Self-storage operations teams are often made up of savvy go-getters with too much to do and not enough time to do it. When you’re so busy, it can be difficult to really think about your digital marketing, especially which tactics are actually generating leads and which ones just add to your to-do list.
To attract more leads to your business these days, you need to connect with people where they are – online! So busy or not, you’ll need to invest at least a little time and effort into your digital marketing strategy this year. Let’s take a look at four things you should try to better connect with potential customers. If you are already doing these things, you will get tips for improving results.
Must-Have 1: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Sounds basic in 2021, but I’ll say it: your self-storage facility needs a website! And this website needs to be adapted to current SEO practices. Search engines like Google are constantly updating their algorithms, which essentially look for certain qualities within websites to determine if those sites will answer a searcher’s questions.
Keeping your website up to date with proper SEO shows search engines that, yes, your website will respond to customer queries. Plus, following best practices means engines are more likely to recommend your website on their Search Engine Results Page (SERP). When someone sees your website listed and clicks on it, we call it “organic traffic”. We love this because it’s free – there’s no cost to your business if someone clicks on your link here.
Of course, you have to invest time and therefore money up front to adapt your website to SEO best practices. It is a long-term tactic. It can take months to be considered trustworthy in your area of expertise and to be served in the best places on the SERP. That’s why it’s important to combine solid SEO with other marketing tactics.
Must-have 2: digital advertising
SEO lays a solid foundation for digital ads. Why? Because it ensures that a website contains what the searchers think they are going to find. There is nothing more frustrating for a user than clicking on an ad for what appears to be exactly what they are looking for, only to land on a clunky and useless website.
With digital advertising, companies pay to serve their ads to internet users on various networks such as Google and Microsoft, and on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. For now, we’re going to stick with search and display ads and get into social media a bit later. On Microsoft’s and Google’s ad networks, we can broadly classify digital ads into two groups:
Paid search is served at the top of the SERP, usually above organic results. This prominent location makes your self-storage website stand out. Every time someone clicks on your ad, you’re billed. This is why you will often hear about paid search called pay per click. The cost of each click depends on the keywords, location, and other parameters of your digital advertising campaign.
Display ads appear in website banners and sidebars. According to Google, its display network advertises on more than 2 million websites and reaches more than 90% of Internet users. The game changer is that when paired with data science and technology, your marketing spend can go to the top performing advertising campaigns and channels. This takes the guesswork out of getting the most out of your self-storage marketing budget.
Essential 3: Reputation management
When we talk about reputation management, we mean online reviews, such as those found on the Google My Business listing in your storage facility. According to a 2020 survey by marketing firm BrightLocal, the average consumer spends 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before making a buying decision. As we vote more and more in our digitally distracted world with our time and attention, this statistic speaks for itself: Customers care about reviews. Moreover, Google does it too.
Online reviews make up 15% of the ranking factors for local packs, according to Moz, an SEO marketing company. The local pack is a Google SERP section that is on the first page of results for searches considered to have local intent. Its premier real estate encourages searchers to look there first when looking for businesses in their area.
If you weren’t already convinced, review scores are the main driver of clicks in local SERPs, according to BrightLocal reports. While your self-storage business doesn’t necessarily feel “local” if you operate multiple locations, most of your customers will think of it as such. They are looking for a well-located establishment in their city or neighborhood. They don’t think of your portfolio as a whole, but of an individual site.
The main tenant of online reviews is to respond to each. Respond with empathy and in a timely manner. Customers want to feel heard and know that you care. The way you handle reviews can build trust and solve problems, or make customers feel like they should be doing business elsewhere. Additionally, if you resolve a customer complaint, they will often remove or edit any negative posts. This not only keeps customers happy, but also ensures that reviews don’t hurt your local SEO strategy.
Must-have 4: social media
Social media and reputation management go hand in hand. Due to the pandemic, people are spending more time on social platforms. Globally, we work an average of 2.3 hours a day, according to Statista, which specializes in market and consumer data. Wow. For this reason, part of your digital budget could be allocated to social media advertising.
According to industry data, the average customer journey to self-storage is around 10 days. So, based on the statistics above, social media advertising gives your property a 23 hour chance to connect with potential tenants. Simply put, social media isn’t just a channel for viewing cute puppy videos or sharing moving tips. It could also be a great way to increase rentals.
Marketing your self-storage business has never been more complex. By following the four strategies above, you can build a solid foundation for your self-storage business to get noticed online.
With nearly eight years of experience in the areas of account management and customer success, Adam Mackie has helped organizations improve their interdepartmental alignment to create a more customer-centric approach. As senior manager of the self-storage vertical at G5, he drives the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the sales organization and account management to ensure self-storage operators use the full potential of the company’s products and services to achieve their goals commercial. For more information call 800.554.1965.