Inside Self-Storage

SEP 2018

Inside Self-Storage (ISS) is an information source for industry owners, managers, developers and investors covering news, trends, facility operation, finance, real estate, construction, development, marketing, technology, insurance and legality.

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L arge or small, brand new or older, all self-storage facilities need of a constant stream of inquiries to grow or maintain occupancy and keep rates as high as possible. Community events and grassroots marketing can do that while also lowering your cost per lease. In 2017, our facility managers generated an average of 35,349 marketing messages per store. These included outgoing calls, e-mails, personal visits, onsite events, social media, club meetings, tradeshows and offsite networking. Our staff also completed 23,560 visits to local businesses and organizations. We had nearly 41,000 visitors to our onsite events. Our average cost per lease was $65.74 for the entire portfolio, which is low compared to the industry average. As professional self-storage "counselors," we see an opportunity to market our services everywhere. Community participation can have MARKETING SMARTS COMMUNITY EVENTS AND GRASSROOTS MARKETING By M. Anne Ballard far-reaching benefits to an operation's profitability, so tell your story! Make sure everyone in your neighborhood knows you and your self-storage property. This means you must get involved on a local level. It's up to each of us to generate our own onsite traffic. The four tools we use at our company are: community involvement, community events, visits to local businesses, and follow up and electronic marketing. Below are several events and tactics we've found to be successful, when properly planned and executed: The more events you host at your facility, the more traffic you'll see in and out of your property, and the more business and brand awareness you'll develop. This is the goal—to create as much cognizance of your business as possible with the funds you have available. The more you keep your brand in the public eye, the more likely a person will think of your facility when the need for storage arises. Groups to Target When it comes to building relationships, there are community leaders and members you should visit weekly. Ideally, you'll meet with 10 to 20 people or organizations each week, which means spending about two hours outside of the office. By doing this, you'll add 40 to 100 new contacts to your e-mail database each month! Consider dropping off some sort of gift to each one along with your referral cards. Don't forget to sell your competitors and share referrals with them when you're full on particular unit sizes. They will hopefully return the favor. Here are some groups you'll want to target in your visits: • Apartment renters, real estate off ces, moving companies, building managers, apartment and home-builders associations • Doctors, dentists, chiropractors, title companies, CPAs, attorneys and banks • Service businesses, local retailers and interior designers • Distribution centers, manufacturer's reps and truck-based businesses • Schools, universities, large employers and hospitals • Nonprof ts and government entities • RV, boat and motorcycle dealers • Homeowner's associations and trailer parks • Crisis centers, insurance companies, and disaster-cleanup providers • Chamber members and other club members • Churches and synagogues The Chamber Most operators are already members of their local chamber of commerce, but how involved are you in its monthly activities and events? Are you attending every possible meeting to exchange business cards, meet new members GRASSROOTS MARKETING EVENTS AND TACTICS Local media day Charity car wash Fashion show/designer showcase Press releases "Lunch and learn" event Business after-hours meetings Ribbon-cutting ceremony Car show Drive-through haunted house Seasonal displays VIP tour and reception Chamber of commerce event "Starving artists" show Local club meetings Customer-appreciation week Green market Blood drive Small-business presentations Yard sale Green market Blood drive Pumpkin patch Community-networking events Wine-tasting Coffee-and-donut tours "Drop-in" with apartment managers 54 ISS I September 2018

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