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  • New Storage Facility Status update Month 4 from Opening

    We just opened our 7th storage location in a 1mm metro area. The others were in towns of less than 5,000. Totally different marketing approach. See my prior topic on "Big City Marketing" at:

    https://clarkstoragellc.com/big-city-marketing/ .

    Going to expand on 3 approaches I took and then what the status is on Rent up. This will not be the norm for anyone else, but you can use it as another data point to see how you are doing.


    Approach Road Sign:
    I was so worried about the Internet and Sparefoot ranking, that I forgot about my road sign. Have a 13-15,000 Vehicle per day traffic count. The contractor and sign are all set. Just got the permit approval. Will be $15,000 installed. Be about $1 per vehicle on day one, then keep dividing each day. Will be my cheapest advertising and most focused, since these folks drive by here.

    Kept it simple, they are driving 55 mph:

    Roof line over the top.
    ClarkstorageLLC
    Phone number
    Clarkstoragellc.com

    Start small and do your Big mistakes early. Still learning. Never had a road sign before. Building signs, but no road signs.





    Approach Sparefoot:
    Whoopee. Just ranked number one in the four "Sort By's": a. Recommendation, b. Reviews, c. Price, d. Distance- zip code.
    A lot of hard work went into this one. Primarily it was learning who was keeping score and how. Although this sounds great, most of the other competitors are 12 miles away on the other side of town, thus they are not true competitors. But on the internet, they get in the way of my local people seeing me.

    Several of you have mentioned you don't like Sparefoot or other consolidation groups. We would all need to compare time and place for our units. I will compare against myself. Today, I will take every marketing avenue possible. Have a large monthly payment to make and I'm the one making it. The faster I get to my breakeven of 65% occupancy, the faster, I am not putting cash out. This location is in a large Metro area with a lot of competition. My other locations, we own the market. Three years from now, we might not use Sparefoot. By then we will have started our "Vortex" of old customers returning or new customers being referenced by our old customers. The location will Feed itself.





    Approach Internet:
    Again, we have locations in rural and now in a major metropolitan area. Both take a different marketing approach. In the major Metropolitan area, Sparefoot or a similar product take the lead because it is all about SEO (search engine optimization). Although I found and have one of the best SEO persons in the market, he can't compete against a large marketing group. Even if we get to be the number one listed on an internet search, there are still 10 more pages for someone to look through. It all bleeds together, even if your number 1. That is why I am pushing for YouTube and Google Map listing. These have pictures and stand out from the many pages of Google listings. The following YouTube cost $750. It is higher from other SEO firms. Our SEO monthly costs are significant, but it is part of playing in this larger market and also speeding up the Rent up period.

    https://youtu.be/jnJxNzkn5Ug

    The Google Map listing, we just have to keep working our SEO magic. The large REITS and organizations key off on Google listings more than youtube or Map listings. We were at zero; and
    now are at 10th out of 17 after 2 months on the map listing.

    On Google under "Searches related to Self Storage in xxxxx city" on the first page, we are the number one suggested site to look at next. This is versus not listed 2 months ago. So our SEO is working.

    We joined the two Chamber of Commerce's in our Metro area. Did a special ad on their websites. These are showing up on Google searches because of these two cities powerful SEO presence. This also created a great back link to our website.


    Not shown is the Google analytics report for our SEO efforts on our Website. Couldn't get it to copy or show correctly. Although I am a numbers person, these reports are all "relative". To get Google to rank you higher, I can't tell if we are good or bad. So I ask my SEO how I can increase Organic Growth external of the Internet. He handles online and I handle Organic links to our website offline.
    Currently we are doing a Coupon drive $100 credit for the renter and $50 for the Referrer. https://clarkstoragellc.com/movein-referral-coupon/
    They have to go to the website to print off a Coupon, they turn in with the rental agreement. This drives Google ranking on our website. Just started, so have to see how this works. Not allowed with any other Internet (Sparefoot) or other (AAA discounts) discounts.




    Rent Up Period:
    Attached is a Monthly Webselfstorage report. We opened in February. Half way through June we are at 12% full. My normal expectations on my other locations would be 30% full by June/July. Note this is for outdoor driveup storage and not a Climate Controlled building, which might prebuild 4 years worth of capacity.
    Occupancy
    Month Total Begin Ins Outs End Chg +/- SqFt Rented
    6/2020 229 21 8 0 29 8 11.72% 12.66%
    5/2020 229 11 15 2 24 13 10.08% 10.48%
    4/2020 229 6 9 1 14 8 6.40% 6.11%
    3/2020 229 3 4 0 7 4 3.54% 3.06%
    2/2020 229 0 4 0 4 4 1.91% 1.75%
    1/2020 229 0 0 0 0 0 0.00% 0.00%
    Then we would pick up another 20% in the fall. Not worried about is this a bad location, or other issue. The way I do market studies, https://clarkstoragellc.com/storage-...ill-they-come/
    there is more than enough clients here.

