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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Former property manager and current manager trainer Michelle Strickland (right) is well-known for her holiday-decorating skills. A neighborhood board for community marketing provides customers with business cards and brochures for local suppliers, who enjoy free advertising. and have breakfast with other local businesses? If not, get out there. This is a logical place to start participating. If your facility is new, recently added a new phase or underwent an office remodel, now's the perfect time to host a chamber "business after-hours" event and show off your product. Does the chamber have your materials available to hand out to newcomers or those visiting its office? Make sure it does. If you offer a referral fee, let the chamber staff know. Marketing A critical aspect of hosting events is getting the word out, and there are many ways to do this. First, send out press releases for every event you participate in, sponsor or host, as well as any time you have a special message or story to tell. You'll need a strong headline and interesting content; and don't forget to include photographs and contact information. Invite the local media to your events. It might be a slow news day and you'll make the 6 p.m. news that night! Promoting yard sales, wine-tastings, ice-cream socials, community days, fall festivals, customer-appreciation cookouts and even seasonal displays will assist you in building traffic to your facility and making it memorable to your community. Send an e-mail newsletter to everyone on your contact list. Include people you've met at meetings and events as well as members of all the clubs and groups to which you belong. Include news about fundraisers, or a special customer or business, as well as photos of how they use your storage property. You can also add testimonials or quotes. Display the logos of all the groups and associations to which you belong. These help you build credibility with your audience far beyond what thousands of words can do. You can also update your facility's digital sign to promote events, or even one of your customers or partner businesses. Changing your sign regularly ensures people look at it often. With current technology, there's no reason you can't compete and win against the bigger operators in your market. Use e-mail, social media and the Web to stay in touch with customers, prospects, groups and organizations in your area. A lot of this is free! Hosting Tips When we host onsite events, we place food and drinks inside our units and throughout our property to ensure guests see and experience all our best features and amenities. We hand out a "treasure map" during registration that encourages guests to find all the treats. We also register all participants, ask for business cards and even give out door prizes. This way we can follow up via e-mail and extend a special offer. To educate our attendees about our services, we post signs with size and pricing outside each unit type. We dress each serving table and bar area, and give out a gift bag containing our promotional items. You might want to have music or a band, or a special theme for your event as well. And don't forget to have someone at the front desk to rent units, with a sign letting guests know about any specials. Take a lot pictures and post them on your website, blog and social media pages. Include the event name and date with each photo you post. You can even create a photo gallery of special events you hold throughout the year. This also drives more traffic to your website. More Networking Another way to make sure you leave a lasting impression on the neighborhood is to let nonprofit and other community groups use your conference room for free or hold their fundraisers at your site. Examples of this might be a carwash for the local high school band or a blood drive for the Red Cross. Your site could also be a collection point for a coat, food or toy drive. Your local church or social club could also benefit from hosting events at your site. For example, why not work with your parks and recreation department to host a haunted house or Easter egg hunt at your store? Volunteers can decorate the units, and you can ask off-duty law enforcement to direct traffic. One of our South Carolina managers did this several times and drew more than 3,000 people! The property was recognized as a sponsor in the park department's newsletter and website and on its signs. Free advertising—yeah! Maybe the Lions or Rotary Club needs a place to have a barbecue this year. Look at local clubs and see how you can help them with event planning. Perhaps supply fliers to your favorite pizza-delivery place. It can put one on top of each box it delivers. In exchange, you can feature the business on your "neighborhood board" along with coupons or menus for your tenants. If you have children or grandchildren, attend parent-teacher meetings and hand out referral cards. Perhaps lend your property's moving truck to groups who need to borrow it for an event. Offer to supply paper cups (printed with your logo, of course) to local clubs. Or pass out water bottles with your logo at youth sports games. 56 ISS I September 2018 www.insideselfstorage.com

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