When it comes to self storage marketing, things can get quite overwhelming.
The self storage industry a highly competitive area, with most businesses investing heavily.
It isn’t a one time process – customer turnover is constant, and having a marketing strategy that provides a steady stream of new tenants is essential.
But how do you know you’re spending your money effectively?
We’ve been working with self storage companies for years, providing self storage marketing services and helping them implement effective marketing strategies.
In this guide we’ll cover some of the most important self storage marketing ideas to be aware of, and help you to get a better understanding of how to use them to grow your self storage business.
Table of Contents
- Understand Your Audience
- Google Ads (and Bing Ads)
- Local SEO & Maps Optimization
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Facebook Ads
- Storage Specific Directories
- Google My Business
- Request & Respond to Reviews
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Website Design
- Connect with Local Partners
- Get Involved in the Community
- Business Support Services
- Offers and Incentives
- Referral Incentives
- Keeping in Touch With Previous Customers
- Offline Marketing Tactics
First You Need to Understand Your Audience
One of the most important things you can do when it comes to marketing your self storage business is understanding your audience.
A better understanding of the people looking for your services will help you to tailor your marketing towards them, leading to better results, and a better ROI.
So who are your customers?
There’s a lot of useful sources of information on self storage customers, and local search behaviour in general. The SSA’s Industry Survey and Think With Google are a couple of great resources.
Some interesting stats to keep in mind when planning your self storage marketing campaign are:
- 86% of people travel less that 30 minutes to their self storage unit
- 72% of business that use self storage have less than 10 staff
- Divorced or separated people are twice as likely to use self storage
- 32% of customers are involved in moving house
- 87% of customers are over 35 years old – with 42% being between 50 and 65
- Mobile traffic makes up 84% of ‘near me’ searches
- 58% of storage customers are between 50 and 74
From these stats we can see that your target audience will fit a certain profile, which can help you tailor your messaging and USP’s. It can also help shape where you put your digital marketing focus.
Location – customers don’t travel far, so think local with all your marketing.
Community focused – a community focused mindset will be useful to help reach your audience.
Small businesses – flexibility and ease of use will be important to them.
Older customer base – don’t go focusing on marketing your business on TikTok, because your customer base doesn’t hang out there
Now you have a better understanding of your customers, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to market your business to them.
Google Ads (and Bing Ads)
Google Ads (and Bing Ads if there is the market) are quite possibly the most important place to start for self storage businesses.
Most of your competitors will likely be running adverts and there’s an obvious reason.
When customers look for self storage, the majority will start the journey with an internet search, and the very first thing they will see are the adverts at the top of the page.
While some users still choose to skip these adverts, Google has been working hard to make them more prominent and drive more people to click on them. After all, its revenue depends almost entirely on advertising.
Over the years these adverts have slowly developed from a couple of sentences, into large pieces of search result real estate – with images, addresses, phone numbers, and all sorts of other extensions.
It’s even got to a point where nothing but adverts appear on the initial view of the search results for many storage related queries – for both desktop and mobile!
As a self storage business, an effective Google Ads campaign is one of the most important marketing tools you can have at your disposal.
Ads can be turned on or off depending on occupancy levels, budget can be moved between sites and everything can be tracked and measured, ensuring your budget is providing a positive ROI.
But be warned, an ineffective campaign is one of the quickest ways to burn through your marketing budget.
Tips to Get Google Ads Running Effectively
- Use location targeting to target multiple radii around your location, so you can see the difference in performance between different distances.
- Use extensions correctly – ensure you have all your extensions set up and linked
with your GMB listing.
- Apply negative keywords to prevent showing on irrelevant searches.
- Ensure conversion tracking is set up correctly to track quotes and bookings
- Consider phone tracking and
dynamic phone number insertion
- Take advantage of remarketing – more on that below
Local SEO & Maps Optimization
Maps optimization is all about improving your position on the map pack that appears in the search results for self storage searches as seen below:
Local listings are extremely important because of their prominence on the search results. There’s only 3 spots up for
grabs, so being listed can have a massive impact on your visibility.
