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Most efficient online marketing? Google, Sparefoot, Selfstorage.com?

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  • Most efficient online marketing? Google, Sparefoot, Selfstorage.com?

    We have about 1/4 of the units vacant and wondering people utilize sites other than Google. We are doing Sparefoot but I hear a lot less about

    www.Storage.com, www.USstoragesearch.com, & www.StorageUnit.com.

    I guess the big question is whether we would be paying for customers we might already get through Google anyways. We have a Yelp site but not gonna pay up for that.

    Any thoughts appreciated

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Storage.com is part of Sparefoot.

    USstoragesearch.com never once brought a customer to me when I used them.

    StorageUnit.com isn't one I'm even familiar with. So I'm guessing they aren't a big player. Looks like mostly the chains are listed there.

    US and StorageUnit don't even come up when I search storage in my city, so I don't think Orange County, CA is big for them!!!
    MamaDuke

    Comment


    • #3
      Google is #1 in my experience. The companies you listed are all part of Sparefoot I believe.
      Yelp works in some markets (San Diego as an example). Facebook works in some markets, though I've not seen it work personally.
      Do you have a Pinterest or youtube? The more extraneous things you're part of the better your results.
      "Carpe the HECK out of this diem."
      WA state

      Comment


      • #4
        Google hands down. Be sure to create a post under your google my business page and set up the mileage for under 10 miles. Also, adjust the hours people can see your google ad words. I think we do ours from 6 am until 10 pm daily.

        Comment


        • #5
          I never had any luck with Storage & USStorageSearch and I don't know about StorageUnits.

          As others have said, make sure that you have Google My Business and keep updated on your hours and information. Post pictures and take advantage of their free stuff. I haven't done any advertising with them but they probably are the ones to go with since they control just about everything.

          I use Facebook more for sharing local events, Chamber of Commerce stuff, promotions that we have, office closures. I just had someone send me a message through FB and we talked about a large unit and fingers crossed she will be here today to rent the unit.

          I make sure that our Instagram acct is linked with FB so it posts to both social media sites at once and I don't have to do them separately. We have the free listing on Yelp and surprisingly I have had quite a few customers from Craigslist especially if I post outside our immediate area. I haven't ventured into Pinterest or YouTube but I do want to.
          The future depends on what you do in the present.

          Comment


          • #6
            PeterL
            Your original issue is 1/4 vacant. Your steering the conversation towards online marketing. Attached is a checklist to work your way through, which you may have already done.

            1. Unit size mix- what is your vacancy by size? If skewed towards one size, do a price comparison on Sparefoot for everyone within 5 miles of you and see how competitive your pricing is. If skewed, "as possible" reconfigure to different sizes. Example: If you have a bunch of 5x10; then convert to 10 x 10. If you have a bunch of 10x15 in a 30 building, convert to 10's and 20's.
            2. How old is your location. If more than 3 years old and it is an outside pull up operation, then need to address.
            3. How old is your location. If "a little" more than 3 years old and it is a climate controlled location, they may have had to build extra units beyond a 2 year fill rate.
            4. How old and Clean is your location versus others?
            5. How full are your competitors? If all of you are at 75% full, then market is saturated.
            6. Sparefoot- within your zip code where do your rank on Sparefoot? Recommended, Price, Reviews, Distance- no changes possible. Identify the first three and work to move to number 1 in your zip code. I can give you pointers if you need.
            7. Google- A. How do you rank for your town or area? What page do you show up on? How often do you show up?, B. Google Maps, where do you rank?, C. Google ads, D. At the bottom "searches related to" do you show up?, E. Youtubes- do you have a presence, Keep track of these month over month to see your improvement. Validate on another computer other than your own. They will be ranked differently on your company computer.
            8. Google- based on 7 above, determine if you need an SEO person and if it is worth it.
            9. How is your physical location and external signage. Obvious question. I know a 2 year old 300 unit location, right off the highway, that does not have a Road Sign. This is your least expensive advertising.
            10. U-Haul- know you did some other posts on U-Haul. I chose not to contribute, but I will here. A. This only works if you live nearby and have time for it. B. U-Haul, by itself is not worth it, unless you are there already. C. Don't sell packaging unless you are onsite all of the time; not worth it. D. There is no direct correlation between renting U-Hauls and renting Storage units. In 5 years, I know of about 4 of our Storage units rented due to our UHaul rentals. E. With the above said, I think UHaul is great for Stirring the pot in public. If your by yourself with no other Uhaul location, then you are the "UHaul" location that people mention and refer to. This sends people towards you, even if you don't know it was UHaul related. At 90 to 95% capacity I would question doing UHaul. I let my neighbor, stay at home mom take care of our UHaul and she gets 100% of the income.
            11. Competitors- do a comparison test between you and them. A. Price, B. Discounts, C. Hours available- are you 24/7?, D. Marketing, E. Physical attributes of site?, E. Distance from customers. One of my competitors is 2 miles out of town near no customers, we are in town.