    Key thing I am doing, is to make sure I have everything, I can control covered:
    a. Mow grass and keep trash free.
    b. Answer every phone call promptly.
    c. Monitor Sparefoot pricing and availability
    d. Work on SEO non internet Organic tools. Coupon program, Chamber commerce program, Customer reviews, evaluating Free Move in truck program,
    e. Street sign
    f. Evaluate pricing during rent up period. There is another new location on the other side of the city and they are renting for 1/2 price of everyone else. That might be the correct approach and then raise the rents. Don't know. Not an approach I'm taking. But don't know what their shoes are like financially. Luckily they are not my competition since they are so far away.



    Hope this provided a base line for any new locations during rent up period. Please don't consider the above as good or bad. Just another data point to consider. We have another location 40 miles away that we added a new building to. It was 100% rented out in 2 months during the exact same period. Both locations are strong market areas for new locations or additional units.



    For any Future Readers, this was during the Covid period.









  • #2
    Great information, thanks for sharing!
    Kevin Kerr
    Storage Commander Cloud Software
    k[email protected]
    Direct - 951.867.4732

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Kevin with Storage Commander.

      Folks when you hear me say Sparefoot or Webselfstorage, please note these are the softwares I have started with and am comfortable with, not that they are the best or only way. As we build our last location over the next year, we will come back and re-evaluate all of our fixed costs such as marketing and software then I might have different posts.

      Thanks.

      Comment


      • #4
        Can I suggest something ridiculously simple? Get a big bunch of helium balloons and hang them out on your fence in your colors. It's eye-catching and cheap. Also, are you selling boxes? Put a 'We Sell Boxes' sign out front, it will get people in as well.
        Even duct-tape can't fix stupid. But it can muffle the noises.

        WA State

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        • #5
          Great update. Have you begun to track which lead generation method is the best bang for your buck?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Middlebury.storage View Post
            Great update. Have you begun to track which lead generation method is the best bang for your buck?
            Hello Middlebury.storage…. so far for the new company I work for. They are not interested in using anything like sparefoot, call potential etc. Right now being brand new, they have only advertised on facebook, local newspaper and visiting local businesses near by leaving our brochures, business cards etc. They were very surprised to find that right now facebook is our biggest lead generator. Maybe its due to this whole covid - 19 where more ppl are stuck at home perhaps spending more time on social media. The second biggest lead for us is kind of tie between drive by and word of mouth. They are getting ready to do a digital billboard instead of another add in local newspaper or a mass coupon mailer (digital billboard is actually cheaper than a mass coupon mailer). We opened March 1st considering everyone being somewhat on lock down, we have about 41 tenants so far. (they also have ad on google)
            Last edited by GM - StacieJ. - BSS; 16 June 2020, 10:58 AM.

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            • #7
              @K, thanks for the second set of eyes. We intentionally don't sell products or do Uhaul at all of our locations. All 7 locations we do Self Service unit rentals over the phone. See youtube of approach for our latest location.
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnJxNzkn5Ug

              On the silly idea, its great. We haven't done our grand opening yet. Once we get the Road sign up, we may do a grand opening. Our front 4 lane road lends itself to high traffic. On the silly side we may put out Free Ice Cream or Free Beer (have to see if I need a license) on a Friday from 4 to 530. Plus pass out our Coupon handouts at the same time. https://clarkstoragellc.com/movein-referral-coupon/


              @M let me try again to get our Google Analytics report for the month of May copied so we can discuss lead generation. The Road sign will be by far the cheapest and the highest generating avenue once we have up.

              Looks like my road sign picture of the location did not upload above. Let me try again. Uploaded as an attachment below.

              Sign location.png

              Comment


              • #8
                Picture above. I intentionally built at the back of the 8 acre lot, so you don't see any buildings up front. We have 3 phases planned of 230/200/200 roughly. We left the front available in case we switch gear on the last phase of 200. Which we will probably do. A large local group has just purchased some land 2 miles away and plans to build a 430 unit complex. Everything is fair game. However, there are already three large national firms and ourselves here.

