Is Your Self Storage Business Digital Ready Yet?
10 Questions That Will Reveal The Answer!
Over the last 14 years, in the commercial real estate industry in Australasia, self-storage has reportedly been one of the fastest growing sectors. In 2016-17, self-storage construction has been reported to be booming in regions across the globe, including Australia, New Zealand, etc.
More and more people are searching for storage each year. More and more of these searches are now happening online. The traditional form of collecting information regarding storage spaces (like driving to storage units and taking notes to call back later) is changing too. And so are conventional ways of marketing and promoting storage spaces and storage units. Media like print ads, billboards, etc. is slowly being taken over by digital media and subsequently digital marketing which caters directly to the potential buyer who is searching for information online.
Did you know?
- Every year, more than 1 million searches take place online, for self-storage related queries in Australia.
- Year-on-Year, there has been more than 30% growth in interest in storage-related topics on Google search (and it’s still growing)
- More than 70% of people searching for storage units are doing so online.
- 80% of all people searching online for storage spaces near them, do so using their mobile devices.
With the online market playing a critical role now more than ever, in the storage industry in Australia, it is crucial for owners and stakeholders of storage spaces and storage units to understand where they stand and how to leverage the digital market to drive more business for themselves. It is even more vital for you to understand how local search plays a significant role in digital marketing, especially in the storage industry.
Is your storage business online-marketing-ready?
To know whether or not your business is ready to take the online world by storm, ask yourself the following simple questions. If the answer to them is NO, then you’ve got work to do.
1. Have you defined your audience and objectives?
First things first, you need to know who your target audience is. And you need to define what your objectives are for an online marketing channel.
a. Your Audience:
Define the person who you would like to target as a potential buyer for your business. It may be someone who is looking to store away his belongings because he’s moving to a different state. You need to understand the person and their challenges. Which is called “defining a buyer persona”. You can have multiple buyer personas depending on different types of consumers that you might want to target. Your buyer personas and their challenges, expectations etc., is what helps you define your marketing strategy.
b. Your Objectives:
Based on the buyer Persona and the various stages of the Purchase cycle that the persona may be in at a given point of time, you need to define your expectations and set up goals that you would like to achieve. The goals you define for yourself can vary – from brand awareness to ROI, to % growth in new customer acquisitions – we need to be realistic as well as aggressive.
2. Do you have a website?
This is a no-brainer, the very minimum requirement to be digital ready is to have your website/ landing page to drive relevant traffic to your business.
Having or not having a website can mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to digital marketing.
3.Is your website mobile friendly
Today, merely having a website just isn’t enough. With more and more people searching online through their mobile devices, the weight of mobile-friendly sites has increased, more so in the eyes of search engines. In fact, Google search is impacted by mobile-friendly websites to such an extent that being or not being mobile friendly has started affecting sites not just on mobile SERP ranking but desktop SERPs as well. Bottomline: Check to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly/responsive and compatible with all possible mobile devices.
There’s more if you need a further boost in this fight to outrank your mobile-friendly competitor website, go for AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages. The advanced version of a mobile responsive page, this helps technology improve the page load time of your page by an astounding 80%. More and more people are going for AMPs to take advantage of the changing usage.
4. Does your website have a location-specific page(s)?
Location is a driving factor for people to make decisions on whether or not to choose a specific storage unit. Add to the fact that now more than ever people are going for micro-moments searches instead of the traditional searches when it comes to finding out what they are looking for. These micro-moments are moments when the user is looking for information then and there. The searches are highly personalised, intent-based as well as deep down in the buyer cycle – almost ready to make a decision. Having said that there is a tiny window for these micro-moments and they fade away quite quickly. E.g. which are the storage units near me, a storage unit for my car in Adelaide, etc. To be able to rank for search queries, it is essential to have location-specific landing pages on the website that are relevant to the search. If you are at multiple locations, it is recommended to have multiple pages dedicated to a specific area.
