Self Storage Marketing Strategies & Tactics That Actually Work in 2024

John Reinesch

There are many platforms that you can market your self storage facility on, but understanding which ones will actually be profitable can be challenging. Reaching the potential tenants in the 3-5 mile radius around your storage facility through digital marketing is critical for tenant acquisition and increasing occupancy.

In this article, we’ll break down the most effective marketing strategies that actually work for self-storage.

self storage marketing

Key Insights

  • Digital Marketing Strategies: Leveraging various digital marketing tactics such as SEO, PPC ads, and email campaigns is essential for enhancing online visibility, driving website traffic, and ultimately increasing tenant acquisition.
  • Local SEO and Google My Business Optimization: Prioritizing local SEO efforts and optimizing Google My Business profiles can significantly enhance visibility in local searches, attract nearby customers, and ultimately boost foot traffic to self-storage facilities, especially in areas with high competition.
  • Offline Marketing Tactics and Community Engagement: While digital marketing is paramount, integrating offline tactics like billboard advertising, direct mail campaigns, and community sponsorships can complement online efforts, foster community relationships, and further enhance brand recognition and customer loyalty. We prefer starting with digital marketing, then if budget allows, expand into traditional marketing.

Introduction to Self Storage Marketing

Overview of the Self Storage Market

The self storage industry has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade, evolving into a $40 billion market in the United States alone. As urban housing trends lead to smaller living spaces, more and more consumers are utilizing self storage to securely store their extra belongings. It’s estimated that 1 in 10 U.S. households currently rent a self storage unit.

The self storage sector is highly fragmented, with over 50,000 storage facilities spread across the country. Most storage operators are independent owners with just a handful of locations, while the top 10 national chains control only about 18% of properties. This fragmentation leads to intense competition in many local markets. In addition, new self storage construction continues at a rapid pace, increasing the supply of available units.

With growing competition among existing facilities and new market entrants, effective marketing and advertising is essential for self storage operators to stand out, attract renters, and maximize occupancy and rental rates. Promoting a self storage business through multiple channels can increase visibility, reinforce branding, and highlight key attributes that set a facility apart.

The Importance of Advertising in the Competitive Self Storage Industry

In the fast-growing self storage sector, competitors are often literally across the street or just around the corner. Savvy marketing enables operators to differentiate their offerings and drive rentals even when another facility with similar amenities is nearby. Advertising builds awareness of a storage business so that it’s top-of-mind when potential customers are searching for storage options.

While pass-by visibility and location remains important for self storage, more and more renters are beginning their search online. A targeted digital marketing strategy is essential for reaching those potential customers. Storage facilities today need an online presence that highlights the benefits of their location, facility features, and policies.

Advertising is also key for maximizing occupancy, especially during the slower winter months. Running targeted promotions during seasonal slow periods provides an incentive for prospective renters to take the leap into renting a unit.

Overall, storage operators who strategically advertise their business across multiple platforms stand to gain market share, attract more rentals, increase occupancy rates, and optimize rental income. The competitive nature of the self storage industry makes regular advertising a business necessity rather than an optional extra. Facilities that don’t actively market themselves risk losing visibility and potential customers.

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    Understanding Your Self Storage Audience

    When it comes to advertising your self storage facility, the first critical step is gaining a deep understanding of your potential customers. Who are the people in your local area that are likely to need self storage, and what motivates their need for storage solutions? Detailed segmentation enables you to create targeted marketing campaigns that truly resonate with your audience.

