There is so much new technology coming out all the time it’s hard to keep up. Just when you were getting your head around email, now there is Facebook messaging, Twitter, Pinterest and who knows what will come up next…
Rather than become overwhelmed by it all, maybe consider the old adage it is better to do what you do well, than do more poorly. So rather than try to hit every new medium, pick some you are familiar with or you think will be effective for your business and execute them well. Social media is a classic example and if you want to be active in this field then it takes time and resources. You need to be posting new content and feeds all the time, which means thinking about creative things to be saying, working out where your client base ‘hangs out’ and how to access them, and how to convert your ‘friends’ into customers.
While it can certainly provide great results it does take work. If you are going to venture into social media then consider using software like hoot suite. This allows you to post messages to all your social media streams (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more) through a single post. What’s even better is that you can write these posts and then set them to be released in the future through the scheduling feature. This means you can write a whole stream of posts and set them up to go out during the week automatically.
Just be careful you don’t get caught out by current events that occur after you have scheduled a message. Hootsuite is free for the basic version which will be suitable for most users and only a few dollars a month for the advance version which allows you more social network feeds and advanced features. Remember though, you still have to write the content and posit it, so if you don’t have the time or ability to do this then stay out of social networks as there is nothing worse than having a stale account on social networking where people can see that you are not using it.
There has been a lot said recently about the death of email, yet there are still around 15.5 billion emails sent around the world each day. Imagine if we sent that many letters by traditional mail! OK, so only about 14% of these emails are considered important by end users, but that’s still over 2 billion emails a day and there are only 7 billion people. Obviously people from all walks of life are still using email, in fact despite the increase in social media, email is still the communication method that reaches more people.
The real change is that many people now consider email slow, relying on their instant Facebook and Twitter notifications instead. People may only clear their emails a few times a day, even if they are mobile, while they will jump straight onto their social media feeds. So don’t write off communication with potential and exiting clients using email. Play to its strengths; you can usually provide more detail in an email, you can be creative with the layout, but be careful with attachments as more and more email clients are dropping them off as potential virus threats, and most mobile devices won’t download them unless requested by the user.
Make sure you view your emails on a web mail client like Gmail or Hotmail as a test run, particularly if you are using fancy styles and colours as often messages that look fine in outlook are unreadable on web mail, and a lot more people view their emails through the web rather than paying for software like outlook.
Google ad-words can be viewed as the next yellow pages. Everyone says you have to be in it, and once you get in, the costs seem to keep escalating without any real benefit in returns. The cost of some self storage based keywords have more than tripled over the last 18 months, and that’s not because they are providing better results, just because more self storage businesses are bidding for them.
Just like with the old yellow pages, there reaches a point where it is simply not economically viable to spend that much money advertising in a single stream. Particularly when most key word advertising is only targeting people who have chosen to use self storage and you are not actually attracting new customers to the industry and expanding your marketing. If you are going to get into Google ad-words, then make sure you spend the time on it.
Keep monitoring the effectiveness and price of the words you are bidding on, look for words that target your local market and those that other operators are not bidding on, consider misspelt words and other anomalies that can sometimes provide great results. Remember if an ad-word is a quarter of the price then it only needs to have a quarter of the results to be equivalent to an expensive term. Unlike the yellow pages ad-words is not a ‘set and forget’ thing that you do once a year. You need to be constantly monitoring and tweaking it to make it run effectively.
There is no doubt that to be a successful self storage business in today’s technological world you need to have a strong web presence. However your don’t necessarily need to be strong in every single stream. You can concentrate on one or two, do them well and reap the rewards. There are some very successful businesses with basically no web presence as such, they do all their work in social media and vice versa.
You need to decide what is best for your business, who is going to look after it and how much resources you are willing to allocate to it. Remembering that people’s time is a resource that costs you money and often these mediums can be very time-consuming methods of marketing your business.
Make sure whatever you do, you do it well and you will reap the rewards.