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Telling Your Self-Storage Business Story Through Effective Video-Content Marketing

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If it seems like video content is popping up everywhere, it is! This medium can be an excellent way to tell the story of your self-storage business and deliver marketing messages. Get advice on how to create quality video, where to share it and how to track its effectiveness.

You’ve heard the saying, “Show, don't tell.” That’s how a lot of folks feel about brand and company marketing. Consumers tend to be distrustful of ads at the outset, so if your product or service is indeed superior, it's better to show them. Chalk it up to seeing is believing.

There are countless ways to market your self-storage business. Many amount to telling prospective customers who you are and what you have to offer, which is where video comes in. Outside of a face-to-face encounter, this is your best bet for showing people what makes you, your brand and your facilities unique.

However, video marketing isn't as simple as hitting record on a camera. There are many ways to create content, especially in today's digital world. In this article, we'll cover why you should incorporate video into your marketing plan, the types you can create, how to make and market it, and how to track and learn from your results.

Understand the Benefits

Why is video marketing such a great tool for self-storage operators? Because everyone is always looking at a screen, usually on a phone. And that's primarily because of the popularity of platforms like Facebook and Instagram, both of which began as places for people to share photos. Today, however, videos have become the most common form of shared content. Heck, one of the most visited websites is YouTube, built solely around online videos!

In short: Video is the type of content people prefer to engage with online. It’s an effective way to show your self-storage tenants and prospects the unique advantages of your brand. People don't like being sold to and choose to spend their money with companies that offer a genuine affinity. In a way, video marketing makes it easier for people to get to know you and your company and start to like both.

Consider Different Types

There are countless types of video used in marketing today. To keep things simple and relevant, let’s discuss the ones that’ll benefit a self-storage operation the most.

Brand video. This is usually a part of a more extensive advertising campaign. It might showcase your company's vision or mission, or it might be something you push out when entering a new region or announcing a new facility. The desired result is prospective customers get a better sense of who your company is and for what it stands. It helps them determine if they like you.

Explainer or how-to video. This type of video explains or shows viewers how to do something. For example, it can teach new customers how to reserve a unit, e-sign a lease and make online payments. It can also benefit your current customers if you've changed software or websites that affect how they engage with your business. These videos can work wonders for building and growing trust with new and current renters.

Testimonials. Speaking of building trust, testimonial videos are an effective way to empower your satisfied tenants and share their stories with prospects. Just like a happy customer telling a friend or neighbor about his experience via word-or-mouth, a testimonial is a piece of content you can share and use over and over. After all, people are more likely to believe a real customer over a brand.

Live video. This isn’t new, but live video marketing is. In recent years, online platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have enabled users to go live and interact with friends and fans. As is true with every online trend, it was only a matter of time before brands and companies started taking advantage. Live videos are great for promotions, events, and announcing or revealing new self-storage facilities. For your live video to be successful, though, it helps to have a well-established following on your chosen platforms.

Creating Content

I mentioned earlier that creating a video isn’t as simple as pointing a camera. A thought-out method and even a degree of craft are required to produce quality, engaging content. In fact, one of the single most critical elements of video marketing is a clear plan. You must identify the purpose of your video, write a script, set your desired outcomes, identify the target audience, set your budget and, finally, know what “success” looks like.

Once you've established all that, you can start the fun part—video production. While this is an enjoyable process, it's crucial to follow some basics to ensure your final product is good quality. Consider the following:

The right camera. You can't create a video without a camera, and it’s never been easier to get your hands on a quality one than today. Most smartphones come equipped with 4K recording and image-stabilization software, both features that used to be inaccessible without incurring a significant expense. So, if you want to get the most out of your budget, you can rely on your smartphone.

Couple that with some simple additions like lens attachments and tripods, and you'll have an adequate setup. If you have a more money, you can upgrade to a digital single-lens reflex camera, which captures incredible video and has become more affordable in recent years. It does, however, come with a steeper learning curve.

Effective lighting. Aside from camera quality, adequate lighting is critical to how well your video turns out. Too much and it’ll look washed out; not enough and it'll be difficult to see what's happening.

If you hire a third party to create your video, they’ll have lighting covered. If you’re taking a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, there are some simple, effective ways to enhance your lighting. One of the best is to rely on natural light as much as possible. If filming indoors, make sure you're in a room with windows and adequate natural light. When outside, film on a sunny day. You can even use things like white posterboard to soften or enhance the lighting.

Ultimately, the best way to control lighting is with an actual lighting kit. Professional kits are expensive, but you can find countless options online that are perfect for most video-marketing shoots.

Engaging backgrounds. This is often overlooked, but avoid flat or solid-colored backgrounds. For example, if you're filming yourself talking in your office, you don't want a plain wall behind you.  A proper background adds depth and personality to a video and makes it more interesting for the audience. Even when filming in an office, try to populate a wall with some decor or art to make it pop. When filming outside, avoid flat surfaces like the side of building or anything that doesn't add depth.

Quality audio. This is crucial to successful video. Depending on your camera setup, you'll likely use a boom or a lapel mic, which clips to the subject you're filming. Don’t rely on a camera's microphone, especially if you're using a smartphone. Also, stay clear of any distractions such as traffic and wind.

Marketing Your Videos

A top benefit of making videos is you can get plenty of use from them through your marketing. Historically, to distribute your video, you needed to make a media buy, which was expensive. Today, with websites like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, you can market your videos for a fraction of the cost of a TV ad. Plus, those platforms allow you to define and target the customers you want to reach more precisely, increasing your return on investment (ROI) over time. If you have a following, you can ask customers and fans to share, which increases a video’s visibility and reach.

Tracking Your Results

As with all marketing, to ensure you're getting the ROI you want and the business results you need, you have to track, learn and adjust. If you're marketing online, there’s usually data that can tell you how your video is performing. Following are some metrics to which you'll want to pay close attention. Based on these numbers, you'll be able to judge the engagement and effectiveness of your content.

  • Completion: The number of people who watch the whole video
  • Completion rate: The number of people who completed the video divided by the number of people who started watching it
  • Click-through-rate: The number of people who clicked on your video's call to action
  • Conversion rate: The number of times a visitor completed your desired outcome, such as filled out a form or reserved a self-storage unit

Video marketing has quickly become one of the most effective ways to market your self-storage business. It's a medium that allows you to be creative and express a unique personality. Often, people choose a brand or product they like, and video marketing is a great way to show folks how affable you and your brand can be. But more than that, it's a way to show customers what sets your business apart from the competition.

Remember, if you genuinely have a better product or service, people will believe it when they see it. So, show them with a video!

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, email [email protected].

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