We mentioned earlier about how most storage searches have local intent, and how mobile usage is growing massively. Local SEO helps to make
sure your site ranks well on local searches.
Local SEO requires a whole guide on its own, but there are a few things you can be doing to get started.
- Claim your listings on Google My Business and Bing Places.
- Keep these listings up to date, and provide as much information as possible, including photos videos, opening
- Focus on building and responding to reviews
- Get listed on other business directories to help verify your business details
- Build links to your site (here are some great local link
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of improving your website to make it easier for search engines (like Google) to understand what your site is about.
The goal is to optimize your site so search engines want to rank you above other self storage facilities in your area.
Higher rankings in the search results can lead to more free clicks to your website, and more customers storing with you.
If you’d like to understand more on this topic, Google has a
beginner’s guide to SEO, and we have a post specifically dedicated to SEO for the self storage industry.
Self-Storage SEO Tips
- Make sure your site isn’t slow, and focus on the Core Web Vitals – In May 2020 Google announced they’ll be adding Core Web
Vitals as a ranking factor. This means your self storage website needs to focus on user experience and load quickly.
- Create high quality, relevant on-page content – Google wants to show pages to users that give them the information they need. Ensure your storage location pages contain plenty of information that’s relevant to the location and the facilities.
- Build links to your site – Links help you rank higher than your competitors. As a very general rule, the more high quality links you have the higher you will rank. A lot of the storage marketing tips in this guide will have the additional benefit of getting links to your storage company’s website.
Remarketing (sometimes called retargeting) is the process of advertising to customers who have previously interacted with your website.
It’s a way of categorising these users and delivering them specifically targeted ads on various places around the web.
You’ve likely seen ads that are spookily relevant following you around – this is remarketing at work.
Google Ads, Bing Ads and Facebook Ads all offer this feature, and the list of partner websites that your adverts can appear on is endless.
Getting your remarketing set up correctly can be very effective at both driving customers back to your site, but also brand building.
It’s common for customers to visit multiple self storage providers to get a quote and then return at a later date to book. Targeting these potential customers with remarketing adverts can help reinforce your brand, while also reminding them to take action .
So make sure you are using the power of remarketing as part of your overall marketing strategy.
Advertising on Facebook allows you to show adverts to a very specific group of people, as opposed to blasting your adverts to as many people as possible in the hope that some of them might be relevant.
Used correctly, Facebook Ads targeting can specifically reach people who fit the key criteria mentioned at the start of this post.
Facebook Ads tips specifically for storage companies:
- Show ads to people who have recently moved house – This is one of the main reasons people need to purchase storage.
- Show ads to students, especially those who are living overseas. Your adverts for students can include a specific offer aimed at student storage.
- Show ads to newlyweds, or people aged 35+ who have recently experienced a change in their relationship, as this is another key reason people need storage.
Get on Storage Specific Directories.
We mentioned previously how citations are an important part of local SEO. In addition to the more general directories like Yell and Yelp, you should also be on self storage specific directories.
Storage specific directories are those like sparefoot.com in the USA or comparethestorage.com in the UK.
Not only do these directories link to your company, and give more confidence to search engines that your name, address and phone number are correct. But they also also show relevance to the self storage industry.
In fact, the most important factor in citation sites is industry relevance, so make sure you’re on some of these sites.
Read our article on self storage citations for more info.
Google My Business
We’ve already mentioned Google My Business earlier in this guide, but it’s so important that it’s worth going into more detail.
Google My Business (GMB) allows you to manage all your site’s details, and keeping this up to date, and correct will have a huge impact on your ranking in the local results.
Storage Specific Marketing Tips for GMB:
- Choose the proper category – Google allows you to choose a primary category and secondary categories for your site. There are multiple storage related categories including Automobile Storage Facility, Moving and Storage Service, etc. It’s important to choose the most specific category that completely encapsulates your service. We usually recommend “Self-Storage Facility” unless there is a good reason not to.
