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Inside Self-Storage Magazine: Conducting a Marketing Audit

January 1, 2006

4 Min Read
Inside Self-Storage Magazine: Conducting a Marketing Audit

Every self-storage operator needs to make at least an annual examination of his marketing plan to ensure his strategies are optimal. In essence, you conduct a marketing audit, during which you ask pointed questions to see if you are doing everything possible to maximize the profitability of your site.

You have two choices when completing your assessment: You can do it yourself or hire a qualified expert. I suggest you take advantage of some help. No matter how good you are in the marketing department, its always good to have a fresh set of eyes examine your business and provide input. If you choose to use a professional, ask the following questions before sealing the deal:

  1. What is your marketing background, practically and academically?

  2. What results have your recommendations reaped for clients?

  3. Do all of your ideas require a budget to implement?

  4. What do I need to maximize my marketing effectiveness?

The Checklist

Whether you work on your own or with a consultant, following are key questions to address during the audit process:

Yellow Pages

  1. Does your headline entice people to read the rest of the ad?

  2. Have you listed all your facilitys best features, and are they all clearly associated with benefits?

  3. Does the ad highlight your unique selling position?

  4. Does the ad include an easy-to-read map?

  5. Does the ad direct customers to your website?

  6. Does the ad include the number for your storage hotline?

Direct Mail

  1. Do you using direct-mail programs? If so, are you tracking their results?

  2. Are you testing different types of mailers to see what works best?

  3. Do you refresh your mailing list regularly?

Public Relations

  1. Do you make regular efforts to get news coverage by local and industry media, continually watching for hot topics you can tie into storage-related news?

  2. Have you established relationships with key people at local and industry media outlets?

  3. Do you stay involved with community events?

  4. Do you send out press releases when your facility participates in something newsworthy?

Repeat Customers

  1. Do you keep a list of people who have rented from you in the past and communicate with them regularly?

  2. Is your customer service good enough to make people want to come back?

  3. Do you offer specials or promotions for past customers?

Referral Program

  1. Do you have a formal referral program?

  2. Do you compensate people who send you new business?

  3. Do you hand out referral cards when new tenants sign their lease or current customers move out?

  4. Do you offer incentives to local businesses to refer their customers to you?

Ancillary Income

  1. What additional sources or revenue do you have at your facility? Do you sell everything your customers need or want?

  2. Is your office set up to display and sell boxes, locks and other retail products?

  3. Do you offer ancillary services such as boat/RV, wine or records storage?

  4. Do you have appropriate signage posted throughout the facility to advertise your retail products and ancillary services?

  5. Do you advertise your ancillaries in ads, mailers, fliers, etc.?

  6. Have you created bundles of products and services that make them attractive and easy to buy?

Curb Appeal

  1. Does your facility look like a place you would want to rent from yourself?

  2. Is your facility clean, orderly and regularly maintained?

  3. Is there anything you can do to make the site more appealing?

Employees

  1. Are your employees sales-oriented individuals?

  2. Are all employees involved in the marketing process?

  3. Do you share marketing results with your staff to make them feel part of the plan?

Storage Hotline

  1. Do you have a separate phone line set up that allows people to get free information about storage 24/7/365?

  2. Does your hotline ultimately lead to your facility as the best option for people to choose, i.e., does it highlight the elements that make your facility unique?

  3. Do you adequately promote your hotline in advertising, mailers, etc.?

These are the most important items to consider during your marketing audit. You need solid answers to all of the above questions before you can make the appropriate changes. This is why an annual review is key to the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. A regular assessment will not only keep your facility on course, it will help maximize your overall profitability.

Fred Gleeck is a self-storage coach and consultant who helps owners and operators maximize profit. He is an expert in the field of information and seminar marketing and the author of more than 10 books. To learn more about new marketing ideas revealed only in his live events, visit www.storageseminar.com. For more information, call 800.345.3325; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.selfstoragesuccess.com. To subscribe to Mr. Gleecks e-zine, send an e-mail to [email protected].

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