[2024] Ranking 19 Proven Self Storage Marketing Ideas

August 23, 2023

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self storage marketing ideas
29 min

[This article was updated in February 2024]

No matter how good your storage facility is, you can't make money without good self storage marketing.

Self storage marketing shows your renters where you are and why they should rent with you. Even if your facility is full, good marketing can help you raise rates by increasing demand for your services.

In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about marketing your self storage business; and we'll rank all the different tactics so you can prioritize!

If you're just getting started, watch this video! Tommy breaks down one of the most important self storage marketing ideas (your Google Business Profile) and tells you why it claimed the number one spot in our ranking.

 

You’re trying to get the big picture right, and you don’t always have time to focus on self storage marketing ideas. That’s where we come in!

When managing a facility, you don’t always have time to focus on self storage marketing ideas. That’s where we come in!

We’ll rank all the different types self storage marketing, give you some fantastic self-storage web design ideas, and offer simple step-by-step instructions on how to implement them.



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Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

Marketing Self Storage Facilities

Self storage doesn't work like other businesses, so you can't market it like other businesses!

Restaurants can advertise delicious-looking food to make people hungry. Car companies can make their customers feel cooler than their neighbors. They can create customers out of people who wouldn’t have been otherwise. That means they can target wide swathes of people, not just those who are hungry or actually need a new car.

If you can make this approach work in self storage, let us know!

Self storage companies have a very specific service, so they need very specific customers. People need storage for a variety of reasons (including the 4 Ds: death, divorce, displacement, and downsizing), but self storage marketing is focused on finding people who need storage and convincing them to choose you.

That means you need to show up when people start looking for storage. The Self Storage Association has put out a demand study that shows how self storage customers choose a facility.

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The three most common ways a renter finds their storage facility are:

  1. Online
  2. Saw facility
  3. Word of mouth

Surprisingly simple. These three make up more than 90% of your business! These are the three most important facets of self storage marketing, and if you can master them, anyone who needs your facility will be able to find you.

So, how do you get your business in front of the people who may actually need your services?


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[BASICS] How do I market my self storage business?

  1. Set up your Google Business Profile
  2. Get a website that can offer online rentals
  3. Optimize your Self Storage SEO
  4. Clean up your facility’s appearance
  5. Upgrade your signage
  6. Get involved in your community
  7. Follow up with leads

Of course, none of these steps will help you if you don’t have a good business. Word of mouth will get you renters, but only if it’s positive. Your online presence will get you renters, but only if it's good. Your business can get you renters, but only if your business looks good!

Before the internet, your business would rely on word of mouth in your community - that still matters, but word of mouth has a much greater reach now!

Google, Yelp, Apple - all these sites make word of mouth matter even more. Every review, good or bad, is a way for your tenants to tell the whole world whether or not to do business with you. That means your best marketing asset is happy tenants.

How do people shop for storage units?

According to the Self Storage Association Demand Study, 11% of total households rent storage. That’s plenty to sustain a business if you’re in a populated area, but it complicates your marketing.

If you broadcast your advertising to everyone in your area, about 90% of the people you reach aren’t going to rent storage at all. That can make some marketing strategies very inefficient - radio ads, TV commercials, etc.

Also, anyone that needs storage is going to be looking for storage. 

Potential renters use online searches, choose the facility on their commute, or ask friends and family for recommendations.

That means your self storage marketing needs to focus on:

  • Building a strong online presence
  • Attracting people that pass your facility
  • Creating a great customer experience

Once you’re findable, you have to make sure you’re the best option. That’s often based on price, but not always - our Top 9 Self Storage Amenities download can tell you what customers are willing to pay more for. 

Customers are also more likely than ever before to pay extra for convenience. Online rentals, 24/7 access, automatic bill pay, and a convenient location can make your business the best option for your customer before you even start talking about price.

If you want to rent storage to local businesses, check out our Guide to Offering Commercial Storage here!

Determine Your Target Customer

Self storage is a hyper-local business. The majority of your customers come from the area immediately surrounding your facility. 

If you're targeting customers that aren't within that area, you're throwing your money away. 

The exact distance your customers are willing to travel will depend on how densely your area is populated. Rural facilities have a wider range (though not necessarily more people).

Convenience is key in our modern world. People will pay extra for a more convenient product, and often don't even bother with a product that isn't convenient, even if it's better.

