Let’s say your self-storage operation is well-established within its market. You’ve got competitors, but you’re all doing well. There’s a decent equilibrium, and everyone keeps their facilities at or above that ideal 90% occupancy rate. None of you has needed any more advertising than your signage, maybe the occasional ad in the local paper, and a website. Things are great, and everything is humming along.
Then one day you learn that Bob, who owns a facility up the street, is retiring and selling his property to a real estate investment trust. So is Roberta, another storage owner in your area. Now you go from economic stability to panic mode. But you shouldn’t! Instead, you simply need to expand your marketing efforts.
A low-cost, high-reward way to reset the playing field is paid digital advertising, which involves purchasing space on various online channels to promote your products and services. Let’s explore the options for boosting your self-storage business.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
The most common type of digital advertising is PPC, a powerful tool that helps businesses to increase their online visibility and drive sales. It offers a range of ad types for targeting your self-storage audience including search, display, social media and video. Search ads appear on search engine results pages, while display ads are shown on third-party websites in the form of banners. Social media ads appear on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, and video ads are displayed on platforms like YouTube.
PPC provides several benefits:
- It offers precise targeting, enabling you to reach your audience based on demographics, interests and behaviors.
- You have control over your ad spend, allowing you to allocate your budget to the most effective channels.
- You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, making it cost-effective.
- It’s measurable, with tools like Google Analytics enabling you to track performance in real time.
This type of advertising also has some drawbacks:
- Competition for ad space can be fierce, driving up the cost per click.
- PPC requires a certain level of expertise to set up and optimize campaigns.
- Fatigue may occur if consumers become accustomed to seeing the same ads repeatedly.
The cost of PPC varies based on your chosen pricing model. You can pay by the click, each time someone clicks on your ad; per 1,000 ad impressions (cost per mille); or when a user takes a specific action, such as making a purchase (cost per acquisition).
Social media ads are popular today for good reason: With billions of active users across various platforms, businesses have access to a vast audience. This form of marketing uses algorithms that analyze potential customers’ online behavior and interests to identify the most relevant viewers for each campaign. This level of precise targeting can result in higher engagement and better return on investment.
Social media ads come in a range of formats: image, video, carousel or sponsored content, providing flexibility and creativity for your self-storage marketing campaigns. For example, sponsored content allows you to seamlessly integrate your message within the user’s feed, creating a more authentic experience.
Like PPC, this form of digital advertising is cost-effective, allowing you to set budgets and bids and control your ad spend. Real-time performance tracking enables you to monitor campaigns and optimize them in real time, ensuring the best possible results. All in all, these ads allow you to increase brand awareness, engagement and conversions.
This method of digital marketing has emerged in the last several years. Programmatic advertising leverages some of the same platforms as PPC but in a slightly different way, using software to automate the buying process. This allows you to target your audience more efficiently and access a wider range of ad inventory.
Some programmatic software and agencies even allow smaller businesses to access traditional advertising platforms they might not otherwise be able to afford. This works by pooling the buying power of several small brands to make one larger purchase, especially as local TV and radio stations look to open new streams of revenue in the digital world.
A popular form of programmatic advertising is streaming TV ads. Your self-storage business can purchase space on platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Netflix. The approach uses data analytics and algorithms to target specific customer segments based on demographics, viewing behaviors and interests. You can also choose between ad formats such as pre-, mid- or post-roll as well as targeted overlays.
In addition to precise focus, high reach and engagement, and measurable performance tracking, streaming ads can be more cost-effective than traditional TV ads, as you can set a smaller budget and aim it precisely where you want it to go. This is becoming an increasingly popular option for companies looking to reach a wider audience.
Other types of programmatic advertising are:
- Display: This allows you to post banner ads on websites or apps. Choose between various sizes and formats, such as static or animated.
- Native: This type of advertising blends in with the content of a website or app. It appears as sponsored content or an advertorial, providing a seamless user experience.
- Audio: This targets users based on their listening habits. Choose between pre- or mid-roll ads.
Digital PPC, social media and programmatic advertising yield a range of benefits for self-storage businesses, providing precise targeting options, cost-effectiveness and real-time performance tracking. They’re powerful tools that enable you to reach your potential customers efficiently across a range of channels.
It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to do this on your own. There are several industry companies that focus on this type of marketing. They can help you build what you need to compete in today’s changing landscape. Talk to them, learn about their philosophy and find a team you can work with to take this vital but complicated piece of business off your plate.
CJ Pomerantz has been working in digital marketing for more than a decade, with clients in industries ranging from pets to powersports to real estate. He’s currently the product manager for Automatit, which provides digital-marketing services to the self-storage industry including website development, search engine optimization, paid search, call tracking and more. For more information, call 520.214.3628.