A brochure is a must for any storage facility. Designed correctly, it can be a tremendous marketing tool. Designed poorly, it will accomplish more harm than good. The problem is most brochures out there don't do what they're intended to do. This article will help you to design the most effective brochure possible.
The first thing you have to think about is what you want your brochure to do. When creating promotional material, very few people think about this question, but you must identify what it is you want to accomplish. In the case of self-storage, the fundamental purpose of the brochure is to get potential renters interested enough to pick up the phone and call your facility.
- Don't make your brochure look like a sales piece. If you do, it will have very short shelf life. Think of what you do with sales materials you receive. Most of the time, they go straight into the circular file. If you design your brochure effectively, and a prospect has a current and immediate interest in storage, you will get a call.
- Don't waste money on glossy paper stock and four-color photos. Again, what are you trying to encourage people to do? You want them to call your self-storage hotline or your office directly. Fancy photos on expensive paper do not accomplish this.
- Although we don't want to make the promotional brochure too slick, we don't want it to look cheap either. Make it somewhere between the two--nice but not too fancy. Do not run off brochures on a Xerox machine.
- Provide facility features and and detailed descriptions of their benefits.
- Do not forget to include-and use--a storage hotline number. If the goal of the brochure is to get people to pick up the phone, the hotline gives them a nonthreatening way to respond.
- Give prospects a reason to call now. You have to create a sense of urgency. Whatever you can use to make this happen--a contest, a giveaway--use it. To create urgency, you must have a deadline to which people have to respond. Without it, they will feel no compelling reason to call in a timely fashion.
- Provide prospects a reason to take and keep the brochure. Even if they are not in the market for storage immediately, make sure the brochure includes information people will want to have and keep in a file. Hopefully, they will remember it when the need arises.
To be effective, storage brochures must target precise market niches. These need not be small, but they must be specific. My suggestion will shock most readers: Design six different brochures. Six?! Yes, for six different niches.
Begin with two residential brochures--one for renters and one for homeowners. You could go a step further and do one for apartment renters and one for home renters. You then need one brochure for generic commercial accounts. This will be directed to business owners, not one particular business. You also need to put together three specific commercial brochures. How do you pick the niches to target? Based on the types of businesses that already rent from you.
Picture this. A pharmaceutical rep walks through your door. Immediately, you hand him a brochure titled "The 11 Commandments of Storage Every Pharmaceutical Rep Should Know." You now close every such rep who walks through the door at virtually any price you choose. After all, you are the specialist in pharmaceutical storage. Why? You have a brochure to prove it! Pick two other commercial groups and design brochures for them as well, based on the business groups you encounter regularly.
The Six-Panel Approach
A popular brochure includes six panels: an 8.5-by-11-inch sheet of paper folded into thirds. The front panel should broadcast a compelling, audience-oriented title. You don't need to get too creative here, just use the headline "The 11 Commandments of Storage Every (enter reader title here) Should Know." Include the facility's address, phone number, fax number, e-mail address and, most important, your web address. A map to the facility is also an excellent idea.
On the left-hand inside panel, print an interview with John Doe, pharmaceutical rep, or business owner, or apartment renter. Where do you get this? Find a representative of a given business and interview him. Then print the conversation in a question-and-answer format.
The middle inside panel must answer the question you promised to answer on the cover. If you promised 11 things, present them here.
On the right inside panel (the only one remaining on the inside of the brochure), list the benefits of renting with you. I suggest using the headline, "Benefits You Receive." Then list each feature of your facility--whether it be individual unit alarms or pay-at-the-gate technology--and detail its unique benefits.
On the back of the brochure, you now have two panels remaining. One panel should be used for reference material. For example, list phone numbers for local police and fire departments. Also provide tips on storage here--what to store, what not to store, and anything else that fits and might be helpful to a potential renter.
Your remaining panel should be used for the purpose of a self-mailer. Put your return address in the upper right corner and leave plenty of room to write an address and place a stamp.
Take the time to design your brochure correctly and it will be a powerful marketing tool. Develop a template to which you can make frequent, simple changes. Brochures can be a valuable sales tool, which is what they were intended to be.
Fred Gleeck is a self-storage profit-maximization consultant who helps owners/operators during all phases of the business, from feasibility studies to creating an ongoing marketing plan. Mr. Gleeck is the author of Secrets of Self Storage Marketing Success--Revealed! as well as the producer of professional training videos on self-storage marketing. To receive a copy of his Seven-Day Self-Storage Marketing Course and storage marketing tips, send an e-mail to email@example.com. For more information, call 800.FGLEECK; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.