Focus your marketing efforts on potential tenants for whom you are the most convenient option.

If you're confident that you're doing well with your local community, then you can start looking further abroad to drive up demand.

Make renting at your storage facility easy, fast, and painless. Treat your customers well, and they’ll tell their friends, their family, and the Internet.

Happy customers are your best marketing asset, and eventually, you may not need any more than that to fill up your facility. But until then moment, here are the top 19 essential self storage marketing ideas, ranked!

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Ranking Self Storage Marketing Ideas

1. Set Up Your Google Business Profile

If you do nothing else to market your self storage business, do this! 

Earlier we said that 97% of people use a search engine to find local businesses. The vast majority of those use Google, and Google provides answers to local business queries through Google Business Profiles.

Without a GBP, even if someone is standing across the street from their facility, Google may not show your business as an option. 

Even better, this is our number one tip not only because it’s vitally important, but also because it’s super easy to do - and it's free! 

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Setting Up A Google Business Profile for Self Storage

  • Create a Business Profile
  • Find your business category (self storage)
  • Add your service area
  • Add your website and contact information
  • Add products and features
  • Choose a way to verify your business

Verification sometimes involves a postcard being sent by Google to the address to head off any fraudulent accounts - more recently, Google has been asking for videos or other forms of proof.

When you’re making your profile, be as thorough as you can! Fill out all your hours, contact information, products, categories, etc. While you can always go back and edit it, it’s better to get it right the first time so Google has time to rank your business appropriately.

Google will show your business profile as a result when you’re one of the matching businesses closest to the searcher, but there are a lot of other factors that go into the ranking beyond proximity - we’ll cover several of them below.

Ranking well organically is great, but if you’re showing up in the Local Pack in a local search, that’s the best spot to be in. The Local Pack gets twice the clicks of the top organic search spot and more than three times the clicks of paid ads! Clicks are almost the same between Local Pack #1, #2, and #3, so it’s better to focus on conversion than ranking higher if you’re showing up here.

Check out our 2024 Google Business Profile Playbook for a deeper dive on mastering this vital marketing tool!

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2. Getting and Responding to Online Reviews

Your online review rating is basically your business's score.

If you're not working to increase your score, your competitors will pass you and eventually beat you.

Everyone checks reviews. Over 90% of customers say they are influenced by positive reviews - as in, they read a positive review and decide to make a purchase.

Google takes these reviews as evidence that your business would be a good answer to new searches! Reviews are the most powerful ranking signal for local search, so you can’t skip this step.

Of course, potential customers also see good reviews as a reason to do business with you, but even negative reviews can be helpful. Research shows that customers trust businesses rated 4-4.7 stars more than they trust businesses with exclusively 5-star reviews.

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Getting and responding to reviews:

  • Ask customers to leave reviews of your self storage business after a successful interaction - a pleasant move-in, for example.
  • Email or text customers a day or two later with a link to review you.
  • Respond to every review! This shows you’re engaged and paying attention
    • Something as simple as a "Thank you for choosing [X]!" is often enough.

3. Optimize Your Self Storage Website

Without a website, most of your marketing efforts will fall flat. After all, even if your GBP shows up in the #1 spot, if it doesn’t direct people to a website it’s harder to turn those views into rentals.

A website is also a fantastic marketing tool. You can curate every aspect of your website, so your users get the exact experience you want them to.

Your website highlights your best features, answers your tenants' questions, and gives them plenty of reasons to choose your business rather than the competition. 

There are many ways to build a self storage website, including:

  • Setting up a profile on aggregators
  • Contracting with your PMS provider for a website
  • Building a website yourself
  • Hiring a professional website company like StoragePug

A good website can help you understand customer behavior, so you can adapt your business to give your tenants what they’re looking for. You can track your search performance, website visitors, what pages they visit, conversions, and even where a potential customer fell out of the conversion funnel!


4. Add a Lot of Photos

After reviews, Google wants to show searchers photographs of the business they’re considering. Think of a restaurant menu or a hotel room - you’d want to see what you were getting before you buy!

Same goes for self storage renters. They want to see your business, what it looks like from the outside, what their unit will look like, everything - they want to see if you take care of the property or if it’s run down, if it’s fenced, gated, locked, well-lit, etc. etc.

