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Improving Self-Storage Revenue With Community Marketing

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First, make a list of other needs your storage customers might have that your business cannot fill directly. These include non-commercial needs such as where to register for school, where to get a driver’s license, where to worship, where to access community programs, etc. People may also have commercial needs such as those for a moving company, an apartment, a good vet for their pets, an inexpensive or pet-friendly motel, truck rental (if you don’t provide this), and so forth. You can easily provide lists or instructions on where to find all of these places and services.

Next, approach providers of other common products and services and ask them for coupons and other incentives that you can include in a package of value-based perks. In addition to the suggestions above, you can approach local restaurants, car-repair shops, babysitting services, medical and dental offices, furniture and appliance stores, dry cleaners, shoe-repair shops, locksmiths, attorneys, accountants, gyms and personal trainers, hair and nail salons … You get the idea.

Include any local business that wants more customers, clients or patients. It can give you coupons, free-trial certificates, free samples or any item that makes sense to include in your customer-incentive package. When you add up the total value of the package, you may have a premium that’s worth several hundred dollars but costs you nothing to provide other than a little legwork. Imagine how your closing rate will skyrocket when you offer a value-based incentive package worth $100, $200, $300 or more in addition to whatever else you’re doing!

Oh, and those other businesses you’ll be promoting? To be a part of your program, they must agree to promote your facility to their customers, clients and patients, ideally via some kind of special offer you make.

Create Affiliate and Distributor Relationships

How much revenue do you collect from tenants who move out and never come back? None? Well, you might want to pay close attention as I reveal a little-known community-marketing secret that can allow your company to continue collecting a monthly income from tenants while they rent from you and long after they move out.

Besides the services mentioned earlier, how many of your tenants use cell phones? How many have or need cable or satellite-TV service? How many need a security system? How about Internet access? Are they concerned about identity theft? If you’re in a deregulated state, where are they buying their gas and electricity?

These are just a few examples of services your customers need or are already using that you could provide via affiliate or distributor relationships. If you align yourself with the right providers, you’ll be in a position to make current and future income on the purchases your customers make now and in the future.

You can find affiliate and distributor opportunities on the Internet and companies that offer more than one of the services above. In certain cases, you can offer customers the opportunity to sell these same services and even products to other people and get paid a commission. You may be able to earn an override on what your customers sell. When a system is properly set up and promoted, it’s entirely possible that a self-storage facility could generate as much revenue from “having a healthy back end” as it does renting units.

I call this aerobic marketing—working your back end to add value to your tenants’ lives and make additional revenue now and when your tenants move on. You also can provide a way for some of your customers to make some extra money now and for months and years to come. This is community marketing that benefits not only you but your customer base.

Nick Nichols helps self-storage operators attract more long-term tenants, boost tenant satisfaction and increase tenant retention. He also offers free webinars that show self-storage operators how to generate additional income from tenants now and long after they move out. Visit to register for his next free webinar.

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