                Phase 3 along the road will now move to "Contractor Incubator" buildings. I'll do a separate topic on that later.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Clarkstoragellc View Post
                  @K, thanks for the second set of eyes. We intentionally don't sell products or do Uhaul at all of our locations. All 7 locations we do Self Service unit rentals over the phone. See youtube of approach for our latest location.
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnJxNzkn5Ug

                  On the silly idea, its great. We haven't done our grand opening yet. Once we get the Road sign up, we may do a grand opening. Our front 4 lane road lends itself to high traffic. On the silly side we may put out Free Ice Cream or Free Beer (have to see if I need a license) on a Friday from 4 to 530. Plus pass out our Coupon handouts at the same time. https://clarkstoragellc.com/movein-referral-coupon/


                  @M let me try again to get our Google Analytics report for the month of May copied so we can discuss lead generation. The Road sign will be by far the cheapest and the highest generating avenue once we have up.

                  Looks like my road sign picture of the location did not upload above. Let me try again. Uploaded as an attachment below.

                  Sign location.png
                  Instead of 'free beer'. maybe a food truck? That way you don't deal with another layer of bureaucracy.
                  Even duct-tape can't fix stupid. But it can muffle the noises.

                  WA State

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    @Mid, let me see if these upload very well. Getting back to your Lead generation question. Again, keep in mind, I have never cared about the internet on our other locations. This is our first venture into internet marketing and using an SEO firm.

                    Below are copies of the latest month Google analytics report with our SEO. Can't get them to show portrait. Sorry for the crick in your neck.

                    This is after two full months, with no/little internet presence before.

                    Again, my major objectives are:
                    a. Google Map placement on their listing of locatons next to the map. We are now 10 out of 17 for our town, starting from zero 2 months ago., Hopefully top 6 to 8 next month, and then the top 4 showing on the front page after that.
                    b. Youtube placement. We are not showing yet. But on your Google search page at the bottom where it says "Other places people searched" we are number 1 or 2.

                    So Google is starting to recognize us after 2 months and we're moving forward.

                    Report below: Traffic channels by session; Source/Medium; New vs returning visitors.
                    Key- New visitor sessions is high and gaining which will push Google ranking. Bounce rate and Session durations are very good. I will let you google those. Some may look bad, but for their "source" they're good.




                    Next report:
                    Top Page views and Top Landing Pages.
                    Key:
                    Top Page views is good. Mainly looking at our main page, then looking at Pricing and Blogs. We just started a Coupon program so hopefully that will pickup this next month. https://clarkstoragellc.com/movein-referral-coupon/
                    Top landing pages. Most people are coming in through our main web page. Not to get into Bounce rate and session duration, but both are fine.



                    Next report: Google My Business: Customer Actions and Search/Map views
                    Key: Google ad calls at 19 was good relative to last month. Total of 1,393 views is a significant pickup from last month and more importantly the Map views.



                    @Mid Lead generation was your basic question:
                    a. Road sign, not in place but it will be the best and cheapest as mentioned above.
                    b. Right now Sparefoot is by far. They have a strong SEO system. There is one new competitor who is very small and are new to the business. They joined Storedge, part of Sparefoot, and they are listed on the first page due to Storedge and Sparefoot SEO power.
                    c. Again, my goal is not to compete on Website listing, but on Google Map listing and Youtubes as discussed above. My SEO still thinks our website will be on the front page in 6 months. Versus page 7 now.

                    Actions after discussing with SEO:
                    a. Let Google ranking keep cooking.
                    b. Do more renter specific blogs. Doing one on RV/Vehicle parking for tenants. Website visits will improve Google ranking.https://clarkstoragellc.com/blog/
                    c. Google Reviews- only had 1. Was primarily working on Sparefoot reviews which help on Sparefoot, but not on Google. Sent requests out. Hopefully get this number up real quick. Again, this will impact Google Ranking.
                    d. @GM Stacie mentioned Facebook above. Have enough traction on Google now, going to start with $200 of Facebook regeneration ads. If you search during the day for storage and ran across us. Later that night when you check Facebook out our website will pop up. Have Zero "likes" or "follows" on my storage facebook account, which we have not used. You have to have at a minimum 26, for Facebook to allow the ad. Will shoot for 50 today and send the link out to our website and ask for "Likes" and "Follows" to customers and freinds. https://www.facebook.com/ClarkStorage
                    e. Got one lead from Craigslist after a month. Will try it again.
                    f. Chamber of Commerce. I will send out a member to member Coupon listing. About 15,000 members in total. Should either get someone interested in the coupon or visiting the site to check us out. Again, impacting Google Ranking.

                    If your a technical person on Google Analytics please add comments. Please communicate data is all relative and we are in month 2.

                    Thanks.



                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Update:

                      Facebook for the Storage location, started at zero, have 38 likes and 39 follows. Needed 26 to get our Facebook ads started. So we will see how facebook does. Hopefully get good results like @StacieJ noted.

