Be Remarkable Now for Oversized Self Storage Profits
by Marc Goodin
We are always looking for the next big marketing success idea. Successful marketing is not about any specific marketing idea or tool but rather doing everything in such a way that your self storage stands out as being Remarkable. As the word implies being Remarkable means people are talking about you. What are you doing that is worth making a remark about? Being very good is not going to work, is expensive, will get you ignored and set you up for failure. You can spend thousands even tens of thousands on marketing and be ignored by the average person. Being Remarkable is often free or inexpensive.
I often hear self storage is not sexy. If we believe this than we will continue to market an average product for the average person, at average prices and our ads will be ignored. Marketing is not about full-page ads, one more Facebook entry or another tweet. No one cares you are the best, have great customer service or you are ready to help with all their storage needs. Being safe and doing what everyone else is doing is very risky.
Here is my wife being sexy while fishing - what more can you ask for?
First you have to sell to people who are listening. This is not the average person or the average self storage customer. Sell to innovators, early adaptors, people who are currently renting from you and people in your community who love or appreciate the exceptional. They will tell everyone about you! Don’t be boring! Figure out what people want or better yet what they love and give it to them. People don’t want self storage. They want to be loved and appreciated. They want different, unusual, to laugh, and the unexpected. Here are several ways your self storage can be Remarkable.
The number one reason why most people decided to stop into a specific self storage office is because they drove by the facility. What if they drive by your facility and your competitions facility? What makes your front yard stand out and be Remarkable to the person driving by? Not a nice building, fencing, cameras or a nice sign that’s for sure. These things are expected. But a 150 foot long rock garden (or several gardens) full of beautiful flowers flanked by 6 foot tall exotic grasses with a unique statue or large rock feature will be Remarkable! I know this for a fact because I have such a garden at one of my facilities and it is the talk of the town. People who do not even need storage stop in the office on a regular basis and tell us they just had to stop in to tell us how beautiful our landscaping and gardens are.
Having the best Candy dish in the state - thats Remarkable!
How about a string of led lights on top of your fence along your frontage. Better yet make sure they change colors every few seconds to attract attention.
The two main Internet marketing sources for self storage are your website and secondarily your company Facebook site. Why not be unusual and make your website home page different. In less than five seconds with several hero pictures (both self storage & lifestyle photos) and headings (Rent Now. Pay Now) potential clients should know your facility is beautiful, is different and be able to decide your facility is for them! Tell a few thousand words with great pictures on the top of your website. Give them your location, hours and phone number on your home page. Let them know clearly you take credit cards and take payments online. Cater to the early adaptors and let them know they can rent online right now with the best guarantee. Let them know you are different with a quote from the owner “Pleasing you is our business!” While all this may not seem Remarkable the typical website does not capture the potential client on the home page and is even frustrating potential customers and sending them to check out the competition.
If you have added social networking to your marketing you should have a company Facebook site, the most popular social networking site online. But Instagram is quickly heading toward dominance over Facebook. It is easy and one post a day or every other day takes minimal time. And our number one renter, the ladies, spend 30 percent more time on Facebook than the guys. It easy to make your Facebook site Remarkable by making it more engaging and by adding a few features.
Remember use pictures, short headlines and short posts for the best results. Asking questions and asking everyone to share your posts will foster engagement. For example, if you posted a funny saying or picture you could say, “please forward to any of your friends that need a good laugh today”. If you have company Pinterest site download the Facebook app so your likes can click directly from your Facebook site to your Pinterest page. Remarkable.
People spend hours on Facebook everyday and every night just surfing around, often looking for things to check out. Why not add a second page to your Facebook page where people can actually see (and read) what each of your units looks like with a picture and description? If you really want to be a leader have a link in the description that brings them to your rental site.
We all talk about our great customer service but in reality, it is often not nearly as good as we think and remember good is expected and not remarkable. Hopefully you offer your client’s water and coffee every time they come into the office but remarkable is bringing every client a bottle of water every time they are on site during the warm weather. Presumable you smile when a client comes into the office but remarkable is opening the door for them and saying hello, good morning before they do. I bet you offer to take their boxes to the car but Remarkable is insisting and letting them know it is your pleasure to help. (Please never say no problem or it’s my job) If someone ask for a hand moving that one piece of heavy furniture, I am sure you would give a hand but Remarkable is making the offer just after they rented so they would not feel uncomfortable asking. Its not just one or two good gestures now and then that are going to make you Remarkable but going the extra mile for all the customer everyday. How about if you don’t have the unit size they need and you call the competition, while the potential client is standing, there to see if they have one. That’s Remarkable.
One great way to be Remarkable is giving away all kinds of free stuff all the time. Giving away free stuff is a lot cheaper than traditional advertising and works where traditional marketing fails. I am not talking about a 30 percent discount. People don’t even read the multiply flyers they receive weekly with 40% discounts. And I am certainly not talking about first month free. That is the worst promotion the industry has ever used and is a money losing proposition for your business.
The list of free is endless and as exciting as your imagination. Small flags on parade day, pumpkins in October, sunflower seeds in the spring, many white papers on various self-storage topics, like “What every renter needs to know before they rent” or “How to sell your house faster”. How about free popcorn, rulers, ice scrapers, donation of your time etc. The key is to get out of the office and visit the town with your free stuff.
