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Direct Mail...What Experiences Have You Had?

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  • Direct Mail...What Experiences Have You Had?

    We're considering running a USPS "Every Door Direct Mail" campaign to reach residential customers in specific, nearby neighborhoods. Who has done something similar recently, and what were your results?

    We're doing this because we're on the border between desirable and undesirable neighborhoods. Any 360 degree ad - in Google or Facebook, for instance - would be half wasted on the unlikely prospects. It seems like an old-fashioned, direct mail campaign might be the best for this.

    What are your thoughts?

  • #2
    We haven't done direct mail in several years. It never works for us. Think about your own habits when you get your mail. I always throw the junk away.

    Stephanie Tharpe
    Senior VP of Operations
    A+ Storage of Tennessee, LLC
    Nashville, TN

    TNSSA Board of Directors


    • #3
      If someone living in a home needs storage they already have it or are going to use someone they researched. Direct mail goes in the trash, like Steph says and would be a waste of your money. If you have apartment complexes around, like I do, I would take cards, a handout and a plastic holder for the handouts to display on a desk in the manager's office at the complex and introduce yourself to the apartment managers. I did and got so many referrals and keep getting them because they are close and prime customers for storage. Again, like Steph, JMO.
      "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"


      • #4
        I have used direct mail in the past with other businesses, and it has been successful. But there are some things you need to be aware of.
        1. Single mailings are typically not as effective. Sending the same mailing to the same address multiple times increases response rate.
        2. Response rate is usually around 1-2% can increase with multiple mailings or when used in conjunction with other advertising methods. So if you send out 5000 post cards you will generally get 50-100 leads. Those are leads not new tenants. Generally most facilities know how often they convert their leads to new rentals.
        3. I use for my post cards with shipping it is generally between $150-$200 for 5000 post cards
        4. Find a local mailing service wherever you are, they will be much more knowledgeable than people you deal with at the USPS, also their rates will be cheaper than you pay at USPS

        I have done mailings by carrier route saturation, and I have bought lists where I set the demographics. I am not really sure which would work better for self storage. If you want to do saturation by carrier route then you will need a carrier route map to identify where you want to mail. That map will cost you about $100. Most demographics lists depending on number of names will cost you $150-$200 per list.

        I have gotten postage down to around .13 per postcard using saturation by carrier route, you will be between .17 and .25 if you use a list and do selective mailing.


        • #5
          I've done it twice; once using a purchased list and once using a specific zone thru the post office. With the purchased list we sent approx 5000 cards; the post office was about 2500. Response rate for both was less than 1%. I thought it was a waste of money and will never do it again.
          Too many freaks, not enough circuses.


          • #6
            My previous boss has been in self storage for 30 years. He said it was a waste of money, ~except~ for a brand new facility. Then it's getting the facility's 'face' out there, so to speak. You might try going to apartments in your desired area- many of them pass out gift baskets to new residents which can include information about local storage facilities, (give out kitschy keyrings or magnets) or have an area where you can leave flyers.
            I was born to be wild, but only until about 9:00 pm.


            • #7
              We have been well received with direct mailings in almost. We've certainly gotten our money back and more.
              Chasing Perfection to catch Excellence


              • #8
                I've had good success with direct mail, but as Randy stated above it requires multiple mailings to the same potential customer. We spaced ours out about 3-4 months apart. Another huge advantage when doing direct mail is to create a mailer that is something a person would want to hang onto instead of tossing it in the recycle bin. We created a postcard of local "celebrities" (including a rescued Owl who couldn't be returned to the wild) that people loved and kept on their refrigerators. We had those postcards show up four and five years after we ran the campaign.
                Gina 6k
                VM: Four-Oh-Eight- Seven-Eight-Oh-Eight-Oh-Seven-Nine

                You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
                I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.


                • #9
                  Avoid it. CPP is way too high, especially for an "on as-needed" basis industry.
                  Scott Simon
                  St. Louis area resident storage manager


                  • #10
                    We tried this as vendors (not facility owners) and zilch. The only time I have had any result with this was years ago (in another neighborhood industry) when it included a magnet with our number they could put on the fridge - but it never paid for the cost.
                    Burt Abreu

                    All From 1 Supply
                    Building & Maintenance
                    Products for Self Storage


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