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Inside Self-Storage 7/99: Magnetic Marketing

April 1, 1999

3 Min Read
Inside Self-Storage 7/99: Magnetic Marketing

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Magnetic Marketing

Drawing quite a following

It's such asimple thing, but it can make a significant impact.

As a self-storage owner or operator, one of your primary concerns is always payment.How do you, without assuming the cost for distributing a monthly bill, remind your tenantshow much and when to pay, for which unit, and where to send the check? Enter MagneticMarketing, a Lubbock, Texas-based mail-order distributor of Rent Reminder Magnets™and storage payment envelopes.

Co-owned by Eddie Bell and Rick Crumley, both self-storage storage operators of severalfacilities in the Lubbock area, Magnetic Marketing Self-Storage Supply was founded inFebruary 1995. "We had gotten into the storage business in about 1990, and after acouple of years we noticed we were getting a lot of phone calls from people with the samequestions: What's my unit number? When's my rent due? How much do I owe?" explainsBell. "Finally, we started thinking that if we could put this information on amagnet, something they could keep in their house on a refrigerator or filing cabinet, thatwould really cut down on those calls. Plus, it would remind tenants that they had a unitrented--some simply forget."

After utilizingthe magnets in their own operations, and having great success with them, the pair decidedto market their idea to the industry, beginning with a direct-mail campaign and laterincorporating classified advertising. Now, four years later, approximately 3,500facilities use them. "We sell them all over the country," says Bell, who pointsout that even some extremely large operators, such as Storage USA, are taking advantage ofthis little perk.

The magnets, the size of a business card, include the facility's name, address andphone number, and contain spaces wherein the owner can write in each tenant's unit number,payment amount and due date. They also remind tenants to include their unit number withtheir payment. "They're our biggest seller," says Bell. "Because mostplaces don't bill, the renter uses the magnet as their connection to the facility."

In addition to reminder magnets, the company also markets pre-addressed, security,payment envelopes that can be provided to the tenant at the time of lease signing."We include these envelopes in every late notice or other correspondence aswell," Bell notes. "The envelopes are not only convenient, but they ensure thatthe payment is addressed properly. In the upper-left corner is a space for the tenant tofill in their name and unit number, along with a box they can check to indicate an addresschange. This helps keep you up to date with your tenants."

Perhaps thebiggest boon is that for less than 50 cents per customer, you have a silent reminderworking towards ensuring payment for your business. Because magnetic marketing is able toorder large quantities of the magnets at one time, the retail price is considerably lowerthan what an owner would spend if he bought them direct from the manufacturer. Accordingto Bell, the average order includes 500 magnets and sells for $189.95. Larger ordersreduce the price per unit still more.

While Magnetic Marketing also sells rubber stamps, pens, banners, pennants andstreamers, signs, key rings and magnetic car signs, Bell says there is no doubt that theenvelopes and rent-reminder magnets are their bread and butter. "There's a lot thatthis little magnet does for the customer, aside from acting as a promotional piece,"he says.

"I think the most impressive thing about this business is the way it hasexpanded," Bell says. "It's just been really growing, and we're trying to makeit grow faster." For more information about Magnetic Marketing, call (800) 687-4947;fax (806) 794-5141; Web www.mag-marketing.com.

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