- Set your landing page to your storage location page – Assuming you have a different URL for each storage facility you own this should be the page you link to from your GMB profile. Optimising this page will help your rankings in the local results.
- Set your access hours – Storage companies often have different office hours to the hours customers can access their storage. These can be set using the ‘More Hours’ Feature.
Request & Respond to Reviews
Reviews about your business play a part in your rankings in the local results. The most important reviews for ranking on Google are the reviews on your GMB listing.
Google takes a number of factors into consideration including the number of reviews you have, how quickly you’re getting new ones, your response to reviews, and the general sentiment of them.
Of course they aren’t just important for your ranking. Your potential storage customers will be taking into account these reviews when they choose you, and having a good number of positive reviews will sway them in that decision.
Google will remove any reviews that don’t follow their review policies. And you’ll risk losing all your reviews if you do any schemes to get reviews that Google disapproves of, like offering discounts, or review gating.
Once you have reviews, it’s important to respond to them. Bear in mind that nearly 100% of the people who read reviews will read responses to reviews.
Don’t just respond to positive reviews. You should respond politely and professionally to negative reviews in a way that doesn’t accuse the reviewer of lying or being stupid, but listens to their issue and offers some resolution.
Social media is generally of less importance for self storage businesses, but there are still some things you want to be doing as a minimum.
Being on Facebook will deliver benefits, as you can add your location details, gather reviews, and respond to clients.It also gives the advantage of being able to upload offers you currently have at that storage site.
However, in our experience you’re unlikely to build a strong community on social platforms as it’s just not an industry where people will interact on a regular basis.
If you are going to approach social media marketing, our advice is to be creative and use specific marketing ideas to engage customers and make your brand stand out.
Video is a fantastic way to give your customers an idea of what they can expect from your self storage facility, show some friendly faces, and give a better idea of the size and cleanliness of your units.
Some people might think the cost is prohibitive, but if a video can increase your conversion rate by even an extra 1% per month (and there’s evidence it can do a lot more than that) then it will pay for itself in no time.
You’re probably already capturing people’s emails when you give them a quote for their self storage – but are you making the most of this valuable piece of contact information?
If someone hasn’t yet purchased storage after requesting their quote, you can send them a timely reminder, maybe with an offer included as extra incentive.
And remember the importance of reviews? Emails are the perfect place to thank a customer for choosing you over another storage facility, and request that they leave a review.
It’s worth bearing in mind that when a customer gives you their email address they are showing you a lot of trust. It’s important not to harm that relationship by spamming their inbox with too many emails.
Website design is a crucial part of the customer experience and can often determine whether your customer chooses your facility or a competitor’s.
We go into more detail on this in our post on self storage website design tips – there are a few areas to take into consideration when designing your website:
Speed and Web Vitals
For more information on this refer to the SEO section above. Users care a lot about the speed and usability of a site. Make it a pleasant experience for them.
In our experience we’ve seen some self storage websites where up to 80% of the users come from mobile devices.
When planning out your website design, think about mobile first. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to book a storage unit when the website doesn’t work well for your screen size.
More and more storage sites are using online booking these days, so if you haven’t included this on your website you’re falling behind the competition.
You don’t need to use custom designed self storage software, there are off-the shelf versions that you can add to your site, such as Space Manager, StorEDGE, or Storman among others.
Connect with Local Partners
Your local business partners can be a great source of new customers. Thinking of the demographic of self storage customers it would be useful to build relationships with local removals companies, lawyers or solicitors, and also estate agents.
Reaching out to see if there is any way that they can include you on their site, or at least recommend you to new customers can be a great source of new business.
Get Involved in the Community
Getting involved in the community is not only great for raising brand awareness with your local audience, but it also has many benefits for other areas of your marketing.
