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

By Matthew Van Horn Comments
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Remember, our goal is to touch our potential customers as often as we can. It’s very hard to ignore the mail. Yes, you can throw it away, but you have to at least scan it before it goes in the trash. So let’s think of ways to get people to review your direct mail.

First, consider the format. Your marketing cannot be boring. You don’t have to send a white envelope with a one-page letter composed of boring font. Try using multi-colored envelopes, handwritten names and addresses, and unique stamps. You can even have a direct-mail company transfer your letter into a hand-writing font. You can also purchase a mailing list for a reasonable price from a number of companies.

Consider sending to the same list multiple times per year. The head of a marketing company recently told me it takes up to five mailings to get a customer to respond. Direct mail is a marathon, not a sprint. If your facility has a tight marketing budget, try completing as many of these items in-house as possible.


Electronic newsletters, or e-newsletters, are another item you can use to "touch" your customers on a regular basis. But remember: Your customers don't want to read about self-storage. As with your social media, find some local stories or other items of interest. Of course, you also want to make your sales pitch. Maybe you have a special on packing supplies or you want to remind people about your referral program. Let customers know they can make payments online or follow you on social media. There are companies that can create these newsletters for you, or if you have time and gumption, you can do it yourself.

In a recent article, Darren Hardy, publisher and founding director of "Success" magazine, wrote, “By the age of 66, most of us will have seen about 2 million TV commercials. It’s like watching eight hours of advertising, seven days a week, for six consecutive years.” If your marketing is not interesting and worth reading, it will be ignored. The great thing about self-storage is if a potential customer is speaking with us, they need our product.

Our audience is fighting a barrage of marketing messages. Self-storage operators are battling increasing competition. Welcome to the new era of marketing. It’s a full contact sport. By touching your audience via social media, direct mail and newsletters, you have a better chance of winning.

Matthew Van Horn is vice president of Cutting Edge Self-Storage Management & Consulting, a full-service management company specializing in feasibility studies, consulting and joint ventures within the storage industry. He’s also president of 3 Mile Domination, a full-service self-storage marketing and strategy company. For more information, e-mail Visit to download the free e-book, “3 Mile Domination.”

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