By David Wolf
A key question for many self-storage operators is whether to outsource online marketing and lead generation to an agency or consultant. Hiring an outside resource comes down to you and your team’s time, expertise, and breadth of your online and offline marketing efforts. Partnering with a third party provides the benefit of having an expert deployed on your digital lead generation and online branding.
The challenge many operators face is staying abreast of the numerous online, mobile and social-advertising channels and how they converge within the scope of an integrated media plan. Another variable is the rapid pace of change in the online- and mobile-media landscape and the evolution of new advertising platforms. Lastly, the continued introduction of online directories and lead-aggregation platforms targeting consumers looking for self-storage has created an additional layer.
Finding the right agency or consultant to leverage the opportunities online advertising can yield is crucial to ensure your facility generates leads that convert into high-quality tenants. There are a myriad of factors you should consider to ensure you find the right partner.
Determine Your Goals and Objectives
Define what you’re looking to get from your partnership. Are you looking to remove the administrative burden of managing your online marketing efforts? Are you looking for expertise and guidance? A combination? Defining and sharing your goals and objectives with prospective vendors during your evaluation will serve as an essential guidepost to find the best solution.
Define Roles, Responsibilities and Account-Service Needs
A key benefit of hiring a third party to manage your online marketing initiatives, besides expertise and knowledge, is account-service and program-management capabilities. Chances are you’re looking for someone to remove the administrative tasks of managing multiple campaigns. Define the roles and responsibilities you and your team want to pass off and the parts of the relationship in which you want to be engaged.
If client service is important, select someone who has a strong account-service pedigree. Focus on getting to know the agency’s culture and the importance it places on the client experience. Some variables to consider is the level of account service, for example, are phone and e-mail requests promptly addressed?