Reproduced with permission from G5.
The current self-storage market is phenomenal. In many areas, facility occupancy is high, rents are rising and business is booming. If you’re one of those operators experiencing this kind of success, you might be wondering if now is the time to scale back your marketing. Do you really need to care more?
The short answer is yes, but you might want to switch gears and do some things differently. Let’s take a look at how you can tweak your marketing strategy to take advantage of this booming market, spend wisely, and maintain momentum throughout 2022.
Respond to staffing shortages
Chances are, if you haven’t yet faced a staff shortage in your self-storage business, you’ve at least experienced how disruptive it can be in your neighborhood restaurant, or preferred service destination. But like most industries, our industry has struggled to find new employees.
If your business is doing well but you’re struggling to keep staff, now’s a good time to show some marketing strength and increase your visibility to potential hires. It starts with establishing an attractive brand presence for potential employees, and I’ll expand on that below.
You can also promote any automation solutions you offer to help tenants rent out homes without having to interact with staff. If your operation uses online rentals, make this clear in your marketing. Let prospects know that you simplified the rental process and allowed them to rent a unit directly from your website or mobile app. The right technology can ease your burden and your client, so it’s a win-win situation.
Build your brand
When times are tough, self-storage operators need to do everything they can to find leads, defend their marketing dollars, and ensure their brand is authentic from the inside out. The reverse is true when the market and business are booming. If occupancy is high and leads are coming in, it’s a good time to reconsider your branding.
For example, we know that as customers and employees, Millennials and Gen Z care about where a company stands on social issues. They want to feel good in the places where they invest their time and money. What are you doing to demonstrate that yours is a brand that cares about you? Brag a little about these things and make them more prominent in your marketing.
Does your business have a charitable giving program? If not, can you start one? This serves a dual purpose: a tax deduction and a way to show brand value through action. As a bonus, it can help fill the staffing shortages we talked about earlier. Brands that are ready to take a stand are more likely to attract and retain employees aligned with their company values.
If a complete overhaul feels like more than you need right now, think about areas of your self-storage business that could be leveraged better. Well-built brands are consistent across all platforms and channels. Make yours shine by reviewing your presence everywhere to make sure it’s consistent in look, feel, tone, voice, messaging and experience.
In particular, pay close attention to your social media. Don’t skimp here. Your posts should be meaningful, not an afterthought. Think of them as an expression of who you are as a business. Also, be sure to read and respond to online reviews. How you respond to comments says a lot about your brand.
Adjust your digital spending
When business is good, it can be tempting to stop spending on digital advertising, but savvy marketers resist that urge. It’s a bit like the lesson learned in Aesop’s tale of the tortoise and the hare: slow and steady wins the race. A smaller but consistent digital advertising budget can keep your self-storage brand in the minds of prospects and help your business stay relevant in the Google universe. The advantage is that you won’t suddenly need two to three months to prepare when you have vacancies to fill.
The trick is to spend in the right places. Don’t waste your self-storage marketing dollars like a bridesmaid throwing rose petals down the wedding aisle. Consider saving your digital marketing budget with automation. Why? It’s better if your allocations are decided daily by a machine and then monthly by a human strategist. When business is booming, you finally have the bandwidth to research and test new strategies. Now is the time to optimize your marketing with artificial intelligence. If your business isn’t confident in this area, there are marketing technology vendors who can help.
Take some tactical action
If your self-storage operation is doing very well right now, you’re probably not having any marketing emergencies, which means now is a great time to get tactical. Try new things or just level up. Here are some points to discuss:
Update your web presence. When was the last time you actually looked at your website, digital ads, and Google My Business listing? Go check them out. Chances are you’ll have the option to include more photos and other creative elements. If you have been using the same graphics and copies for a long time, they need to be updated. It may be time for new images or videos, maybe even drone footage of your property. Budget and plan for it in 2022.
Increase tariffs. Revenue management should always be an important consideration. If it’s a good time to up the ante, use your marketing to attract new tenants at higher rates.
Prepare for the worst. Natural disasters have occurred with more frequency. If one of them hits your area, it will impact your self-storage business and your tenants. Predict the types of crises you might encounter this year and create a response plan. When an incident occurs, you will need the right communication tools in place.
The self-storage industry is booming right now, and many operators are enjoying high occupancy and high rates. If this is true for you, now is the perfect time to reset your marketing and plan for the future. Take stock of what is working well and what needs to change. Adjust your strategy now, while you have a comfort window to try new things.
Lisa Ash is the Customer Success Manager at G5, a provider of digital marketing solutions for the self-storage industry. With over 11 years of experience in account management and client success, she has worked with clients nationally and at all professional levels to positively impact their marketing efforts and keep them on track. the right way to achieve their goals. To reach her, call 800.554.1965 or email [email protected].