Using Coupons: Customer Referral and Incentive Programs for Self-Storage

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Coupon Design

The design of your referral coupon should reflect your property or personality, or be a blending of both. It doesn’t have to be droll. You can inject a little humor, such as creating your own version of a $50 bill. Using quality card stock rather than just printing paper will give the coupon a classier look.

You’ll also need space on the coupon for information, including the coupon recipient and the referring tenant’s name and contact information. This could lead to an increase in referrals because customers can fill out the coupon in advance and then distribute to friends and family. For example, you can add a line that says, “Please send $50 to:,” and then insert the lines for the name and address of the referring party.

There’s no need for an expiration date if you plan to keep the referral program ongoing. However, if it’s a limited-time offer, be sure to stamp an expiration date clearly on the coupon. Consider creating a second coupon that offers $50 off the first month’s rent to all new customers. This gives you a second coupon you can offer to particular customers.

Promoting Your Program

Referral coupons that sit in your desk drawer or stacked at the end of the counter won’t get much action. You need to actively promote your program. First, give every new tenant a couple of referral coupons to share with friends and family. You can also incorporate the program into all your print ads as well as your newsletter. Staple the coupon to payment receipts and billing statements. In addition, when you give someone an exit survey, toss in a couple of coupons.
One of the best places to use your referral coupon is on your website, but with one small distinction: Your Internet coupon should be for $50 off any rental only.

Onsite promotion of the referral program also works. When Mr. Jones says your place really works great for storing his work tools, ask him to tell a couple of his co-workers about you. When Mrs. Smith says she loves that she can now park the car inside her garage in the winter months, ask her for some referrals. This is your opportunity to enlist her in your efforts and offer her a few coupons. Keep a stack near your computer and pass them along often.

If you know your tenant well, give him a small handful of coupons and ask him to distribute them on your behalf to his social club, service organization, church or youth sports group. One of our customers works for a moving company. He began passing referral coupons to customers headed to our area from out of state. A person doesn’t have to be local to use your coupon! We’ve had many people from across the country show up with our Web coupon in hand. It pays to expand your horizons when it comes to a referral program.

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