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The Fundamentals of Face-Time Marketing

Blogger Gina Six Kudo encourages self-storage operators to jump off the Information Highway occasionally and embrace a tried-and-true marketing strategyface time with prospects.

Amy Campbell

March 25, 2010

4 Min Read
The Fundamentals of Face-Time Marketing

Isn’t technology grand?! We have a plethora of avenues at our fingertips to keep us in touch, in tune and globally aware. Within seconds we can be perusing The New York Times, The Washington Post or going global and reading about news in foreign lands we may never visit.

Then there’s the downside of all of this power at our fingertips on the Internet Highway ... information overload. We need to learn how to social media market, host community events, not be a lemming (nod to the two Bobs), audit your site, do auctions correctly ... the list goes on and on.

Being a good manager, in my humble self-evaluation, I’m constantly reading and absorbing as much as humanly possible to gain the upper hand on my friendly competition for the customers. How do I reach them? What should I work on next? Do I need to re-vamp our website to market to the Gen Y customer? Or should I stay tried and true to the current bread and butter Baby Boomer generation? What to do?

If you’re like me, you participate in so many of the wonderful offerings presented by our industry associations—signing up for an e-newsletter or three or more, association’s e-mail list, and maybe a legal missive too. With so much information to absorb and so many things coming at you it can be overwhelming.

Like taking your car off of cruise control with a flick of your finger, the Internet can also be flicked off. I’m three weeks behind in a webinar series I signed up for, and there are others I’d like to partake in. I’m a news junkie to boot, but at some point the insanity must stop. We can only take in so much information, then comes the time for action.

The best advice I have for those of you out there in the Fast Track Lane on the Information Highway alongside of me is to slow down. I realized I’m trying to go in too many directions at once when trying to determine the best avenue for our next marketing focus. Sometimes, the simplest solution can be right in front of our face, and not contained in a computer screen. Face time is one answer.

Waiting in line at the grocery checkout line, the bank, post office or hardware store is a great time to commiserate with fellow busy people who are also waiting and can give you the chance to soft sell your facility. “Gee, the wait is long, but isn’t the weather great? I’m buying new plants for our office.” With an overflowing wagonload of plants at your feet, they’re bound to ask, “How big is your office?” You can then explain you manage that great storage facility and the plants are going into the planter boxes at your front entrance.

By being empathetic to their agony of a long wait line, seeing your purchase of beautiful, colorful plants and your engaging personality, you’ll make a positive impression. If the conversation can be easily continued, ask if the person knows where you’re located. Invite him to stop by any time to use your impeccably clean restroom facilities or grab a cup of coffee. I promise it won’t be just the person you’re speaking with, but a person or two ahead and behind you in line that you’ll be imprinting with a visual image of how nice your site is as well.

Keeping in mind that you're taking a soft sell approach, start rummaging in your pockets or purse as you’re speaking and say something along, “We pay a referral fee, so if you have any friends or neighbors that may need storage ... let me see if I have any business (or referral) cards ... oh, good here’s some.” And you miraculously find three or four and to hand out, if the person wants them. 

With springtime bringing more people climbing out of their winter cocoons it’s a great time for face-time marketing. While the webinars and e-news are all great tools in which to learn new marketing strategies, there’s no better marketing than human interaction.

Just being the friendly, warm you that you are can be a great boost to your rentals. Give being neighborly and friendly a try, just remember to market in a subtle and soft manner. The other person should not feel as if he just encountered a used car salesperson.

If you’re willing to give it a try, post a comment and let us know how you pulled off a face-time rental by posting a comment below or join the discussion at Self-Storage Talk.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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