Sun flower seeds with PICK US/contact info are great. People remember you when you hand them out, agaain when they plant and again when they admire them as they grow. And yes that is my wife GP being self storage sexy again.
People will be more excited about an unexpected free breakfast at Dunkin Donuts ($5 gift card) than 30% off. How about trying a $25 dollar experiment? Give a $5 Dunkin Donut card out to each of the next 5 noncustomers right as they walk in the self storage office - “Good morning, I am giving out a free Dunkin Donuts breakfast to each of my friends today. Remarkable. I don’t care what explanation you give; you just became Remarkable for $5 and probable rented some units. The last small newspaper ad you ran cost $300 and did not make you Remarkable and most likely did not get you any rentals. How many $5 Dunkin Donuts cards could you have handed out instead of that ad? You could have taken a stroll around town and handed out 60 cards and then let everyone know to come to the flash mob doughnut buying frenzy tomorrow morning at 7:30. That’s Remarkable.
Put it on your Facebook page a couple of days in advance and ask if you should stop by their business to hand out free DD cards? And then after you have handed out the cards let all your friends know there is going to be a party at DD from 7:30 - 8:00 and they are invited even if they did not get a free card this time. Maybe Dunkin Donuts will sell you the cards for half price for the joint advertising (and even give out free munchkins for a half hour) and let you set up a promotional table for an hour. Don’t forget to invite the local paper. Guerilla marketing is often Remarkable.
The New York Times recently reported that 65 percent of all business is referral business. People like to do business with a friend and a friend of a friend is the next best thing. Being Remarkable increases the odds astronomically that you will get more referrals. Giving word of mouth a boost by being Remarkable, is the secret. How many referrals did you get from you banker last year? None? How many times did you give referrals for your banker? None. Its time to be Remarkable and go to see your local bank! (and real estate agents, funeral homes, moving company, homebuilder, etc.)
Sometimes banks can be intimidating because they have such a formal air – not to mention all the cameras. But just remember they are people too and they need and appreciate new business just like we do. Its a 3 way win – win – win — Your self storage – your clients – your local bank. Bank referrals are a little different then your typical referral in the fact that you do not need to use the referral incentive card. They are built more on relationships and mutual clients.
Here’s how it works: Every month I get several clients who come to our facility who are moving soon and often may need a new mortgage.
Just before they leave, I tell them I know Mr. banker at my bank has helped a lot of people with new mortgages recently and give them his/her card. On the front of the banker’s card, I write my first name only and my full name, company name & phone on the back. I put my first name on the front just to remind them my info is on the back – so they can remember to tell my banker friend I referred them.
The key is to get to know your banker. So, you can call him your friend. Don’t be intimidated. It is easy. Just walk into your local bank, preferable not on Monday or Friday, early in the morning when it is not crowded and ask to see the manager (or mortgage person if he/she is not available). Do not have anything in your hands. If anyone asks why you want to see the manger – tell them none of their business – ha-ha, just kidding, let them know you have some mortgage questions you want to discuss.
Any good banker will invite you into their office and offer you a seat. Then get directly to the point. ”I am from the XYZ self storage just down the street. We get several people coming into our office every month who are selling and buying homes and I thought it would be a great idea if I could refer them to a friend in the banking business. It would help my clients out and mean more business for you.”
Then simple, ask if they are giving out mortgages and how is the mortgage business. If they are looking to make mortgages the rest of the conversation will take care of itself. No need to remind them to send clients your way – they will.
When you leave take a dozen of his cards and ask what a good referral for him is. Leave him a half dozen of your cards – no more. Make an appointment for a week or two later when you can drop off some literature about your self storage and more cards if he needs them. And you will be on your way to getting referrals from your local bank! Every time you hand out his card send him a short email. And don’t forget you can use this approach for other professionals in town as well. Be Remarkable give out referrals all the time.
Here is great idea from Ed who owns Storage Authority Spears Road in Houston TX. He invited a local flower shop to put up a tent on his front yard too sell flowers on Mother’s Day – no charge. They set up at 10 am and the customers started rolling in immediately. Of course, there was hand out self storage literature on a table that was given. Ed and his staff ended up given a dozen plus tours that day and even rented a unit to one of the people who stopped to buy flowers. Remarkable!
Here is Ed's Site Storage Authority Spears rd - It full so the concrete is just got poured for the next phase!
Very successful self storage business is not in the warehousing business or even the in the retail business, the current outdated paradigm thinking. If you are thinking professional service business, you are closer. But if you change your thinking and join us in the new self storage paradigm and know you are in the fashion business and the business of being Remarkable (and market accordingly) you will be incredible more successful. Think status symbol. Think sexy.
Self storage is not a gamble if you are ready to be remarkable and sexy. My wife being remarkable and joining me at the Las Vegas ISS conference before covid.
What to learn more about becoming a Storage Authority Franchisee click here.
To Your Marketing Success!
Marc Goodin is President of Storage Authority LLC. www.StorageAuthorityFranchise.com He owns 3 self-storages he designed, built and manages. He has been helping others in the self-storage industry for over 25 years. He can be reached at marc@StorageAuthority.com or directly at 860-830-6764 to answerer your self-storage franchise, development, marketing, sales and operational questions.