Marketing as a Single Operator

April 27, 2023

6 min

Marketing can feel like an unclimbable mountain – it takes too much gear, effort, and planning even to get started, and you’re worried if you do something wrong, it’ll already be too late.

Now take all of these anxieties and fears about marketing, and compound them with having to figure it out all yourself. For a lot of self storage operators, this is the reality, and if you’re reading this, it’s probably yours too!

You do a lot already: inspecting units, answering the phones, and dealing with tenants; the thought of having to do your own marketing can be borderline overwhelming.

But don’t worry!

We’re going to break things down in a really simple way because you aren’t alone really, there are so many single operators keeping this industry at the top! 

Here are a few quick tips to get your head above water:


1. Have a strong online presence

Self storage marketing has made a massive migration from traditional to digital marketing. Old-school marketing isn’t dead, but your digital footprint has never been more crucial! 

Do you have a website? Do you have a Google Business Profile? Are they easy to find?

Having a clean, functional website and GBP are your facility’s key forms of marketing.  

For lots of operators, more and more rentals are coming digital, so it’s crucial that your website runs smoothly, has exact and clear information, and does what your customers want it to do. 

Search engines prefer to have uniform information everywhere you are online, so it's crucial that your Google Business Profile matches your website’s info!

Your website is the first impression you make with most of your tenants, so it’s crucial that your website puts your best foot forward! That’s why it’s so important to have your correct location, hours, and contact information. 

Beyond having just correct information, make sure that your pictures you post are updated and accurate as well. Having clear, updated photos will get more attention from a potential tenant than just text alone!

Additionally, a lot of tenants expect your website to have online rentals, not just hope for them. If you want to compete with your local market, your best offense is an easy rental process. The average tenant will almost always go with the quickest, simplest option, make sure that’s you!

A clean, easy-to-use website makes you appear more easily on most search engines, which is invaluable for bringing in new business.

My online presence should have:

  • A clean, user-friendly website
  • Updated Google Business Profile
  • Accurate information about my facility
  • Updated pictures
  • Easy online rentals

Check out our comprehensive guide to setting up your Google Business Profile!

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2. Invest in your community

Not all marketing is online, there’s still a lot of value in traditional marketing! A strong website can get you a lot of leads, but it can’t raise your reputation in the community.

And your community is the perfect place to start!

People like to work with people they trust, it’s just that simple. Be a part of your community, not just a solution for it. 

It can be hard to feel like you’re everywhere at once as a single operator, but that’s why having friends in the community is an advantage, not a chore!

One of the greatest ways to spread your brand awareness is to get in contact with some influencers. No, we don’t mean an energetic YouTuber, we mean local influencers. 

Send a gift basket to the local real estate agency, or the local moving company. These “influencers” have the first contact with your future tenants, so having a couple of friends in the industry can only help!

It’s important to establish what you want your brand to be. Having your name at some local events as a sponsor, or pamphlets in another trusted storefront can be an amazing way to show your community what you value.

Ask your community to speak for you!

Customer reviews are massively important for your self storage marketing! 

Having a good collection of positive reviews can do more for your facility than almost any other marketing because it’s innately more trustworthy. 

How can you get more reviews? Simply ask!

Once you’ve built up a positive relationship with a tenant, there’s no harm in asking for a quick review. There’s also nothing wrong with a little bit of incentive! A small promotion, like a discount on a month’s rent, can be the perfect way to motivate your tenants to review your facility.

Having other people talk about your facility shows that your community values the services you bring. That’s why getting reviews, or your name in other storefronts, can be one of the most effective marketing strategies you need.

(Having a lot of Google reviews can help you show up more easily in searches too!)

If you have a good amount of positive reviews, link them to your website as well! Online marketing and traditional marketing are meant to work together to build up your facility, not compete with each other.

Having a good relationship with your community, and a strong online presence, are two of the most important considerations when it comes to growing your facility’s brand. 

The best ways to invest in my community are:

  • Getting reviews from my happy tenants
  • Build relationships with local businesses
  • Sponsor local community events
  • Send care packages to local real estate firms
  • Show the community that I am an active member

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3. Set up a referral incentive program

Nearly 20% of rentals are done through referrals! That’s too big of a number to ignore, and a great number to remember if you’re debating incentive programs

Word-of-mouth marketing isn’t dead, and as far as we know will never be replaced by digital advertisement. That makes your current tenants one of your biggest assets! 

Remember, a new tenant will always pay off your incentive. 

Offering your current tenants $50 as an incentive is a small fee to pay for a new tenant who will move in for months, maybe even years!

Referrals have amazing opportunity for your social media marketing as well. 

Post your promotions and post your success stories. A simple picture of a tenant holding up their referral check shows your community that you’re good on your word. 

It’s the perfect opportunity to showcase your facility, all while showing your joyful tenants! 

There isn’t one single self storage marketing answer!

But that doesn’t mean there’s nowhere to start. Having a solid online presence, and a good footing in your community can be all you need to reach your capacity goals. 

It doesn’t take a marketing firm to be known and loved by your community, and those are the only people you need to market towards. Show them love, and give them a clean website to visit- it’s really that simple.

More than anything, be proactive!

How are some more of our favorite posts for upgrading your marketing

Interested in Expanding Your Marketing Knowledge?

Download the Self Storage Marketing Playbook to learn more about the best ways to upgrade your brand.

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