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Building Self-Storage Brand Recognition Through Charitable Events

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See if you can post your event on the calendar for the local chamber of commerce. Ask if the chamber will help publicize the affair by sending e-mails to its members, posting a flier in the office or giving you an opportunity to address membership at a networking social. It may also be willing to provide a member e-mail list to which you can send a message.

You’ll also want to create a flier. E-mail digital copies to current and past customers, your vendors, area businesses, local churches and schools, and even your competitors one to two weeks before the event to give everyone plenty of notice and a chance to be involved. Post physical copies at your building’s entrance, near the keypad and in the office. Hand out fliers to everyone who comes into the office including prospects, new move-ins and existing tenants. If you have a favorite local restaurant, grocery store, gas station or entertainment spot, ask if you can post a flier at these locations.

Ask everyone to help support the event, make a donation and spread the word. Free publicity and positive word-of-mouth increase the chance for success. Just don’t forget to remove your fliers from all physical locations after the event. A business that agrees to post your flier will appreciate that you remembered to take it down.

Another great way to promote your events is to create a reusable generic banner. For example, if you host a toy drive every year, post a banner that solicits donations. Avoid printing the year, or any words that make it time-specific.

Finally, tap into social media channels. Post information on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and any other platform you use as part of your marketing. Take photos and post weekly updates for an extended event or more often for a shorter one. During the week leading up to the event, create a sense of urgency by saying “Last week to donate” or “Time is running out.” Share your photos with followers and encourage sharing to increase exposure. When people donate, ask how they heard about your event to track your efforts.

Thank Everyone

Once the event is over, send a second press release with a photo to local media announcing how many items were collected or how much money was raised. Thank all of the businesses that supported your cause and the community for supporting its neighbors. Once again, make it about the community and not your business.

Post the results on your social media account and send an e-mail to your customers thanking them for their participation. A prospect who learns about your community efforts may choose your facility because you supported a charity that he likes.

Finally, if the event was successful, put it on your calendar for next year. It’s best to schedule it for around the same time each year so your customers and the community know when to expect it. Hosting community or charity events is a great way to create a positive image for your facility and could help potential customers remember your name when they need storage.

Donna Edwards is a manager at Plantation Self Storage in Bluffton, S.C., which is operated by Southeast Management Co. She joined the company in 2013 and has more than 10 years of experience in property management. Her marketing experience includes setting budgets, designing yearly marketing plans, and creating and writing all types of advertising. For more information, call 843.815.8000; e-mail pbl@plantationstorage.com; visit www.southeastmanagementcompany.com.

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