2023 Self Storage Marketing Playbook [Free eBook]

July 1, 2023

21 min

For even the most seasoned self storage experts, planning your marketing strategy can seem like an overwhelming task that is becoming increasingly complicated in the digital age.

Whether you're looking to find new customers, boost revenue, or get your storage brand name out there, smart and well-designed self storage marketing can be the #1 factor in what makes or breaks your self storage business.

If you're nervous about elevating your marketing game or have trouble wading through all of the questionable internet information out there, StoragePug's got your back.

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

Being one of the most comprehensive self storage marketing companies in the U.S., we've learned a lot over the years, and we wanted to put all of that information into a helpful guide for our customers that will lay out our marketing basics—along with plenty of insightful insider tips!

Sound good? Perfect! Let's get started.

First, we'd like to ask you this simple question:

What is Your Self Storage Marketing Plan?

Perhaps you're answering this question for the first time, or maybe you have some idea about how your marketing plan looks. Either way, there are many aspects you should consider while mapping out your marketing plan.

Before you do anything, you have to develop a clear message.

5 ways ebook

Consider what your customer is looking for in their storage facility. From our experience, we've noticed that most customers want to know why your facility, what features your facility provides, and what kinds of deals and promotions you're currently offering.

Make your business stand out by researching the marketplace and finding out what you can provide that other storage facilities can't or haven't thought of yet. Brag about your 24-hour monitoring, climate-controlled units, high-tech security, and convenient online payments.

Moving into the brick-and-mortar aspect of your business, consider how you're displaying yourself to the local community. Make sure you have outstanding curb appeal, clear signage, and easy-to-understand reader boards so customers can get a quick idea of what you offer.

Again, standing out in the real world as well as the digital world is critical.

Thirdly, it's essential to target customer personas. Remember, you want to know as much about your clients and potential clients as possible. By categorizing the different types of customers you have into personas, it becomes easier to understand them at a high level.

Some important questions to have answered are:

  • What outlet did the potential client find you through?
  • What's their average length of stay?
  • What are the demographics of your clients?

All of this information is crucial to understanding how you should develop your marketing plan.

Check out our comprehensive guide to marketing your self storage facility here.

Why Does My Storage Facility Need Marketing?

StoragePug has some clear and concise answers for you!

Think about it this way:

If marketing brought your facility just one rental per week that would net 52 extra rentals per year.

52 rentals!

Consider how much more revenue this would bring in for your business and what that kind of consistent new clientele would do for word-of-mouth advertising.

The average customer looks at 3 – 5 storage facilities before they make their decision. Because we know that self-storage is a need-driven market, it is inevitable that they're going to pick one.

Customers have a variety of storage facilities to choose from when they're looking for their perfect unit, so it's essential to make your storage facility their #1 contender.

Remember this: it nearly always costs more to have empty units than to pay for a successful marketing strategy. With successful marketing, you will be the mainstay in your market for tenants looking for a storage facility.

So, with all of that in mind, StoragePug is going to break down your self-storage marketing plan into:

7 Crucial Categories

  1. Marketing Website
  2. Revenue & Reputation Management
  3. Digital Marketing
  4. Citations & Listings
  5. Paid Ads & Paid-per-click (PPC)
  6. Offline Marketing
  7. Self Storage Community Marketing through Sponsorships/Events
  8. Measuring Your ROI

1. Marketing Website 


A modern website is essential for any business looking to succeed in modern markets, and self storage is no exception.

Your website is your first impression to any potential client, so it's critical that you make it as attractive and easy to navigate as possible.

Just as you look after the curb appeal of your facility, you should make sure you have online curb appeal as well. Your website is the first part of your business that many who are searching for a storage facility will see.

Maybe you're aware that now over 80% of internet users own and regularly use a smartphone, so not only is it essential to make sure that your website is smartphone-friendly, but also that it is immediately engaging and accessible to viewers on the go.

To make things easier, StoragePug suggests you think about your marketing website in 3 easily-defined ways:

  1. Integration
  2. Analytics
  3. Online rentals, payments, & lease signage
self storage marketing image



One of the best ways to streamline your rental process is to use self-storage management software.

These systems offer comprehensive management tools that allow facility owners to move customers in and out of units, process payments, supervise accounting and budgeting, create customer profiles, and much more.

With a fully integrated website, you can accomplish more than a self storage kiosk without the burdens that come with a kiosk.

There are many things to consider when choosing which self storage management software to use.

StoragePug recommends the following platforms:


Analysis is essential to marketing.

You should never devote time and money to anything—especially marketing—if you aren't sure what kind of return you're getting. Analytics are what show you the return your website (or other digital marketing methods) delivers.