5. Have you claimed your Google Local My Business Listing?
When it comes to local searches on Google, they invariably prefer listing their local business listings on top of the SERPs, before listing other websites and landing pages in organic search. This general bias towards their business listing pages also provides an opportunity for local storage businesses in Australia to claim their listing and stand a chance to rank within this chunk of local business listings, right in the beginning of the SERPs, much before their contemporary competitors. So if you have not yet claimed your business listing on Google, do it right now. It’s a long process and needs manual verification, so you better start early. Once you have the listing, it is time to optimise the listing and have as much relevant information as possible to help outrank other local business listings.
6. Have you used your NAP consistently?
One of the most crucial factors for ranking for local search queries is to have consistency in your NAP – name, address, phone number. This consistency has to remain not just on the website but on all the local listing pages, social profiles, etc. that your storage business is featured within. Don’t know whether your NAP is consistent and correct? Go for a NAP audit immediately. Not only will it let you know whether or not you have implemented NAP correctly on your website and listing pages, but also highlight any mistakes that you can then correct as well as provide a list of opportunities for you to list your local business along with the correct NAP.
7. Have you implemented local schema tags?
Things get a bit geekier here. Usually, the correct NAP is enough for Google to correlate your pages with the locations being searched for by users. But if you want to be extra sure that your addresses, phone numbers, storage-related events, etc. are correctly indexed by Google, and get the upper hand on your not-so-geeky competitors, go for local business specific schema tags. These small snippets of codes added around your addresses, phone numbers, etc. all help Google understand precisely what it is and allows this information to be optimised by them. For example, it may mean that your data could come up in the form of a rich snippet, especially if Google is showcasing a knowledge graph or a rich snippet for related local search query.
8. Does your website/landing page load fast enough?
Just like mobile responsiveness, page load time has also been seen to have a significant impact on a website’s ranking on search engines, especially Google. A user survey has revealed that’s more than 75% of users are likely to abandon a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load on their browsers. Make sure you check to see if there are any page load time issues that are stopping your website or landing page from loading faster. Fixing these issues boosts the User experience and brings down the bounce rates apart from helping your page rank better in search results.
9.Do you have a location-specific backlink profile?
It’s not enough to optimise your website or landing pages for users and search engines. You need to ensure that the backlinks to your website or landing pages are also in line with your objective. Ideally, you should be looking for backlinks with location-specific anchor texts to boost your local rankings. These backlinks can take any form. Starting with local citations and listings on yellow pages, to a guest blog that features you as one of the storage businesses in your locality, to a press release which talks about a recent storage facility that you have opened at a specific location. The list goes on.
10. How effective is your marketing campaign?
It’s not enough to optimise the pages, build backlinks and expect things to happen for you. You need to track the performance of the page, the website, the impact of the link building campaign and the overall effectiveness of the marketing campaign to ensure you achieve the objective. Google Analytics is a perfect place to start. Make sure that your website has Google Analytics installed in it and the website traffic data is being tracked in your the Google Analytics account. Combine it with Google webmasters to track the end to end performance of your website, keep track of backlinks that you build, keep track of user behaviour on your website, keep track of goal conversions. Also, you can keep track of the effectiveness of specific link building activities (with UTM code implementation in the URL), etc. which helps you understand what strategies are working out and weed out the ones that are not working out.
With limitless opportunities and a yet-unsaturated market, the digital media opens up a whole new dimension for storage and associated businesses in Australia to boost their sales using a trusted and increasingly growing solution in the form of digital marketing.
Digital marketing is not a one-size-fits-all model. You may have different objectives and your strategies which will also differ accordingly. Digital marketing strategy is unique to each business and therefore needs to be defined, implemented, monitored and communicated clearly within the team, to help you achieve your long-term objectives.
If you would like to up your local search game, click here for SSAA member special offers.
Prodigitasis a proud member of the SSAA enabling businesses with a cutting-edge marketing software and on-demand marketing services to launch, manage and measure their digital marketing engagements.