            Do the numbers. Do your vacancy by Unit size. Determine your vacancy or occupancy rate objective by size. Then take action steps to get there. If your in a town greater than 30,000 people, you can be near 100% full, but determine if it is worth it.

            Good luck

            Comment


            • #7
              I recently learned to claim your Apple Map! Storage Pug walked me right through it. https://www.apple.com/maps/
              Stephanie Tharpe
              President
              A+ Management Group, LP
              Nashville, TN
              www.aplusmanagementgroup.com
              615.288.2162

              TNSSA Board of Directors
              www.tnssa.net

              Comment


              • #8
                MusicCity Gal Thanks Stephanie! I just claimed my business on Apple Maps.
                In no way affiliated with Storman software.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The one everyone forgets about, craigslist. Simple and free. We track all of our marketing and craigslist actually have the highest dollar average for rental price. We get more leads from Google and drive bys but craigslist rents our biggest units.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Clarkstoragellc View Post
                    PeterL
                    Your original issue is 1/4 vacant. Your steering the conversation towards online marketing. Attached is a checklist to work your way through, which you may have already done.

                    1. Unit size mix- what is your vacancy by size? If skewed towards one size, do a price comparison on Sparefoot for everyone within 5 miles of you and see how competitive your pricing is. If skewed, "as possible" reconfigure to different sizes. Example: If you have a bunch of 5x10; then convert to 10 x 10. If you have a bunch of 10x15 in a 30 building, convert to 10's and 20's.
                    2. How old is your location. If more than 3 years old and it is an outside pull up operation, then need to address.
                    3. How old is your location. If "a little" more than 3 years old and it is a climate controlled location, they may have had to build extra units beyond a 2 year fill rate.
                    4. How old and Clean is your location versus others?
                    5. How full are your competitors? If all of you are at 75% full, then market is saturated.
                    6. Sparefoot- within your zip code where do your rank on Sparefoot? Recommended, Price, Reviews, Distance- no changes possible. Identify the first three and work to move to number 1 in your zip code. I can give you pointers if you need.
                    7. Google- A. How do you rank for your town or area? What page do you show up on? How often do you show up?, B. Google Maps, where do you rank?, C. Google ads, D. At the bottom "searches related to" do you show up?, E. Youtubes- do you have a presence, Keep track of these month over month to see your improvement. Validate on another computer other than your own. They will be ranked differently on your company computer.
                    8. Google- based on 7 above, determine if you need an SEO person and if it is worth it.
                    9. How is your physical location and external signage. Obvious question. I know a 2 year old 300 unit location, right off the highway, that does not have a Road Sign. This is your least expensive advertising.
                    10. U-Haul- know you did some other posts on U-Haul. I chose not to contribute, but I will here. A. This only works if you live nearby and have time for it. B. U-Haul, by itself is not worth it, unless you are there already. C. Don't sell packaging unless you are onsite all of the time; not worth it. D. There is no direct correlation between renting U-Hauls and renting Storage units. In 5 years, I know of about 4 of our Storage units rented due to our UHaul rentals. E. With the above said, I think UHaul is great for Stirring the pot in public. If your by yourself with no other Uhaul location, then you are the "UHaul" location that people mention and refer to. This sends people towards you, even if you don't know it was UHaul related. At 90 to 95% capacity I would question doing UHaul. I let my neighbor, stay at home mom take care of our UHaul and she gets 100% of the income.
                    11. Competitors- do a comparison test between you and them. A. Price, B. Discounts, C. Hours available- are you 24/7?, D. Marketing, E. Physical attributes of site?, E. Distance from customers. One of my competitors is 2 miles out of town near no customers, we are in town.

