We live in a digital world, and there are more ways than ever to market your self-storage business. This is a blessing and a curse. With so many options, you can explore various strategies and platforms to reach your target audience and find ones that fit your budget. On the downside, it can be difficult to know which are best.
Thankfully, modern marketing comes with improved tracking abilities that let you know how your programs are performing and adjust them to get the biggest return on investment (ROI). Tracking is the only way you’ll know which campaigns are working. The way to optimize your marketing spend is to know which platforms and messaging are driving the highest volume of inquires, reservations, move-ins or whatever it is you hope to gain. Tracking allows you to quickly adapt and maximize ROI.
Let’s look at common methods for tracking your self-storage marketing today. I’ll also share popular metrics to follow and tips for analyzing and leveraging the data.
Almost every online marketing platform comes with an insightful tracking method. For example, Facebook allows you to install a conversion pixel, or a short piece of code, on your website to track the number of people who have completed a specific action. Leverage these tools to your advantage!
One of the most robust, useful instruments for tracking your marketing efforts is Google Analytics. This is a free, simple way to understand who’s visiting your self-storage website and from where. The platform allows you to create goals and rules to record user activity. For example, you might say that any customer who fills out your online-reservation form and makes it to your “thank-you” page counts as a “completed reservation.”
By tagging your marketing URLs with Google’s Urchin Tracking Module parameters, you’ll better understand the sources of your website traffic, too. Google Analytics will rely on these tags to show how all your other online marketing—email, pay-per-click ads, social media, etc.—relates with your website. This data is vital in determining where you’re getting the most value out of your marketing.
The tools for tracking your online marketing are more robust than ever, but you also need to track your offline campaigns. A popular method is to drive customers who learn about your self-storage business offline—such as via direct mail, radio commercial or print ad—to a specific phone number or website landing page. For example, you might funnel all print-ad readers to a unique phone number, but all radio listeners to special Web page. Using the tracking tools attached to those platforms, you can easily see how many inquiries each campaign generated. In fact, driving folks to your website is a great way to combine your offline and online data, as it’ll feed into your Google Analytics.
Of course, you can always just ask new tenants, “Where did you hear about us?” That’s the simplest tracking method in the book. Whatever tracking tools you use, be consistent in your measurement, so the value of a conversion is the same across all marketing channels.
What to Track
Any marketing campaign you use for your self-storage business should tie directly to an important goal. Are you trying to capture more online reservations? Phone inquiries? Walk-ins? Move-ins? Whatever your aim, use it as your North Star and measure against it. Make sure you’re giving prospective customers a call-to-action so they do something, whether it’s visit your store, reserve a unit online, etc. This is how you’ll track engagement and success.
In marketing, it helps to know exactly what you’re measuring. Below is a list of common metrics to track:
- Number of website visitors
- Number of website visitors who reserved a unit
- Number of unit reservations that converted to actual rentals
- Total cost for each marketing program/campaign
- Number of unit reservations made via phone or Web
- Number of move-ins (walk-ins vs. scheduled)
- Cost per click
- Cost per reservation
- Cost per move-in
- Tenant average length of stay
- Average rental price for each unit size
Analyzing the Data
When it comes to evaluating your self-storage marketing data, organization is key. You’re likely running multiple campaigns at a time, as you should. This allows you to test and see what works best, and ultimately to get the most out of your marketing spend. However, you must keep the data from all these individual efforts organized so you can easily analyze, compare and adjust as necessary.
Pay attention to your self-storage marketing statistics, but also to your team. Qualitative information can be just as important as quantitative. Are managers telling you about an influx of foot traffic? That could be tied to a recent email blast, but correlation isn’t necessarily causation. There are things happening outside and around your marketing efforts that can have an impact. For example, did the facility down the road fill up, and now new tenants are coming to you? Did the college semester just end, and now students need a place for their stuff? Keep macro events in mind as you evaluate your efforts.
At the end of the day, you need to look for patterns and then react. It all starts with setting clear baseline expectations and goals for each campaign. It’s also important to know the value of a marketing conversion. In other words, how much are you willing to pay to acquire a new customer through each method?
Look at the Big Picture
There are more self-storage facilities than ever before—and more on the way. As you operate in this increasingly competitive industry, it’s vital to track your marketing and understand where you’re getting the most ROI. There’s no one method that works for every operation, but tracking will help you succeed no matter your budget or goals.
Trace Hughes is a senior copywriter at Storable, a supplier of cloud-based access control, management software, marketing, payment processing, website development and other services for the self-storage industry. He has nearly a decade of marketing and communications experience, having worked with several advertising agencies prior to joining Storable. He believes clear, compelling communication is the cornerstone to any successful business. For more information, e-mail [email protected]; visit www.storable.com.