The self-storage business is incredibly competitive. Due to the abundance of self-storage options and market saturation, it is important for a self-storage owner to get his message out and let people know he is open for business. Through word-of-mouth, partnerships and a limited amount of advertising, it is possible to become the first self-storage business a person thinks of when he needs a little extra space.
Word of Mouth
Word-of-mouth advertising is the best form of advertising there is. It’s free and the sales pitch comes from someone who a potential customer knows and possibly trusts. To generate word-of-mouth advertising, you must have a clean, safe, and fairly priced facility with great customer service.
Partnerships with complementary businesses are another great way to market your business. Partnerships will usually cost you nothing. The way they work is that you approach a local moving company or Realtor and ask if they would like to refer business to you in exchange for you referring business to them. For example, say someone just sold their house and needs to put a few things into storage for a while. The Realtor who helped sell the house would suggest your self-storage business as a good option. In exchange, whenever one of your self-storage customers are getting ready to move out of their apartment and are looking for a house, you refer them to the Realtor in addition to the moving company. Partnerships can be set up on a strictly quid pro quo basis, or they can be set up so that the person providing the referral gets a small commission. The key with every partnership is to make sure it involves complementary businesses and is mutually beneficial.
Many businesses can get by on word-of-mouth and partnerships alone, but when you need to bring in extra business, targeted print advertising can be an effective method. While the Internet has changed the way many people look up local businesses, a lot of people still go to the local Yellow Pages to find a business in their area. By making sure your self-storage company is listed, you might be able to pull in some extra customers. You’ll want to make sure it is cost-effective given the rising prices of Yellow Pages advertising and its declining user base, but it still remains a common source of business referrals.
Another effective way to bring in some extra business is by mailing advertisements for your self-storage business to communities that have a high proportion of people going to college. A lot of college students switch dorms or apartments every year and quite often they need a place to store their stuff over the summer or through the school year. By sending out cheap postcards toward the end of the school year, you can let people know about the solution your self-storage business can provide.
Another common way to increase occupancy rates is by running a promotion. Common promotions include giving away the first month of storage free or giving a current customer a month of free rent for every new customer they refer. As you can tell, promotions work synergistically with the other marketing ideas above. By intelligently combining promotions with word-of-mouth, targeted mailings and referrals, a self-storage business will be able to generate all the business it needs.