                    Do the numbers. Do your vacancy by Unit size. Determine your vacancy or occupancy rate objective by size. Then take action steps to get there. If your in a town greater than 30,000 people, you can be near 100% full, but determine if it is worth it.

                    Good luck
                    Thanks! This is gold. Also by the way, we are at month 2 on UHaul and no new self storage customers. You along with everyone else here has been spot on about UHaul's benefits. I need to improve on the Sparefoot and Google stuff as you mentioned.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by teesee150 View Post
                      The one everyone forgets about, craigslist. Simple and free. We track all of our marketing and craigslist actually have the highest dollar average for rental price. We get more leads from Google and drive bys but craigslist rents our biggest units.
                      This very surprising. Will look into this. We actually got a bunch of larger unit rentals from Loopnet too which was surprising so think we will get this started too.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Clarkstoragellc View Post
                        PeterL
                        Your original issue is 1/4 vacant. Your steering the conversation towards online marketing. Attached is a checklist to work your way through, which you may have already done.

                        1. Unit size mix- what is your vacancy by size? If skewed towards one size, do a price comparison on Sparefoot for everyone within 5 miles of you and see how competitive your pricing is. If skewed, "as possible" reconfigure to different sizes. Example: If you have a bunch of 5x10; then convert to 10 x 10. If you have a bunch of 10x15 in a 30 building, convert to 10's and 20's.
                        2. How old is your location. If more than 3 years old and it is an outside pull up operation, then need to address.
                        3. How old is your location. If "a little" more than 3 years old and it is a climate controlled location, they may have had to build extra units beyond a 2 year fill rate.
                        4. How old and Clean is your location versus others?
                        5. How full are your competitors? If all of you are at 75% full, then market is saturated.
                        6. Sparefoot- within your zip code where do your rank on Sparefoot? Recommended, Price, Reviews, Distance- no changes possible. Identify the first three and work to move to number 1 in your zip code. I can give you pointers if you need.
                        7. Google- A. How do you rank for your town or area? What page do you show up on? How often do you show up?, B. Google Maps, where do you rank?, C. Google ads, D. At the bottom "searches related to" do you show up?, E. Youtubes- do you have a presence, Keep track of these month over month to see your improvement. Validate on another computer other than your own. They will be ranked differently on your company computer.
                        8. Google- based on 7 above, determine if you need an SEO person and if it is worth it.
                        9. How is your physical location and external signage. Obvious question. I know a 2 year old 300 unit location, right off the highway, that does not have a Road Sign. This is your least expensive advertising.
                        10. U-Haul- know you did some other posts on U-Haul. I chose not to contribute, but I will here. A. This only works if you live nearby and have time for it. B. U-Haul, by itself is not worth it, unless you are there already. C. Don't sell packaging unless you are onsite all of the time; not worth it. D. There is no direct correlation between renting U-Hauls and renting Storage units. In 5 years, I know of about 4 of our Storage units rented due to our UHaul rentals. E. With the above said, I think UHaul is great for Stirring the pot in public. If your by yourself with no other Uhaul location, then you are the "UHaul" location that people mention and refer to. This sends people towards you, even if you don't know it was UHaul related. At 90 to 95% capacity I would question doing UHaul. I let my neighbor, stay at home mom take care of our UHaul and she gets 100% of the income.
                        11. Competitors- do a comparison test between you and them. A. Price, B. Discounts, C. Hours available- are you 24/7?, D. Marketing, E. Physical attributes of site?, E. Distance from customers. One of my competitors is 2 miles out of town near no customers, we are in town.

