No demographic is a monolith. That should be every self storage marketing professional’s mantra. And yet many marketers—in all industries, not just self storage—forget this advice when it comes to marketing to women.
The phrase "shrink it and pink it" has been used to describe antiquated marketing practices geared towards female consumers. This refers to the practice of making products pink and delicate, which operates under the assumption that that’s what women want when making purchasing decisions.
But the modern female consumer wants more than that. And with 62% of decisions regarding self storage being made by women, it’s important for self storage operators to either start focusing—or rethink their focus—when marketing to this key demographic.
The reason why “shrink it and pink it” no longer works is simple. Female consumers don’t want to be patronized. When a traditionally male-branded business (think Home Depot) or even a less gender-centric business (like self storage) makes obvious attempts at attracting female customers when pink signage and stereotypical imagery of high heels, lipstick and chocolate, these customers see right through it.
Your advertising efforts must be more subtle than this. Think about the experiences and needs of different groups of women: single millennials, older married women, career-focused women and stay at home moms (to name a few examples). Ask for female opinions when coming up with marketing strategies. Having women on your team—especially a diverse group of women with different experiences—will make your branding more genuine.
Studies show that recommendations are important to female customers. In fact, 84% of millennial women (more on millennials in a minute) base purchase decisions on comments, customer ratings and reviews.
With that in mind, encourage existing customers to review your business online, especially on Yelp and Facebook. Respond to both positive and negative reviews in a personalized, professional manner. Since reviews for your storage facility might also happen via word-of-mouth, you might consider incentivizing existing tenants to refer friends to your business.
Female customers tend to do research before making purchasing decisions. Typically, they are detail-oriented as a result and will therefore notice the details of your storage facility. This is why curb appeal matters. It is not only eye-catching, but it demonstrates that your storage facility is clean and you are the kind of self storage operator who cares about the customer experience. Here are a few ways you can improve your curb appeal. It can be as simple as planting a few flowers to painting your office a bright color.
Millenials as a whole spend $200 billion per year. Women account for more than half of that. If you’d like your storage facility to receive a windfall from female millennials this year, it’s important to investigate their spending habits.
According to a March 2018 study by Merkle and Levo on the buying behaviors and purchasing power of millenial women, 54% of purchases made by millenial women are experience driven and 81% of women value quality over bargain and are therefore willing to spend more for a better self storage experience. Pay attention to this if you’re the kind of self storage operator who runs a bare bones operation at rock bottom prices. You could potentially attract more customers if you improve your storage facility—even if doing so means increased rent.
On the subject of consumer experience, ask yourself what you could be doing that’s above and beyond? This could translate to a staff refresher on customer service, upgraded technology such as smart locks or an improved gate system or even something offbeat like a monthly wine social with tips on wine storage.