Making Self-Storage Marketing Fun: Try a ‘Super’ Approach

Self-storage operators can learn a lot about marketing from Super Bowl ads. Big budgets aside, these brands have learned how to cut through the marketing noise to deliver their message.

Amy Campbell, Senior Editor

January 18, 2019

4 Min Read

In a few weeks, millions of people will host parties, crowd into local bars or simply curl up on the couch to watch the Super Bowl. While the action on the field is the main course, the dessert of the day is definitely the halftime commercials. Long considered a favorite part of this annual celebration, the ad spots aim to make viewers laugh, cry or be inspired, or to simply raise awareness. All are intended to be shared on social media and get people talking about specific brands. And it works. In the weeks following these commercials, there’ll be video compilations, rankings of the best-to-worst, perhaps some memes, and a lot of talk and sharing. As far as marketing goes, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Of course, these companies have the resources (money, talent, etc.) to create these amazing marketing spots. Those 30 seconds of air time will cost around $5 million, so it better be good. That’s just to air the ad. Think about the true price tag to producing one of these memorable spots.

Self-storage operators may lack the big budget and the talent (unless you’re related to a celebrity) to produce an ad worthy of the Super Bowl, but it is possible to create an effective—and even fun—marketing campaign. There’s no doubt it can be challenging to find fresh ways to promote self-storage, but it can be done.

In fact, ISS has dozens of great video on its dedicated video site, Self-Storage TV. For example, Casa De Mini Storage in San Jose, Calif., has produced several entertaining marketing videos. They contain a sports theme, with staff dressed up in uniforms, and simple graphics. Another storage company that regularly churns out quality material is Hawaii Self Storage. Again, what makes the videos enjoyable to watch are their themes. One of my all-time favorites is this entry from Access Self Storage. It contains a simple concept that produces hilarious results.

Of course, engaging marketing content isn’t limited to just video or commercials. Operators can also be funny, inspiring or charming via a blog, flier, newsletter, on social media and other advertising outlets like direct mail, through digital marketing, and even their referral promotions. Once you have a great concept, the options are endless.

Here are some pointers to help you craft your own “super” marketing:

  • Think about your target audience. If you’re seeking a specific group, such as Millennials or apartment residents, consider how you can fashion a message just for them.

  • Be authentic. This goes with the bullet above. You can be corny or sarcastic, but you must be genuine. People have zero tolerance for fakeness these days.

  • Try a theme or a catchphrase. Again, think about your audience. For example, if you’re looking to attract apartment dwellers, you might focus on their lack of space in a witty way. Think about what’s happening in the world today. What pop culture references can you include in your material?

  • Provide entertainment, inspiration or education. Just promoting your storage business is boring. Offer content that connects people to your brand! Share your knowledge as a self-storage expert.

  • Consider your platforms. What works for a video might not come off the same in a blog or flier. When crafting your message, consider your mode of delivery to ensure it makes sense. However, you can create a campaign that works across several platforms by tying them together with a theme, colors or short phrase.

  • Avoid buzzwords. We’re all guilty of this. I guarantee your audience is tired of hearing the words “state-of-the-art,” “best in class,” “bells and whistles” and “think outside the box.” Just give these phrases a rest. If you’re not sure which terms to avoid, do a search for “overused buzzwords.”

  • Keep the conversation going. Marketing isn’t a “one and done” situation (buzzword alert!). You need to promote your message across multiple channels for a dedicated period for it to be effective.

If you’re ready to ramp up your marketing this year, join us at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, April 1-4, in Las Vegas. The dedicated marketing track offers seven seminars covering a variety of topics, while the Digital Marketing Workshop delves into tactics for online programs. They’re guaranteed to inspire your next marketing campaign.

We’re all bombarded by marketing noise every day, which makes it difficult for the messages to find their mark. As you watch this year’s Super Bowl ads, consider how these brands are breaking through the clatter. Then get your team together and think about ways you can do the same.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Senior Editor, Inside Self Storage

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