Eighty percent of Internet users start at a search engine. If your website is not found on the search engines (specifically on the first or second page) you will be missing out on 80 percent of these potential renters. You can have the coolest, flashiest and most expensive website on the Internet but if you don’t have people visiting and taking action to rent from you, it won’t result in any new tenants.
There are three basic methods to ensure your website appears on the search engines:
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC). If you use Google, MSN or Yahoo to do a search, these ads are along the right side of the results page and sometimes found on top. They’re usually labeled “Sponsored Links.” These campaigns are fairly quick to set up and results can be instant. Expect to pay $1.50 to $5 per click (every time some-body clicks on your ad to go to your website). This can get very expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing; however, if done right it can prove to be a very cost-effective way to gain new tenants. If you’re going to attempt a PPC campaign by yourself, I highly recommend you read The Ultimate Guide to GoogleAdWords by Perry Marshall.
Organic/natural search-engine optimization (SEO). These are the non-PPC results you see when you do a search. The main difference between this and PPC is that you do not pay per click. Getting your website ranked organically usually takes more time and expertise, but once you establish this ranking, the traffic is usually heavier and less expensive.
I recommend discussing an organic SEO campaign with your Web programmer to see if he can help you. Be cautious when proceeding with an organic campaign in this industry. First-page rankings are very competitive and might not be achieved without time and a heavy investment. Also, beware of any SEO companies that promise or guarantee first-page rankings. When talking about SEO, no one can guarantee rankings of any sort. If they make this guarantee, they are generally trying to trick you to get your business.
Online directories. If you’re not currently advertising online, a directory is the fastest way to get started without any SEO or PPC knowledge. There are a few good online directories out there for the storage industry. Shop carefully and ask a lot of questions. The most important thing to ask is how the company qualifies the potential customers it sends your way. You want to be sure the directory is able to send you quality prospects.
With the affordability of Internet marketing and the number of people using the Internet to find storage, I recommend you test all three of the above methods and see what drives traffic to your website.
Now that you know all about the basics of Internet marketing and the three most effective ways to bring users to your website, I encourage you to seriously evaluate how you advertise online. It’s very inexpensive and easy to track. Thousands of people use the Internet to search for storage each month. Can customers find your facility or are they renting with your more Internet-savvy competition?
Megan Eckert is the executive vice president of USStoragesearch.com, which helps more than 12,000 facilities nationwide increase occupancy through affordable Internet marketing. For complimentary Internet marketing tips, call 866.880.0742; visit www.usstoragesearch.com.