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Self-Storage Yellow Pages: Message Trumps Size

Sue Weinman Comments
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When evaluating your Yellow Pages ad, ask yourself these questions:

Does the ad prominently display location?

Storage is “location-centric,” i.e., your customers come from a three- to five-mile radius. The first thing they want to know is if you are conveniently located. Make sure your ad has a map that is large enough for them to read. Include landmarks if possible, such as “next door to Anytown Home Depot.”

Remember, Yellow Pages directories incorporate a coverage area much broader than your three- to five-mile service radius, so make the location (city, township, neighborhood name) a standout feature of your ad.

Include directions in your headlines or prominent copy points. Prominent means it is one of the first three features the Yellow Pages shopper sees. For example: “conveniently located in downtown Salem,” “across from city hall”; or use a well-known landmark, such as the Home Depot in the example above.

Does the headline grab the reader’s attention?

The headline of a Yellow Pages ad is the most important aspect of its content. The sole purpose is to draw your customer’s attention. Think of it like a newspaper, remembering that headlines sell papers. Too many small self-storage owners use the property name as the headline. This only works well for large, well-branded operators. I have seen a number of ads repeat the category as the headline, for example “storage” or “plumbing.” No need to say that; it’s why the consumer chose that heading in the first place.

View the space you have to work with as precious real estate and use it to the greatest advantage. The headline should feature what you know the customer needs. If they are looking for a bargain and that’s one of your main competitive advantages, then your headline should read “lowest prices in town” or “free rent.” Make sure you put an asterisk after a statement like free rent and qualify it by saying “call for details.” That way you accomplish two goals: you get them to call, and you can change the special at any time because you have not made a one-year commitment in print. Is security their biggest concern, or is it the convenience of drive-up units? Use the headline to let them know—before they look at a competitor’s ad.

Does the ad have interesting graphics that tell a story or draw attention?

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. We don’t always recommend that advertisers use a photo of the facility in their advertising. An exception would be when your copy points out a competitive advantage such as “brand new,” “modern” or “state-of-the-art,” and you are using the photo to illustrate the point. In that case, use process color in the ad; it will definitely enhance the attractiveness of the property.

Other examples of photos might be a before and after garage photo. The before photo shows a cluttered garage with no space to park a car; the after photo has all of the clutter removed, allowing for parking. The story is obvious—a storage unit solves the problem. There are other creative photo opportunities that draw attention to ads. For example, one of our clients located in the hot Arizona desert uses a photo of a polar bear with a headline featuring cooled units. Again, the picture is attention-grabbing and tells a story.

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