By Jeanne Dotson
One of the biggest questions self-storage operators often ponder is how they can increase their online traffic and generate more rentals. It’s important to keep in mind that in this day and age, prospective customers are likely to research storage facilities (and other businesses) while they’re on the go. Many will even complete the rental process from their laptop, mobile phone or tablet, so it’s critical to take your facility website and online presence seriously.
Here’s some guidance on how to turn your online visitors into renters.
Let’s start with how a website is found. One way is through organic search. This is when a potential renter goes to a search engine such as Bing, Google or Yahoo and types in a keyword phrase such as “Holly Hill storage unit.” It’s vital that your website is properly optimized so it will appear for relevant search terms in your area.
This is where search engine optimization (SEO) becomes an important part of your facility’s overall marketing strategy. SEO is critical for organic searches. Essentially, it’s a way to improve a website’s ranking and drive online traffic by associating specific key terms and phrases with your website and making sure it’s user-friendly.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that search engines started putting a much greater emphasis on local listings this year. Finding a person in your organization or an outside company to properly optimize your website for search engines as well as verify local listings can make a huge impact on the number of visitors your website attracts.
Another way for your website to be found is through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on search engines as well as social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The sponsored ads are often highlighted or in prominent locations to help advertisers stand out from the rest. Plus, there are several ways to geo-target ads to ensure advertisers reach their target audience.
PPC campaigns can be set up on a variety of budgets. Remember your local market and number of competitors when determining your monthly budget for this type of effort.
First Impressions Matter
Once potential renters arrive at your website, what will they see? Can they easily determine your location and find unit pricing? Are they able to rent a unit from your website?
Always highlight your facility’s best features on your website. This should include high-quality photos of your property. According to research by Tony Haile, CEO of marketing firm Chartbeat, new visitors will stay on a website for less than 15 seconds if unsatisfied during an online visit. Make sure your website has a strong call to action, provides relevant information on unit availability and pricing, and highlights property amenities. You have a limited time to make a lasting impression on potential renters.
By making sure your website is easily found and optimized for organic rankings, local listings and PPC advertising, your overall presence in the local market will increase. Your online marketing efforts will enhance your traditional marketing efforts and generate the kind of increased traffic your storage facility needs to have a successful year.
Jeanne Dotson is a strategic online-marketing consultant for The Storage Group, which has a team of Internet-marketing professionals who specialize in online marketing, website design and website-management services. The company’s employees have more than 40 years of combined self-storage experience. For more information, visit www.storageinternetmarketing.com.