The rule for any business to thrive is to evolve or die. As consumer trends are changing it is vital for a self-storage business to keep up and position itself as a leader in their market. Gone are the days when you could build it and they will come. Now, the consumer wants information on demand. Today, 91% of adults search online for their needs, whether it’s to purchase directly from an online retailer or to decide who they want to shop with locally.
Larger REITs have invested heavily in the online marketing but that does not mean you cannot be competitive. It is important to remember Google values best user experience for its users, which means if your location is closer or better than the REIT it will show your listings. But for Google to notice your website, we need to send the right signals to it.
Here are some key digital marketing terms you should be aware of and using to get more rentals.
1) Website - Your website is the most vital piece of your online presence. All online marketing should direct traffic to your website and it is critical to have a well designed and mobile optimized website. In 2018, Google officially announced Mobile First Indexing which means mobile version of the website will be shown first. You can check here to see if your current website is mobile friendly.
Another important feature to have on a website is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). It is a secure way of encrypting information on your website. The best way to see if your website is secure is to look for letter “s” after http and the lock symbol next to your url in Chrome browser
SSL Certificate Enabled Website
No SSL Certificate
2) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - This is an ongoing process of optimizing your website to send the right signals to search engines. This is a “organic” or natural way to get traffic to your website. SEO is mainly broken down into: On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO
On-Page SEO: The owner of the website has full control over this. The owner needs to help search engines understand what the website is about by fully utilizing all the technical features of the website. Some of the examples of On Page SEO is using descriptive URL, modifying title tags, using correct schema, keywords in H1 tags and so on.
Off-Page SEO: The website owner has less control over these factors. Some of the examples of Off Page SEO are inbound links, citations, increasing site credibility and increasing social media authority.
A vast majority of self-storage customers come from a 5-mile radius and if your website is not sending signals to the search engines about your location and local neighborhood names, you might be missing out on local traffic.
3) Paid Ads - Pay-per-click, also known as cost per click, is an internet advertising model used to drive traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked. These types of ads can be highly targeted and effective as the ads can be matched to customer intent and location. This is the fastest way to scale up and get market share. However if not managed properly, this acquisition method can quickly become unsustainable. If you are in a highly competitive market such as New York or Los Angeles, keywords such as “Self Storage in Los Angeles” can be cost prohibitive for a small player. But with the right agency you can still be competitive by identifying other high converting keywords for your brand and work to get results from it.
4) Reviews - As per research, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses. Consumers are looking to store their most valuable items with you and it is very likely that they will be reading reviews from other users on how their experience has been. Reviews is also one of the search signals that Google takes into account when ranking your website.
The best way to get 5-star reviews is to consistently offer white-glove service to each and every customer. Also, you should automate your process so that each move-in and move-out automatically receives an email asking for a review. This is also a great way to keep an eye on customer satisfaction, so you can attack any issues early on.
Your 6storage software provides this automation feature and you are missing out on a great opportunity if you are not utilizing it.
5) Social Media - Having an active social media profile is another strong indicator to Google that your business in open. While you do not have to be active on every single social media account, you should make a concentrated effort to be on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Instagram audience is growing and you can always link it to your Facebook account. Also, use social media as a listening tool, engage with your customers and see it as an effective way to communicate with your customers directly.
Managing all of these channels can seem daunting at first but with the right partner you will be able to not only compete with larger companies but also beat them at it. You should be moving on all fronts as it will give a higher chance to succeed.