Start off by using call tracking software, like the kind offered by CallRail, that helps you generate sales calls, match a caller to a visitor on your website, analyze your calls to identify good leads, and turn your call recordings into speaker-organized call scripts for quicker insights.

On the website end of things, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are two industry-standard systems that will help you immensely with your analysis game.

In their own words, check out what Google Analytics can do for you:

Google Analytics Blurb

To give you a better idea of how these tools work, Google Tag Manager allows you to easily update HTML and JavaScript tags on your website without having to deal with a lot of messy code. This frees you up from hiring a developer each time you need to make updates and assures that there won't be any tedious minor errors.

Google Analytics helps you track your potential customers' activity on your site so you can find out exactly where on your page they decided to click off. Arming yourself with this knowledge allows you to troubleshoot your website layout, so it's more conducive to customer interactivity.

To use Google Analytics to its fullest potential, you should understand which Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, you should look for in your analysis.

What Metrics in Google Analytics are Important for a Self Storage Website?

  1. Organic traffic
  2. Paid traffic
  3. Delinquency
  4. Insurance up-sells
  5. Discounts
  6. Revenue collected

Also, know if your website is ranking for the right keywords by using keyword research and analysis tools like KWFinder, Google AdWords Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz’s Keyword Explorer.

Are Online Payments and Rentals Important in Self Storage?

One surefire way to increase occupancy is to allow customers to pay online directly.

Through platforms like StoragePug's Rental Station, you can efficiently set up an online rental system where customers can search for a unit, sign their lease, and make the first payment on their storage unit without ever having to leave their home.

This means that you can convert leads into paying tenants in a snap and reach a wider audience, including people who are moving to your town from out of state.

Online payments also decrease delinquencies and increase tenant happiness by allowing them to sign up for auto-pay and sign-up for text reminders when their bill is due.

StoragePug has the only payment portal for self storage facilities that is branded to your facility and built directly into each one of our websites.

It makes it super easy and convenient for tenants to pay their bills from their cell phone or web browser.

Hire Professional Photographers for Your Storage Facility

One last thing to consider is your aesthetics. Make sure that any image your use is exceptionally high quality.

Like this one:

Storage Masters Property Image

Investing in a professional photographer for images of your facilities and a professional designer for your logos is always a smart idea. You'll probably want to include a variety of photos on your site, as suggested by this article, like facility photos, team photos, stock photos, and custom graphics.

Pro tip: Consider using drone videography to capture your facilities set-up. This will give your customers a unique and dramatic view of your business.

Remember, you want to stand out, and details like this can make your website pop!

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

2. Revenue & Reputation Management

Revenue Management

Managing your revenue can be tricky, but coming up with a plan and sticking to it will help keep things simple yet effective. 

One suggestion is to hook yourself up with a software program like Radius that analyzes over 20,000 competitor rates and keeps you up-to-date with where your pricing stands on the national and local levels. This allows your self-storage business to remain competitive and enables you to optimize your economic occupancy.

The cycle roughly goes like this: when occupancy is very low, use self storage discounts and specials to get as many people in the door as possible. As stated earlier, empty units are expensive. 

Next, as your occupancy starts to rise, determine the more popular unit types by looking at unit occupancy rates. Keep the unit types with lower rates aggressively priced, but raise the rates on the more popular unit types.

Eventually, you should be close to 100% occupancy. The last step, which is a continuous process, is to keep your economic occupancy within 10% of the lower of your unit or square-footage occupancy. This means continuously raising your rates when possible.

You can also execute strategic customer rate increases based on:

  1. Time of year
  2. Trends from past data
  3. Trends from competitor rates

How Do I Handle Bad Reviews?

  1. Respond to every review, even the negative ones.
  2. Be honest and address the reviewer's issue directly.
  3. Remain professional, and don't argue.
  4. Provide a solution or a way to make it up to the customer if applicable.

It may sound like a dicey proposition, but most PR pros say that it's better for businesses to respond to online reviews, whether they're positive or negative.

Regarding a negative review, remember to be honest, address the issue, provide a solution, and make sure your tone is professional and congenial. Do not ever get into a back-and-forth with a client or engage in bashing them just because they're bashing your facility.

Moreover, don't let the negative reviews get you down. They're bound to happen for every business at some point. Instead, focus on turning them into new customers!

Finally, when it comes to online reviews, know your rights. If reviews are illegal or violate the site's terms of service, you can have them deleted.

Yelp, for instance, provides three main reasons why you might want to report a review:

When to report a review


How Do I Get Good Reviews from Self Storage Customers?

