Our concept was to grow the segment of the business I call “people with too much stuff.” I can’t control when people die, marry, divorce, move, etc., but I can educate and entice people who have too much stuff to store with us―hence the theme of our jingle and ads.
Think about this: One manger out for an afternoon can talk to maybe 10 to 12 people. That’s two or three hours away from the store. One radio or TV ad can reach 20, 50 or 100,000 people at a time. Radio and TV ads are 25 to 50 times more effective than the “knocking on doors” approach. Add a good targeted Internet presence to the mix, and you’ve got a powerful synergy that can’t be beat.
Weighing the Costs
Of Another Closet’s entire advertising budget, more than 60 percent is dedicated to radio alone, and about 90 percent of the remaining 40 percent is for TV and Internet. Less than 6 percent of the budget is spent on Yellow Pages ads, with the ultimate goal of zero.
In reality, radio and TV advertising is not as expensive as you think. Pick up the phone and get a quote. Last year, Another Closet ran a whole year of TV ads on the No. 1 station in the market for less than the cost of a full-page Yellow Pages ad, and achieved about 50 times the results. If no one else is doing it, it won’t take much to make your facility stand out.
With radio, people are loyal to stations. With TV, people are loyal to programs. Keep this in mind when you advertise. Also remember there are basically two forms of advertising: branding, which helps customers remember you when they need your services later, and the call to action, which leads to a rental today.
We all have two types of customers as well: the today customer who wants a unit right now, and the tomorrow customer who isn’t going to rent just yet. The today customers represent a very small percentage of your market. The tomorrow customers are by far the largest group. Unfortunately, many ads for storage appeal to the now customer, so consider putting 75 percent to 80 percent of your advertising to address the tomorrow customer with branding (name awareness). Then launch call-to-action ads periodically to promote specials for a time-definite period. Watch the national chains in other industries―this is what they do.
When creating your self-storage marketing program, consider radio and TV advertising. These mediums offer operators a larger audience, and can be cost-effective advertising. Good luck as you branch into this more “non-traditional” marketing.
Randy A. Smith is director of operations for Another Closet Self-Storage in McAllen, Texas. The company operates seven facilities in Texas. To reach him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .