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Are You Floundering With Your Offline Marketing? Hiring Help for Your Self-Storage Advertising

Offline marketing is still important in self-storage. Options like print ads, radio and TV spots, billboards, direct mail, fliers, brochures, and others can have a meaningful impact. But with so much choice, you may want help purchasing or designing these things. Here’s how to choose the right professional for the job and leverage the partnership.

Mohala Johnson

August 11, 2022

7 Min Read
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When it comes to marketing for your self-storage business, there’s a ton of emphasis on digital these days; but offline marketing is still an important part of your advertising mix. I’m talking about channels like print ads in newspapers and magazines, TV commercials, radio spots, billboards, direct mail, printed materials like brochures and fliers, etc. These are still great ways to get your facility in front of customers. But with so many options, it can be tough to know which ones make sense for your goals and budget. Plus, some can be tricky to purchase, design and create.

Outside help can be a real boon. If you’re looking to revive your “old-school” marketing methods or get your feet wet in some offline channels, consider outsourcing. You can manage these efforts in-house, but there are tangible benefits to hiring an outside agency vs. trying to build, coordinate and execute campaigns and measure their results on your own.

Assess Your Needs

Before you consider offline marketing and whether outsourcing is the right move for your self-storage operation, assess your business needs. Start by defining your goals. What methods are you using now, and what are their strengths and weaknesses? What do you want to accomplish through advertising?

Meet with your team and have a discussion. You don’t have to adopt all the suggestions pitched, but it’s interesting to see the ideas your peers or subordinates have to offer. Understanding different perspectives helps crystalize the way advertising works for various individuals, and brainstorming helps ensure that you’ll make informed decisions based on need and apply your spending accordingly.

Enjoy the Benefits

If you conclude that your self-storage offline marketing would benefit from the expertise of a professional or agency, prepare to enjoy several great benefits. Since advertising is their singular focus, they know how to sell companies and products to audiences, and they have tried and true methods and contacts readily available for your use. They’re also equipped with analytics and an understanding of how to spend money to generate more business. With the help of data from previous campaigns, they can create a unique plan for your budget and needs.

A good marketing agency will be able to understand the audience demographics within your target area and may be able to suggest additional markets to mine based on the results of previous campaigns. You’ll certainly pay for these luxury services, but they’ll help determine which marketing methods best suit your goals while taking into account your budget and audience.

Choose a Partner

The larger your company’s commitment to offline marketing, the more difficult it is to manage in-house. Without leaning on professional expertise to design, create and distribute items, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, confused and, quite frankly, lost. For example, most self-storage operators don’t know the first thing about TV shoots or how billboard pricing works. So, it pays to let an expert handle the heavy lifting while you focus on running and growing your business.

When setting out to find a partner, there are many national and even international advertising agencies from which to choose. However, there likely smaller providers right in your area that might be a perfect fit for your needs. A good one will be able to give you estimates on future performance. Ask for data and projections based on your budget and goals. Though there’s no way to 100% guarantee 100results, you want to agree on some level of expectation and ensure you’re on the same page regarding messaging and modes of delivery.

You also want to find a company that understands self-storage and knows your market. An ideal provider will know your community and geographic targets as well as which marketing methods do and don’t work in these areas. This isn’t to say there’s only one right way to conduct offline advertising, but you have to dig in, do homework and ask questions to find the vendor that aligns with your needs and vision.

When a provider understands your community and culture, it’s often easier to agree on language and messaging for projects. After all, you’re hiring an agency to not only work for you but to potentially represent you in public. Conduct interviews with multiple candidates. Ask for references as well as examples of previous work. Don’t be afraid to keep looking if a vendor doesn’t feel like the right fit. There’s nothing wrong with shopping around. When you find the right partner, you’ll know it!

Decide on an Approach

Once you’ve chosen an offline-marketing provider, it’s important to stick to your budget. Don’t be manipulated into increasing your spend or spreading your money too thin just to try everything at your disposal. Initially, you may be tempted to jump into every channel. Fight this urge. It’s far better to focus on a few items and do them really well than to execute poorly across many areas. Just go into the experience with the understanding that you’re trying something new, and results may vary.

To get a sense of what may be working locally and gather ideas you may want to try, pay close attention to what’s being used in your market. Turn it into a game to see what types of ads you can spot. Keep an eye and ear out for TV and radio ads, event and school sponsorships, coupons in local publications or value packs, and even vehicle decals or wraps. You’ll be surprised by what you’ve been seeing subconsciously every day without realizing it.

Once you’ve identified ads you like, discuss them with your marketing agency. They’ll no doubt have opinions and recommendations. Take these under advisement, but ultimately it’s your money to spend as you see fit. Depending on your budget, it’s often beneficial to diversify your ad dollars where appropriate. For example, grouping campaigns like radio ads and billboards may generate more traffic than rack cards and TV ads. Similarly, distributing fliers and placing an ad in the local newspaper can gain interest from the community.

Not everyone is glued to digital formats, so offline ads can sometimes have a higher impact than anticipated if you and your partner conduct due diligence and research your target audience. This may also mean you need to be willing to limit or expand an ad campaign to achieve your marketing goals.

Understand the Costs

The cost to outsource your offline marketing will vary based on the scope of services desired. An average budget ranges from 4% to 12% of a self-storage facility’s overall revenue. This’ll allow you to pursue multiple channels simultaneously, though you may still be limited in scope or some pursuits like highly produced TV commercials. Some agencies even have basic packages you can buy to get things started.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can budget 15% to 30% of revenue. The idea is that spending more money reaps a bigger return. It opens more possibilities that can pay off significantly, but it’s certainly a financial commitment. This approach is really reserved for when you’re ready to hire a full-service marketing agency and hand them the reins to leverage the channels and messaging they believe will create the best brand awareness and bring in the most business. Though it requires a sizable investment, it’s bound to yield results—certainly more than you’re likely to secure on your own.

Keep in mind that many agencies require you to sign on for a certain number of months, so be sure your contract aligns with your budget. The reason for this is most offline campaigns can take time to be effective. If you only need a quick ad for a one-month special, you might have better luck through digital advertising.

Find Your Comfort Zone

When it comes to offline marketing for your self-storage business, there are many available channels. Thankfully, there are also many options for hiring outsourced support.  There’s never any reason to settle. You want to be comfortable with your chosen provider. Choose one who listens and is able to tailor the experience to your specific needs and goals. They’re here to help, so don’t let the logistics scare you!

Mohala Johnson is the director of web technology for Tellus Development Ltd., a real estate and development firm that operates more than 30 self-storage facilities in the Southeast. With more than 10 years of management and customer-service experience, she handles the company’s digital and print marketing. Writing has always been a passion of hers, and she’s excited to share her knowledge with the self-storage industry. Connect with her at www.linkedin.com/in/mohalajohnson.

About the Author(s)

Mohala Johnson

Director of Web Technology, Tellus Development LTD

Mohala Johnson is the director of Web technology for Tellus Development LTD, a real estate and development firm that operates more than 30 facilities in the Southeast United States. With more than 10 years management and customer-service experience, she handles the company’s digital and print marketing. Writing has always been a passion of hers and she is excited to share her knowledge with the self-storage industry. Connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mohalajohnson. For more information, visit www.tellusltd.com.

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