People spend a lot of time online doing everything from checking social media to buying things to finding the right self-storage unit. Whether they’re on a mobile device or a laptop, they’re switching between search engines, apps, social platforms and maps, and you must reach them wherever they are. This is why digital advertising is important. By harnessing its potential, you can connect with larger audiences in real time and nurture them through their journey toward renting with your self-storage facility.
According to marketing-research firm MarTech Advisor, digital advertising is “the practice of delivering promotional content to users through various online and digital channels. It leverages mediums such as social media, e-mail, search engines, mobile apps, affiliate programs and websites to show advertisements and messages to audiences.” Whereas non-digital forms of promotion limit your ability to target and track interactions with your content, digital allows you to pursue the audience that’s most likely to rent from your business. You can also use digital ads to demonstrate what makes your property unique, such as security features or special unit types.
Digital advertising is universal, flexible and adaptable to the channels your buyers frequent. You can leverage it to nurture your prospects in a personal way until they decide to become customers.
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads often make up most of a company’s digital-advertising spend. These ads, which display at the top and bottom of organic search results, provide context within a search. If someone is looking for “self-storage units in Palo Alto, CA,” for example, he’ll see facility ads as sponsored posts on the results page.
The PPC strategy for your business must include keywords you’d like to bid on and ads optimized for those terms. Base it on your business goals, competition and opportunities for website traffic. You also want to be able to connect with users at the right place in their search. I suggest researching your competitors and their PPC strategy. The more ads that appear, the harder it may be to rise above them, and the more expensive each click may be for your company.
Display ads can be placed in a variety of places, from websites to social media. They can incorporate text, video, images and flash to connect visually with potential renters. Use display ads when you want to add diversity to your strategy. You can run them across multiple devices and channels or specifically target them to an individual website.
Your potential customers spend time on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. By advertising and engaging with them on these platforms, you can share valuable content and highlight what makes your property unique. Social media ads allow you to access a large, active user base and connect with them on a more personal level. Research to find out where your audience spends most of its time. Facebook continues to get a large share of digital-advertising spend.
One of the most effective forms of digital advertising is retargeting, also known as remarketing, which keeps your brand in front of people even after they leave your website. It works by following prospects to the different websites they visit, displaying your ad to keep you top-of-mind. Not only is this great for brand awareness, it drives a lot of conversions, making it a powerful tactic in your advertising arsenal.
Ad targeting has always been critical to marketers, and digital advertising makes it easier than ever to communicate with the right audience at the right time with the right message. Targeting your digital ads allows you to segment your audience, test and optimize for improved metrics. For example, you can create separate campaigns to reach different groups. In self-storage, these might include students, people relocating to the area, boat and RV owners, and homeowners who are downsizing.
Here are some other targeting methods:
- Demographic targeting shows ads to potential customers based on information such as age, gender and location.
- Contextual targeting allows you to deliver ads based on the content with which your customers engage.
- For PPC ads, keyword and topic targeting come into play.
- Device targeting allows you to specifically serve ads to potential customers based on their device (mobile, tablet or desktop).
Digital advertising is an effective way to increase conversions, generate brand awareness and expand your customer base. That said, your strategy must include clearly defined goals and success metrics to gauge whether a campaign is working. Common goals include customer acquisition, lead volume and brand awareness (social media followers and engagement).
Start by identifying your specific audience for these ads. Many self-storage operators begin by defining their ideal customer and the different reasons customers choose to rent a unit. Identify the renter’s behavior as he travels through the storage experience as well as the channels he frequents. You can create multiple ad strategies to cater to specific demographics and interests. If you don’t know what they are, try different channels, measure your results and then adjust.
Digital advertising sometimes requires a qualified team of professionals to implement, as you might not have the bandwidth to actively monitor your campaigns. Depending on your needs and resources, outsourcing to a front-end marketing partner or digital marketing agency might be the best way to ensure your investment is providing the highest returns.
Digital advertising offers you more than a customer-acquisition channel. Use new technologies and tracking methods to create dynamic ad content targeted specifically to your ideal audience. Nurture buyers through the rental experience, beginning with an initial search. Digital advertising should be a holistic part of your overall marketing strategy in which you create a cohesive experience for renters across multiple platforms, channels and devices. It evolves quickly and has become indispensable to self-storage marketers and operators.
Celena Canode is a marketing campaign manager at G5, a provider of digital marketing solutions 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. Through its Intelligent Marketing Cloud, G5 delivers performance and scalability through predictive analytics, hyper-personalized customer experiences and continuous spend optimization. For more information, call 800.554.1965; visit www.getg5.com.