    There are several key demographics that comprise the majority of the self storage market:

    • Young professionals and college students – This group encompasses people in their 20s and 30s who are just getting settled into apartments, careers, and adult life in general. They are mobile and may not own many possessions yet. Events like moving, taking a new job, graduating college, or downsizing into a small urban apartment often create the need for self storage in order to declutter living spaces.
    • Families and residential customers – Families generate a constant demand for self storage solutions. Ongoing needs include providing extra space for kids’ toys and possessions, clearing out clutter to prepare homes for sale, creating space for home renovation projects, and safely storing belongings during moves and periods of transition. Targeting advertising to young families relocating to the area can be especially fruitful.
    • Military families – Members of the armed forces frequently deal with temporary duty assignments, deployments, and permanent change of station moves. Flexible month-to-month storage and specialized military discounts are strong selling points for this segment.
    • Business customers – Small business owners need extra space for inventory, equipment, records, and supplies. New businesses and those undergoing renovation or expansion projects are prime candidates. Certain verticals like contractors, retailers, and interior designers may have above-average demand.
    • Seasonal needs – Customers preparing homes for the winter, storing recreational vehicles in the off-season, or temporarily downsizing to travel after retirement account for seasonal upticks in self storage needs. Retiree snowbirds living seasonally in different regions are one example.

    In addition to demographic segmentation, take time to understand the psychographics and buying motivations of your potential customers. For instance, are they looking for absolute lowest cost, or a higher-end experience? Are they stressed and urgently needing storage due to an unexpected life event, or calmly planning ahead and weighing options? Tailor messaging and offers based on a nuanced perspective of your local market. Ongoing customer surveys and analysis of buying patterns can shed light on the psychographic dimensions that go beyond basic demographic traits.

    Digital Marketing Strategies for Self Storage

    Optimizing Your Website for Conversion

    Having a user-friendly, modern website is critical for any self-storage business looking to drive conversions online. Focus on speed, an intuitive site architecture, clear calls-to-action, and seamless mobile optimization. Remove any friction in the conversion funnel from initial search to booking a unit.

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Self Storage

    Leverage SEO best practices like keyword research, metadata optimization, and backlink building to improve visibility for relevant searches. Target informational long-tail keywords around storage space types, pricing, and location. Produce blog and landing page content optimized for these phrases.

    Leveraging Google Ads and Bing Ads

    Pay-per-click ads allow self-storage operators to appear prominently in search results and reach customers actively looking for storage. Develop tightly-themed ad groups around service offerings and location. Use negative keywords to reduce irrelevant traffic. Dynamic search ads can help expand reach.

    Utilizing Social Media Platforms

    Self storage social media marketing involves maintaining active profiles on Facebook and Instagram to increase brand awareness and engagement. Share facility photos/videos, run paid promotions, respond to comments/queries promptly. Leverage community hashtags and geotagged posts. Consider paid social ads to target nearby customers.

    Email Marketing Campaigns

    Collect emails from site visitors to nurture leads via drip campaigns. Send promotional offers, facility updates, moving tips, etc. Use email automation to send booking reminders and customer satisfaction surveys. Segment lists for tailored messaging.

    Innovative Use of Video Marketing

    Video tours highlight amenities and help customers visualize units. Testimonials build trust and social proof. Post videos natively on social media and YouTube. Video ads can achieve greater visibility and engagement over static images alone.

    Local SEO and Google My Business

    Local SEO and optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) profile are critical for increasing visibility and driving local traffic to your self storage facility. Unlike standard SEO which focuses on national or international rankings, local SEO specifically targets potential customers searching for storage options in your city and surrounding areas.

    Improving Local Search Visibility

    • Ensure your website includes your full business name, address and phone number. This helps search engines confirm your local business identity.
    • Your NAP (name, address, phone number) should be consistent across all listings and citations, including your website, Google My Business, online directories and social media profiles.
    • Build local citations and listings on high authority sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, YellowPages, Mapquest, etc. The more reputable directories linking to your website, the better.
    • Include locally-optimized schema markup on your website to help search engines understand your business type and location.
    • Craft locally-focused page titles, meta descriptions, headings and content to target nearby customers searching for “self storage near me.”
    • Encourage customers to leave localized reviews mentioning your city, neighborhood or street address. Reviews can significantly boost local ranking signals.
    • Register your business on Google Posts so customers can check wait times and availability right from Google Search and Maps.