                        Do the numbers. Do your vacancy by Unit size. Determine your vacancy or occupancy rate objective by size. Then take action steps to get there. If your in a town greater than 30,000 people, you can be near 100% full, but determine if it is worth it.

                        Good luck
                        Mind sharing how you increase your ranking on Sparefoot if it isn't too difficult to explain? Thanks

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          PeterL
                          You might read my U-Haul comment closer. I like and dislike U-Haul in different situations.

                          Your first key is to do a Unit size analysis of the 1/4 vacant units. This is the first path I would go down. You need to figure out if your issue is "operational" or "marketing". If evenly spread then a "Marketing" issue. If a large portion are a specific size, say 10x20; then you probably have what I call an "Operational" issue. Do 1 above if skewed. This will lead you to your action plan. If evenly divided, then look first at Marketing.

                          Go through the checklist and see where you are at, prior to focusing on one issue. Then do the easy ones, then the hard ones. If you office hours are 8 to 5, then your not competitive. Move to 8 to 10PM; 7 days a week. I pick up 1/3 of my customers on the weekend when everyone else is closed. Key point is to go through the checklist and make sure you have issues identified and covered, before going down one line of thought. Because no one, can say which item is the key item; you need to look at all of them and decide which to improve first.


                          I would not focus on a single item, until you have reviewed yourself across the board.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Clarkstoragellc what you said makes sense regarding UHaul. I'm still in the optimistic camp of 'stirring up activity' per your 10E comment.

                            The vacant units are pretty much spread out from 4 x 6 to bigger ones at 8 x 10 (don't ask why we have these wonky sizes - I just put up standard sizes on the website just not to confuse people as we have units that are within a few sf of the standard 5 x 5, 5 x 10, etc). Location is very old like 60 yrs old, a huge concrete bunker once owned by Bekins Storage. It's a 4 story building. It's in good shape and pretty clean but not Public Storage built a few years ago clean but for a building this old its pretty clean.

                            Vacancy in the area hovers around 5-8% with a few facilities close to zero.

                            Sparefoot we rank pretty low and that needs to be worked on.

                            Our pricing is lower than the competitors so I am optimistic that once we can optimize our web presence, we can more quickly start filling units.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              PeterL

                              Don't read or do the below first. Recommend you go through the checklist I provided above and make a list of actions. For Example, the below doesn't mention Road Sign. If you don't have a nice Road Sign, that is both the first, most beneficial and the Cheapest advertising you can do. If your not covering Calls 24/7. Etc.

                              Some of the things I am about to recommend, may sound like they contradict each other, but each statement is for a specific purpose/result.

                              a. Vacancy- in the area around 5-8% and some at zero. This is great. Means there is no reason for you to not get to 95%. I intentionally say 95% because at 100% your are losing "money". Assumes you can't expand at that site. Again keep thinking by size of unit. Don't know the size of your location, so change figures to be relevant. Action- As you get to the last 2 to 4 units in a size, increase the rent for those. Also, once you get to 95%, start cleaning up your customer base and either moving late paying people to Autopay; or moving them out and increasing their rent significantly until they do.

                              b. Product- Don't compete on the same playing field as all of your competition. If your not the owner, then you will need to discuss with the owner.
                              1. Key is if your at 75% occupancy and holding, you are losing the Cherry on top of the ice cream. At 75% you should be past break even and covering Principal and interest if there is a loan. Every dollar then is pure profit and cash flow.; Example: If you go from 75% to 85% occupancy, that next 10% occupancy is probably both a 30% increase in profits and a 30% net cash flow increase. Action- Develop an occupancy objective and plan for 95%.

