By Nick Bilava
Self-storage operators understand the seasonal cycles of the industry. For many, spring and summer are the most opportune times to fill units, while fall and winter often bring a dip in demand. These seasons usually require a shift in marketing strategy as well.
But seasonal cycles aren’t the only reason to temporarily adjust your marketing tactics or messaging. Sometimes a short-term event, whether expected or unforeseen, can provide opportunities for operators to attract more tenants. For example, let’s say a national company is relocating a bunch of its employees, or an apartment complex is being developed in your area, or a severe-weather event affects local residents.
Some of these situations can be planned for in advance, but others can’t be anticipated. So what can you do to be as prepared as possible to actively market for these events? Here are some ideas to help you reach your audience.
A popular Web-design trend involves the use of sliding horizontal image panels, also known as “sliders” or “carousels.” Having a slider on the front page of your facility website provides a highly visible, quick solution for updating your messaging. By knowing the specific dimensions of the slider, you can quickly design a new image to fit that space and address the situation at hand.
For example, the slider can welcome employees who are moving into your area as part of a mass relocation and even offer specials for this group. Another benefit is you can move the temporary slide to display first, but more standard messaging will still be visible on the following slides. Once the rush of new employees into the area has passed, simply remove that image from the slider.
Facebook’s advertising options have become much more advanced. Businesses can promote posts down to the most specific demographics, such as age, gender and ZIP code, and these posts can be live within minutes. For storage facilities, these two factors make it a great option for unexpected situations in the area.
For example, if there’s severe weather in your area that causes significant damage to people’s homes, Facebook advertising gives you a great way to reach out to anyone who’s been affected. You can offer specials such as a free month of storage to help them get through this tough time.
Paid-search advertising like Google AdWords is another quick way to increase awareness for a short stint. While it might be hard to convey specific messaging around an event, paid search can help boost visibility during times when self-storage is in higher demand. If a new apartment complex just opened downtown, for example, you can launch a paid-search campaign to increase prominence. Similar to Facebook’s advertising options, Google AdWords and other paid-search advertising options allow you to target your audience by ZIP code, helping you reach the exact area where storage demand is increasing.
Random events occur almost everywhere. In some instances, they increase the demand for self-storage and give you an opportunity to attract new tenants. In other instances, you might just look to help people in need. In any case, these three tactics can give you a quick and easy way to spread a message in a short time.
Nick Bilava is the director of sales and marketing for Storage.com, where his goal is to help self-storage operators market their business more efficiently and effectively. He has been an active member of the self-storage community for more than seven years and can be found at various industry events throughout the nation.