By Carlos Lutteroth
There are a seemingly infinite number of articles on the Internet about digital marketing, social media marketing and all the ways small business owners can showcase their products and services online. But just because we’re living in the Digital Age doesn’t mean traditional marketing strategies are extinct. In fact, word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective form of advertising, according to “Forbes” magazine. In addition, Nielsen reports that 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over all other types of advertising.
As the owner of a self-storage business, you can generate legitimate buzz about your business by reaching out to prospective customers in the real world in addition to your digital-marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at seven of the best non-digital ways to market your facility.
1. Send Postcard Mailers to Previous Customers
Every small business owner will tell you it’s important to keep in touch with previous and existing customers. You can send them tips on how to optimize their stay at your storage facility, alert them about upcoming discounts and giveaways, or treat them to special coupons. It’s much easier to ignore an e-mail newsletter than a physical postcard received via traditional mail. It doesn’t cost a lot to send out hundreds or even thousands of postcards to the people who matter most—your customers.
2. Establish Relationships With Local Partners
It takes a village to grow a successful business. Your community is filled with people in storage-related industries who can help take your business to new heights. Reach out to some local real estate agents, moving companies or anyone in your neighborhood who might know of someone who needs access to additional storage space. You can return the favor by referring your customers to other moving-related businesses in the area.
3. Advertise on Your Own Real Estate
Never underestimate the power of good signage. If your self-storage facility is close to a major intersection or busy highway, you can reach thousands of new customers by using your own real estate. Invest in a few colorful, attractive signs as a way of advertising the wealth of storage options your facility offers. You’d be surprised how many people pass by your facility every day without realizing what your business is all about.
4. Host a Local Art Show
Take advertising on your own facility a huge step further. If you have vacant units, large open hallways or giant empty walls, why not put that space to good use and host a community art show? Local artists are always looking for a place to exhibit their work. You can make valuable connections and gain some free press in the process. This also creates an opportunity to draw potential tenants to your property who might otherwise never step foot on site.
5. Set Up a Referral Program
The most valuable asset you have in your advertising arsenal is the community you’ve already created. If you offer stellar customer service with a number of top-of-the-line storage options, your customers can and will reward you. Give them another reason to refer your facility to their friends, family and co-workers by setting up a referral program. You can give your existing tenants a slight discount every time they refer someone new to your business. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
6. Participate in Industry Events
The self-storage industry is always evolving. You can become a more active member of the community by attending national and local storage events, such as conferences and tradeshows. Stop by a local real estate summit to connect with agents in your neighborhood. Learn about the latest marketing techniques at one of the many industry events hosted by your state self-storage association. Become a notable player in the industry and make valuable connections that last a lifetime.
7. Give Back to the Community
Floods, fires and other natural disasters can occur anywhere and at any time, and assisting those in need has to be the most feel-good marketing activity. Making a donation to your local food bank, a homeless shelter or another charitable organization is a great way to give your business some prominence in the community.
Providing flood victims boxes in which to pack their belongings is an easy start. Honestly, giving away free stuff is the easiest, cheapest type of promotion you can do for your business. Try it; it’s fun. Besides, this is a strategy that can give a staff member the opportunity to be involved in the decision-making process who might not otherwise act in such a role. Show your customers that you care about the local community and give back to those who need it most.
There are many ways to advertise your self-storage facility beyond the usual digital-marketing tactics. In-person events, referral programs and outdoor signage can be much more effective than a simple Facebook post. Expand your marketing reach and harness the power of non-digital advertising.
A self-storage industry veteran, Carlos Lutteroth is a writer, thinker and business professional who seeks new, creative and recycled ways to connect businesses with customers. At The East Lake Self Storage in Chula Vista, Calif., Carlos finds ways to promote the business while doing good in the community. The facility is committed to empowering youth, civic and cultural institutions through numerous sponsorships. For more information, visit www.theeastlakeselfstorage.com.