ISS Blog

YouTube+Self-Storage=Marketing Success

An article in Buffalo Business First caught my eye last week. It’s about a new trend in marketing—YouTube. Not being a YouTube regular myself, I was curious how companies are using the Gen Y highway to promote themselves. I headed over to http://www.youtube.com/ and plugged in self-storage. To my surprise, 528 videos popped up!

While some of the videos are silly—see The Pilot Trailer, although probably done tongue-in-cheek, it’s the kind of self-storage facility customers run away from—others have merit. Wesco Self-Storage's 30-second commercial has pretty people, excellent camera work and James Bond-type music. In just 30 seconds, I learned the facility offers wine storage, biometric security, has RV and boat storage and a business center.

Another video, narrated by a man with a charming accent, walks first-time self-storage users through the basics—from security and sizes available to hours of operation.

Self Storage Auction Lady is a good primer on how self-storage auctions work. The video includes 45 seconds of the Auction Lady and her family promoting the business. And ISS columnist Derek Naylor of Storage Marketing Solutions has three videos on Internet marketing.   

While views are still low for self-storage videos—most of the videos I watched had fewer than 50 with the exception of Wesco, which garnered more than 1,300—compared to their YouTube funny animal counterparts, who get millions of hits, the potential is definitely there. It’s no secret that today’s shoppers are online. And while they may not be typing “self-storage” in YouTube’s search engine today, they will be tomorrow.

If you already have streaming video on your website or a CD, post it on YouTube and see what happens. Many of the self-storage videos on YouTube were simply promotional CDs the companies had on hand.

And if you don’t have a video, consider making one. While it’s nice to have a professionally shot, high-end video, today’s easy-to-use video cameras and computer software can help any amateur filmmaker produce a quality video.

If you do plan to make your own video, here are five tips from the article I mentioned above:

1. Talk about relevant topics to your market. Make it unique. Tell your stories. Be creative and innovative in your approach.

2. Make it fun, even funny. The best communicators are those that weave their message in with fun and laughter where appropriate. This will retain eyeballs and loyal followers of your YouTube channel.

3. Use good production quality in your video. You don't have to compete with Steven Spielberg in your video production, but make it professional. Use a camcorder with an external microphone to raise the quality of sound.

4.Target key words for your audience. When you send your video to YouTube, focus on the natural, key words that are part of your video message. Focus on those terms which will help people search to address their needs.

5. Check comments. This is good feedback. However, don't rely on it extensively. Sometimes the remarks are of zero relevance and posted by some anonymous hack who isn't and never will be your customer. Focus on those who are likely to be your customers and make relevant comments (pros and cons).

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