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Internet-Marketing Don’ts for Self-Storage Operators: Counting the Cost of Action and Inaction

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The Cost of Inaction: Claiming Listings

Do not let other people claim your places, maps or other Internet business listings! This is another huge mistake many self-storage owners make. It sounds great, right—having someone else manage a prominent-placed listing to make sure you get everything to which you’re entitled from that listing? But let me put it to you another way.

If someone gave you a great, high-traffic Web advertisement, and I came along and convinced you I could manage that ad better than you, send the potential customers from the ad to my website instead of yours (building my site’s equity instead of yours), and then sold potential leads from the ad back to you in some form or another, how does that sound? Not so good, right? For all practical purposes, that’s exactly what happens to a great deal of Google Plus and Bing map listings because self-storage owners allow someone else to claim and manage those listings on their behalf.

There are many other types of listings to which you’re entitled as a business owner. You probably have a Yelp, Merchant Circle and CitySearch listing as well as another 30 or so map or directory listings that may not even be pointed to your website. What if just one person a day sees your unclaimed listing and, as a result, goes somewhere other than your website to look for self-storage?

Maybe it takes 500 people looking for storage to get one tenant, but you may still be losing one rental every two weeks. That’s 104 rentals per year. How much is that worth? It’s worth paying attention. Even if I’m 80 percent wrong on my stats and you only lose 20 rentals in a year, isn’t it still worth consideration? I say a resounding YES!

Now don’t get me wrong; if you have no intention of claiming your free business listings and keeping them updated, paying someone else a fee to do it seems reasonable. This is just another example of counting the cost. If you’re fully aware of all it costs and willing to pay it, then go for it.

So there you have it: a couple of very important things you should not do to when it comes to building your Internet equity. Remember, with today's online marketing, there are no more silver-bullet programs that get you what you want in the blink of an eye for a few dollars. Instead, take inventory of what you’re entitled to, claim it, optimize it and use it to the best of your ability. If you don’t use what belongs to you, someone else will.

Christopher P. Baird is the CEO of Tucson, Ariz.-based Automatit Inc., which offers full-service Web-development and marketing services to self-storage companies nationwide. He has more than 15 years of experience in website marketing and search engine optimization. Prior to joining Automatit in 2001, he was a freelance Web designer. For more information, call 520.293.4608; e-mail; visit .

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