Creating the Perfect Self-Storage Marketing Mix: Yellow Pages, Web and More

Sue Weinman Comments
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While self-storage is still a good investment, it takes more diversified and creative marketing strategies to fill those units. If your occupancy levels are suffering, you may need new marketing and advertising tactics. But rather depending on just one avenue, try a ratio like the one below to get the best results.
 
Print Yellow Pages: 60%

Between July 2008 and July 2009, 25 million consumers used the Yellow Pages to find a self-storage facility, and the national average shows 60 percent of new customers come from print YP (numbers differ by location). The average return on investment (ROI) from print Yellow Pages is 2.5 to 1. Based on our proposed formula, you should allocate 60 percent of your marketing and advertising budget to print YP advertising.

If you’re not seeing 60 percent of new customers coming from Yellow Pages, make sure your positioning and content are competitive before cutting back. It’s also critical that your front-line people are able to close a sale. Print YP has an average conversion rate of 35 percent for the self-storage industry and, historically, has converted higher than any other advertising medium.
 
Internet Yellow Pages: 15%

Many operators seem to forget about online Yellow Pages websites such as Superpages.com, Yellowpages.com, Dexknows.com and Yellowbook.com; however, many people are using them to find self-storage. Internet YP doesn’t deliver the same number of inquiries as print, but it’s less expensive and provides a higher ROI.

It will take some time and research to determine which sites are more effective for your facility, but the statistics don’t lie. Ask your rep how he derived the number of visitors to the site and the number of clicks, and make sure the traffic research was performed by a third-party independent marketing firm.

Since Internet YP is position-driven rather than content-driven like print, try to get your listing as close to the top of the page as possible relative to your physical location. Remember the “position” advantage for storage facilities: If you’re listed in fifth position, but the first four are outside your 3- to 5-mile service radius, you’re competitively in first position.

Internet YP also provides some impressive advantages to capture consumers who are using other media to find a service or product. First, if you include a local phone number and address on your listing, the search-engine Web crawlers will likely pick it up and drop it into the “Local Search” section of Google or Yahoo (on the center of the results page under the sponsored listings). Second, when you invest in a video that’s accessible by an icon adjacent to your listing, it will also be available on YouTube.

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