Self-storage operators usually feel strong in their business as they come out of the busy summer months, thanks to peak lease activity. Summer sees units filling with college students, families moving between school sessions, and people who need climate-controlled space to protect items against extreme heat. Fall and winter, on the other hand, are traditionally the slowest seasons for storage rentals. Historical trends point to October and November as being extremely sluggish.
But 2020 has been far from normal in terms of trends! Whether you experience a traditional fall slowdown or break with the norm and have an uptick in leases, you’ll want to “weatherproof” your marketing to stay ahead.
Today’s renters have the power to find and select a self-storage unit in the palm of their hands. With mobile, your customers are searching in the moment and on their own schedule. A one-size-fits-all strategy just won’t cut it when trying to attract renters. With a local focus, you’ll entice customers looking for storage close to their homes or businesses. Try the following tactics to build a location-specific marketing plan that drives qualified traffic to your site.
Digital advertising is a must for properties that need to fill vacant units quickly. Displaying rates for available units in search ads can generate more inquiries and online leases from highly qualified renters. The key is to ensure pricing is consistent between what renters see in an online ad and on your website.
Next, monitor which campaigns are driving the highest number of phone calls or website inquiries. If you find one campaign or message isn’t quite hitting the mark, you can reallocate budget to a higher-performing campaign. Of course, this can be time-consuming, and in the world of advertising, that can mean wasted spend. Find an advertising partner that uses automation technologies to do the heavy lifting.
According an article on Think With Google, 87 percent of people go to organic search first when they want to rent a storage unit. To show up at every touchpoint throughout your potential buyer’s journey, make SEO a big part of your plan. Since the Internet is always changing, search engines update their algorithms regularly to provide higher-quality search results to users. Self-storage properties need websites that are optimized for local search, so they can attract people who are actively searching for storage in their neighborhood.
Your reputation is your brand, and this critical piece of your business needs a strong focus with an active strategy for responding to online reviews—positive and negative. Research from marketing firm BrightLocal shows that 85 percent of buyers trust recommendations from their online peers. This means your online reviews strongly influence a prospect’s decision. One negative review could be the difference between vacant and occupied units.
Reviews also have an impact on your organic search ranking, as search engines like Google and Bing use them in their algorithms. Reviews indicate the validity of your website. Managing your online reputation is essential to showing up in searches and attracting prospects. Responding to all reviews—good or bad—shows you take feedback seriously and are actively working to create a positive rental experience.
Google My Business Listing
A Google My Business (GMB) account gives you more than just a business listing. This free profile lets you easily connect with customers across Google Search and Maps. Beyond important information such as your facility hours, address and phone number, GMB allows you to showcase property photos, answer customer questions and respond to reviews.
A complete, accurate and optimized listing garners the same quantity of SERP (search engine results page) real estate as paid ads and organic results. It’s key to local SEO because Google relies on relevance, distance and prominence to rank websites on a local search results page.
The above marketing tactics help drive qualified traffic to your business, even when seasonal trends are less reliable, making it easy for users to search, find and rent a storage unit from your company. It’s imperative to prepare your self-storage business for the slow season now. Use digital advertising, SEO, reputation management and GMB to show up at every touchpoint along the renter’s online journey and drive the most qualified traffic to your website.
Celena Canode is a marketing campaign manager at G5, a provider of digital marketing solutions to the self-storage industry. It’s a predictive marketing software-as-a-service company that uses artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies to help marketers amplify their impact. Through its Intelligent Marketing Cloud, G5 delivers performance and scalability through predictive analytics, hyper-personalized customer experiences and continuous spend optimization. Founded in 2005, G5 provides marketing solutions for more than 8,000 properties containing 2 million units throughtout Canada and the United States. Based in Bend, Ore., it's backed by private-equity investor PeakEquity Partners. For more information, call 800.554.1965; visit www.getg5.com.