By Christopher P. Baird
Marketing experts spend a lot of time telling people what they should do when it comes to promoting their business; but it can be just as helpful to know what not to do, especially when it comes to Internet marketing. Sometimes a self-storage operator can be doing all the right things to market his business, but just one misstep can negate all his positive efforts.
There are quite a few things you should not do when it comes to your website and online presence. Some of them are very subtle but have a significant long-term negative impact. As a self-storage operator, you should be fully aware of the cost of any action or inaction that affects your business. Below you'll read about two major online "don’ts" I’ve seen quite a bit of over the last couple of years.
The Cost of Action: Link Sharing
First, do not link from your website to other websites unless you first count the cost. Sound stupid or unimportant? Most people don’t put much value on their website links, but they should.
If you think of your website as your Internet equity, adding an external link passes at least a little bit of your equity to the beneficiary of that link. This isn’t a perfect analogy, but if you think of your website equity as a bucket, links are straws that carry your equity in and out. The links leading to your site are putting equity in, while the links leading from your site are draining it out. A link to your website is, in simplistic form, a peer vote for the quality of your site; and a link out is the same from you to the site to which you linked.
You may at one point be asked to put a link on your website that leads to someone else's website. But the question to ask is, what is the potential cost of that link? For example, if you put a link on your website to another site where your potential customer can go check out your competition, how many rentals do you think you may lose in a year? Even if it’s only one or two annually, the cost over a five-year period is substantial.
Is there a gadget, review or peer relationship to which you would consider giving $10,000? If so, good, put the link on; but at least now you know what it actually costs. That's not to say you shouldn't ever link to other websites. But the simple strategy is to get links from good, complementary businesses with quality websites, and give links to the same types of websites. If you simply link off to another site that promotes self-storage, including other facilities in your area, you could be losing rentals, and that means losing money.