Inside Self-Storage

DEC 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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It can be tempting to keep the planning and execution of your company marketing in-house, but is it the right move for your self-storage business? If you're spending more time compiling data and reacting to market shifts than strategizing and preparing for the future, it's probably time to consider a marketing partner. A good collaborator will help you reach more prospects by amplifying your impact across multiple channels and providing insight to the performance of your campaigns. Ways to Tackle Marketing There are about four primary ways to go about marketing, three of which include some form of outsourcing. Let's look at the pros and cons of each. In house. This is what many self-storage operators do, using their own employees to perform all marketing activities. • Pros: Intimate knowledge of the brand, dedicated staff, quick communication • Cons: Lack of experience/expertise, limited resources, no new perspective Agency. An agency is a specialized team of professionals who work with you on specific marketing initiatives. It may focus on branding, design, advertising or search engine optimization (SEO). • Pros: Quick results, strong branding, specialized knowledge to supplement in-house efforts • Cons: Budgetary limitations, lack of industry expertise, priorities may not align, non-scalable solutions By Celena Canode and Emily Pick Third-Party Options to AMPLIFY Marketing Impact Front end. This is a holistic marketing approach across online channels. It tracks individual traffic sources, so you can calculate conversions and true return on investment for each of your campaigns. Services include digital advertising, SEO, website design, and reputation and social media management. • Pros: Data-centric, focus on campaigns and tracking, focus on innovation, generally industry-specif c • Cons: Doesn't address backend campaigns like e-mail, direct mail or pricing of your businesses vs. competition Full stack. Full-stack marketing works across a variety of disciplines to deliver an all-in-one solution. In addition to all the services provided by front-end marketers, backend management and pricing, and e-mail marketing may also be included. • Pros: Single vendor, strong backend/ accounting knowledge, f lls personnel gaps, breadth of knowledge • Cons: Marketing services are secondary, less specialization, lack of industry data and expertise, many touchpoints within a single company What You Can Outsource Knowing the types of marketing partners you can work with is one thing, but understanding where you can gain the most leverage is quite another. Let's review the types of marketing you can typically outsource. Website. Pull up your website. How long did it take to load? If it took more than three seconds, 53 percent of mobile users will abandon your site during their search. That's an important statistic. In the second quarter of 2018, 51 percent of all self-storage queries came from a mobile device, making it imperative that your website is optimized for these users. In March, Google recognized this and started to boost the search engine rank of mobile-friendly websites. In addition, as your first "leasing consultant," your website must feature an intuitive, attractive design that leads users down the path to conversion. Offering online leasing can help you convert more prospects because your office is now open 24/7. When you fit into searchers' schedules—and not the other way around— you reap the rewards. Social media. Leveraging social media is key to successful marketing and even reputation management. Every piece of content you share, tweet, like or post, regardless of the platform, is an opportunity to connect and engage with current and potential customers. It's also a chance to reinforce or establish your brand as an authority in the marketplace by opening a channel for two-way conversation. One of the simplest ways to manage social media is to invest in a tool that automates your efforts. Consider software that monitors your review and social channels so you can respond directly. Many of these tools also have built-in analytics monitoring, making it easy to draw insights to the performance of different campaigns. Once you know what resonates with your audience, you can target your content more directly. MARKETING SMARTS 48 ISS I December 2018

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