Marketing is crucial to the success of self-storage facilities. But how do you determine how much money to allocate and where it should be spent?
Let a budget guide you. Without one, it’s hard to determine which campaigns and programs are bringing in new customers. It may also be impossible to set and achieve goals. Consider the following to develop a comprehensive marketing budget that will keep you on track and allocating your funds in the best way.
Know your starting point
The first step to creating your self-storage marketing budget is understanding the return on investment (ROI) and effectiveness of your current strategies. You should track how tenants found your property during all rent. This gives insight into which routes are working and which are not.
To assess the effectiveness of a marketing program, analyze what you spent versus the revenue it generated. Figure out how many new rentals you received, what each customer paid, and how long they stayed, then compare that to what you spent acquiring those tenants. This should tell you how much income you can expect from each dollar invested in the future. Use this guide for future marketing.
Another factor to consider is the occupancy of the facilities. If the projections are high, aggressive marketing might not be necessary at this time. If a property is rented, on the other hand, the marketing budget will be higher than if the site is already established. Your strategy must be defined according to the expected performance.
Explore individual line items
Your budget should reflect all the types of self-storage marketing you plan to use in the coming year. It is best divided into two main categories: offline marketing and digital marketing. Here’s a quick overview of what should be included in each.
Offline marketing. Although online marketing is a priority for most self-storage operators, building brand awareness is still important. Also, it can create name recognition in web searches down the line. This category should include line items for promotional items, community sponsorships, printed materials, events, and networking fees. Let’s look at a few of them in more detail.
Sponsoring local organizations can allow your self-storage business to connect directly with members of the community. You don’t need to allocate a huge sum for this, as even a nominal budget will allow you to hang a corporate banner at a local event or provide branded packing boxes for use. of a non-profit organization.
It is important to designate funds to host or participate in local events. Site managers should meet other members of the community. Set a budget that allows them to plan or attend various gatherings. This can include booth rental fees, signage and decorations, printed materials and fun giveaways.
Joining networking groups is one of the fastest ways for self-storage operators to meet key members of the community. Consider the local chamber of commerce or some special interest groups. Include membership fees in your budget.
Digital marketing. For most self-storage operators, this is the largest part of the marketing budget. Having an online presence is more important than ever. This category should include things like website maintenance, search engine optimization (SEO), paid media, social media, online aggregators, and reputation management. In addition to the cost of hiring vendors, consider the value of the staff time involved.
Your self-storage website should be user-friendly and allow for easy rental. Therefore, you need to allocate funds to ensure that upgrades can be made to reflect changing technology. You also need to consider website hosting, and possibly design and repair.
SEO is the key. How your business appears in online search is one of the most important factors in attracting new customers. For this purpose, you may need money for quotes, website page optimization and other strategies. If your installation is in a competitive market, you can also purchase paid media such as Google Ads. The costs of this stuff can be found using tools like Google Keyword Planner or the Search Lost IS (Budget) report, which tells you the percentage of times your ads didn’t show because you didn’t have enough budget to pay them.
Additionally, estimate expenses for social media and reputation management, including the cost of staff needed and the time they will need to spend on these platforms. Although these websites are often free to use, there may be times when you want to run paid campaigns.
The last item in the digital section of your marketing budget is online aggregators. To determine costs, look at past spending in this area. Just make sure the budget is set correctly for your projected occupancy and available units.
Once you’ve set your marketing budget for self-storage, expect it to change throughout the year. This is not a “set it and forget it” activity. Factors that could affect the numbers include an increase or decrease in unit demand, facility occupancy, new technologies, vendor price increases, or an increase or decrease in premium channels. An adjustment of the plan will sometimes be necessary.
To be successful, your self-storage business needs a marketing budget, based on the establishment’s goals and what’s happening in your unique market. When analyzing the numbers, consider which avenues are driving new business and where you could grow. Just be flexible and ready to adapt, especially when new technologies or disruptors emerge.
Melissa Stiles is Director of Marketing for Storage Asset Management, a property management and consulting firm specializing in self-storage. The company manages over 470 properties along the East Coast. For more information send an e-mail [email protected].