The more photos you upload, the better Google can give these searchers what they’re looking for. That’s Google’s business after all; make searchers happy and get ad revenue. If your business doesn’t give searchers what they’re looking for, Google won’t show you as a result.

So - Photos. Lots of photos. Quality photos, either done by a professional or with some real attention to detail. 

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Here’s how to take photographs that will improve your Google ranking and conversions:

  • Clean your facility thoroughly
  • Wait for a bright, sunny day
  • Take pictures of:
    • What your facility looks like from the road
    • Your signage
    • Your office
    • The gate and keypad
    • Storage units
    • Parking places
    • Supplies for sale
    • Security cameras
    • Dollies
    • Aerial or drone footage
    • Any special features you offer
    • Anything else of interest
  • Pick out the best photos
  • Upload those to your website and Google Business Profile
  • Take pictures of anyone who takes part in your referral program
  • Post the best pictures on social media

Photos from your business account are great - but photos added by customers are better.

Encourage your favorite tenants to post new photos on their old reviews, or leave a review with a photo if they haven’t left one yet. Google doesn’t allow you to pay for reviews, so choosing tenants you’re friendly with is often your best choice.

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

5. Choosing the Right Self Storage Keywords

Most of the digital keys to self storage marketing could fall under an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) umbrella. Any online marketing that makes your business more appealing to customers will make it more appealing to search engines.

There are a few steps that are purely SEO, though!

Choosing self storage keywords is an exercise in mind reading - you’re trying to tell Google that you’re the best answer to your potential customers' queries. That means (somewhat) using the same words they use.

If someone searches for “self storage units in Your Town, YS,” and you mention on your website that you offer self storage units in Your Town, YS, the search engines will guess that your website is a good match.

Self Storage Software Options Infographic

However, if you’re offering more than just self storage units, you’ll need to teach the search engine robots that too!

Some common self storage keywords we use at StoragePug are:

  • Self storage
  • Storage units
  • Storage units near me
  • RV storage
  • Boat storage
  • Semi truck parking
  • Climate-controlled self storage units 

And a little extra secret? We don’t use hyphens in “self-storage” because users aren’t typing hyphens when they search. Search engines don’t usually count hyphens in keywords, but better safe than sorry.

Google ads

6. Improve Your Signage

If your business isn’t directly on the major road, you could be missing out on a lot of potential business because people simply don’t notice you exist.

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One simple marketing tip is to increase your visibility since somewhere around 40% of your rentals will come from people that drive by your facility on a regular basis.

Here are some tips on improving your self storage signage:

  • Put signs on the main road
  • Build your own on-site billboard
  • Increase the lighting around your facility
  • Put up a banner advertising your best deals

Be memorable!

I only know of two storage facilities between my home and StoragePug - one is a massive 5 story REIT that glows like a pillar of fire. The other is a smaller operator that regularly puts funny quips on their changeable signage. 

One of these tactics costs the operator far less than the other, and I know which I would choose if I needed some storage.

Be unique, be local, and be memorable.

7. Polish Your Facility's Appearance

Most rentals find their self storage facility online - but a huge proportion of renters find their facility by simply driving past it on the way to work! (Again, according to the SSA demand study)

Any facility a renter drives by on their daily commute is going to be incredibly convenient, and this is why so many people choose that option. However, if you drive by a storage facility that looks terrible and unsafe… you may keep driving.

Here are a few ways to ensure your facility looks like a good choice:

  • Keep it clean
  • Install bright lighting
  • Highlight your best offer
  • Make your security features prominent
  • Invest in landscaping

Having a great location is one of the best marketing traits your business can have - it’s just hard to fix if you don’t! 

The best thing you can do is capitalize on what passer-by traffic you do get. Make sure that anyone driving by your facility has a good opinion of it. These are potential customers, and you’re going to be their first choice if you can make your case.

8. Run Self Storage PPC Ads

The prior six keys are all passive marketing strategies - you set them, and they bring customers to you over time. Running a Google Ad campaign is an active marketing campaign because you have to pay a certain amount every month for it to work.

Google Ads are those sponsored links you see at the top of a Google search. They show up even before the Local Pack and can get you in front of customers even if you don’t rank there naturally.

You will have to pay Google a certain amount of money for every click your ad gets. This amount varies depending on the search term your ad appears for and how much competition there is in the market.