This is where your customer service relationships are so crucial.

Always make sure that your facilities are well-maintained and that your customers' interactions with employees exceed expectations.

A well-trained and managed staff is the cornerstone to making sure this happens on a regular basis. Train your employees in customer service and make sure that you and your supervisors hold them to this standard day in and day out.

You can also incentivize your managers with various perks to encourage them to ask customers for reviews. This could be as simple as providing a bonus for every review they produce or a certain number of paid hours off for encouraging customers to post online.

Emailing tenants regularly to ask them to leave reviews is another smart way to build successful online feedback.

Come up with an email that is somewhat personal, concise, and always ask what makes your customers the happiest about your business.

Remember to link to a popular online reviewer site to encourage them to leave a review and don't send out a ton of emails a week.

No one wants to be hounded by a business for his or her feedback.

You can also use top-notch services like Podium to send text messages to your clients that ask them to leave reviews for your business with minimal hassle on your part.

StoragePug recommends that you take a look at their site and see what they have to offer you.

If your facility has a number of good reviews online you want to make sure those reviews are displayed directly on your website!


An experienced web developer can make sure those reviews show up directly on Google Searches! Google has "Rich Snippets" which can display your review stars and the price range for your units directly in search results.

Review stars in search engine results significantly improve click-through rates, by as much as 35%.
CXL Institute Study



3. Digital Marketing

Should I Add Live Chat to My Storage Website?

Live chat works for self storage businesses!

By adding live chat to your website, you can talk directly to web visitors who are thinking about signing a lease and convert them into leads or customers.

Live chat can also cut back on your expenses by allowing managers to talk to potential clients while completing their regular work.

Customers always appreciate the convenience of being able to reach out to your staff immediately for help, and this appreciation will convert to sales and longer stays.

Chatbots for Self Storage Websites

Chatbots are super handy because they can prequalify clients when you're not in the office and auto-respond to questions without any fuss.

Think of them as a courteous and efficient employee that you don't have to pay.

Self Storage SEO

When discussing SEO best practices, the first thing you want to talk about is keywords. StoragePug recently wrote a comprehensive article about how to choose the right keywords for your self-storage website.

How to Find the Right Self Storage Keywords

  1. Use Google Search Console and Moz Keyword Explorer to search for popular keywords.
  2. Choose keywords with low competition and high volume.
  3. If you don't have an expertise in SEO best practices, it's probably worth it to hire someone who does.

Ranking high on Google searches can provide a serious boom in your business.

Next, meta tags are crucial to your SEO game-plan. They can be a little difficult to explain, but basically, meta tags are page data tags that relate specific information about your page to the browser and web crawlers.

Meta tags don't show up on your page but are included in your site's code so if you aren't super tech-savvy; it's best to get someone who is to figure this out for you.

However, if you want to know what to ask your hired computer geek about, the two most important types of meta tags are title tags and meta descriptions.

Your title tag is the big bold blue title that shows up when you Google a site.

Like this:


When choosing your title tag, make sure that you use your most crucial keywords, keep it under 70 characters, and use this symbol: | (aka, pipes) to separate phrases rather than commas, dashes or other punctuation. A colon is fine as well for presenting a phrase after a keyword as show above

Meta descriptions are the text beneath the big blue title that sums up what your business is about.


Make sure your meta description is written with an active voice, keyword focus, concision, and it helps include something actionableFor example, "Click to discover more!"

What about converting your site to mobile devices?

As we said before, mobile phones are used by nearly everyone these days, which means that lots of potential customers are going to be seeing your site for the first time on their cell phone.

That's why you need to optimize your mobile responsiveness design. By doing so, your website can be accessed easily from a cell phone.

StoragePug suggests you check out Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP), which provides lightning-fast digital content delivery and conversion.

Next, we suggest you try to get into the Google local 3 pack.

What is this?

In short, it's the top 3 local sites for whatever you're googling. For instance, when I google "storage units Miami" here's what comes up:

Google 3 Pack

These sites are in the coveted Google local three-pack.

To rank here, you want to use SEO best practices, acquire lots of positive reviews, get linked from other local websites and sign up for directories and listings in your area. Most importantly you want to claim your business on Google.

Finally, setting up your website with structured data helps Google understand the content of your site and rank it accordingly. In simple terms, this is a standardized form that structures all of your page's pertinent information.

The better structured it is, the better Google can move you up in the ranks. It's a bit of a complicated procedure so if you want to read up on structured data click here.

Remember, a comprehensive SEO strategy is a long game. Most pros say you should give it a minimum of six months to see results, but probably you're looking at closer to a year.

