Self Storage Marketing Techniques That No Longer Work

Jon Fesmire |

Technology is rapidly advancing. This is the most obvious with computers, including smartphones, tablets, and more. For example, in 1995, getting an extra four megabytes of random access memory (RAM) for a computer cost about $200 and was a big upgrade. Today, 16 gigabytes (that’s 4,000 times more memory) of RAM costs around $160.

One major side effect of advancing technology is the way it affects marketing. This is true of every industry, including the self storage industry. The digital age has also brought with it social media, and with that, a different way of looking at businesses. As we’ll cover in this article, today’s customers prefer to patronize companies they feel an emotional connection to, and old-style ads don’t produce that feeling. Here are several marketing methods that no longer work, or at least don’t work well, and what to do differently.

Focusing on Getting New Customers

Self storage facilities need new customers when expanding, and simply because existing customers leave when they no longer need the service.

However, it’s important to provide the best service you can for your existing customers. The tenants who appreciate your service will be more likely to rent for you longer, and more likely to rent from you in the future. They will also mention you to friends and family looking for a good self storage facility, essentially advertising your company for free.

Sending Unsolicited Email

There’s an unattractive word for unsolicited email: spam.

Put simply, spam alienates potential customers. How much email do you get every day? You have probably signed up for a dozen newsletters that you want to get. You might have various notifications as well, plus emails from friends and family, and business related messages. Those are all emails that you expect. So, when a company purchases your email address on a list and sends you advertisements you don’t expect, your reaction is probably annoyance. Customers often avoid companies that have sent them spam. The solution is to build your own email newsletter that people opt in to. Most of the messages you send to it should give helpful information, with sales pitches going out only occasionally.

Sending Junk Mail

Snail mail advertising is getting less and less effective, though many companies still don’t realize this. We all still get junk mail, and what do we do with it? At my apartment complex, there’s a recycle bin next to the mailboxes where most people immediately toss those “newspapers” filled with advertisements and coupons. Yes, even the coupons get tossed.

Basically, snail mail marketing no longer has the return on investment that it used to. Your actual customers will appreciate your mailers, as will anyone who has signed up to get them. New residents often appreciate those envelopes full of coupons they receive from the chamber of commerce, so if you are a member, make sure to get some deals put in those. It’s all a matter of exact timing, or getting permission.

Blatant Social Media Advertising

Blasting advertisements on social media doesn’t work, either. You can purchase targeted advertising on Facebook and Twitter, and that can work, but when it comes to your own social media pages, in general, people tend to ignore such advertisements on their feed. Why? Today advertising is everywhere, and people have learned to tune most of it out.

Instead, share news about your facility on your social media pages. Mention how you’ve helped in the community and how locals can benefit from it. If your company has a blog, share links to the blog posts.

Then, respond to comments. Interacting with the public helps build relationships with potential customers.

Being a Salesperson

Today, blatant sales-y language doesn’t go over as well. When people hear a sales pitch, these days, they can check the facts online, and are more likely to be skeptical.

So, if using sales language doesn’t work well, what does? In the age of social media, people are more likely to rent units from you if they have a positive relationship with you.

How can you create a positive relationship with the people in your community? One way is to act as a good corporate citizen. Ways to help include donating to agencies that help the homeless, allowing school field trips to your facility, sponsoring a local sports team, and becoming a McGruff safe zone. Locals will come to associate your facility with its good deeds and will be more likely to rent from you when they need that extra space.

Over all, marketing your self storage facility today requires a shift in thinking toward relationships and great service first. Finally, don’t be afraid to try new techniques and evaluate how they work, but keep that spirit of helpfulness in mind.