By Nick Bilava
E-mail marketing is a great way to spread information about your self-storage facility, whether it’s about amenities, available units, or special discounts and deals. The only problem is your list may only be as long as your current tenant base, which means it’s hard to reach potential new customers.
To grow your marketing list and convert prospects, you need to nab more e-mail addresses. Here are a few ways you can get storage seekers and customers to give you their e-mail address, and what to do with those addresses once you have them.
Create a Digital Rental Process
A quick way to start growing an e-mail list is to digitize your rental process. Customers who physically visit your facility to fill out rental paperwork might give you their e-mail address without trouble, but those who rent online will have no choice. By allowing customers to rent units online—including completion of the rental agreement—you not only create user convenience, you obtain the customer’s e-mail address with no effort.
Use Digital Receipts
Many businesses, including self-storage facilities, have started to use digital receipts to grab customer e-mail addresses. Although tenants sometimes like having a physical receipt to keep their finances in order, many have begun to expect an e-mail record of most purchases and payments. It’s easier to keep track of receipts digitally, as customers can file them away for later access. By sending digital receipts for self-storage rent payments, you not only capture customer e-mail addresses, you don’t ever have to track down copies of paper receipts.
Use Website Calls-to-Action
One of the best ways to grow an e-mail list is through calls-to-action on your website. Potential customers will search storage options in their area by browsing search engines and industry directories. When they land on your website, they’ll probably want to know about discounts or specials. You can convince them to sign up for e-mail offers, facility updates and newsletters with a call-to-action. This is usually in the form of a button, link or contact form.
Put It to Work
After you’ve cultivated your e-mail list, you need to put it to work. You don’t want to waste time, money and effort collecting these e-mails if you’re going to do nothing more than enter them into your computer and forget about them. A list of potential and current tenants can have lasting benefits if you know what to do. Here are three simple options you have at your disposal for new e-mail addresses.
1. Follow Up Immediately
It may seem overeager, but sending an e-mail message within the first hour of receiving a new address can add a bit of a personal feel, as though you’re genuinely happy to have one more potential customer. Don’t overwhelm the recipient, though. Keep it simple with a “thank-you” and some information about your facility—maybe your address, phone number and website (if the person didn’t sign up there). By keeping your message short and to the point, you may be able to increase the chances that any future e-mail will be opened and read.
2. Send Good Information
Sending an e-mail containing helpful information soon after the initial follow-up can go a long way. This message shouldn’t try to sell anything, especially if the recipient recently rented with you. Instead, fill the e-mail with information on why self-storage is important or how the customer can get the most out of his space. Resources designed to help the customer can work better in the long run than trying to sell him more products.
3. Send Special Offers
When it comes to potential tenants, providing a little incentive to rent with you can increase the chances that they will decide to do so. Simply offering a discount that wasn’t on the table previously could swing them in your direction. Even if only a handful of e-mail recipients take advantage of the offer, the profit you bring in with new rentals will far outweigh the cost of the e-mail campaign.
What you do after you’ve created a new e-mail list could mean the difference between making a sale and losing a customer to your competitor. Your initial e-mail marketing strategy will play a huge role in how you keep current tenants aware of what’s happening at your facility and get prospects through your doors to rent. Convince them you have the best prices and amenities for their needs by placing that information in front of them through e-mail. You’ll also have a better chance at higher conversions.
Nick Bilava is the director of sales and marketing for Storage.com. He’s been an active member of the storage community for more than seven years and can be found at various industry events. His goal is to help storage operators market their business more efficiently and effectively. For more information, visit www.storage.com.