ViewPoint: May 2016

Posted by msmessenger on May 1, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Question: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Diane M. Gibson – President & CEO Cox’s Armored Mini Storage Management, Inc.

Diane M. Gibson
President & CEO
Cox’s Armored Mini Storage Management, Inc.

Over the years, we have developed a company “marketing guide”as a tool for all on-site managers to utilize on a daily basis. The marketing guide includes all of the general marketing strategies that the industry promotes as well as places we have found useful and helps the manager track their marketing by month. We require our on-site managers to market within their one-to-two-mile radius at least four hours per week. After getting their monthly marketing down and a rotation schedule underway, we then go in depth as we have discovered that what may work for one location may not work for another (keep in mind that being a third-party management company, we may have an owner who also requests a particular marketing strategy be implemented at their facility only). We do an overview of the area the facility is within, the demographics of the neighborhoods, and look at our vacancies to ensure we move forward with a plan that makes sense. While strategizing on whom and where to market, we also look into marketing props that would complement our plan. For instance, we have had success with Charter Schools welcoming us into their monthly events and local golf course tournaments; we supply sunglasses for those events. Driveway drops have been successful for us over the past year as well. Along with this, we have a good online presence. Our website is easy to access with easy maneuverability, and it’s mobile friendly. We list our sites on a few aggregator sites to help with our online presence too. Listen, with today’s competition, we all need to think inside and outside the box and be as flexible as possible to find new ways to attract customers to our facilities.

Joan Lucas – Joan Lucas Real Estate Services, LLC and Founding Broker of the Argus Self Storage Sales Network

Joan Lucas
Joan Lucas Real Estate Services, LLC and Founding Broker of the Argus Self Storage Sales Network

I’ve been specializing in self-storage brokerage for more than 22 years. I represent buyers, sellers, and developers in this field. I make it a point to know what is happening in my territory (Colorado) by interfacing with real estate appraisers, lenders, land planners, and government municipalities. I’m very concerned about over-building, and I know many of my clients are as well. Having this information provides an avenue for discussion with all owners and developers. I’m also co-founder, past president, and served on the board of directors for the Colorado Self Storage Association for 11 years.

However, knowledge is only good if you share it. My goal is to reach as many of my customers each month as possible. I do this with a phone call, email blast, postcard, or a handwritten note. The Argus platform of national marketing has been an invaluable tool to stay connected.

In spite of all of the above “tools,” I don’t think there is anything that can take the place of a personal meeting. Saying hello and getting to know the owners and operators is truly the key to success.

Natolie Ochi – President and CEO of SKS Management LLC

Natolie Ochi
President and CEO of SKS Management LLC

The most important first step to any marketing you do is to define your company’s vision statement. What is it that you want your customer to feel and experience? What pains them, and how can you help? Our vision statement includes the following words: clean, easy, modern, soothing, and helpful. Keeping those terms in mind, we are in the midst of changing out our older properties’ signage and office colors. Our signs, which date back to the 70s, had a red background with white lettering. Street visibility was our top consideration back then. Now, we are switching to more calming colors, such as teal blue and a fun light green, and a modern font for the lettering. These colors better evoke the first impression emotions we want our customers to feel when they visit our website or walk into our office. We train our employees to embrace our company’s vision with an easy touch-pad rental process and soothing customer service. We also maintain a clean facility with unique pain-relieving amenities such as our move-in, carry-in service.

The most successful forms of marketing are those that speak to your customers’ needs and instincts. Online reviews are the most influential referral sources for us. We send out a move-in survey to all of our tenants. Although our sampling is statistically small, 37 percent of our customers read an online review before making a decision. Twenty-two percent of our customers are previous renters and 15 percent are direct referrals. Seventy-three percent said they do not click first on the paid ads. Is it worth paying so much to be on the first page? While we certainly have not given up on our paid search campaigns, we are focusing more on touching the emotional side of our prospects’ buying decision making.