Content marketing is a tactic you’ll inevitably need to add to your toolkit to properly market your self-storage business. But what is it, and why should you invest your time, money or creativity?
Content marketing is all about developing unique and relevant content for your target audience, with the goal of attracting new customers. It’s rooted in knowing what people need and want from your company. Good content is important for multiple reasons:
- It helps increase organic search engine optimization (SEO).
- It directs traffic to your website.
- It heightens brand awareness.
- It increases reliable leads.
Content marketing starts with a strategy that involves creating, publishing and distributing authentic information your audience values. In addition to all the digital benefits, it engages and establishes trust with prospective customers.
It also provides a complementary solution to paid advertising. If you have the manpower and skill set, it’s an effective, affordable, scalable way to market your facility.
Finally, it increases your ability to control your website traffic and create reliable leads. Think about it: There’s longevity to creating evergreen content you own, that can continuously generate leads long after the initial publish date.
So, what qualifies as content marketing? It can be as simple as a blog post or as in-depth as a video, infographic, checklist or slideshow. Here are some examples:
Blogs. The key to writing blogs is to provide value, so consider addressing common issues your target audience might face. Examples of effective posts for self-storage operators include those that explain how to do something, such as “how to declutter and organize your space” or “how to pack properly for a move.” Lists like “5 tips for spring cleaning” will also gain traction. Just keep in mind that your blogs should follow online-marketing best practices, including keyword research, to ensure they’re helping to improve organic SEO and drive website traffic and leads. Videos. Video has become the most popular form of content to consume. It’s engaging and will grab your audience’s attention. It also allows you to demonstrate your brand’s personality and unique value proposition. Examples include facility tours and how-tos, such as how to pack a unit safely. Another approach is to highlight is the many uses for self-storage beyond storing stuff, such band-rehearsal space or art studios, if your facility allows either of these uses.
Gated assets. These content offerings, generally hidden behind an online form, require the user to give you something, such as his name and e-mail address, before he can access or download them. The goal is to generate lead or contacts. For example, you might create a storage-tips checklist and offer it as a downloadable PDF, or a slideshow about how to prepare an RV for storage in the off season.
Now that you’ve created great content, how do you deliver it? Distribution is the marketing part of content marketing. To effectively promote your information, you must identify the appropriate platforms so it’s delivered to the right people at the right time. Here are some channels to consider:
- Search engines: When people seek a solution, they turn to Google. When you’re creating your content, make sure it’s high-quality, relevant and works in conjunction with SEO best practices. This will ensure it ranks well on search engines and is found by your targeted audience. Creating fresh content also helps search engines understand your website is current.
- Social media: This should be an integral part of your distribution plan. Make sure your content is shareworthy to increase your reach. Organic social media also gives the ability to evaluate what type of content performs well, and what you should optimize with paid social ads.
- E-mail: This is one of the most valuable distribution channels, as it provides a direct link to the loyal audience you already have. Creating new content also gives you a reason to contact your subscribers. However, keep your targeted persona in mind and segment your list to ensure your content remains relevant.
- Syndication: Publishing your content on another reputable website helps build credibility. It also allows you to share your content with a larger audience that might not be captured in your database yet.
Content marketing can and should be used in conjunction with your other digital advertising to increase exposure and generate top-of-funnel interest and leads. You can use pay-per-click or Facebook ads to promote your content to a targeted audience. You can also set up remarketing campaigns to serve up your content to someone who previously visited your site but didn’t make a reservation. Providing useful and relevant information helps develop a relationship and positions you as a reliable expert in the industry.
The goal of content marketing is to drive awareness and attract new customers to your business. It helps establish trust and keeps you top-of-mind when prospects are seeking your service. The best way to figure out what type of content resonates with your target personas is to test, evaluate and try again. When it comes to expanding your reach, try pairing your content marketing strategy with digital advertising, or enlist the help of a of a marketing company that can help you create the right mix.
Ashleigh Hinrichs is the marketing campaign manager at G5, which provides Digital Experience Management software and marketing services to the self-storage industry. The company’s offerings include responsive-design websites, search engine marketing, social media, reputation management, lead tracking and management, analytics, and client-performance management. For more information, call 800.656.8183; visit www.getg5.com.