Google ads can be prohibitively expensive if you’re faced with a lot of competition from the REITs or other big competitors. Before you run a Google Ad campaign, be sure your website can convert the clicks at a good rate, because you pay the click fee whether they rent or not.

You also need to know how much each rental is worth to you, on average. The goal of Google Ads is to generate extra demand - if you’re already getting plenty of clicks, don’t waste your money.

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Be sure your ads target only the area around your facility. The vast majority of your renters will come from within 20 minutes of your business.

Here’s how to run a Google Ad Campaign for your self storage facility:

  1. Start a Google Ad Campaign
  2. Set location targeting to the area around your facility
  3. Use negative keywords to avoid showing up for “cloud storage” and “storage containers”
  4. Use ad extensions to include your site link, location, phone number, etc.
  5. Send clicks directly to your rental pages
  6. Measure the results

Google Ads are a great way to create demand for your business out of nothing but money. They’re fast and effective, provided you have a strong website to send people to.

9. Work on Referral Marketing

Referral programs are a fantastic way to encourage your customers to advocate for you, and it’s relatively cheap compared to other marketing efforts because you only pay when you get a rental!

Most of these other marketing tactics will bring you rentals, but you pay to get in front of people who don’t rent as well. Referral programs might be the most efficient way to spend your marketing dollars.

Offer a reward for referrals that is substantial, but not exorbitant - a lot of our operators price a referral around $50, but if you’re in a higher-income market you may need to move it up to $100.

Some operators offer discounts for the person being referred as well, so both parties feel like they’ve gotten a good deal (and it gives your referrer some ammunition when they make the pitch!). 

Here’s how to implement a successful referral program:

    • Make sure everyone knows about it
    • Offer a big referral bonus
    • Offer the referred tenant a special discount
    • Take pictures of your happy referrals!
    • Post those pictures on social media along with the offer

Referrals can bring you a lot of business, and while the price tag may seem high, it’s likely cheaper per rental than other marketing channels.

Bonus Tip - Keep in touch with previous customers!

If you had any customers that you really hit it off with, keep their number somewhere handy! You may need help later on.

You can ask your favorite customers for advice on your pricing or services, or you can ask them to leave a good review after you've gotten a nasty one. 

If your customers happen to have local businesses, you can set up a business card swap and get them in on the referral program, too.

10. Improve Your Lead Follow-Up

You: Can we have some more leads?
StoragePug: We have leads at home!

Don't waste money chasing new marketing leads if you've already got some - focus your energies on turning the leads you have into rentals.

This may take a bit more effort than just paying for more ads, but good lead follow-up has a much higher conversion rate than other avenues of marketing. After all, these leads have already reached out to you about getting some storage!

In self storage, customers usually rent with one of the first few facilities they find - not many do extensive shopping around. That means if someone has abandoned their rental halfway through the process may find another option within the day. 

No matter how good your rental process is, you’re going to have potential customers that start but don’t finish a rental. You’ll have leads that call your facility during off-hours. If you build a lead-follow-up process that can turn these maybes into rentals, that will generate more revenue than most marketing campaigns.

Here’s how to follow up on self storage leads:

  • Set up an alert system that will let you or your team know when a lead is found
  • Separate leads into Urgent, Abandoned Cart, and Reservations
    • Urgent would be those that called or emailed your facility about renting
    • Send a text or email to your lead with a friendly greeting, any information they need, and a link to rent
    • If you have the manpower, call your best leads personally

For small, local businesses, a personal touch on lead follow-up can differentiate you from the REITs. People want to know their stuff is going to be taken care of - storage businesses that are alert, friendly, and personal can give them that.

Self Storage Software Options Infographic

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

11. Value Pricing and Self Storage

Price is one of the most important factors when people are choosing a storage facility, but that doesn’t mean customers only want the cheapest option. Some will want the cheapest possible unit, but most of your customers will pay more for convenience and they’ll prefer a business that gives them the choice.

If you’re charging only one rate for all of a certain unit size, you’re missing out on potential revenue. You could also miss out on customers as they go to a business where they have more control over what they’re actually paying for. 

Obviously, you’ll be charging more for amenities like climate control or charging stations - value pricing works off of other factors that may not be as clear-cut. 

