Reprinted with permission from G5.
Curious about Google My Business, online leasing or cost-effective ways to market self-storage in a COVID-19 world? You aren’t alone. I checked in with Will Harlan, my company’s national sales director, to answer some frequently asked questions on these topics. Here’s what our marketing guru advises.
What is Google My Business (GMB) and how does it improve self-storage business?
Think of GMB as your company’s hype person. Presently, we see roughly 35% to 55% of website traffic coming through GMB. Of course, these profiles can’t do all the work of your self-storage website, but they can get potential renters interested and move them along the path to signing a lease.
You must populate your free GMB listing to connect with customers on basic information like address, hours, website and phone number. You should also offer photos or videos of your self-storage business. GMB influences local search engine optimization (SEO), which is huge when you consider that 31% of online leases are driven via a location’s GMB listing, according to our reporting.
What percentage of customers who rent self-storage online are mobile users?
In the last quarter of 2019, Google noted that 58% of users who searched for self-storage did so on a mobile device. This was a 15% increase from the previous year. With more folks at home juggling multiple priorities, this is expected to rise.
Since January 2020, we’ve seen 57% of online leases come through on mobile. Of course, COVID-19 could’ve caused this to number to rise quickly; but in general, the trend is consistent with what we’ve seen. We know the pandemic has shifted consumer behavior, with more customers turning to online options. This trend is expected to hold steady post-crisis, making mobile-first optimization more vital than ever.
Once the SEO is done for my self-storage website, is ongoing work really necessary?
When you buy a car, do you skip oil changes? Like any engine, SEO needs a regular tune-up, as it’s constantly changing.
As additional platforms like GMB influence local SEO, self-storage properties need a multi-faceted approach to keep top-of-search and top-of-mind. A strong marketing partner should be up-to-date on SEO shifts and maintain your strategy, so your business has a strong presence on organic search results. Not sure where to start? Schedule quarterly or semi-annual SEO audits to look for ways to improve.
What are cost-effective ways to advertise self-storage online?
It’s no secret that digital advertising costs are rising. Click-through rates are decreasing, and cost-per-click is increasing. In self-storage, specifically, large companies with deeper pockets can flood the market with ads, making competition challenging for small and mid-sized businesses. You pay each time someone clicks on an ad, so your ultimate goal is to make sure every click matters.
The simplest thing is to make sure your strategy includes the right keywords, so your ads show up in the most relevant searches, which reduces unwanted clicks. Beyond having the right strategy in place, the smartest marketers are leveraging technology to spend ad budgets efficiently.
Ad optimization helps determine which ads deliver the most qualified prospects to your self-storage property, and then redirects spend to those higher-performing ad channels. Some companies might do this work manually, but at best, it could take upward of 20 hours for a human analyst to get it right—wasting your time and money. Instead, connect with a company that uses data science and automation to do this every day. You’ll see an increase in qualified calls for the same ad budget.
What’s a good Google Ads budget?
Whew! What a toughie. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. Our recommendation is to start with the end in mind. Ask yourself a few foundational questions. Do you want to generate self-storage leases? What’s your current occupancy? What’s your typical leasing season? Do you want to create a brand identity?
Next, think about your market. How many competitors do you have within 5 to 10 miles? Speaking generally, a storage property that’s in a lease-up needs an aggressive (and probably larger) budget to fill units and drive occupancy. On the other hand, a property that’s stabilized needs to examine historical turnover to understand occupancy fluctuation patterns and allocate the funds appropriately.
Digital marketing can be complicated, and a lot to navigate alone. If you lack the time or expertise, consider partnering with marketing company to get the best return from your digital advertising dollars.
With nearly eight years of experience in the areas of account management and customer success, Adam Mackie has helped organizations improve their cross-departmental alignment to create a more customer-centric approach. As the senior director of the self-storage vertical at G5, he drives the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the sales and account-management organization to ensure self-storage operators use the full potential of the company’s products and services to meet their business objectives. For more information, call 800.554.1965.