By Rob Kaminski
From prehistoric cave paintings to the Las Vegas Strip, mankind has always used signs to identify, communicate, warn, direct and entice. In today’s self-storage marketplace, the effective use of signage can spell the difference between success and failure. In this article, we’ll explore the use and purpose of exterior and interior signs.
Bring in New Customers
Have you ever heard a new customer say, “I must have passed your place a hundred times and never really noticed you”? Most self-storage renters live within a few miles of their facility. Since it’s likely your new customers passed your site often, how could they not notice it? The explanation has more to do with them than you.
Modern consumers are exposed to everything from billboards to TV spots, junk mail to spam, radio commercials to those little stickers on bananas, let alone signs. Yankelovich, a market-research firm, estimates consumers see up to 5,000 messages daily. Fortunately, the human brain is wonderfully adaptable, so it disregards what doesn’t interest it.
So if you don’t need a new car, you barely notice auto commercials, dealers’ garish lots and their mail offers. By the same token, to passersby who don’t need self-storage, your beautiful facility is so much unappreciated scenery. The problem is that when they finally do need to store stuff, they don’t recall that you’re so close, and you end up competing with all the other guys in directories or online. You should have an edge. Here’s how to get one.
Enhance Your Visibility
Assuming your facility name is easy to read, large enough and perpendicular to the road so it can be seen as cars approach, you might add “enhancements.” Motion catches the eye. Consider using fluttering banners or air dancers, which are those inflatable figures that “dance” in the wind. If you need to meet zoning requirements, try adding American flags. One creative auto dealer with nearly two blocks of frontage had a parade of flags on 20-foot poles running the property's full length. It was eye-catching to say the least—and very patriotic.
Invite Customers With Non-Storage Offers
People who’ve actually been in your facility are more likely to recall you when they need storage, right? Then give them other reasons to stop in. You sell boxes. Do you rent trucks? Use attention-getting signage to let drivers know it. Think outside the box (or boxes), too. Some self-storage operators offer post-office boxes, propane refills, even notary services. Their non-storage traffic is so high that their recognition keeps occupancy always near max. And the profit on non-storage business adds to their bottom line.
If you have the parking-lot space, consider drawing attention with community events such as school or team car washes. It’s great publicity and will heighten local awareness. And, trust me ... Cheerleaders get more attention than any sign. Once you’ve made friends in your community, more opportunities may arise. For instance, some schools sell Christmas wreathes as fundraisers.
Signs: Using Your Inside Voice
Effective interior signage can trigger sales, increase average sale dollars, train employees and improve customer relations. The cliché is signs are your “silent salesmen.” The reality is informative signs can keep your sales staff from being too silent.