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  • Big City Marketing

    Have not cared about online presence other than Google Map pin; most of our locations are in the country (pop 5,000), great locations, only 2 to 3 competitors. We only do Drive up storage and no Climate controlled (don’t want to).


    When we moved to the big city (1mm, 112 competitors) this year, totally different ball game. Most of these are not our physical competition due to distance, but they are in the same bandwidth on the internet. We're on a 13,000 vehicle per day local road at a two way turn thru intersection, which is great. However need a greater online presence since I want to speed up the rent up period. Took two approaches:

    A. Sparefoot presence/ranking- worked on the 4 "sort bys" to get ranked higher. Made quick headway (top 3 of 4- Reviews, Price, Distance- for area), but still need more progress on the "Recommended" ranking.


    Help***** “Recommended”- Need to figure out how the group at the top are staying at the top, I can't make the numbers and logic work out. Talked with Sparefoot on the components, but they won’t give me my calculation to weight which component to work on. No conspiracy theories please. I’m not willing to jump from 1.5 months fee to 3.0 months fee. There is no way they are giving 3 months rent, plus the customer 1 month rent. Trying to do a GAP analysis.
    1. Move in %- 75% for 3 months, or is it number of “Move Ins”? Is this good or bad? How does it rank against number 1/2/3? We’re ranked number 4 “today” in our zip code. Last week we were number 9.
    2. Unit Variety and Availability- at the top,
    3. Reservation rate- % or number? If % is it “Reservations” divided by “Calls”? Can you decipher yours from MySparefoot? Then same question, what is a great %?
    4. Distance- at the top for my zip code and area. A given anyways. But doesn’t appear weighted. The three ahead of me are over 10 miles across town. Would think this metric or Algorithm would push them down???? in my zip code.


    They said all of the above 4 criteria are weighted the same. The reason I can’t make the “numbers” work. As you rent up (90%), your “Unit Variety/Availability” should go down. Your Reservation rate, if it is Calls versus reservations should also go down as you rent up. Distance- There has to be a greater weighting in a city for a 10 mile difference. In the Country, 10 miles is nothing.


    ******Let me know if you have suggestions. Or input.



    B. Online presence-

    1. Google ads- I'm not a techy so I took the "easy" way out and hired an SEO company. $3,000 and 6 google ad phone calls later, after 2 months. 3 of them for other companies and other states, we made this program, way smaller ($400 per month). Stopped and re-analyzed the whole google ads. We have 112 locations to compete against. Even "if" we made it to the number one google ad listing, we couldn't stay there and we would be drowned out by all of the ads/websites. My SEO is great, highly recommended. As he got to know our industry, he is competing against Spare foot and their several companies, plus the other large Box stores websites. They have bigger SEO groups than just his company. So I said you (SEO) and I can't win that fight. This is a little unfair of me, since it can take 3 to 6 months for your Google Ranking to percolate and I gave it 2 months, but I never saw the benefit, even if we were ranked number 1.

    2. Google YouTube and pictures- When you google ministorage "Hometown USA", and look at the "Forest" and not the "Trees". I see five groupings of ads:
    a. Google Ads,
    b. Company Websites,
    c. Google map and Banner Ads,
    d. Youtubes,
    e. Pictures.


    I chose to go the YouTube approach, which has less traffic. This and the Pictures jump out from all of the text ads and websites. This then drives back to your website. The “Organic” growth is going well on them. Need to let Google algorithm work for 3 to 6 months to move their ranking up. Thought about the Banner Ads, but the SEO said don’t go there, expensive. Will circle back to that later.


    Help******Do you have a different approach or “take” on the above notes?


    3. Website- Been improving and working with the SEO, think we are progressing. I’ll have to get some other folks to do a review and see any obvious improvements. Do a comparison against other sites. Been doing a few pushes to drive up it’s Google ranking. Need to let it percolate.




    Been writing a lot of topics and replies to “Give back”, before I asked for your help. Could use your experience and wisdom.


    Thanks for your input.