    Maximizing Your Google My Business Profile

    • Completely fill out your Google My Business profile with images, description, amenities, special offers and FAQs.
    • Verify your business by receiving a postcard or phone call from Google. This gives your listing a “verified” badge.
    • Regularly add new photos showcasing your facility, units, amenities and staff. Help customers visualize storing with you.
    • Ensure business hours, phone number, street address and other details are accurate and kept up-to-date.
    • Use Google Posts to share events, promotions and news directly through your GMB listing.
    • Respond to all reviews – positive and negative. This shows customers you value their feedback.
    • Include a call-to-action in your profile description urging visitors to call or visit your facility.

    Optimizing local SEO and your Google My Business profile are hugely impactful first steps to reach nearby customers searching for “self storage near me.” Consistency and completeness across all listings and directories will maximize your visibility and drive local traffic.

    Offline Marketing Tactics

    Offline marketing tactics provide opportunities to promote your self-storage business and connect with potential customers face-to-face in your local community. While digital marketing strategies like SEO and paid ads have advantages, integrating creative offline tactics into your marketing mix can further boost visibility, engagement, and conversions for your facility.

    Creative Offline Advertising Strategies

    Traditional offline advertising mediums like billboards, radio spots, print ads, and direct mail still have value for marketing self-storage businesses in 2024. Here are some creative ways to leverage offline advertising:

    • Billboards – Use brightly colored, eye-catching billboard designs with a clear call-to-action to capture attention from vehicular traffic near your facility. Update billboard ads periodically to promote current offers.
    • Local Newspaper Ads – Many people still read local and community newspapers. Full page ads and advertorials in these publications can effectively reach local homeowners aged 40 and above.
    • Direct Mail – Send postcards and brochures to local households and businesses to increase exposure for your storage facility. Target mailing lists based on demographics and proximity to your location.
    • Radio Spot Ads – Run 30-60 second radio ads on local stations during high listenership drive times. Focus your messaging on the key benefits and convenience of your storage facility.
    • Local Business Partnerships – Explore partnerships with real estate agencies, apartment complexes and other businesses to be featured in their print and digital promotions.
    • Transit Advertising – Place ads in bus stops, on the sides of buses, or inside local public transportation to reach daily commuters.

    Community Engagement and Sponsorships

    Sponsoring local organizations and events is a powerful offline marketing strategy. These community engagements can raise awareness through live exposure, while showing your dedication to the neighborhood. Consider sponsoring:

    • Local schools – Sponsor sports teams, bands, theater groups, or donate supplies to improve goodwill.
    • Community events – Sponsor food/craft fairs, concerts, runs/walks by having a booth and signage on site.
    • Nonprofits – Support causes aligned with your brand values through donations, event support or ongoing partnerships.
    • Youth sports leagues – Have your brand visible on uniforms, gear and fields/facilities.
    • Community fundraisers – Donate a storage unit as a prize for a raffle or silent auction.
    • Farmer’s markets – Sponsor recurring farmer’s markets in your area to connect with weekly shoppers.

    Getting involved with local organizations and causes demonstrates commitment to your community. While difficult to track directly, positive word-of-mouth and ongoing exposure can deliver significant returns on your sponsorships and community engagement efforts.

    Referral and Loyalty Programs

    Referral and loyalty programs are effective ways to increase customer retention and get new customers through word-of-mouth marketing. With the right incentives, your current customers can become your best salespeople.

    Implementing Referral Incentives

    Offering rewards for referrals is a classic marketing tactic that works. When designing a referral program, first decide on the reward you’ll provide for referrals that turn into customers. Some options are:

    • Discount on the referrer’s monthly rent
    • Gift card to a popular merchant
    • Donation to charity made on their behalf
    • Entry into a prize drawing after reaching referral milestones

    The key is to make the reward enticing enough to motivate referrals, but not so costly it eats into your profits. Promote the program heavily on your website, email newsletters, social media, and even signage at your facility. Make it easy for customers to refer others.

