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'Touch' Marketing for Self-Storage Operators: 3 Ways to Rise Above the Advertising 'Noise'

By Matthew Van Horn Comments

Marketing your self-storage facility in 2014 and beyond will be a different experience than in the past. Why? Because our potential customers are suffering from attention deficient disorder!

Every morning I wake up and check my smartphone. First, I go through my e-mail. I have multiple accounts, each full of “buy now” messages. After that, I review my social media sites. Again I’m bombarded with advertisements and video. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram are all trying to sell me something. Next I read online news, and there are advertisements everywhere. If I watch TV at night, I'm exposed to commercials there, too.

In the 12 to18 hours that I'm awake, I'm exposed to thousands of marketing pieces. This isn’t even including the material I see while I’m driving around my local area. Knowing this is what our potential customers also face, how do we reach our targeted audience and avoid getting lost in the "noise"? Let’s look at a few options.

Social Media

Social media today is where Google search was about seven years ago. Internet marketing is becoming more difficult. It used to be all we wanted was to appear on the first page of organic listings. In 2014, where does Web traffic really come from? Did your customers find you in a Google search or a pay-per-click advertisement? Did they find you on Google Places for Business? What search terms did they use? Did they search from a mobile phone or tablet? Did they find you on Yelp? Was the search influenced by location rather than keywords?

These days, customers find information in many ways. The options are limitless. If you already have a steady Web-marketing platform, try working on social media for your self-storage facility. At the very least, claim your facility’s Facebook page. Facebook, and other social media platforms, are free to use. The only thing they require is your time.

You want as many people following your Facebook page as possible. The idea is to “touch” people as often as you can without being irritating. No one wants to see “5-by-10s for $39” in their social media feed every other day.

Instead, post content that’s useful and interesting to your customers. Consider remarkable local stories, do-it-yourself projects, or funny jokes and pictures. Add one sales post for every three non-sales posts. Put some work in getting your existing customers to interact with your page and leave reviews or ratings.

In addition, consider running some social media contests to create interest in your page. Giving away a gift card can go a long way with your customers. Operators interested in upping their social media activity should read this great book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World,” by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Direct Mail

This is one of those marketing items for which everyone lets out a big sigh of boredom. Normally I hear, “I tried direct mail once. I didn’t get anything,” or “Direct mail is boring. No one reads it,” or “Everything is on the Internet now.” If that’s the case, why do you get so much direct mail during the election season? How many direct-mail pieces have you received from Visa or American Express over the last 12 months?

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