In addition to reaching out to your community’s business leaders, remember to talk to your own community—your customers. Oftentimes, we’re looking for the next big marketing avenue and forget to make use of the relationships we already have! See if any of your tenants would like to participate or have goods or services they’d be willing to donate.
Get the Word Out
Your marketing materials should be creative and include all the pertinent details. Don’t overload fliers or postcards with too much information, but be sure to highlight the date, time, address, facility phone number and your website if you have more info posted online. Make sure it’s clear the event is free and open to families and the community.
Then get the word out. Grab your new fliers and promote the event to everyone. Drop them off at local businesses, and hang them on bulletin boards at coffee shops and grocery stores. Promote the event to your current and past tenants via e-mail, facility signage or postcards.
Another marketing option is radio stations. While radio advertising can be pricey, it gives validity to your event and brings people in the door. If you’re working with a charity, some radio stations will give you a discount rate or even announce the event for free. Also, check with our local newspaper’s community section. You can often announce an event for free or at a very low price point.
You should also take advantage of social media. While social-media marketing is free, it will take some time and effort. Setting up a Facebook business page is an easy way to promote your event and keep people updated. Twitter alerts are an even quicker way to spread the word about your event. After the happening, you can use these outlets to stay in touch with people as well.
Market to Attendees
Once you get people to your facility, capitalize on the exposure. First, hand out the promotional materials. Brochures are expensive and really don’t need to be handed to everyone who comes through your door. Instead, consider offering coupons, which can be inexpensive to create and have a better call to action. Save the brochures for those definitely interested in your services. Also, handing out special coupons offers a good way to track the return on investment of your event.
You should also collect attendee information for future marketing campaigns. One of the best ways to do this is by having a raffle. Add attendee info to your mail or e-mail list, then follow up with a short letter thanking for them attending your event and offering a small discount on a future rental. But be sure to put an expiration date on the discount so you create a sense of urgency.
Evaluate Your Event
After the event, spend some time evaluating it. Did you meet your goals? What could you have done differently? Perhaps you didn’t get the response from the community you expected. Rather than being disappointed, remember that even if you didn’t attract a huge crowd, you learned a few things during the process and still built brand awareness in your community. Plus, you may not see immediate results. There’s no expiration date on brand awareness. Someone who attended your event—or even heard about it—may not need storage today but could in the future.
The whole point of any marketing campaign is to create top-of-mind awareness to those who need storage and events are a great way to make your facility memorable on a larger scale. Hopefully, you’ll also have some fun while doing it.
Julie Purcell is the marketing director for Storage Asset Management Inc., a third-party management and consulting company that manages 27 self-storage facilities across the mid-Atlantic region. For more info, call 717.779.0044, visit www.storageassetmanagement.com.