Search-Engine Marketing: 10%
Seventy-five percent of storage customers have Internet access in the home, so it stands to reason that a good percentage of your prospective customers will use a search engine for research. The downside for self-storage operators is the conversion rate for this medium is very low.
There are two reasons for this: Low relevancy results and the percentage of search-engine users are more often browsers, while Internet and print YP users are buyers with an immediate need. The upside is search-engine marketing (SEM) is relatively inexpensive and the number of users is growing rapidly. SEM should definitely be part of your marketing mix.
Direct Mail: 10%
The advantage of direct mail is its ability to strategically target a specific demographic. Because direct mail may only provide a 1 percent return, it’s imperative that you know who your current customers are and direct the campaign to that market. If most of your customers are home or apartment renters rather than owners, then target apartment buildings within 5 miles of your location.
If you have a lot of businesses within your service radius and would like to attract more, your mailing list should aim for that group. Be sure to do a series of mailings; this medium requires getting in front of prospects on a regular basis.
Mobile Web, Social Networking, Community Outreach: 5%
Mobile search and social networking are new media by which you might be able to capture new customers at a low cost per thousand. They’re too new to offer any statistics but growing too fast in use to be overlooked. Community outreach could be partnering with a charity or local organization to do a fundraiser.
Test Your Strategies
The above suggestions for budget allocation are based on average statistics. The only way to ensure you’re spending the right percentage on the best media for your location is to test everything you do. Whether you’re using print, Internet or direct mail, create a special test number for each and every campaign. Track calls and the conversion rate. Your ultimate goal is to combine media in a mix that works best for unique property.
Sue Weinman is the vice president of Yellow Page Services for Michaels Wilder Inc., an advertising agency specializing in Yellow Pages, Internet marketing and talent recruitment for the self-storage industry since 1989. For more information, visit www.michaelswilder.com.
To learn more about self-storage marketing, take advantage of the comprehensive education program at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo. Click here for details.