Promoting your Self Storage business online

November 4th, 2010

The recently released Self Storage Association of Australia (SSAA) Demand Study for 2010 has (as per usual) highlighted loads of fascinating statistics about how Self Storage is used in Australia.

However some of the most interesting changes over the 2008 report highlight the dramatic increase in opportunities for Self Storage Operators to use the web to market and promote their business online – to increase enquiries and actually make online sales.

What do your customers want Online?

The SSAA asked both Potential and Existing storers to indicate what features they would like to see on a self storage facility’s website. Some of the most requested functionality include…

  • List of units available & prices (86% for potential customers vs. 75% for existing customers)
  • Ability to pay their account online (64% for potential customers vs. 54% for existing customers)
  • Ability to see their account status online (62% for potential customers vs. 53% for existing customers)
  • Ability to book a unit & pay a deposit online (59% for potential customers vs. 43% for existing customers)

Nb. These figures represent the percentage of respondents indicating a feature was desirable.

With the steady increase in eCommerce over the last 5-10 years, web users are not only becoming more confident with using the web for online sales and enquiries – they are actually expecting theses services to be available. There is a very real risk that facilities not offering these types of services will be missing out on sales and losing market share to those that do.

Relatively few Self Storage websites are currently offering details of current listing availability and prices, and the main reason for this seems to be the effort associated with keeping this type of data up to date. An obvious (and simple) solution is to hook your website into the software that you use to manage your facility, then you don’t have to do anything extra to keep your unit availability information on your website current.

StorMan’s range of self storage software already has modules that integrate with your website, automatically update you space availability, allow customers to view their account status, pay a storage invoice, or book (reserve) a space and pay a deposit – all from your own website.

Promoting your website

Having a website that offers the types of online services that storers are looking for is an excellent start – but unless they are able to find your website in the first place, it is of limited real value.

In a nutshell, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) describes a process for getting your website found online. Activities designed to Improve your rankings in the search results, Increase traffic to your site, and maximise your online sales and enquiries, are every bit as important as having a website in the first place.

The two most important elements that are required for good rankings are:

  • Good Quality, Unique, Keyword Rich Content – The content on your website should describe the services you offer, using the “language” that your customers are likely to search for, and be informative as well as useful to your customers (and potential customers).
  • Links to your site – Third party sites that link to you (especially if they are in the Storage niche) are critical to achieve good rankings. You should strive to get links from Industry sites (such as Self Storage Associations, like the SSAA), Business Directories, Industry related Listing services (such as SpaceOut), and possibly even your competitors.

There is a HUGE amount of information about SEO online, so you can find out a lot more about it through a Google search. However, the most effective SEO techniques and strategies are constantly changing, and there is a great deal of old, out of date and inaccurate information available online.

To ensure you are really optimising your site (and not actually harming it), we recommend that you talk to a professional SEO to at least assist you with development of an Search Engine Optimisation strategy.

Local Search

The nature of the self storage industry pretty much guarantees that people looking for storage space, will mostly be looking in a specific area. So when they are searching online they will most likely include a locality in their search query (e.g.  “Self Storage Bathurst”, or “Self Storage Prices Sydney”, or very often even specific queries like “Space for Rent Footscray”).

Again, listing with online services like SpaceOut (which has a very strong “local” focus) is a good way to improve your visibility for local search queries. Also, forming alliances, and cross-linking with other storage facility websites in other localities (who are not your direct competitors) can also be a very effective mechanism to help raise your own local search profile.

Offering the types of online services that your existing and potential customers are asking for (and may soon be demanding) and ensuring that you are doing whatever you can to maximise the exposure of your website, are critical steps to make sure that your business not only survives, but thrives in the increasingly competitive future online.

Categories: Storage Space Tags:
Comments are closed.

Feedback Form