Too many people, too much stuff, too little space: That’s been the secret to the phenomenal growth of the self-storage industry. But with that growth comes increased competition. So how can you make sure your storage facility is the one your targets find—and choose—when they’re ready to rent? Here are three marketing strategies that have helped our company compete successfully in the tough Manhattan, N.Y., market.
Know What Your Market Wants—and Deliver It
Who are your storage facility’s targets? Young singles? Families? Entrepreneurs? Tailor your service offering or enhance what you already have to their specific needs. When we built the Gotham Mini Storage facility on 10th Avenue in Manhattan, we needed to appeal to both space-strapped consumers and business owners, so we incorporated amenities you don’t often see in a storage facility. This included a lounge and coffee bar with sweeping city views, free Wi-Fi access, package-delivery acceptance, and use of a free move-in van. The payoff: We’ve attracted space-starved renters and business owners, some of whom base their operations from our facility.
Mobile Is Where the Users Are
Since Google updated how it weighs mobile-friendly Web design in 2015, having a mobile-friendly and -accessible website has become a necessity. Ignoring this segment of Web users can be detrimental to your storage company’s financial health. In the case of Gotham’s website, mobile and tablet users increased more than twofold in two years, making up 44 percent of all Web traffic by 2015. Not able to redo your entire site? Implementing an “m-dot” site, like m.gothaministorage.com, gives users a mobile experience of keys areas of your site.
Paid and Organic Search Traffic: The Makings of a Great Month
The self-storage space is a competitive one, and if you’re located in the New York City market, this effect only intensifies. Paying for ads in the search space can mean the difference between a good month and a great one. For example, in 2016, more than 20 percent of the Web traffic that visited Gotham Mini Storage’s website came from paid search ads—and one in five of these site visitors contacted us about renting a space.
Visitors to your site who come through organic methods—meaning they searched for “storage space” online and clicked on your website in the search result—are an even better indication if your website is doing well. Google and other search engines “reward” websites who play by their rules with higher rankings in search engine results, and these higher rankings mean Web users will more likely click on your blue link. In 2016, organic visitors accounted for 48 percent of all traffic for Gotham, and nearly one-fourth of those organic visits ended in a conversion—which means they contacted us about renting a unit.
So, when you’re looking at your monthly, quarterly and year-end reports for your self-storage properties, evaluate whether you’re meeting the needs of the potential customers around you. Is your website easy to use or a relic from the last decade? And embrace the many advertising avenues open to you, including digital marketing.
Stephen Schwartz is the co-founder of Broadway Storage, a firm that specializes in the development and acquisition of industrial properties, including Gotham Mini Storage.