Here are a few self storage value pricing options - you can charge more for:

  • Units near the gate
  • Ground-floor units
  • Units near the elevator
  • Proximity to security cameras
  • Units with great lighting

Don’t let this list limit you, though! Go through your facility and try to think of reasons you’d prefer storing at one unit over the others. Customers have different preferences - some may not care about walking up the stairs, while others would pay a good price to avoid it. Value pricing lets them choose the perfect unit for their needs.

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12. Build Relationships with Local Businesses

Once you’ve got your referral program in place, you can reach out to nearby businesses to let people know! Maintaining friendly relationships with nearby businesses can be quite beneficial. 

If their customers ask about a place to store their stuff or park their boat, they can recommend you - and if they know about your referral program, they can even make some money!

More than that, local businesses can help you out with advice, support, and even partnerships. So it’s very valuable marketing to have the local small businesses know about you.

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Here’s how to build good relationships with nearby businesses:

  • Visit! Go to a block of businesses and introduce yourself to everyone
  • Bring cookies. Or bagels. Donuts. Something to make a good impression.
  • Drop off some business cards
  • Tell them about your referral program - and that anyone can get the money
  • Offer to put their business cards in your lobby
  • Be quick! They’re busy too, so don’t stay longer than necessary

Some of our operators like to visit again at regular intervals, like once a year. You could also send Christmas gifts (again, food is probably best) or mark any other major holidays or events.

Make sure the arrangement is beneficial to both businesses! That benefit could be the referral money, equivalent marketing, donuts, whatever.

13. Use Self Storage Flyers & Mailers

This is the last key on our list because it’s not as effective as the others - but sending flyers and mailers can still work as long as you target the right people.

As we talked about above, outbound marketing is inefficient in self storage. The vast majority of the people who get your mailer aren’t going to be in need of a storage unit. Even if the people you send a flyer to do need storage, they may already have a unit!

On the other hand, this gives you a way to reach tenants that don’t use search engines or other digital technologies when shopping.

So if you’re going to send flyers, understand that you’re doing it to build brand recognition rather than bring flocks of new renters. You may get lucky with a handful of new tenants, especially if you offer a fantastic deal in your flyer, but the long-term benefit is making sure people in your area know you exist.

When sending out flyers or mailers, make sure you:

  • Target areas near your facility, usually within 10 minutes
  • Include a deal, discount, or promo in your flyer
  • Give renters a code for the discount so you can track who uses it
  • Use good photos of your facility to attract tenants
  • Avoid using specific rates, unless you’re prepared to honor them in 6 months

Flyers and mailers can be particularly helpful if you’re a new facility or if you aren’t obvious to people moving through the area. 

If you do go with flyers, the USPS Every Door Direct Mail program can help you map out your target areas and then get the campaign going. 

14. Sponsor Local Groups

If you’ve ever been to a Little League baseball game, you’ve seen the signs along the outfield.

Local businesses sponsor the league, sponsor teams, and sponsor whatever else is needed to help the kids play, and in return, they get to put their name where all the spectators can see.

This is an inherently local way to market your self storage business. You’re building your reputation in the community, rather than convincing people you have the best deals.

You won’t see a huge spike in renters when you get your name on a small local group’s sponsors board, but it can still be worth the money. Small local businesses thrive off of their reputation and this is a relatively cost-effective way to build this, especially if you can have a personal touch with your sponsored groups.

Sponsoring local groups can help foster positive relationships with community members and create a sense of goodwill toward the business. Overall, sponsoring local groups is a win-win situation for small businesses and their communities.

Here are a few local group types you may want to look into sponsoring:

  • Youth sports teams
  • Small business organizations
  • Art events
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Local religious institutions
  • 5k/10k charity runs
  • The zoo, botanical gardens, or arboretum
  • Area parks

Keep in mind that you still need to focus your efforts on potential renters - if you want this to be a marketing rather than a philanthropic effort. 

Sponsor groups in your immediate vicinity, rather than those across the city. This is hard, because the groups you’re sponsoring may come from anywhere, but you can make sure the sign you’re buying is near your business.

At least then you know that anyone seeing it has at least one reason to be in the area!

15. Start a New Self Storage Discount Plan

If you’re having trouble finding new renters, or if your competition is undercutting you, discount plans can get customers to give your business a shot!

Self storage discount plans are great for your marketing because they can entice customers to your business with lower prices than you could otherwise offer. When your potential renter is scrolling through their phone looking at storage facilities, eye-catching discounts can help you rope in that click.

