Game Changers for Self Storage Business on the Internet

3d illustration of three cranes building text 'web site' over white background

We have always said that the Internet is a game changer for Self Storage business. Many operators are still coming to grips with the basics of the Internet and understanding how important it is to have a website is critical for good Self Storage business.

Sorry, but the Internet is really complicated. Many will tell you it simple. It just isn’t. You can buy a website for $299 and will look like it too. Some will have you believe that you can do it yourself. You can use a simple templates and pay very little but these sites do not deliver.

Some Self Storage sites have not been updated for 5 years and it shows the visiting consumer you are not interested in your business. It’s no different to a run-down site. They look bad and consumers will choose. I don’t do plumbing. I have been to the Saturday morning Bunnings classes but I still ring a plumber…!

Business people in Self Storage have specific talents. Those talents develop those businesses and work hard to pay staff and to build a successful facility. Is it unreasonable to expect that every person who runs or owns a Self Storage business to be an Internet expert? I say it is.

You did not have to be a Yellow Pages expert (Internet Mk1). Sign the order, pay the money and bazinga – a few months later the phone was ringing. It was simpler to make business happen.

Our view is that it is just too complicated for the average business person to deal with all of the nuances of the Web. The Internet changes so fast and technologies evolve rapidly and for many it is too much to absorb. It’s even hard for web companies like us to deal with such rapid change! But that’s our job. We don’t rent spaces: that’s your job and it’s our job to make sense of the Internet so you don’t have to.

Apple released this week the latest operating system iOS9. There is technology loaded into this operating system so that developers can deliver ad blocking software for the Internet. This will evolve rapidly.

Consumers have just about had enough of being hijacked by advertising on the Internet, pop-up windows everywhere, ads everywhere, masking the real reason of your search which was to find a business or service, they are sick and tired of being tracked everywhere by cookies installed on computers. Remember that fishing site that you looked at four weeks ago? Ever wondered why you being hounded by fishing rod sales now? Every time you search on the Internet? This happens with poorly crafted Google AdWord campaigns. There are plenty of poorly thought out AdWord campaigns that just don’t work. They drive us all mad!

Latest statistics show that around 16% of US Internet users use some form of ad blocking software and it’s more prevalent in other countries as well and the trend is to see ad blocking software used more and more so the consumers can get cut through for the searches without being hijacked by advertisements. Some European countries like Poland have as many as 40% of Internet users blocking advertisements.

This trend is growing worldwide! There is evidence that ad hijacks can be brand damaging. Display ads as set by Google, can appear anywhere a consumer searches for their search term.

How does this affect your Self Storage business?
What if your business relies on these advertisements for business?

The changes to operating systems by Apple and Microsoft promise the pages will load faster and increase battery life for Mobile and tablet users. Customers are tired of their computers being taken over by intrusive advertising every time the search on the Internet and business owners will need to reconfigure their advertising methodology to access these consumers in a different way. These changes will be essential so money is not wasted on pointless ads.

We foresee that good quality page content on Internet websites will be essential so that customers can find your business easily and the information that they want to know that you can provide in a simple clear and easy way. Informative websites that are informational in our view will be rewarded by direct business as these businesses will conform to search engine algorithms which target content as a key factor. Ignore this and your website will not work.

Advertising agencies are using all kinds of pop-up advertising as they run out of options as press advertising declines. The Internet is fast and trends develop rapidly; be careful about spending big on Internet advertising is the market might be turning off just as your ads are starting to display.

Publishers who are moving away from press and printing models two Internet models are still struggling for revenue so this is why they allow banner ads to appear. Generally they don’t work as only a tiny percentage of people click on these ads and only a few of them actually buy anything. In reality it’s a numbers game. It’s very difficult for business to determine whether there is a return on the investment.

We also foresee a move to advertorial type content which for some time may defeat ad blocking software as it is content based. Case studies and testimonial advertising will provide real insight as to the value of any product that the consumer might be interested in.

Proving the value of any product has not changed since advertising started, testimonial advertising or other similar people use the product that you’re interested in does work.

Tell people the story of storage – don’t just advertise “we have 6 x 3 spaces. Everyone does. Image if car companies all advertised “ We have cars with wheels”…

Searching is changing
R6 Web design has designed hundreds of websites and we have designed more Self Storage sites that work than any other company in Australia; collectively we notice that there is a fundamental shift to mobile searching even for the most abstract websites. Desktop searching is not dead yet, but for many categories it is now the secondary search.

This means that websites need to be designed with a mobile focus. Pages need to be responsive and take into consideration desktop searching – not the other way around unless the trend changes!

Whichever way you look at it if you’re in the Self Storage business the design of your web site must evolve regularly. What was hip and cool 18 months ago is so last year now. We are finding that websites that regularly change content and offers deliver consistent results for their customers.

Review your web site every six months and talk to your web designers about the latest trends and technologies to make sure that your website stays fresh, consider your offer and make sure that customers understand what you do where you do it and how much it will be.

By Dallas Dogger – R6 Web Design

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