Don't blow it off though. This is a long-term marketing strategy that can undoubtedly yield impressive results if you give it the time.

Social Media

Social media is an effective online marketing tool in many industries.

When it comes to the self storage industry, social media's effectiveness is a bit questionable. Because self storage is a needs-based industry, our focus is less on selling the glitz and glam of a storage unit and more about making sure that people who already need them find us when they go looking.

As a result, a cultivated social media page won't usually do a whole lot to get more customers. They may increase visibility, but there's no point in having more eyes on your page if those eyes don't belong to leads that convert into paying tenants.

That said, social media does have its place!

It can be fun to run a social media account, and it can also build a bit of a community space. If you enjoy the idea of running a social media account, then, by all means, do so! Just be careful not to put in more than you get out of it. And if you're only doing it to get more leads, make sure you're tracking the return on your time and money.

It's also a good method to keep your customers updated about what's going on at your facility. If you are closing the office early or having it closed for a holiday, if there is construction occurring, or if there are any other events happening that may interest or impact your customers, it doesn't hurt to update them through your socials.

The key is to stay consistent in these cases. If you're going to choose Facebook or Twitter as the place to keep your customers informed on current events, make sure to live up to that goal!

Text Reminders

We already talked about how text reminders can notify customers about when their bill is due and how helpful that is for them, but you can also use text messages as digital marketing tools.

Keep your customers apprised of important news, events, promotions and notify leads about your pricing and features through text reminders. It's direct access to your clientele with very little work. Another way to engage your customers is offer referral incentives. A monthly discount is a great way to get your tenants to market for you.

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

4. Citations & Listings

A citation is an online listing. It’s a mention of your business in a place where customers may potentially search for it: map software, Yelp, social media, and so on. It’s the digital equivalent of making sure your business is listed in phone books and other local directories.

What Citations Should You Claim

  • Google Business Profile
  • Yelp (used by voice search)
  • Facebook
  • Apple Maps
  • Bing Places

One advantage of citations is that they are generally free to set up and maintain.

It's true that some platforms have additional benefits that you can pay for. However, these are optional services. Setting up your listing is currently free. And while Google may be the top search engine, that doesn't mean you won't get customers who search Bing, Apple Maps, or even just pop over to Yelp before any of the others.

Make sure you claim (or create) listings on these citation sites, and also make sure that the information is kept up-to-date and consistent across all of the platforms!


5. Paid Ads & Pay-per-click (PPC)

Before you start spending money on paid ads, there are three things to consider:

  1. Do you even need ads?
  2. How much should you spend?
  3. What kind of ads should you run?

Do you need ads?

Determining whether or not you need ads comes down to your specific market.

Every market has different conditions. We could say "you don't need ads if you're in a rural market," but what if that rural market has surprisingly fierce competition?

There is no blanket guide for determining whether or not you need ads, but there are some common guidelines you can use to help guide your decision.

How much should you spend on ads?

Most successful businesses spend somewhere between 3 - 6% of their gross profit on paid ads. But again, for self storage this will largely come down to your market and your specific needs.

No matter how much you decide to spend, ensure you're tracking the performance of your ads so that you know if the money you're spending is worth it.

What kind of ads should you run?

When it comes to digital ads, there are a few primary types. But by far, the most effective for your self storage facility will be search ads.

Google search ads are seen on the Google search results pages. They show up right at the top of the search results, making them even more visible than the #1 organic result. These ads 

Google ads are PPC. PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, is the most popular type of digital advertising. With this tool, you pay the advertising platform per each customer click.

This helps you measure your return on investment (ROI) and optimize your ads for higher relevancy. The platform—in this case Google—even provides you with data about who is clicking on your ads. This includes how long they interacted with the ad, when they clicked off, and where that particular user is located.

Also, make sure you're making multiple ads for different target buyers or personas. Know who your clientele is and break them up into meaningful categories that you can use to direct your advertising.

6. Offline Marketing 

Your Facility's Sign

You should have a clearly visible sign marking your self storage facility.

Your facility’s sign isn’t far off from being the physical equivalent of your Google Business Profile. A good sign will display your company’s name and any branding; it will show people driving by that you’re there, and it might even include information like a phone number or website.

This is especially important if your facility isn't located directly on a main road.

A Successful Manager

Because so much depends on first impressions, you have to train your managers with your marketing strategy in mind.

Some helpful tips are to make sure that your manager is always well-groomed and friendly to your customers, that they have professional sales experience, and that they understand the value of your storage units.

Training your manager with an eye toward sales will add another marketing specialist to your business and ensure that your customers are always receiving the best service possible.

