Where do consumers store household items when faced with a foreclosure or downsizing? When the need to relocate arises, homeowners and apartment renters will be searching for assistance with moving supplies such as boxes and packing materials or the use of a free move-in truck. Where will they store their recreational items such as ATVs and boats?
The storage industry offers a valuable “solution” to several problems people are facing. With home-foreclosure rates increasing daily, and the real estate market declining in most metropolitan areas, the demand for storage is increasing. Even if consumers are not facing a change in living situations, gas prices have forced many “weekend warriors” to park their recreational apparatus. Facilities offering specific services such as storage of RVs and boats should capitalize on this added benefit.
Perhaps the economy has put the pinch on you, too, and maybe you’re considering reducing your budget and downsizing or eliminating Yellow Pages advertising. This is not in your best interest. Be aware that advertising is an investment in your business, and now is not the time to stop.
The Yellow Pages still offer a solid return on investment. You need occupants in order to stay in business, and they need you. This form of advertising is still the most cost-effective way to match your needs with the consumers—offering a “solution” for both of you.
If your storage competitors decide to decrease their advertising, you have an opportunity to gain presence in the marketplace. You can easily pick up the competitors business and establish yourself as a solid, reliable facility.
If you absolutely have to trim your advertising budget, remember size is more important than frills. Color and white background ads are more attractive and draw more attention, but size and content are still the most important components.
Ad placement is determined by size and seniority, not frills. On average, more calls are generated by ads that appear closer to the beginning of the heading than those farther back. Make sure you provide content highlighting special features of your facility, such as RV and boat storage or free move-in truck, etc.
Don’t overlook the importance of appearing in the white pages as well. Statistics show that 52 percent of those reading a directory are looking for a specific business by name. They might have passed by your facility, were recommended by an existing customer, or be a previous customer. It is easier for them to locate you by name in the white pages than searching for you under a specific heading elsewhere.
Finding you in the white pages quickly and easily with a bold listing or yellow highlighted name will prevent a customer from calling competitors’ ads that catch their eyes in the Yellow Pages. Still, 48 percent are looking for any business, so you must have a substantial appearance in the Yellow Pages to capture this audience.
Unlike other forms of advertising, Yellow Pages connect potential customers to your business when they are ready for your services. Very few people, if any, simply pick up the Yellow Pages for their reading enjoyment. They pick up the directory when they are ready to make a call or visit a facility. Your ad acts as a well-trained employee, available 24/7/365 to answer questions and convince people to visit your site.
When Times Are Tough, the Tough Keep Going
Customers still need to find you even in a poor economy. We all hope the economy will rebound soon, but in the meantime, you must do your best to offer a solution to the needs of the consumer while keeping your business profitable. Businesses that advertise will prevail. If you are not there for customers to find you, they cannot turn to you for a solution.
Sue Weinman is vice president, Yellow Page Services, of Michaels Wilder Inc., an advertising agency specializing in Yellow Pages, Internet marketing and talent recruitment for the self-storage industry since 1989. For more information, visit www.michaelswilder.com.