Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and if you want to succeed, you need to keep up. Too often, however, self-storage operators rely on outdated methods or don’t know how to introduce a new approach. The following highlights six common marketing mistakes made in this industry and how to avoid or correct them.
Loss of concentration
Most self-storage operators know the best places to start their online marketing efforts (website, Google, social media), but how many “channels” should you ultimately use and how much should you use? you get involved? The answer depends entirely on your customers. Who are they? Where are they looking? How do they make decisions? You can create an Instagram account if you’re trying to reach a group of college students, but you probably don’t need one if you have a rural settlement with an older population. DDon’t get lost in options and trends and don’t lose your focus.
Solution: Identify the marketing strategies that get the most traction and make sense for your business and your market. Get those digital touchpoints in pristine condition before moving on to less-trafficked ones. If you have a small operation, it may make sense to focus on just a few channels, while larger brands may warrant a deeper dive. Whatever you decide to use for marketing, do it well and consistently. It’s better to have a few well-executed strategies than too many sloppy ones.
Not optimizing Google My Business
We talk a lot about Google, and there’s a reason: 92% of all online searches are done there. This is where most people start any shopping or research process.
The top organic (non-paying) results of a Google search aren’t websites, they’re Google My Business (GMB) listings. Before learning anything else about your self-storage facility, a potential customer will likely see your GMB. Does it show good photos? Comments? Office hours and business information? Otherwise, researchers will just miss it. If so, they will click through to your website.
Not only is your GMB listing a great result, but it’s also free. It’s true! To free! It’s one of your most valuable online tools.
Solution: Make sure your GMB listing is updated and active. At a minimum, include clear photos of your business and prioritize reviews all when someone moves in. Once you’re cruising, learn to post updates more regularly, as Google rewards active listings.
Not understanding the customer journey
The longer you work in self-storage, the easier it is to lose touch with your customer experience. But turning prospects into tenants means understanding the path they take to find you and making sure you make a good impression every step of the way. Every interaction with your brand is a chance to win or lose a customer. It should be easy to find and rent in your home.
Solution: Walk around Google “storage units near me”, find your site and rent a unit. Is everything working correctly? Is all the info correct? Are the questions a potential customer may have easy to answer? If not, you may need to make changes.
Lose WWebsite Conversions
You wouldn’t pour water into a leaky bucket, so why would you spend marketing dollars sending potential customers to a flawed website? All digital marketing will eventually drive someone to your website, so make sure it does what you need it to: show off your setup and rent units! If it’s not about capturing leads and generating rentals, what’s the point?
It’s tempting to focus on the web circulation, but the best place to start is the web conversion. Once you know your website is effective at converting visitors into paying tenants, you can focus on generating more volume.
Solution: Make sure a potential customer who visits your website can rent or reserve a unit. Otherwise, they will go elsewhere. Why? Because if they search online, they also try to rent online.
Next, check how many visitors turn into customers. Better yet, see how many people who visited your rental or rates page actually purchased a unit. Was it one in 50? One in 100? It’s a surefire way to check the effectiveness of your online experience. If people aren’t following up, that’s one of the first things to improve.
Do Not Track Data
Establishing a marketing budget is essential, but you can’t do it without good information; So why don’t so many self-storage operators track the results of their campaigns? It’s easy to make decisions on a whim or with intuition, but not very smart.
To be fair, it can be difficult to track and access your marketing data, but it’s essential that you do. If you don’t look at the results of your efforts, you have no way of knowing if they were worth it! It’s good to spend $200 and earn $1,000. It’s wrong to spend $1,000 and earn $200. Is this online advertising campaign worth it? Is this billboard attracting new customers? Does the website convert prospects into tenants?
Solution: The only way to answer these questions is to set up your digital strategies in a trackable way and register. Every time you start a campaign or are about to spend money, ask yourself, “Can I track the results?” This can be as simple as asking each new customer how they heard about you or as involved as creating specific links or phone numbers for each individual campaign.
Do not renew your efforts
It’s wonderful to get your online marketing efforts humming along, but it’s dangerous to leave them unchecked. The self-storage industry, digital landscape and consumer trends are constantly changing. What worked last year may not work now.
You don’t need to review your strategy every month, but you do need to know where everything stands. How is your website activity or online rental compared to last year? Are your marketing spend in sync with facility occupancy? If you are full, can you spend a little less? If you’re heading into a slow season, should you step up?
Solution: Find the right rhythm for your business. It might not be weekly, but set the right cadence to monitor and evaluate your marketing efforts. Some channels, like your GMB listing or social media pages, need to be updated regularly. All should be checked periodically. Think of it as being similar to your outward appeal. When your online ads are up-to-date, they tell a potential customer, “This is an active and responsible business.”
Figuring out exactly which marketing strategies are effective for a self-storage operation can be daunting. There’s a lot of information out there, and strategies that work in one industry don’t necessarily work in another. How do you learn what to do and what not to do? Start by avoiding the mistakes above. You will be ahead of the competition and your renewed efforts will save you time and money.
Tyler Anthony is marketing director for StoragePug, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based software company that helps self-storage operators attract new leads, convert leads into paying tenants, and rent units online. Prior to joining the company in 2020, he helped market and grow dozens of other businesses. He believes marketing should be honest, helpful and, above all, human. For more information, call 865.240.0295; E-mail [email protected].