Although there may be a point in everyone’s life when they need self-storage, “everyone” should not be your target market. We know life events can trigger the need for storage—moving/relocating, relationship-status change, a new baby, losing a family a member or reorganizing space—and most of our customers come from within 10 miles of the facility. People in transition are our broad target, but for the best return on your marketing dollars, it’s essential to identify a market specific to your business.
How? The following three steps can help ensure your marketing efforts are geared toward the correct audience for the best return on investment.
1. Look at the type of storage you offer. The first step in creating a customer profile is to consider your inventory. Do you have small, locker-size units? Temperature-controlled units? Units with wide doors? Next, think about the types of customers those units might serve. Lockers and small units are great for people who need to store seasonal items. Temperature-controlled units are great for those storing business inventory. Drive-up units with wide doors are great for vehicles like boats and RVs.
2. Use your customer data. If you’re not collecting marketing data from each inquiry and customer who visits your facility, start now! This is the second step in forming your targeted customer profile. You want both demographic and storage-specific information. For example:
- How old are they?
- What gender are they?
- How far away do they live from the facility?
- What they are storing?
- Why are they storing?
- Why did they choose your facility?
- How did they hear about you?
- Where do they get their information?
Collecting and analyzing this data can help you understand your specific market. For example, are most of your customers coming from within 5 miles of the facility and storing because they’re moving? This becomes your typical customer profile and part of your marketing efforts.
3. Look at your competition’s marketing. Examining competitors’ efforts can assist you in creating your target profile, both by looking at what they’re doing well and what they’re doing poorly. Does their marketing cater to a certain demographic? Is that a market you can also serve? Or, is there a market in your area they’re completely missing?
Doing these three things will help you narrow in on your target market. Using as much specific data as possible will help you decide on the best strategies and initiatives and generate marketing ideas. Then advertising can be placed in the most effective locations to reach the target. Identifying your facility’s market using facility, customer and competition data is the first step in any marketing strategy.
Melissa Stiles, director of marketing for Storage Asset Management Inc., is responsible for the direction of marketing and sales functions of the company’s 80-plus managed self-storage facilities in 24 states as well as its corporate marketing. Her previous experience includes traditional and digital marketing, specifically social media and search engine optimization in the nonprofit and manufacturing sectors. For more information, call 717.779.0044; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.storageassetmanagement.com.