  • #2
    I don't really have much of the info you're asking for. However, when we were signed up with Sparefoot, they would push us alll the way to the bottom; the facilities at the top...big name stores only. Even when they would take a reservation for us, it took them sometimes a week before they called us about them (I did several myself just to test it out periodically) we never got one the same day and the lease time was 3 days. We don't pay for ads on Google but are ranked at #3 at any given time, sometimes higher at #1 except for the big store that always is above us because they paid for the ad and by default, are listed first. I wish you the best of luck and hope you are able to get some of the other answers you are looking for!

    Comment


    • #3
      How did you get to number 1 or 3 on Google. Did you blog, no paid ads sounds like, was it just time in place? Did you do Search Engine Optimization? How large is your town and # of competitors on sparefoot? Are you 1or 3 out of ???, in a town of ???,???

      Could just be the need for patience on my part and wait for Organic growth in the Google Algorithm.

      Thanks.

      Comment


      • #4

        Hi ClarkStorageLLC,

        Assuming that I found your correct website, https://clarkstoragellc.com/, I did a quick audit to see what you're working with. Unfortunately, the tool I used gave the website a 62/100 in regards to your "on page" optimization. Some of the issues that it showed such as the lack of H1 header tags and title tags are easily fixed, but carry strong weight while you're trying to rank organically for your keywords.

        Other things that it showed include your backlink profile that shows that you only have 4 domains referring to your website which will reflect a very weak domain authority. I would suggest checking the backlinks of your higher-ranked competition for ideas of where you can get more and submit your website to free listing service such as
        Besides the audit, I also saw that your facility only has 8 reviews on Google. Building up your reviews will not only help your SEO efforts, but also give potential renters a source of trust and show that you're a well-established business. I would maybe setup something in your management software to automatically send out review requests after x amount of time to help with this.

        On the website itself it really lacks any clear call to action or easy way to get to your units rentals/reservation page. Making your website a little more conversion-oriented would be a good idea in my opinion.

        Lastly, I'm a big fan of Google AdWords. In your particular scenario, I would recommend creating landing pages for your locations that are made to drive conversions. Make their online journey from ad listing to rental as short as possible so you can better track the ROI of your ads and see a better return.


        Sorry for the extremely long response, but you put so much effort in your original post I thought it would only be nice of me to do the same. This is really only the tip of the iceberg on things you can do, but I hope you find some value in something I wrote.
        Kevin Kerr
        Storage Commander Cloud Software
        k[email protected]
        Direct - 951.867.4732

        Comment


        • #5
          Sounds great. Greatly appreciate the time and input. Would rather build on someone else's experience than weather thru it. Thank you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Clarkstoragellc View Post
            Sounds great. Greatly appreciate the time and input. Would rather build on someone else's experience than weather thru it. Thank you.
            Always happy to help our SST members! If you have questions on any of this stuff feel free to message me or email anytime.
            Kevin Kerr
            Storage Commander Cloud Software
            k[email protected]
            Direct - 951.867.4732

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Clarkstoragellc View Post
              How did you get to number 1 or 3 on Google. Did you blog, no paid ads sounds like, was it just time in place? Did you do Search Engine Optimization? How large is your town and # of competitors on sparefoot? Are you 1or 3 out of ???, in a town of ???,???

              Could just be the need for patience on my part and wait for Organic growth in the Google Algorithm.

              Thanks.
              We are currently #3, number 1 is a facility that paid for an ad. We don't do blogs and I'm not aware of any optimization the company may do. There are about 24 facilities within a 20 mile radius of us and 15 just in our town (about a 10 mile radius). I have no clue how any of it works, to be honest

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for input.

                Up in Iowa.

                Please have some seafood at Pappadeaux's or fajitas at Cadillac Grill for me. Can't be all about Storage.

