A well-designed website is crucial in the self-storage industry today. The right design not only increases performance, it has a direct, positive impact on your business bottom line. You not only need an impressive user interface, you need content that defines your brand and initiates the conversion process.
Today’s digitally empowered consumers expect more from a self-storage website than just a basic design containing facility location, unit information and property amenities. They want a website tailored to your unique advantages in the market, plus one that lets them lease with ease. How do you meet these expectations? Here are some guidelines to follow.
Essential Website Elements
First, make sure all contact and location information is accurate and consistent. Provide directions, including proximity to nearby landmarks. Once you know potential renters can reach you, continue with the essential elements of a high-performance website. These include:
- Navigation and organization: Make it easy for searchers to explore your website content. Start with a well-labeled menu in an easy-to-read font. There should be separate pages for unit sizes/prices, property services/amenities and map/directions. If you provide unique storage solutions such as vehicle or wine storage, use a separate page to feature them as well.
- Content and visual elements: Let searchers take an online tour of your property through a welcoming home page and photos of the grounds, office, unit types and parking. If you’re in a highly competitive area, consider adding a video tour.
- Unit pricing and availability: Customers need to know what units you offer, including sizes, a short description and a starting price. Including a floor-plan sketch of each unit including sample furniture, boxes, etc., will help renters visualize their items in your space. Some self-storage companies offer real-time pricing and availability on their website so prospects know exactly what they have to offer and for how much.
- Online engagement: Potential and current renters should be able to complete their customer journey online. This includes selecting a unit, reviewing and signing a contract, paying rent, and contacting your property manager.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Without proper SEO, you can have pages of well-written content, bright photos and the very best amenities in town but still miss out on your share of relevant Web traffic. Optimize your website by tagging the right keywords within your HTML, headlines and images so potential customers find you via search engines.
- Third-party interaction: Make sure that wherever potential renters find you, they’re led to your website. A complete online presence includes a Google My Business page, social media, review websites and additional business listings. Your visual content, contact information and unit information should be consistent across all these platforms.
Chances are, you’re going to outsource your Web design to a third party. If your designer doesn’t know the self-storage industry, bring him up to speed on your company, goals, audience and content. First, describe in detail what you need from your website, using visuals, design lingo and action items. Second, ask questions and respond with feedback. Finally, remember that most design decisions come down to time or money. Know which is more important and how it may change your overall vision for the project.
In the end, you want to give online searchers a reason to call, stop by your facility or lease a unit. You can encourage these actions on your website in several ways—through photos, video tours, unit descriptions, and overall layout and organization. Your website is the first point of contact for most prospective renters, so it needs to reflect what makes your property unique. But it’s more than that; it should deliver qualified leads straight to your management team. The right design does just that.
Celena Canode is a marketing campaign manager at G5, a provider of Digital Experience Management software and services to the self-storage industry. It’s a predictive marketing software-as-a-service company that uses artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies to help marketers amplify their impact. G5’s Creative Studio combines deep real estate industry experience, performance-driven creative design and a passion for making brands stand out. For more information, call 800.656.8183; visit www.getg5.com.