It can be tempting to keep the planning and execution of your company marketing in-house, but is it the right move for your self-storage business? If you’re spending more time compiling data and reacting to market shifts than strategizing and preparing for the future, it’s probably time to consider a marketing partner. A good collaborator will help you reach more prospects by amplifying your impact across multiple channels and providing insight to the performance of your campaigns.
Ways to Tackle Marketing
There are about four primary ways to go about marketing, three of which include some form of outsourcing. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
In house. This is what many self-storage operators do, using their own employees to perform all marketing activities.
- Pros: Intimate knowledge of the brand, dedicated staff, quick communication
- Cons: Lack of experience/expertise, limited resources, no new perspective
Agency. An agency is a specialized team of professionals who work with you on specific marketing initiatives. It may focus on branding, design, advertising or search engine optimization (SEO).
- Pros: Quick results, strong branding, specialized knowledge to supplement in-house efforts
- Cons: Budgetary limitations, lack of industry expertise, priorities may not align, non-scalable solutions
Front end. This is a holistic marketing approach across online channels. It tracks individual traffic sources, so you can calculate conversions and true return on investment for each of your campaigns. Services include digital advertising, SEO, website design, and reputation and social media management.
- Pros: Data-centric, focus on campaigns and tracking, focus on innovation, generally industry-specific
- Cons: Doesn’t address backend campaigns like e-mail, direct mail or pricing of your businesses vs. competition
Full stack. Full-stack marketing works across a variety of disciplines to deliver an all-in-one solution. In addition to all the services provided by front-end marketers, backend management and pricing, and e-mail marketing may also be included.
- Pros: Single vendor, strong backend/accounting knowledge, fills personnel gaps, breadth of knowledge
- Cons: Marketing services are secondary, less specialization, lack of industry data and expertise, many touchpoints within a single company
What You Can Outsource
Knowing the types of marketing partners you can work with is one thing, but understanding where you can gain the most leverage is quite another. Let’s review the types of marketing you can typically outsource.
Website. Pull up your website. How long did it take to load? If it took more than three seconds, 53 percent of mobile users will abandon your site during their search. That’s an important statistic. In the second quarter of 2018, 51 percent of all self-storage queries came from a mobile device, making it imperative that your website is optimized for these users. In March, Google recognized this and started to boost the search engine rank of mobile-friendly websites.
In addition, as your first “leasing consultant,” your website must feature an intuitive, attractive design that leads users down the path to conversion. Offering online leasing can help you convert more prospects because your office is now open 24/7. When you fit into searchers’ schedules—and not the other way around—you reap the rewards.
Social media. Leveraging social media is key to successful marketing and even reputation management. Every piece of content you share, tweet, like or post, regardless of the platform, is an opportunity to connect and engage with current and potential customers. It’s also a chance to reinforce or establish your brand as an authority in the marketplace by opening a channel for two-way conversation.
One of the simplest ways to manage social media is to invest in a tool that automates your efforts. Consider software that monitors your review and social channels so you can respond directly. Many of these tools also have built-in analytics monitoring, making it easy to draw insights to the performance of different campaigns. Once you know what resonates with your audience, you can target your content more directly.
Digital advertising. Software firm Marketo defines digital advertising as a tactic for leveraging the Internet and its properties to deliver promotional ads to consumers on various channels. Simply stated, digital advertising puts you in front of the right people at the right time. It includes paid search, display ads, paid social and remarketing. And, with 65 percent of people clicking on paid ads when they’re ready to buy, advertising is a necessary part of marketing in today’s fast-paced world.
If that sounds like a lot of lingo, let a marketing partner take care of it. This person or company should be an expert in digital advertising who understands the ins and outs of the game: setting budgets, adjusting for seasonality, targeting the correct keywords and locations, etc.
When done correctly, digital advertising doesn’t just drive traffic, it drives insights. Skilled digital advertisers continuously perform A/B testing for audiences, keywords and content, all with an emphasis on delivering the highest performing strategy for your business goals.
Creative. Your brand is at the forefront of everything you do. It’s more than just colors, fonts and a logo. It’s who you are, and that’s not something to be taken lightly. Is your brand authoritative and professional? Are you targeting businesses in need of reliable offsite storage? To convert that audience, your brand first needs to align with your goals to find those types of prospects.
A creative marketing partner will help you define your brand and develop a strategy that speaks to your personas. Firms can do everything from crafting website content to designing new brochures and letterhead. Most important, they can connect you with your audience of choice. For marketers, these are the customers that bring the highest lifetime value to your business.
Questions to Ask a Potential Partner
When selecting a marketing partner, it’s important to ask the right questions to find the right match for your business. Here are a few to get you started:
- What is your experience in the self-storage industry?
- What products and services do you offer, and is there an opportunity to customize my solution?
- Do you have any case studies demonstrating your success?
- How do you assign a main point of contact, and can this person help me with my performance goals?
- Do you have a support team to quickly address my requests?
- What other benefits does our partnership offer?
Choosing to work with a marketing partner can benefit your self-storage business in a big way. Whether you’re filling the gaps with an agency, upping your inbound game with front-end marketing, or offloading all your efforts to a full-stack provider, there are plenty options available to fulfill your needs.
Celena Canode is a marketing campaign manager and Emily Pick is a content marketing manager at G5, which specializes in real estate marketing optimization. As a predictive marketing SaaS company, G5 uses artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies to help marketers amplify their impact. Its Intelligent Marketing Cloud offers predictive analytics, personalized customer experiences, and continuous spend optimization. For more information, call 800.656.8183; visit www.getg5.com.