Whether your self-storage facility is mature or newly constructed, knowing the source of your customer leads is crucial to the business. Tracking your marketing results not only provides intel on your tenant base, it can identify which initiatives are effective and those that aren’t. Understanding this data can yield better decisions going forward.
Though many marketing initiatives may be implemented primarily to build brand awareness, which is hard to track, there are metrics that indicate whether your digital and print efforts are performing as intended. Those results can then be measured by key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine how well your overall plan is working. Let’s identify some key tracking channels and KPIs to apply.
With call tracking, each of your marketing initiatives is assigned a unique phone number. This can be used for traditional and digital marketing, everything from radio commercials and TV spots to direct mail and prints ads to online listings and more.
Call tracking allows each ad to be measured for effectiveness. Providers of these phone tools will set them up, and then measure the volume and quality of calls by recording interactions. To see which ads are working and underperforming, you look at the scores. They’ll help you determine whether to continue with a program or allocate the money elsewhere.
Designated Domain Tracking
Much like call tracking, domain tracking can be used for different campaigns. By designating a specific URL to a marketing piece, you can measure the amount of Web traffic it receives. This provides a good indication of how many people are seeing the specific advertisement and how many take action.
One drawback is it can be expensive to purchase many domains. With that in mind, the next avenue may be a better way to track website traffic.
Analytics are a great way to evaluate Web traffic and advertising performance. By using a free tool like Google Analytics, it’s easy to track the sources of referral traffic. First, it can show where inbound users found the link to your self-storage website. It can also indicate the volume of search traffic and clicks from ads placed across the Web. This provides a good indication of how your business listings and advertisements are performing. For example, if you run a special on Facebook with a link directly to your facility website, Google Analytics can tell you how much referral traffic you received from that promo.
Analytics is also a great way to understand how customers flow through your website, which devices they’re using to access the site, their geographical area and much more. All these metrics can help shape your marketing efforts to be more effective.
Finally, analytics can be viewed for social media and other platforms to see if people are engaging with advertisements. Using the tracking tools available is key to knowing which content and links are receiving the most engagement.
When new customers rent a unit, ask where they learned about your location. Though the data may not be 100 percent accurate, it can provide a good representation of how tenants are finding your facility.
Train managers to ask the question during the rental process and record the answers with accuracy by listing all current advertisements and marketing efforts on the survey form. This will provide reasonably precise data that can be useful in determining which marketing efforts are being seen by those who rent units.
While there are many more advanced tools to track marketing effectiveness, these basic channels can be implemented easily. Once they’re in place, choose which data sets to evaluate. Following are the bare-minimum KPIs that can be used to measure ad performance over time. They allow you to determine if dollars spent are generating tenants.
- Web traffic: Web traffic from specific marketing avenues can indicate their effectiveness. Volume and source are good indicators of how campaigns are performing.
- Click-through rate (CTR): Each digital campaign should have a call to action (CTA). The resulting clicks determine your CTR. It’s important to understand this metric and how it relates to marketing. The resulting datasets can help you tweak ad wording, format and CTA.
- Conversion rate: When a person clicks on an ad or content link and lands on your facility website, does he rent a unit, making an action toward renting or simply fall off the page? Knowing how many click-throughs turn into customers is important. It not only indicates how well your website is organized, it demonstrates its effectiveness in capturing reservations or rentals. It also indicates the quality of leads coming through advertisements. Knowing your conversion rate can help you adjust marketing as well as website flow.
To maximize the value of your marketing programs, you must know how well they work. Having tools in place and to gather data makes it easier to evaluate advertising effectiveness and understand your return on investment. Thoughtful analysis of results allows you to design and refine marketing plans to effectively entice renters to your self-storage facility.
Melissa Stiles is director of marketing for Storage Asset Management Inc., where she oversees marketing for the company itself and its 120-plus managed facilities. This includes the development and execution of local marketing plans, digital marketing, social media, advertising, public relations and special events. For more information, e-mail [email protected]; visit www.storageassetmanagement.com.