    Designing Loyalty Programs

    Loyalty programs reward customers for continued patronage. Common programs in self-storage include:

    • Discount on rent after being a customer for X months/years
    • Free month of storage after every 12 paid months
    • Points earned for storage that translate into account credits or prizes
    • Special amenities like 24/7 access for long-term customers
    • Priority access to select unit sizes for loyal renters

    The longer customers remain with you, the more valuable they become due to reduced marketing costs. Loyalty programs increase retention by making customers feel appreciated and giving them an incentive to stay. Just ensure the incentives remain profitable on your end.

    Harnessing the Power of Online Reviews

    Online reviews have become a critical factor for consumers when evaluating a business. In the self storage industry, positive reviews can provide tremendous value in building trust and credibility for potential customers researching options online. Developing a strategy to generate more reviews should be a priority.

    There are several key approaches self storage facilities can take to maximize their online ratings and reviews:

    • Make reviewing easy. Provide customers with different options to leave a review, such as review cards upon move-out, follow-up emails with links to review sites, and signage near the exit requesting feedback. Reduce barriers to motivate more customers to take a few minutes to review your facility.
    • Incentivize reviews. Consider offering small incentives to customers who leave online reviews, such as a discount on their next month’s rent or a gift card for a free cup of coffee. Even a simple handwritten thank you note can go a long way in showing customers you value their feedback.
    • Respond professionally to negative reviews. Avoid getting defensive if you receive any negative ratings. Draft a thoughtful, constructive response addressing the issues raised and how you plan to resolve them. Other customers will appreciate seeing how you handle and learn from criticism.
    • Spotlight great reviews. Feature excerpts from your best reviews on your website, in email campaigns, and on printed marketing materials. Verbatim quotes from satisfied customers can provide authentic social proof.
    • Analyze reviews for insights. Look for any recurring themes or areas suggested for improvement. This feedback can inform your operational decisions and marketing messaging. Demonstrate you listen and are committed to continuously enhancing the customer experience.

    With nearly 90% of consumers reading online reviews before visiting a business, positive ratings and remarks can be one of the most valuable marketing assets for a self storage facility. A proactive strategy for generating more 5-star reviews can pay dividends in boosting your visibility and credibility with prospective renters researching their options.

    Analytics and Performance Tracking

    Analyzing and tracking your marketing and advertising efforts is crucial for measuring success and optimizing your strategy. There are several key metrics and tools self-storage businesses should leverage:

    Key Performance Indicators

    • Website Traffic – Monitor monthly visits and unique visitors to your website. This helps gauge interest and engagement.
    • Lead Generation – Track phone/email leads generated from your website, paid ads, and other sources. This reveals your best lead channels.
    • Occupancy Rates – Compare website traffic and leads to actual occupancy rates. This connects marketing to revenue.
    • Lifetime Value – Calculate lifetime customer value to assess marketing ROI. This factors in retention and referrals.
    • Brand Awareness – Survey target customers on brand recognition and perception. This measures brand visibility.

    Google Analytics

    This free tool provides powerful analytics on website traffic, conversions, landing pages, geolocation, and more. Segment data to gain insights.

    A/B Testing

    Test variations of website content, calls-to-action, email subject lines, ad creative, etc. to determine what resonates best. Iteratively improve performance.

    Marketing Attribution

    Attribute website conversions and storage rentals back to specific marketing efforts through UTM campaign tracking codes. Identify your most effective initiatives.

    Surveys

    Use online surveys and polls to gather first-party data directly from your audience on brand perception, buying influences, satisfaction, and needs.

    Competitive Benchmarking

    Research competitors’ strategies and metrics using tools like SEMrush, SpyFu, and Shared Count. Compare against your own performance.

    Regularly analyzing key metrics, leveraging analytics tools, and assessing competitive data will provide the insights needed to refine your marketing strategy and demonstrate ROI.

    Marketing Your Self Storage Facility on a Limited Budget

    Operating on a limited marketing budget can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to hold your self-storage business back. With some creativity and strategic thinking, there are many effective techniques to get your name out there without breaking the bank.

    Focus on low-cost digital tactics. Many online marketing channels offer affordable options, or even free plans to get started. For example, you can create social media accounts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram at no cost. Use these channels to actively engage followers, run contests and promotions, and boost brand awareness.