Check out this quote by digital strategist Jason Falls about offline influencers:

quote: Online influencers are no different than offline influencers, we've just treated offline influencers wrong all along, too.

Source: Digital Marketer's Toolbox on Best Running

Flyers & Billboards for Self Storage

These days, most people get their information from the internet.

However, you should determine on a market-by-market basis whether or not traditional marketing avenues like flyers and billboards would bring in more customers!

If you do feel the need to create flyers, use programs like Canva or Vistaprint to create eye-catching and professional designs for little to no monetary cost.

Billboards are a great way to make sure your storage business is noticed in your neighborhood. Advertise on busy roadways near your facility so potential customers are aware that you're right down the street from them.

Pricing for billboards depends on your area, so do some research on what the most cost-effective options are for your business.

And please, make sure you are tracking the return on flyers and billboards.

Are Yellow Pages Ads Still Effective for Self Storage?

Most marketing pros say… not really. Here's the deal—if you have older, local clientele, then it might not be the worst idea. But in the majority of markets, stick to more popular digital platforms.

Just ask yourself: When was the last time you looked in the Yellow Pages? When was the last time you went onto Yellow Pages' website? Probably not recently.

Also, they have minimal resources for monitoring who is looking at your ads, which makes it more difficult to tailor your marketing game to your potential customers.

7. Self Storage Community Marketing through Sponsorships/Events

Making a name for yourself in your community is a super important piece of your self storage marketing strategy. Consider giving discounted rates to local charities or other organizations.

This is a great way to really hit home that your business is local and draw in people that prefer to go local over using big national brands like the self storage REITs.

Support sports teams in your area to get your name out there. Start your own charity by accepting donations for a cause you support.

Check out how a listing of community organizations can spruce up your webpage.

Affiliate marketing is also a great way to create new revenue streams. You can either set up an affiliate program to entice promoters to market your product or promote another company's product on your website or at your facility.

This article will give you the nitty-gritty if you have more questions about affiliate marketing.

8. Measuring Your ROI

Keeping a close eye on your return on investment (ROI) will show you how your marketing strategy is working for you in dollars and cents. Lots of marketing specialists agree that ROI is one of the most critical key performance indicators for your business.

Here's how investopedia.com breaks it down:

Return On Investment

Tracking Your Leads

Keeping track of your leads is crucial to understanding how potential clients have found your page and which ad platforms are paying off for your business or which platforms are maybe unneeded.

Acquisition Costs

Especially for storage companies, acquisition costs are something that you want to understand with as much depth as possible.

In short, acquisition costs is the total cost that a company recognizes on its books for a new tenant after adjusting for incentives, discounts, and other marketing expenditures but before sales tax that

Knowing how much your units and other assets are worth after all of your marketing moves is integral to making sure you turn a healthy profit next quarter.

First & Last Touches

Big-time marketers often claim that it takes seven touches to convert a cold lead into a paying client. That is, the potential client needs to be "touched" by the company seven times, whether it's through flyers, internet ads, radio spots, etc., to convert them.

Recently, marketers have taken to single attribution methodologies or what some people refer to as first and last touches.

First touches attribute all of the value of the lead to the primary source that touched the deal. If a new client is referred to your company by the manager of your facility, then they would be the first touch.

Conversely, the last touch allocates all credit to the previous source that touched the lead. So if your new client saw an internet ad first, then talked to your manager, then went to your website to get more information and take advantage of some incentive you were offering, attribution would go to your website as the last touch on the deal.

Check out this survey from the CMO Club from their 2014 "Building Bridges to the Promised Land: Big Data, Attribution & Omni-Channel" guide:

Marketing Chart

Though the first and last touches are helpful for discovering where your lead began and where it ended, they don't account for all of the ways that your customer was nurtured before they committed to a unit.

If you're trying to figure out where your customer came from and what made them seal the deal, the first and last touch attribution is for you. If you want to find out how they were helped out along the way, then you might want a more comprehensive strategy.

Download our Self Storage Marketing Playbook eBook here for free.

We Hope This Helped

StoragePug is confident that if you follow these seven guidelines for marketing, you'll watch your customers and revenue start stacking up.

Though we all want immediate results in the digital age, always remember that marketing is a long-term game that might take months or even more than a year to see results. Whatever you do, don't get too discouraged if you aren't piling new customers hand over fist in your first couple of weeks.

Trust us; they will come.

So please drop us a line anytime and visit storagepug.com for all of your storage marketing needs.

Want to know more?
Grab the full eBook now!

Marketing Playbook - Cover