Zac Sharp is a contributing writer, and this article previously appeared on the ISS webpage.
Your self storage business website is one of your greatest assets for attracting new tenants. If you’re ready to create a new one or refresh an existing one, here are some tips on when to do it and why.
Whether you’re opening a new self storage facility or you’ve been in business for years, creating or redesigning a website can be intimidating. How should it look? What kind of information should it contain? One of the first questions to answer, however, is when to do it. There are a few times that are optimal for building or refreshing your virtual space. Let’s see when they are.
Before You Open
If you’re just getting ready to open your self storage facility, I have good news for you. This is one of the absolute best times to build a website! With all the outreach and marketing you’re already doing for your new place (or should be doing), it deserves to be represented with a great Web presence. You should view your website as an extension of your business, and it's important to leave as much of good of an impression online as you do in person.
Your virtual visitors can be pretty impatient. If you don’t communicate who you are and what you can do for them in 10 seconds or less, they’ll likely move on, according to a blog from marketing firm Tyton Media.
There are just a few things prospects want to know: where you are, how to reach you and other significant property details such as unit sizes and rates. It’s also wise to showcase your special features and amenities, especially if you offer conveniences such as an online rental portal or payment platform.
Before the Slow Season
If your facility has been open for a while, you know when your slow season is. For most operators, it’s the winter when there’s very little daylight and it’s often cold and rainy. Turns out your potential customers don’t like going out in dreary weather. Instead of driving around to visit facilities, they’re bundling up on their couch and searching online instead.
If you’re going to launch a new website or give your existing one a refurbishment, do it before the cold sets in. This is a great thing to put on your fall checklist because by the time the flow of customers slows, your website will be ready to do some of the heavy lifting.
Before the Busy Season
On the flip side, during your busy season, you likely have quite a few prospects visiting your facility. You may think, “Well, why would I need a website then?” Because the way people find self storage is changing.
According to a blog from marketing firm Bright Local, consumers are increasingly turning to Google to find what they need.
If you’re not on the top list of results, you might as well not exist. So, how do you get there?
Of course, you need to claim your Google business listing and set it up on Google Maps, but your search ranking also directly correlates with the relevance and quality of information on your website. The better (more search engine optimized) your website is, the more Google will reward you with higher search results, which means more searchers will find you. If someone is searching for “self storage” on Google, the search engine lists the top three local facilities at the top of the page. As you can imagine, showing up on that list is crucial, because many people don’t ever look on the rest of the page.
It all starts with your website, but it isn’t instantaneous. As with most search engine optimization (SEO), you should be looking at the long term. Having a site that engages visitors, gives them what they need, encourages extended visits, and increases conversions will be one of your best assets. Before the busy season starts, ask yourself: Are you capturing as many potential customers as you could?
Before You Lose More Customers
If you’ve been keeping an eye on your marketing data (and you always should be), perhaps you’ve noticed a dip in your website visitors or conversions. If you’re seeing a noticeable downturn in your numbers, it’s probably time to give your website a facelift.
Web-design trends evolve quickly, and it’ll be clear to customers if your site is outdated.
Of course, it isn’t just the style or design. It’s also the features you offer. As business processes increasingly move online, are you following suit? Are you offering customers ways to rent, pay and manage their accounts online, or are you still requiring in-person visits? It’s food for thought.
Adapting to the New Age
Your self storage facility, like any other business, is subject to the changing times. The Internet may have shortened our attention spans to less than that of a goldfish, but it has also provided a lot of benefits, namely that the things we want and need are more accessible and easier to find. Instead of thinking of your website as a burden, see it as one of your best assets. The easier it is for customers to find and do business with you, the better your business will be.