    Optimize your Google My Business listing to improve visibility on Google Maps and in local searches. Produce blog content and videos to organically attract visitors from search engines. Email marketing through providers like Mailchimp is free for smaller contact lists. The key is picking one or two affordable digital tactics and investing your time and effort to maximize their impact.

    Barter and negotiate deals for advertising. Rather than paying full rate for advertising and sponsorships, see if you can barter your storage space for advertising exposure. Approach local media outlets, event organizers, community newsletters, etc. and offer some complimentary storage in exchange for being mentioned in their publications. You may be surprised at how many will accept bartering as an alternative to cash payments.

    Piggyback on existing events. Sponsoring large community events can get quite expensive. But you can still capitalize on the exposure by participating in affordable ways. For example, have a booth or hand out flyers at the local county fair for a small vendor fee. See if you can contributegiveaways to charitable races or put up signs at sporting events. Getting your brand seen by the same target audience for a fraction of the cost.

    Network and connect with local businesses. Forming partnerships with complementary businesses can expand your marketing reach exponentially. Offer cross-promotions to their customer base when they do the same for you. For home builders, realtors, contractors – co-branding and referrals are mutually beneficial.

    Leverage your own customers. Word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers are powerful and free marketing. Ask happy tenants to post online reviews. Offer a discount on future rentals for referrals. Customers inherently trust people within their own networks, so give them an incentive to share their positive experience.

    The bottom line is maximizing your limited resources by identifying affordable channels to reach your audience. With some elbow grease and a tactical approach, small marketing budgets can deliver results rivaling much higher spending.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Expert Answers to Common Self Storage Advertising Questions

    1. How much of my marketing budget should be allocated to digital vs traditional advertising? There is no one-size-fits-all rule for budget allocation between digital and traditional marketing. The best approach is to start with where your customers are, and allocate budget accordingly. For most self storage facilities today, a larger portion (e.g. 70%) should go to digital channels like SEO, PPC, and social media, with the remaining budget for traditional outlets like print, radio, billboards. Monitor results over time and adjust allocations based on what delivers the best ROI.
    2. What are the most important metrics and KPIs to track for self storage advertising campaigns? Some of the most important metrics to track for self storage advertising include: website traffic, keyword rankings, click-through rates (CTR), cost per click (CPC), conversion rates, cost per acquisition/lead, return on ad spend (ROAS), customer lifetime value (LTV), and occupancy rates. Focus on metrics that indicate how effectively your ads are reaching and resonating with the right audiences.
    3. How can I improve my local SEO ranking for competitive keywords? Start by optimizing your Google My Business profile with complete info, photos, videos, and regular posts. Ensure your website loads quickly and has schema markup for address, hours, phone number. Focus on ranking for location-based long-tail keywords, e.g. “self storage near me.” Produce locally-optimized content like blogs about your area. Get reviews and local citations on directories like Yelp. Optimize citations and NAP consistency. Encourage customer check-ins. Advertise in local publications and sponsor community events.
    4. What are some low-budget offline marketing ideas? Leaflet drops, posters/flyers, club sponsorships, events, networking, contests, giveaways, guerrilla marketing stunts, partnerships with local businesses. Get creative – there are many ways to market locally without a big budget. The key is to focus on high-visibility tactics and partnerships that maximize reach.
    5. How can I improve my Google Ads performance for self storage? Analyze search terms driving conversions and optimize ads/keywords accordingly. Focus on high-intent keywords like “storage units near me.” Create tightly themed ad groups around buying cycles, units sizes etc. Test ads with different formats, ad copy, landing pages. Set lower max CPCs and use automated bidding strategies. Layer in remarketing and display ads. Track conversions and optimize for positive ROI.
    john reinesch

    About the author

    John's expertise lies in crafting tailor-made marketing strategies for the real estate industry that drive results. Whether it's optimizing Lead Generation funnels, implementing data-driven SEO techniques, or improving advertising campaigns, John will help find the biggest growth lever in your business.

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