By Jen Alsip
Online marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) used to be all about banner ads, paid-link building, e-mail campaigns and pay-per-click. While those things are still used, to be truly relevant to todays consumer, self-storage operators must add strategic content marketing in the SEO space to the mix.
SEO refers to anything Internet-related thats based on organic results. In other words, its when someone goes to their favorite search engine and types in a keyword or phrase related to self-storage, and your company appears naturally in the results. Making sure your information is visible in the search is important and plays a huge role in the art of communicating with your customers without selling them. Its about creating fresh, relevant and unique content through your website and social media that reaches your ideal customers and enables you to earn a presence in the SEO space.
For any business, content marketing is one of the most important online activities to enhance SEO ranking. Unfortunately, many self-storage operators are not fully using it because they lack an understanding of the concept, impact and necessity of content marketing. As a result, they frequently get stuck in the old way of doing SEO, which entailed writing keyword-heavy content tailored for search engines vs. the new waywriting engaging content for readers.
Its about focusing on user intent, which takes a little more time but yields great results. To fully leverage your content-marketing activities, follow these three simple steps.
1. Identify Personas for Your Target Audience
You likely have a target audience for your self-storage business, and often the audience is quite broad, such as women ages 35 to 50 who have kids, baby boomers or college students. While there are certain characteristics that go across the entire target audience, there are also many subsets of people (called personas) within the target.
For example, using the women ages 35 to 50 who have kids target audience, you could have specific personas of married, working mom, stay-at-home mom, single, working mom, etc. Each of these personas has different interests and will respond to specific content. Someone whos younger with preschool kids may be looking for more engaging content, whereas an older working woman with teens may be more responsive to the technical information you can provide. Therefore, identify the various personas within your target audience so you can reach and engage each group.
2. Create a Targeted and Consistent Blog
The purpose of your blog should be to connect with and engage readers by providing value to them through relevant content. After all, when readers like the information you provide, theyre more apt to return to your site and ultimately store with your facility. The key is being able to provide usable content for all the personas youve identified.
Staying with the women ages 35 to 50 with kids example, you may write a narrative blog titled Choosing a Self-Storage Facility to reach the stay-at-home mom persona. The next day, you may write a technical blog called How to Safely Pack Items for Storage to reach the working-mom persona. Each blog would have a different tone based on the persona youre targeting.
In addition to providing relevant content, being consistent in your blogging activity is important. Whether you post something daily, three times a week or four times a month will depend on the topic and your readers. The key is keeping your schedule consistentdoing the same number of posts every week. Posting a blog every day for a month and then not doing anything for two months can hurt your SEO efforts. For most businesses, doing three to four blog posts per month is sufficient.
3. Concentrate on Engaging Your Audience
Engaging your audience means getting them to share your information with others via their social media channels, comment on your blog posts to create conversations, or click to your marketing pages to learn more and ultimately make a purchase decision. Its about getting your readers to take some sort of action without pressuring them to do so.
Todays readers dont want to feel pressured to do anything, so the engagement needs to be natural. Even the search engines have changed their search algorithms to make the results more innate based on what a user would naturally do.
Putting a link within your blog post to a page on your site thats related to a product youre talking about is totally fine and recommended. Someone would naturally click on that page since theyre reading a post about the topic. But adding eight different links with optimized anchor text that either all go to the same page or to one specific product is the epitome of putting pressure on a reader.
Additionally, when you keep the focus on engagement and categorize your blog posts correctly, your posts can show when someone is looking at your products. In other words, if someone is shopping and comes across your self-storage facility, they can see that you wrote a blog about it and click to learn more, which can then influence their buying decision.
Make Content Marketing Work for You
Content marketing is a way to expand your reach, build relevancy in the search engines to gain traffic and visibility, and convert readers into buyers. Realize, though, that it is just one piece of having a winning online-marketing strategy. No single technique will make your self-storage business profitable. However, when you combine content marketing with all the other online and offline marketing activities you do, youll soon realize the success and profit you deserve.
Jen Alsip is the content marketing manager for Volume 9 Inc., which creates custom-search marketing campaigns for clients, including a mix of SEO, paid-search management, social media, local-search marketing and website development for more than 100 clients and 200 managed websites. With 11 years of experience in Internet marketing, she helps put together strategies for her clients to improve their outreach and personalize the information theyre putting on the Internet. For more information, visit www.volume9inc.com .