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Target Audience Building for Self Storage [Digital Marketing]

October 29, 2018

Target Audience Building for Self Storage@5x
5 min

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.

Marketing is most effective when you tailor messages to specific customers. A cookie cutter approach won’t increase the value of your self storage investment.

Instead, think of self storage marketing as matchmaking: you want to match the right message with the right customer. Start by identifying the types of customers you want to have at your facility and crafting a message that resonates with them and addresses their unique needs and concerns. 

To do this, you need to build buyer personas, which are fictional representations of your ideal customers. To create a buyer persona, learn as much as you can about your current customers and self-storage customers as a whole.

Then, segment your customers into groups and build a buyer persona to represent each group. Finally, tailor a message for each buyer persona based on what you’ve learned about them.

The result?

A message delivered to potential customers using language and graphics explicitly geared to them. 

Get the most out of your self storage investment or learn how to get started  today with our Free Self Storage Investing Playbook

Learn About Self-Storage Customers

Building buyer personas can take time, but it is well worth the effort. Begin by gathering information about different types of self storage customers and how they use storage facilities.

Surveying your current customers is a great place to start. To encourage customers to complete the surveys, you might want to offer an incentive or discount.

To standardize answers and make the surveys easy to complete, use checkboxes with predefined responses whenever possible.

However, be sure to include an “Other” option with a space to fill in the information so you can capture data you may have missed in your list of predefined answers.

Finally, include an open-ended question or comment area to gather additional information customers might wish to share. If you’re able, conduct personal interviews, which can uncover more detailed information than a written survey.

Questions To Ask Individuals

Here are lists of information you may want to gather, along with some predefined categories. You’ll want to have separate surveys for individuals and business customers.

  • Age: The most commonly used age brackets are 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65-74, 75+.
  • Sex: Male or Female
  • Employment Status: Employed for Wages, Self-Employed, Unemployed, Homemaker, Student, Military, Retired, Unable to Work, Other
  • Income Range: Less than $15,000, $15,000-$24,999, $25,000-$34,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000-$199,999, $200,000+
  • Housing: Homeowner or renter
  • Location: You may want to list zip codes in your area or be more specific and list residential developments, apartment buildings, etc.
  • Social Media Used: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Other
  • What Type of Unit Leased: List your different size units, including parking spaces that you may rent
  • Length of Rental: 1-3 months, 4-6 months, 7-12 months, 12+ months
  • Reason for Leasing A Storage Unit: Moving/Relocating, Decluttering, Downsizing, Seasonal Storage, Deployment, Renovations, Life Transition (Death/Divorce), To Store Wine, To Store Equipment Related to Hobby, Parking for RV/Boat/Car, Other
  • Reason for Leasing From Your Facility: List all your facility’s amenities, such as security cameras, gate access, online bill pay, moving truck, etc.

Questions To Ask Businesses

  • Company Size: Ranges are usually less than 50 employees, 50-250 employees, 250+ employees
  • Business Type: Sales, Service, Merchandising, Manufacturing. Be sure to include a line for them to describe their business, so you get a sense of which types of companies are using your facility
  • Location: Zip codes in your area
  • Social Media Used: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Other
  • What Type of Unit Leased: List your different size units, including parking spaces that you may rent
  • Length of Rental: 1-3 months, 4-6 months, 7-12 months, 12+ months
  • Reason for Leasing A Storage Unit: Parking for Car/Truck, To Store Business Records, To Store Business Equipment, To Store Inventory, Other

Reason for Leasing From Your Storage Facility

List all your facility’s amenities, such as security cameras, gate access, online bill pay, moving truck, etc.

Other ways to gather information is to ask questions via social media and listen to the answers, read online reviews for storage facilities (not just yours), and look at your website analytics and management software.

All of these provide information on your customers and potential customers. Also, search for articles written about self storage customers. Here are two good ones to check out:

Who Are Our Customers?—includes a standard profile for the typical self storage customer as well as profiles for customers in urban, suburban, and rural markets.

Which Customers Should You Target? —discusses profiles for homeowners, business vendors, military members, and students.
Segment Your Customers Into Groups and Build Buyer Personas

Once you have a significant number of completed surveys, separate your surveys according to the reasons why customers leased a storage unit from you. This allows you to begin segmenting your customers according to their needs.

Now, take the surveys for one segment and look for commonalities among the respondents.

Are they mostly women or men? Do they fall into a specific age range? Do they have a common income range? Do they use the same type of social media? What amenities were most important to them? What kinds of units did they rent? For how long?

Let’s suppose a group of individuals rented storage from you because they wanted to declutter. Using the surveys, you discover that most of these customers were females, aged 55 to 64, had an income range of $50,000-$74,999, and owned a home. They primarily used Facebook and Pinterest for social media and rented a 10x10 unit for an average of 12 months.

They cited security and climate control as the primary reasons they chose your facility. You now have data to build your buyer persona for someone interested in decluttering!

Experts recommend giving each buyer persona a name to make it more personal and to help you imagine communicating directly with this person. In our decluttering example, let’s give our persona the name of Mary. Now let’s flesh out some of the details about Mary using our imagination and the information we’ve gathered via the survey and other methods.

Example Buyer Persona: Mary is a 58-year-old homemaker and has an empty nest for the first time. She wants to clear out some bedrooms now that her children are out of the house and make a crafting studio for herself and a home gym for her and her husband.

However, she wants to keep her children’s belongings in case they ever want them. She’s looking for a safe and secure place to store these things. One of her primary concerns is security. These childhood memories are irreplaceable!

Craft Customized Messages

Using this information, you can now craft a message tailored explicitly to Mary. Having an image of who you are talking to will make this easier to do. By communicating directly to Mary, you’ll find yourself using different words, graphics, and headlines than you would if you were writing to a small business owner.

You’ll also showcase the facility features that were most important to Mary. This is why building buyer personas is a form of matchmaking. You’re matching your marketing message to the customer who uses your facility for a specific reason.

As you work through the data you’ve gathered, you’ll build different buyer personas for all your different types of customers. This will allow you to craft effective and customized marketing messages for each of your target audiences—people who are moving, wine enthusiasts, members of the military, students, small business owners, and so forth.

You’ll also learn the types of social media they use, which will determine where to run your ad campaigns. You’ll also be able to identify keywords for each audience. In short, you’ll end up with a plethora of useful data that will drive your digital marketing program.

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