By Nick Bilava
Spring is a time when a lot of people move or clean out their homes. College students also need a place to store their belongings when the semester ends. For these reasons, it's generally a strong lease-up period in the self-storage industry. For most facility operators, it's an incredibly important time of the year. They need to maximize the opportunity, but how?
Online marketing is a great place to start. There are several ways to boost your business exposure on the Web and fill units during this critical stretch.
Start With Your Website
Your website should be the initial launching zone to your facility’s online marketing. Other techniques can drive traffic back to your website, but if it doesn’t represent your business or offer valuable information and a great user experience, many of your marketing efforts might go to waste.
Your website should present your business in a positive light. It truly is your online storefront, so it should be professional and up-to-date. Also, highlighting features such as online payment and reservation capabilities is a bonus for current and prospective renters. People are getting more accustomed to making purchases and decisions from their mobile devices. Giving them this convenience is important because it increases the chances that they will take action and rent from you.
Another important aspect is easy navigation. This should be absolutely front of mind when designing or upgrading your website. If you have something useful such as online-reservation capabilities, making it hard to find will completely defeat the purpose and frustrate visitors.
Establish Local and Social Presences
Not all online-marketing techniques are easy to execute or provide quick results. However, establishing a local online presence is relatively simple compared to other options. In fact, self-storage operators can claim local profiles on their own with a little time and effort. Local profiles on Google+, Yahoo!, Bing, Yelp and other directories are easy to claim and can make an impact within a few weeks. These directories receive high traffic and are used by millions to find local businesses. These profiles can also help storage operators in organic searches.
Social media profiles are equally as important; and in a way, local search and social media are merging. While being active on social media and interacting with other businesses and people within the area has unlimited potential, just having a presence is better than not having anything at all, as it increases chances of being found by self-storage seekers.
Many social media websites like Google+ and Facebook have local business features and are even used like a search engine by networkers. In fact, Google Places was moved within Google+, which put one of Google’s most used services within its social network. The best thing about these options is they can be set up at no cost.
Use Paid-Search Advertising
For self-storage operators looking to increase visibility even more during the spring lease-up period, paid search advertising—often referred to as pay-per-click or PPC advertising—is another way to increase Web traffic. Paid search is a very simple concept. Businesses create ads and bid for placement on popular search engines like Google and Bing. PPC advertising allows you to buy your way onto the first page of search engine results where the visibility is highest.