                Comment


                • #9
                  2 of my fav places along with Whataburger, Killen's St BBQ, Turkey Leg Hut & Kelly's...just to name a few I absolutely love food!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I used Sparefoot when we first bought our business January 2019 and HATED them. I used them for about two months before cancelling the service. First red flag was when I got a call from a customer to set up storage. After speaking to him I found out he was located an hour away, but the Sparefoot rep he spoke to assured him that my facility was near him and that he could "just stop down with his credit card and get set up" which is also false because I work from home. Second red flag was when I had someone call to set up her move in time the next day. She had made the reservation with Sparefoot and I had zero notification of it. Unfortunately I didn't have a single unit vacant to offer her and had to send her away, which I felt terrible about. Last red flag was when multiple Sparefoot customers were somehow under the impression that Sparefoot was running my business and I was their employee. I tried to contact them to speak to someone about the issues but never got anywhere with it. At the end of the day I was getting worried that I was going to start getting bad online reviews because of them, and they were causing me more trouble than it was worth.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the response. I've had good results with them. But am wanting to get better on the "Recommendation" section, if anyone has any input. If you came up with a different solution or company, please let me know.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I worked for a huge corporate owned storage company that used sparefoot. All the managers absolutely hated it. We ran into the same problems with them telling customers we were close by to them when in the fact the customers were not close to our location at all. They also would take reservations for units that were already rented if we were out of that size, they would tell them we offered free month, which the whole six years I worked for them they never offered a free month (its corporate they don't give anything away for free lol). They would also ask customers to pay the $15.00 reservation fee and turn around and move them into the unit and charge their cards for the month's rent plus admin, we had to refund a lot of credit cards once the customer came down to view the unit and rent it, then being told sparefoot already charged them for the full month. Customers also thought we were part of sparefoot so this left a bad taste in their mouth thinking we would be putting charges through their cards without their knowledge. It was more problems then it was worth, we dreaded getting emails confirmations from sparefoot regarding rentals. I am so grateful to now work for a family owned storage facility that does not rely on sparefoot or call centers.
                        Last edited by GM - StacieJ. - BSS; 23rd May 2020, 03:27 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So, in San Diego I worked for a respected self storage. Top 3 all of the time for our area, then we switched to a different website provider and TANKED for almost a year. They were terrible.
                          Then the mgt company had their private website builder come in and restart from the beginning and we threw EVERYTHING at it to see what would stick. We had a huge list of companies (like Kevin recced) like Yellowpages.com etc. and entered our information. (took me a couple of weeks)
                          We tried Sparefoot, Storage.com, flyers, personal marketing, Google adwords, banners, craigslist, YELP, Facebook, I started a blog etc.
                          By the time I left we were in the top 5, we'd ditched Sparefoot/Storage.com (same company now), continued with FB, kept Adwords, YELP (at that time huge in the area) and kept on moving forward. That's been several years ago.
                          What I'm saying is trying everything once and seeing what you're comfortable with and what works for YOUR area is going to be unique to you.
                          Even duct-tape can't fix stupid. But it can muffle the noises.

                          WA State

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            All the insights are great folks, keep them coming. I really like Sparefoot "as one of my tools". Note: At this particular location, I am at a "Rent Up" stage. Need all the marketing muscle possible (Sparefoot). My website, blogging, Facebook, Coupon program, isn't enough or fast enough in a new town/area.


                            Need your help on the following:

                            How have you gotten your "Recommended Ranking" up? Any input on the 4 components of the ranking? Thanks.

                            1. Move in %- 75% for 3 months, or is it number of “Move Ins”? Is this good or bad? How does it rank against number 1/2/3? We’re ranked number 4 “today” in our zip code. Last week we were number 9.
                            2. Unit Variety and Availability- at the top,
                            3. Reservation rate- % or number? If % is it “Reservations” divided by “Calls”? Can you decipher yours from MySparefoot? Then same question, what is a great %?
                            4. Distance- at the top for my zip code and area. A given anyways. But doesn’t appear weighted. The three ahead of me are over 10 miles across town. Would think this metric or Algorithm would push them down???? in my zip code.

                            Thanks,

                            Comment

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