                              2. If your in an old structure your profit model and cost model should be different than a brand new National Big Box building. Example: For a 10x10 they rent at $120; you rent at $120; you should be making way more money. But even if you are "clean" your older; thus your price should be less, different product. In one of our towns, we have 3 different products/locations. We bought the oldest facility in town and it doesn't look as good, even though we keep it cleaned up. 10 x 20 $55; our other newer locations are $65. Which one is the most profitable? The older one. We bought it right. We like having different price points. Action: We still have two different price points within the same location. On Sparefoot, we are lower than our walk in Street rate.


                              c. Sparefoot: Keep in mind the town size most people look for in your local. Your "Sparefoot" presence competition is based on that town size; where as your market competition is based on the traditional 1 to 3 miles.
                              1. Recommended- Unit size offerings- Review your competitor listings for the city you are in. Look at their detail and see how many different unit sizes they have. You want that many or one more. Action- List all of your sizes. ; Move in Rate- You want to have as high a percentage as possible. Action: Respond as fast as possible. Ask the customer to cancel the reservation if needed. I have had people reserve three different sizes before, when they only wanted one. If they were just price shopping, ask them to cancel reservation, they could do this without a reservation. View rate- Action- need to discuss. More detailed.
                              2. Price- This is not the "Best" price. This is not Unit Size specific. This is truly who has the lowest price in your Sparefoot area, no matter what size. If I put $1 down, then I would be at the top of the Price search. Action- don't bait and switch. Look on Sparefoot for the lowest priced product. Develop a product you are willing to rent out for less than that. You may have to add individual "Caged" units with limited access.
                              3. Reviews- Look at your competition for your entire city. Action- Start and keep sending out Sparefoot review requests. See the location that has the most. Your objective is to be 1 more than them. Few operators worry about Sparefoot reviews, most are spending their time on Google reviews, which is also good.
                              4. Distance- you can't change. You type in Denver, in Sparefoot, your customers may be viewing locations 10 miles away; but unfortunately they get in the way of your customer seeing you. They can narrow the focus down by doing zip code or going to the Sparefoot map, but this is more work for them.

                              You will find that even though you have the best Distance, # of Reviews, and Price; you will still not be the Recommended location. As per above, that is because the "Recommended" is not based on those factors. Recommended is important, because that is the first metric that pops up on Sparefoot.

                              d. Unit Sizes vacant-
                              1. Action- always rent a close larger size for the lower size rate. Your out of 5x5's for $60; but you have a 5 x 8 for $80. Rent the 5 x 8 out as a 5x5 for the lower rate. Remember at 75% occupancy you are at pure profit and cash flow. There is no reason to keep an empty 5x8, when someone wants a 5x5. But I'm losing $20 of rent potential. No, you are losing $60 of pure profit and Actual Cash.;
                              2. Action- Combine vacant units that are side by side. You can physically take out the adjoining wall, and leave two doors. Or you don't do any physical change, just let them know they get two units.

                              e. Web Presence/Google- look at different markets Google "Self Storage City". Look for who is ranked at the top, for listings, map, etc. Look for non Big Box locations. Dig into them. You will find they are using a certain Website Developer, SEO manager, functionalities within there website, etc. Compare these items versus your setup. Go for the macro action and not the micro. Example: Some people will say you need a ton of Google reviews. But you will see some of the topped rank have very few google review. Action- research and move to their Website business model.

                              Key. First go through the checklist, before jumping to a conclusion on Marketing. Because there is not a "Single" marketing issue to address. You have to address across the board. It would be great if you could "Weight" each action item as to importance so your could be focused; but it is better to take action and do as many as possible. Most of them don't take that long to address.

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