                      Sign post, the posts are in. Set back an additional 2 feet from the fence in case we decided to use the next larger sign. See picture below. Should be up in the next week. Saved money, went with creosote poles versus I beams. Will see how it does in the wind. Pretty windy here.

                      Joined two Chamber of Commerces, "Alignable" forum and plan to check out "Bigger Pockets" forum for adding content and google view/ranking on our Website.
                      Put our Coupon Program on one of the Chambers and it is showing on the 3rd page.


                      The "Alignable" is a pretty neat forum, its national, but can be isolated to your local area for your participation. This forum is actually better than one of the Chambers forum and the city forum. Able to host and sponsor the monthly newsletter to get visibility. Our businesses are very local, but this would be a great forum for a regional or multistate forum.

                      Wow. Just checked to see where we are listed on a (Bing) search and we are on the first page. This is coming from joining "Alignable". This must have a very strong SEO presence. Some how they have us listed on every page in a Google Search.

                      Our google presence from our website is now on Page 4. Believe this is up from page 7. Both our website and some blogs are starting to show up.

                      Moved up to 7 versus 10 spot on the Google Map. Also our ad shows first on the google map.

                      YouTube videos have not started to show. Will have to focus on them more.

                      The internet is not my area of expertise. So the above might not be communicated as thoroughly or informatively as possible.



                      @Mid, can you add your experiences? We took @StacieJ note about Facebook and are trying it. Let us know if you have a different angle.





                      Comment


                      • #12
                        [QUOTE=Clarkstoragellc;n193819]@K, thanks for the second set of eyes. We intentionally don't sell products or do Uhaul at all of our locations. All 7 locations we do Self Service unit rentals over the phone. See youtube of approach for our latest location.
                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnJxNzkn5Ug

                        On the silly idea, its great. We haven't done our grand opening yet. Once we get the Road sign up, we may do a grand opening. Our front 4 lane road lends itself to high traffic. On the silly side we may put out Free Ice Cream or Free Beer (have to see if I need a license) on a Friday from 4 to 530. Plus pass out our Coupon handouts at the same time. https://clarkstoragellc.com/movein-referral-coupon/


                        ICE CREAM will attract more families and you won't need a specific license. Families are almost always looking for ways to get more space in their homes.

                        Local marketing - get your name out there. Make some "friends" with local businesses and promise them a $25 gift card for referring people to you. Go to weird places that are always busy and ask if you can put up a flyer or business cards. Weird places like - funeral homes (Grandma's stuff's gotta go somewhere when she passes away in that assisted living place - Assisted living places, apartment complexes, hardware stores!, coin operated laundromats, cell phone stores, local small restaurants, Places you go to all the time and you see advertisements for other places there - restaurants that redo their tables every five years and have ads on the tables. NAME recognition is important when your a little guy because a lot of the big guys depend on their commercials and print ads. Restaurant waiters and waitresses ALWAYS need pens. You may not have specifically purchased from someone because you saw their name on a pen, BUT you recognized the name eventually.

                        Let me ask everyone something - when was the last time you looked at the ADS in the newspaper when you were NOT looking for something specific like new tires, or a sale on the washer/dryers etc? People usually don't skim ads unless they are specifically looking for that item and that 1 in 10,000 person who finds your ad for storage is really not worth the hundreds of dollars you put out every month to be in the newspaper - unless it's a really inexpensive local newspaper with heavy readership. Most companies gave up on the yellow pages some three years back - except for the one liners....
                        (I'll put my little box away now)
                        Throw kindness around like Confetti - But don't get glitter in your eyes!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Clarkstoragellc View Post
                          Update:

                          Facebook for the Storage location, started at zero, have 38 likes and 39 follows. Needed 26 to get our Facebook ads started. So we will see how facebook does. Hopefully get good results like @StacieJ noted.

                          Sign post, the posts are in. Set back an additional 2 feet from the fence in case we decided to use the next larger sign. See picture below. Should be up in the next week. Saved money, went with creosote poles versus I beams. Will see how it does in the wind. Pretty windy here.

                          Joined two Chamber of Commerces, "Alignable" forum and plan to check out "Bigger Pockets" forum for adding content and google view/ranking on our Website.
                          Put our Coupon Program on one of the Chambers and it is showing on the 3rd page.


                          The "Alignable" is a pretty neat forum, its national, but can be isolated to your local area for your participation. This forum is actually better than one of the Chambers forum and the city forum. Able to host and sponsor the monthly newsletter to get visibility. Our businesses are very local, but this would be a great forum for a regional or multistate forum.;
                          Local forum called "Next Door" you can be in specific neighborhoods. You will get emails about stuff, but it is a good forum to get onto to place a "local ad".

                          Throw kindness around like Confetti - But don't get glitter in your eyes!

                          Comment

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