Here are a handful of self storage discount options:

  • X% off a six-month rental
  • First month free with prepayment
  • Sixth/Seventh/Twelth month free
  • Military discounts
  • Student discounts
  • Senior discounts

One thing to keep in mind when you’re setting up discount plans is that tenants usually stay longer than they expect. 

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Lots of renters think they’ll be staying for 2 or 3 months, but end up staying for six. If you give them a sizable discount on the first 3 months, you can get a lot of new renters, then make your money in the later months.

Look at what the competition is doing - that will drive your discounts. Renters like to feel as if they’re getting a good deal, and if you can’t give it to them they’ll find someone who can.

16. Social Media Marketing in Self Storage

Some of you may be surprised to find this here; StoragePug doesn’t often suggest self storage social media marketing. That’s because people aren’t shopping for storage on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

What you can do on social media, though, is build your brand. Then, when folks in your community want to rent storage, your name may already be in their head.

Social media marketing for self storage isn’t about generating leads.

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It’s about creating a good impression with your community. Your social media posts should be pictures of your community engagement efforts, sponsorships of local groups, and support for other local causes.

Social media can also be a great place to put some of yourself out into the world. Of course, you want to be careful to present a good front, but you can show yourself to be a contributing member of your community, which the big REITs can’t compete with.

 

17. Host Community Events at Your Storage Facility

Hosting events is a great way to build your local brand, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything more than time!

Lots of community and charity events simply need a place to host. You may not be able to provide a nice indoor venue for rustic weddings, but you can offer your parking lot for a sports team’s carwash fundraiser.

If you have a meeting room, you could let local groups use it free of charge for their meetings. If you have vehicle parking spots, that’s even more room for hosting outdoor events.

Anything that gets the community to visit your business and see you in a good light is good marketing! 

Here are some community events the average self storage facility could host:

  • Charity car wash
  • Blood drive
  • Art shows 
  • Farmer’s market
  • Small business presentations
  • Chamber of Commerce events
  • Local association networking events

Think of any hosted event like an open house - except more people will actually come. Spruce the facility up nicely, make sure your storage units are clean, and be there to greet people and make nice. 

You don’t want to be pushy about advertising your facility. People aren’t here to see you or rent a storage unit (though if someone wants to, you’re happy to help!). The goal is for people to leave happy and then, two years later when they need space for their new kayak, they remember your facility and think hey, that place was nice! 

18. Self Storage Billboards

Billboards are a bit of a bubble marketing tactic. Some of our operators use them with great success, while others think billboards are on the way out.

They are certainly old-fashioned, but in the right markets, they can still bring customers to your facility. 

The difference between effective and ineffective boils down to how operators are using their billboards. Like we talked about before, self storage works best as an inbound business - customers have to need storage before you can convince them to rent with you.

Billboards get your name in front of everyone that drives by. Billboards on busy streets will cost more, and billboards in rural areas will be cheaper. The trick is getting your business in front of not just a lot of eyes but in front of people who might rent from you.

This immediately rules out most billboards in your area, because the majority of people who rent from you are going to live within 20 minutes of your facility. Also, if there’s another storage facility more convenient to them, you’re going to have to convince people to drive a little further for a better storage unit.

So, here’s how to advertise your storage facility on billboards:

  • Choose billboards within 30 minutes of your physical location
  • Getting in front of the right eyes is more important than getting in front of the most eyes
  • Give people a reason to choose your facility over another:
    • Your best discounts
    • Your unique features
    • Be specific, rather than saying “great service,” etc.

One last thing to consider is the speed of traffic next to the billboard. If your sign is on the interstate surrounded by other billboards, people may not notice or read your advertisement. Slower roads give them more time to actually internalize your messaging.

19. Building Backlinks to Your Storage Website

We've thrown this one in last because backlinks aren't super important for local SEO - but they can still help!

While reviews are the most significant single source of Google local rankings, when other websites link to your website, Google also counts that as a vote of confidence.

Global web traffic is heavily influenced by backlinks, but they work for local search as well. Your backlink profile can function as a tie-breaker between your facility and a comparable competitor.

Not an easy task, but there are a few simple ways to go about it that won’t take up hours and hours of your life. Reach out to your local business groups and find ways to get listed on their sites, as sponsors, members, contributors, etc. If local media organizations want to talk to you, do it! 

