How to improve your on-line presence

1. Put some video on your website
Adding video content to your website or YouTube improves your search results, creates a whole new channel for people to find you and makes your whole on-line presence more professional. It doesn’t have to be a fantastic video production; you can even film it on your mobile phone! Make it relevant to your business: how to pack boxes, filling a self storage unit, how much stuff will really fit into that sized unit.

Remember the golden rule, video is great but don’t auto play. Let the user choose to play the video by clicking on it, particularly if the video is on your home page or a commonly used landing page.

2. Clear out your Inbox
Whether you use Outlook, G mail or any of the other email programs out there it is important to regularly clean out your inbox and create some rules to keep it clean. Try to think of what your Inbox would look like if it really was an Inbox sitting on your desk with all this correspondence in it. Would it be a nice tidy pile with only the current items in it, or would it be an unruly mess spilling over your whole desk?

Use the folder functions in your Inbox to ‘file’ your emails as you receive and respond to them, you can even make rules in most email programs that can automatically put messages into the folders from certain people or when you have replied to them. You actual Inbox should only have messages that are new or you need to action immediately. This will help your workflow as you will only be looking at current messages and you won’t lose or forget to action messages.

You can also create an easy to use file of all the messages relating to a certain issue that can be more easily searched at a later date. If you want more information about this then there are loads of examples on YouTube for all the email programs. While you are at it, have a look at the archive settings on your email: Do you have messages from 2011 or earlier still on file? Create an archive data file and get all your old messages filed away where you can still get them if need be but they are not cluttering up and slowing down your email program.

3. Update your website
You really should be updating certain items on your website regularly, that’s not to say it needs a total redesign every 6 months, but just refresh it with new information and images. Once again, this will help improve your websites search rankings. Have you noticed that you can search on Google within a date range (it’s under the more search tools on the left of the screen). If your website has not been updated recently and users limit their search based on date, then you will miss out.

Take a good look at your website, remove all the out of date information, add some new items and most importantly schedule some time regularly to refresh your website at least once a month.

4. Critically evaluate your on-line marketing spend
If you are using Google AdWords or some other pay-per-click based on-line marketing, then I would expect your costs on a per click basis have increase significantly over the last 12 months as more self storage businesses bid for the same words or space that you have. I know some Google AdWords phrases in relation to self storage that have tripled in cost over the last 12 months. You need to critically evaluate how much your business these programs are really generating for you, not just how many views of a webpage or clicks, but how much revenue is generating business. It might be worth looking at alternative phrases that are not as expensive and may not generate the same volume but have a higher conversion rate for actual sales.

You should know how much you are willing to pay for a customer, and validate this against your total spend on an on-line campaign and how many customers (and how much the spent) it generated. It is very easy to set your budget for these kinds of campaigns and just let them run, but as you have a fixed budget the number and size of your campaign will gradually shrink as the campaign words and triggers become more expensive.

You need to be constantly monitoring these programs to make sure they are working for you. If you can’t do this yourself, then consider using an agent to do it for you, while they will take their cut of costs, they should be able to optimise and monitor your campaign to improve your returns. On-line advertising is not like the old Yellow Pages where you pay for the ad once a year and then forget about it, it requires continual monitoring and adjustment as the on-line environment changes.

5. Google Places
If you have not yet claimed your Google Places listing what on earth have you been doing for the last few years! This takes only a few minutes to set up, will allow you to be listed on the Google maps feature and the location-based searches, and is ALL TOTALLY FREE! Self storage is such a localised business it is ideal for a Google Places listing, yet I know that many of you have still not claimed your listing. I have written about this in countless previous issues of Insider and you can follow the easy prompts at www.google.com/places/. Your competitors will be making the most of this service, you need to be as well.

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