10 Tips Self-Storage Operators Can Implement to Improve E-Mail Marketing Campaigns

E-mail marketing can appear daunting between CAN-SPAM laws, spam filters, and confusion over the best method. Here are 10 tips self-storage operators can use to get the best results from their e-mail marketing campaigns.

By Greg Brown

E-mail marketing can appear daunting between CAN-SPAM laws, spam filters, and confusion over the best method. Whether youre an e-marketing novice or tried it before with poor results, learning the tricks of the trade can make the process more comfortable and successful. Here are 10 tips to get the best results from your e-mail marketing campaigns.

1. Start with the readers point of view in mind.

This may seem obvious, but you have to approach all marketing from a readers point of view. This is especially true for e-mail marketing, where the recipients will judge, usually within seconds, whether they want to open your e-mail. If you wouldnt open it if it landed in your inbox, chances are your readers wont either. But that doesnt mean its hopeless. Just think of something that would draw your readers attention and go with it.

2. Choose a compelling subject line.

This is probably the biggest success factor in getting e-mail opened. Remember, no one will see all you have to offer if they dont open your e-mail, and theyll choose whether to open it based on the subject line. A catchy subject line can be a little creative, or write one thats more to the point if youre advertising a basic need everyone can use. What you might view as your best benefit may not be the best subject line because readers need to trust you to open your e-mail. You can get to the rest within the body of the message.

3. Correctly structure the body of the e-mail.

This is more complex, but very important. Once again, you need to look from readers point of view and think about their eye flow as they read. This might mean leaving wordy information for the end of the e-mail and instead starting with a compelling question, offer or great benefit to capture the readers attention. A few pictures can enhance your e-mail, but remember its not a website. Too much content will overwhelm readers and theyll get bored quickly.

4. Think strategically.

As a business owner, you must market yourself based on the real best reason to do business with you. There might be many impressive aspects to your facility, but think about the reason people will actually choose to store their belongings there. This can really be different than your first instinct on e-mail marketing.

5. Lead the reader intuitively to buy.

Some of the best e-mails give very compelling reasons and naturally convince you to click here for more information or to get the stellar offer they advertise. Simply putting a link to your website will not give you the results you want.

6. Pick your target market effectively.

This means choosing a large enough market for you to get results, in the right areas, and with the best demographic information. Really think through who your current customers are, and who youd like to reach. Who do you think would be your next most likely customers? This might not be simply residents nearest your facility; it could be a more family-oriented suburb a couple of ZIP codes over, for instance. You also might wish to expand your radius to really saturate your target area.

7. Repetition is key.

E-mail marketing studies have shown that most prospects must see the same or similar e-mail three to seven times to buy. Dont give up after one or two e-mail campaigns that dont get the initial results you desire. Remember, it takes time for a new prospect to become familiar with your offer and trust you. It wont happen if they only see your e-mails once or twice, but persistence and continued relevance can and will pay off.

8. Make a good offer.

An informational or benefit-driven e-mail is usually not enough. A good offer will entice the reader to act, especially if its a limited-time offer. This creates urgency, which drives buying behavior. Typical limited-time only offers include a dollar-value savings, or something free thats inexpensive for you but of value to your prospects. If your offer is a percentage off a months storage rental, for example, remember to include the original price. These types of offers arent as effective unless the readers know what the initial cost is so they know how much theyre saving.  

9. Include some information, but not too much.

If your industry is one people may not know much about, its important to educate them. Give them the most basic informationoften what you take for grantedthat might be interesting to them, such as the benefits of storage or your security measures. But dont give too much away or your reader will simply use your information without having a need to follow up with you.

10. Find a convenient sending solution.

Most small- to mid-size businesses are not set up for mass e-mail marketing. However, it has a payoff in terms of the reach, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Most mass e-mail providers will only let you send to your current customers from your own opt-in list; but you want to reach new people, too. There are companies that can do the whole process for youfrom design to supplying the e-mail lists to sending them and tracking results, while still staying compliant with spam laws.

When done correctly, e-mail marketing campaigns can be a great way to reach a broad audience with a specific marketing message. Following these 10 tips will ensure your next e-mail gets better open rates, which will lead more prospects to your self-storage facility.

Greg Brown is director of marketing at Melissa Data, a direct-marketing software and services company. Having worked for more than 10 years on both the client and agency side, Brown brings a unique perspective to developing creative, results-oriented marketing programs to acquire and retain customers. For more information, visit .

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