Marketing your self-storage facility is the most important thing you can do to increase occupancy. Prospective tenants will consider several factors when choosing a site, including location, pricing and amenities. While these are important, security is a highly sought-after feature. Customers who are security-conscious are often willing to overlook higher rates if a property offers more of it than others. However, if people don’t know what you offer, you’re limiting your ability to attract them. So, how do you promote your security advantages?
What Makes Your Facility Different?
To develop an effective, security-oriented marketing plan, the first thing you need to do is research your competition. What security features are they advertising on their websites? If you drive by, which are visible from the street? Survey at least three properties in your area, and then make the same review of your own facility. Maybe even ask a friend or family member to do a comparison for you. Because you’re accustomed to seeing your site, you may overlook things the average person would notice.
Getting a general sense of the competition’s security can give an idea of how your facility can improve or what features to focus on in your marketing materials to set your site apart. Consider the following elements and how you can use them to drive new rentals.
Having an onsite manager ensures there’s always someone on the property. While he should never be asked to take payments at 11 p.m., he’s there to be vigilant and bolster security. Noises, barking dogs or triggered motion-sensor lights can be easily detected and quickly assessed by a resident employee.
Using terms like “onsite manager” or “resident manager” in advertisements and marketing campaigns can draw attention to the fact that there’s someone on the property 24/7. It’ll offer peace of mind to tenants and discourage would-be criminals from targeting your site.
Facilities that are well-lit can make tenants and prospective customers feel safe when visiting the site at night. In some areas, city codes even require that lighting be tied to motion sensors. Use this as a selling point.
For example, lighting plays a key role in marketing vehicle-parking spaces at Agua Dulce Storage in Agua Dulce, Calif. “Our 27-acre RV and parking facility is home to over 700 tenants, with 24/7 access,” says property manager Steve Weinstein. “Early morning and evening are the busiest for us as people get ready to leave on vacation or return late from a job. All of our lighting is on sensors. The benefit of that is two-fold: The tenant can easily and safely navigate the facility, and our video cameras get a better image of exactly what’s happening on site.”
Most self-storage facilities use self-storage management software combined with access-control keypads and gates to restrict facility entry. Whether customers use the keypad, a proximity card or an app to open the gate, they can quickly see that potential thieves can’t easily enter the property. These tools immediately provide a sense of security.
If your access control has unique features, draw attention to them. When describing your security amenities, use terms such as “electronic gate access,” “fenced and lit,” “app-based and keypad access” or “individual key codes for entry.”
Video cameras are a great security feature. They deter theft and vandalism, and tenants will feel safer knowing their stuff is under surveillance. If your cameras are easy to see, reference your “video-surveillance system” in your marketing.
Some facilities showcase their camera feeds on large monitors in their office. This creates a quick, easy visual impact for customers and shows them you take security seriously. For example, Armor Storage in Pueblo West, Colo., displays five large monitors behind its front desk. Four display footage from the video cameras while the fifth features 3D site graphics of the facility, including alarm status for individual units.
Alarms and Electronic Locks
Some facilities use individual door alarms or electronic door locks. Not only are they a great selling tool, they often help a self-storage operator command higher rents. If you have a limited budget, consider adding them one building at a time. Whatever you do, mention them in your sales presentations, website, marketing materials, etc. They can be yet another competitive advantage.
Highlighting your security amenities makes it easier for customers to choose you over the competition. It’s often what they crave. For example, security is one of the things tenants of Armor Storage often compliment and mention on social media. The company has a five-star Google rating with nearly 100 reviews, with security often mentioned as a feature reviewers care about.
Even if your facility doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, focus your marketing on what you do offer. Security is constantly evolving, but prospective tenants need storage now, so show them what you have.
April Lee is a business-development consultant at QuikStor Security & Software, which provides management software, access control, wireless door alarms, websites and search engine optimization to the self-storage industry. She has a background in accounting, Web design and digital marketing, and formerly managed a large RV-storage facility. For more information, call 800.321.1987; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.quikstor.com.