Links, for example, are often a byproduct of sponsorships and charity work, which can help improve your site’s visibility (see the SEO section above).
Below are a few ideas for ways you can get involved in the community:
- Offer storage space to charities who may need it – for example the local food bank, or furniture store
- Carry out a storage auction and donate the proceeds to a specific charity
- Sponsorships – sponsor a local sports team, a cause you’re passionate about, or a local event
- Get interviewed, or follow up on old interviews to make sure you have a link to your site
- Submit yourself to local business awards
- Hold a contest
Offer Business Support Services
72% of businesses that use self storage have less than 10 staff. These small businesses can make great storage tenants. Not only do they stay for much longer, but as they grow, their need for space also increases.
In order to make yourself as attractive as possible to this audience you should consider offering many of the features that small businesses would benefit from.
Just a few of the things that can attract businesses:
- Support with deliveries e.g. signing for parcels
- A meeting room available to hire
- Flexible office space – for those businesses who need a small office space in addition to self storage
Create Offers and Incentives
Offers and incentives to new customers signing up seem to be pretty universal these days. If you don’t currently have anything in place, it may be worth designing something.
Some common move-in incentives in the storage industry seem to be 50% off your first 4 weeks, first week free, or £1 for the first 2 weeks.
Keep in mind your storage site’s customer behaviour and make sure you tailor your offers in a way that encourages people to sign up but doesn’t leave you out of pocket.
You can use these incentives in many areas of your marketing approach – Google Ads, social media posts, remarketing ads, email marketing, and your website to name a few.
Check out our self storage promotions post for more ideas.
Use Referral Incentives to Encourage Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is an extremely important channel – keeping customers happy is the best way to encourage this, but once you have that sorted, it’s time to try referral incentives.
Let your customers know that if they refer a friend who rents a storage unit then they can get a discount on their own rental fees. This will give them that little extra nudge to mention your name to anyone looking for storage.
Keeping in Touch With Previous Customers
Previous customers can be a great source of business.
41% of customers have used storage before so it’s quite likely that someone who has bought a storage unit from you in the past may need to do so again at some point in the future. This is why keeping in touch with your customers is so important.
Probably the best way to go about this is via email marketing (see earlier). However, it’s a fine line between keeping someone updated and contacting them so often that they opt out of future contact.
Our advice is to keep these customers on a separate list, contact them much less frequently and try to keep your emails offer orientated, as opposed to general news.
People are much less likely to unsubscribe if they feel they may miss out on an offer down the line.
Offline Marketing Tactics
While offline marketing is on the decline in terms of marketing budget, it can still provide some benefit, especially in areas where you have already reached market saturation from other approaches or where the demographic is more likely to interact with these formats.
Flyers can be a suitable approach in towns with a much older population, or areas where you know there is likely to be a key demographic residing. Some examples to consider would be student halls, military bases and static home parks.
An advert in the local newspaper or advertiser can sometimes drive traffic, but measuring response rates from these can be quite tricky, so it can be hard to determine the ROI.
Unique coupons / discount codes, or unique phone numbers in these ads are a couple of methods to measure the ROI of these ads.
Billboards / Signage
This is probably the most effective offline marketing tactic and can rival some of the online marketing approaches.
Billboards are relatively inexpensive, and can reach a local audience very effectively, which is perfect for storage marketing. They can build brand awareness and are targeted as they reach people who drive past your site on a frequent basis.
If you’re lucky enough to be situated near a busy road then this should be straightforward, but if you don’t get much passing traffic then consider some alternative options such as sponsoring a roundabout, a highway or even contacting a local landowner to discuss opportunities.
So there you have it, our long list of marketing ideas for your self storage facility. Hopefully you’ve found it useful and it’s given you a couple of new ideas to try.
While a lot of these ideas you may already be aware of, implementing them is often the hardest part.
While we can’t help you with everything on this list, we do specialize in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, SEO and Local Business Optimization – so if you have any questions on these areas please don’t hesitate to get in touch.