By Julie Purcell
There’s a lot going on in the marketing world. Back in the good old days, all you really had to worry about was placing a Yellow Pages ad and having a brochure to promote your self-storage business. A few years ago you likely added a website to that mix. Now you have a Facebook and Twitter page, conduct e-mail marketing campaigns, worry about search engine optimization (SEO), write blogs, and so much more! It can be overwhelming.
Wondering where to begin to ensure you cover all your digital marketing bases? It takes some effort, but when you combine several strategies—notably social media, blogging and e-mail marketing—your facility will reap the rewards.
Inbound and Outbound Marketing
Before we talk about each of the digital marketing elements and how to use and integrate them, first we need to get in a whole new mindset. Enter inbound and outbound marketing. To understand what these are, let’s compare marketing to dating.
Say you want to meet Mr. or Miss Right. Outbound marketing is like placing a personal ad. You’re blasting out information about yourself, hoping someone likes it, responds and takes the next step. You schedule your first date, your eyes meet from across the room and, hopefully, it’s all champagne and roses from there.
Outbound marketing includes Yellow Page ads, print advertising, billboard displays, signage, etc. You have a short window of time to really make a good impression on someone and catch his attention. You lay it all out there, hope a potential client responds and takes the next step to contact you. This is a waiting game and often expensive.
Inbound marketing is a bit different. There’s more strategy involved. Instead of just blasting out content, you’re trying to attract the right kind of attention and engage potential clients. It’s not just a one-way street where you list things about yourself, it’s a conversation.
Let’s return to the dating analogy. You go to an event and chat with someone. You try and find out more about him. What are his interests? What is he looking for in a relationship? These are things you try to uncover in that first meeting.
Back to self-storage. How do you attract the right kind of attention through inbound marketing to get new customers? You find out what people are looking for and make it about them. This takes research. Sometimes what people are looking for may be different than what you think. Any initiative you take will have a bit of risk, but with risk comes reward. For example, instituting a referral program works very well at some facilities but not at others. Here are some other ideas to attract the “right” attention:
Change your advertising messages to be more attractive. Think less about long lists of what you do and instead focus on how well you do it. Most important, how will you solve the customer's problem? When people need storage, they're often moving, downsizing, making some sort of a change in their life. They need a solution, and you can provide it.
Make things interesting. This is where digital marketing mediums such as social media come in. Don’t just always talk about your facility on your Facebook page. Talk about what’s going on in your community. Talk about your latest charitable partnership. Be witty and funny. Here’s how to get started:
- What are your goals? Keep them specific and measurable. Write down some of your priorities and the time frame in which you want to accomplish them. Check in with this list monthly.
- What is the average value of a customer? When thinking about marketing and advertising, this is a great metric to use. Determine how much your average client spends with you annually, then add the referrals you generally get from one client. If your average client spends $1,000 and gives you two referrals, that average value is $3,000. Any advertising dollars you spend should be with these figures in mind.