|The Inside Scoop|
Don’t Let Halloween Haunt Your Self-Storage Marketing Strategies
A guest installment by Self-Storage Talk Community Manager Tony Jones
When I was a little boy, my brother and I frequently went trick-or-treating in my cousins’ neighborhood on Halloween. While it was nice to get together with family, the real draw on this spooky holiday was the community spirit exemplified by their neighbors. Not only was there an unusually high number of houses that decorated or even staged haunted houses for the occasion (particularly in the early 1970s), a mysterious couple always went over the top to ensure the kids of the neighborhood would have a Halloween to remember.
As trick-or-treaters combed the neighborhood, going from house to house to ask for candy, we also kept a keen eye and ear out for our Halloween heroes. Before long, we would hear the unmistakable rumble followed by the wondrous sight of a supped-up hot rod carrying Dracula and the Bride of Frankenstein. The car looked like it rolled off the set of “The Munsters,” shiny black and chrome and decked out in Halloween regalia. A spooky coffin rested quietly on the flatbed.
Once the car parked, costumed kids sprinted from blocks around just to catch a glimpse. As Dracula and his bride mingled with the gathering crowd, the coffin lid would slowly open to reveal its contents—pounds upon pounds of scrumptious candy that the couple doled out by the handful.
The creativity and generosity of that couple left a lasting impression and helped shape my fondness for Halloween. They mixed just the right amount of spook and fun.
Over the years, I have often thought about the mysterious couple as Halloween gradually lost some of its luster. For a while, a combination of overzealous political correctness, genuine crackpots and evolving real dangers began to erode the fun spirit of Halloween in many communities across America. I have lived in neighborhoods where the number of trick-or-treaters waned substantially for many years.
But as residents stopped celebrating, leaving their porch lights off to signal no candy, businesses and shopping malls often picked up the slack, offering safe havens for concerned parents to take their little ghouls and goblins to partake in some fall-tradition fun. Even today, while there seems to be some resurgence in community spirit for Halloween, it pleases me that many businesses, including self-storage operations, continue to embrace the season, either through fall-themed celebrations or the more spooky variety.
This year is no exception, with several self-storage facilities across the nation tying Halloween into marketing promotions and community-outreach events designed to raise money for charity. Among the most creative is StorQuest Self Storage, an operator with facilities in Arizona, California, Colorado and Hawaii. Customers can enter a drawing to receive three months of free storage by locating a skeleton hidden on the company’s website and submitting his secret Halloween word. The promotion runs through Nov. 15 and is an excellent way to not only pique the interest of customers but increase page views and customer awareness regarding services and amenities.
Similarly, Storage Express, a self-storage operator with three California facilities, is running Halloween specials this month, including a move-in promotion and offering a free pumpkin to any prospective customer who stops by for a site tour, regardless of whether they rent a unit.
Both StorQuest and Storage Express sent out Halloween-themed e-newsletters to help kick start enthusiasm for their promotions.
Other operators have planned fall-themed or Halloween events on site. US 1 Self Storage in Boynton Beach, Fla., is hosting a barbecue “Halloween Boo! Nanza” today to thank current and former customers for their business. The event includes hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, soft drinks and, yes, sweets for the kids.
Earlier this month, a National Self Storage facility in Tucson, Ariz., hosted its annual Halloween event in conjunction with a local school. Students and parents helped set up activities, including separate haunted houses for adults and kids. The spooky soirée also featured a DJ, a bouncy house (supplied each year by a generous tenant), face painting, games, candy and coupons from other local businesses. Proceeds from the two-day event will go to the Vail Academy, according to The Storage Facilitator.
Much like how that creative couple from my childhood made a lasting impression on me, the types of holiday-themed promotions and events you implement at your facility tell the community a lot about your business. The more engaged you are with your community, the more likely residents and businesses will remember you when it comes time to make storage decisions.
Inside Self-Storage has several resources to help you hone in on marketing ideas that are a right fit for your operation. Your marketing should be an extension of your business personality, Halloween-themed or otherwise. Be sure to check our Marketing topic on a regular basis for ideas and examples of what other operators are doing. You can even be alerted of new entries by subscribing to the topic’s RSS feed.
In addition, the ISS Store is filled with valuable marketing resources and tools, with expertise from several leading industry professionals. Products range from on-demand video, audio and DVDs to manager-training courses, digital magazines and more. Whether you need assistance with customer-service strategies, search engine optimization, community outreach, or customer acquisition and retention, the ISS Store addresses all of these needs and more.
Of course, Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without also sharing some scary self-storage stories. Self-Storage Talk members have been telling tales about the scariest things to occur at their facilities. I highly encourage you to turn the lights low, muffle outside noise and peruse some of the tales about the creepiness of unlit hallways, people appearing unexpectedly through side doors, and even one account of a mistaken terrorist attack. If the mood strikes you, please join the conversation and share some of your own creepy experiences.
Have a fun and safe Halloween.
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