First, there are only three search engines that drive most of the search traffic, not thousands. Second, anyone can get on the first page of Google search in less than 24 hours using paid ads, but you can’t stay there unless you pay for every click. Let’s not forget some of the latest techniques marketers use: They take your Google and Bing Places, point them to your facility listing on their website, and then claim they gave you the traffic. In reality, those Places are yours to point wherever you choose.
Now that you know what not to do, the question remains, what should you do? Here are four keys to marketing a successful website:
- Generate a list of accurate search terms. You can service a certain radius, and you should know what that area is. Use that list to generate good search placement via SEO.
- Claim your Google Places and keep it updated with all of the information it allows. Remember that Google has a purpose and is successful for one main reason: When people use it for research, the results are relevant to them.
- Use paid placement for Google and Bing (that includes Yahoo now). I often hear people say, “I’m not fond of pay per click (PPC)” or “It has never worked for me.” But when you ask if they’re fond of rentals, the response is always positive. PPC is a worthwhile investment if you correctly choose your keywords, monitor your spending and track conversions. What other marketing venue allows you to choose the exact words under which your ad appears, control what you pay for each click, and only show your add to people in your target market? Seems like a pretty good deal to me.
- Take advantage of directories. General business directories include Merchant Circle, Citysearch, Yahoo Local, Google Local, DMOZ.org and more. There are also several self-storage-specific directories, such as USStoragesearch.com and SpareFoot.com. Being in these directories is a great way to take advantage of their placement and drive traffic and rentals to your facility.
Marketing your website happens online and offline. In fact, according to Google, most searches are a result of people who hear or read an ad through television, radio, signage, etc., then go to Google to research what they read or heard offline. By now, most people are aware of the self-storage industry, so make it a priority to be seen online when they’re looking for a place to store their items.
Christopher P. Baird started freelance website design in 1998 until the formation of Automatit Inc. in 2001. He has more than 15 years of website marketing and SEO experience. Tucson, Ariz.-based Automatit Inc. offers planning, creation and maintenance of custom websites and online software solutions for the self-storage industry. Automatit also provides website hosting and digital document services. For more information, call 520.293.4608; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ; visit www.automatit.net .