In some cases, there is simply no prime space left in a regions key directory. Owners would be wise to investigate the situation before buying a facility.
One-quarter of all Michaels/Wilders customers are from the selfstorage industry. To qualify as one of the agencys Yellow Pages clients, an owner must operate in multiple states due to directory-publisher restrictions. The more stores you have, the more valuable our service becomes. If you have 50 stores, imagine trying to coordinate that with 100 different reps and trying to keep track of it all, Ogieglo says.
The Internet has emerged as another key factor in self-storage marketing. Michaels/Wilder developed its Interactive division about four years ago in response to the industrys needs, including consulting for online Yellow Pages. Websites used to comprise 2 percent to 3 percent of self-storage revenue generation. Theyre anywhere from 10 percent to 12 percent now. Our interactive business was born because of our big storage business. We had to start supporting the industry that way, says Ogieglo.
Online Yellow Pages has proven to be a boon for self-storage, according to Ralph Knight of the Interactive division. Numerous sites offer online-directory services, which is where Michaels/Wilders intelligence becomes invaluable. The agency performs analysis of regional providers so clients listings reach their target audience. The same goes for pay-per-click campaigns. Clients have the option of guaranteed programs in which certain results are assured for various keyword programs.
Most of our storage clients say their clientele comes from within a certain radius of their facility, Knight says. On Google and Overture, for example, you can target your ads to only show up to people in those specific areas. For an extra fee, staff will also provide tracking, so operators know just how effective their campaign is with hard return-on-investment numbers.
Through website optimization, Michaels/ Wilder boosts a facilitys Internet presence. We make a website easier for the search engines to crawl through, Knight says. This means more search engines list the site in their top results; and being on the first page of search results increases the likelihood of being discovered by prospective customers.
Michaels/Wilders key to success over the years comes down to results. The agency talks plain sense to clients about how to maximize their marketing dollars. This sounds corny, but they trust us, Ogieglo says. We tell them what they should or shouldnt do, they believe us, and it works. Its that simple. Whether its good or bad, were going to tell them the truth.
Michaels/Wilder also has a group that specializes in the Hispanic market, offering translation services, search-engine registrations, direct-mail campaigns, and keyword use to maximize Yellow Pages and Internet search results for the Spanish speaking. The agencys Recruitment division focuses on helping employers advertise and promote opportunities to choice employees. For more information, call 800.423.6468; visit www.michaelswilder.com.