There are three key elements to marketing your self-storage facility online. First, you must have an effective website that generates calls and leads. Second, people need to be able to easily find your website on the Internet. Third, you must convert the calls and leads generated from your website into renters. This article will focus on the second point, helping people find your website.
All of your marketing should promote your website; however, most of your website clicks will come from people looking for self-storage using one of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and others. To have an effective online presence, you need high ranking on the major search engines. A high ranking means your site is among the first few websites promoted when a certain keyword is searched.
You should shoot for the first page of the search results because many people looking for something on the Internet will stop looking after the first page. There are three basic ways to get listed on the first page of any major search engine:
- Organic results: A result of search-engine optimization.
- Paid results: Often called pay-per-click, you pay each time your ad is clicked.
- Directories: You pay to be listed in a directory.
Boosting Organic Results
Let’s first talk about organic, also called natural, results. These are the main results of a search. You do not pay when someone clicks on an organic link to your website. Search engines have their own criteria and algorithms to determine the order in which websites will be listed. Your website must be designed to be relevant to Internet search engines.
The process of increasing a website’s natural clicks is called search-engine optimization, or SEO. You should have SEO in mind when designing and constructing your website. If you conduct a search for your facility’s website on the major search engines and don’t see your site, then you need to improve your SEO.
There are changes you can make to your site that will increase your SEO, and a number of companies who will, for a fee, handle the SEO of your website. If you want people to find your site, you need to have high ranking on the search engines, and SEO is the way to achieve it.
Pay-per-click advertising is exactly that—you pay each time your link is clicked. These links are located on the top and right-hand side of the Web page and titled “Sponsored Results.” With pay-per-click advertising, you can be on the first page of the major search engines in a couple of hours.
You determine the keywords you want to promote your ad, and when those keywords are typed by a user, your ad will appear. The price you pay per click is determined by a bid for the keyword. You determine what you’re willing to bid for a keyword, designating a daily and monthly budget.
Pay-per-click advertising gives you flexibility and can be used as an effective way to get people to your website. It can act as a great supplement until your organic ranking improves. Pay-per-click campaigns are easy to set up; you can do it yourself or pay a company to handle it for you.
Directories are another way to get a higher ranking in the search engines. With this type of advertising, you pay to be a part of a directory, which will do its job to maintain a high ranking on the search engines so customers will visit included sites. When a customer visits a directory, he see the various storage facilities who advertise with it.
The advantage of a directory is it can get visitors to your website or calls to your facility. The disadvantage is you’re usually listed alongside other storage facilities in your market. When choosing in which directories to advertise, make sure they have a good ranking on the search engines. If not, few people will use them.
In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s not enough just to have a website—it must attract visitors. By implementing strategies to get your facility ranked high on the search engines, using pay-per-click marketing or directories, you’ll increase the number of visitors to your site. When this happens, you’ll have the opportunity to increase occupancy and revenue.
Rick Jordan is president of RWJ Storage Management LLC, which provides third-party management, training and consulting for self-storage businesses. To reach him, call 562.682.5003; visit www.rwjstorage.com.