  • Local Chamber of Commerce
  • Small business associations
  • Local media outlets
  • Self storage aggregators 
  • Citation lists
  • Any local organizations you sponsor

Backlinks for a small business should come from your existing relationships in the community, which are beneficial for far more than a bit of SEO juice. 

You can get backlinks from other places, but in our experience, it’s not worth the effort. For local businesses, which self storage has to be, there are more important rank signals and better ways to spend your marketing time.

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

Offline Self Storage Marketing Tips

Offline self storage marketing includes billboards, flyers, sponsorships, referrals, and community even marketing.

Most marketing advice you find online pushes you to market exclusively online. And online marketing is great! It's got good reach, it's generally cheaper than offline marketing, and the world is getting more and more online every day.

But offline self storage marketing still alive and kicking.

We're selling a physical product, and physical self storage marketing can help with that.

How Do You Market a Self Storage Facility with a Small Budget?

Most operators don’t have the time or money to do all of these marketing ideas at once! If you’ve got a small marketing budget, you should prioritize these tactics:

  1. Fix your Google Business Profile. This is free, quick, and has a huge impact on your website’s SEO strength.
  2. Make sure you’re visible from the major roadways near your facility. People rent with facilities they regularly drive past - if they know you’re there.
  3. Start a referral program. Take pictures of people who receive the referral money - smiling, holding a check or some cash - then post it on your website, social media, etc. 
    1. Referrals are a cost-effective marketing technique because you only pay when you get a rental!

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Of course, all of the steps included in this article can be hugely beneficial to your business, but these three are affordable choices that almost any business can pursue. 

If you’re looking for the biggest single self storage marketing upgrade, a fantastic website will make a huge difference. Your website is the endpoint of all your online marketing - once you get the customers to click on you, the website turns that into rentals.

Marketing only helps if you have happy customers. Your GBP, Yelp, and Bing profiles are incredibly important. If you have a majority of negative reviews, lots of people will choose to rent elsewhere, no matter how good your marketing is. 

Create happy customers, then use these marketing tips to show other shoppers that you’re a great business. This is how you get customers, repeat customers, and a thriving small business!

Frequently Asked Self Storage Marketing Questions

What is self storage marketing?

Self storage marketing is an effort to get more people to rent self storage units from your business. Self storage marketing involves both:

  • Informing people that your business exists (called brand awareness)
  • Convincing people to rent from your business rather than a competitor

How do I market my self storage business?

  • Get your self storage SEO in order
  • Work on your reviews
  • Add citations & listings
  • Run a pay-per-click ad campaign
  • Buy billboard ad space
  • Use referral incentives
  • Get involved in the community
  • Offer online rentals

Is self storage a growing industry?

Yes, self storage is a growing industry. According to the SSA demand study, the storage industry did very well during the pandemic and large investors have been pouring money into storage. The growth has slowed since 2022, but the industry is still growing.

Where is the best place to advertise self storage?

The two best places to advertise self storage are online and within a twenty-minute radius of your facility. Target your online advertisements to the area near your facility as well. People will not drive long distances to rent with you, so advertising to people far away is inefficient.

How much should my marketing budget be?

Your marketing budget depends on where you are in the lease-up. You'll need to put a lot more towards marketing in the early days of your facility than you will later on.

We've seen wildly varied advice on this topic - from as low as 0% to as high as 10% of your overall budget.

Your marketing budget should be determined by how much return on your money you plan to make. Calculate the lifetime value of your customers and multiply that by how many units you want to fill.

For example - if your lifetime value is $1,200, and you want to fill 40 units, that's $48,000.

That number is how much money you stand to make. With that in mind, you can consider how much you're willing to spend to get $48,000.

The effectiveness of your marketing matters a lot, too. If you know how much it costs you to get a customer on average, you can know how much to spend to get 40 customers. 

If you don't know how much it takes for you to gain a customer, start tracking! Take a few months to figure out the average return on your marketing investments, then you can accurately gauge how much you'll need to spend to get where you want to go.

For more self storage articles, take a look at:

StoragePug is a modern marketing company for self storage. We create intelligent marketing websites that allow you to rent units & take payments through your facility's website.

Looking for ways to rent more units?
It all starts with your website.

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