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Gabfocus Session | Marketing That Matters

Marketing That Matters

Learn how to market your self storage business from marketing experts that KNOW self storage.

Marketing is a crazy world, and there are tons of ideas about what works and what doesn't. This goes double for online marketing. The problem is that not every marketing strategy works for every industry or even every business in a given industry. Plenty of marketers who don't know the industry try to apply strategies that work in other industries but don't quite fit the landscape of self storage. Check out this Gabfocus to hear from marketing professionals that actually work inside the self storage industry!

Featured Speakers: Tommy NguyenGrace Totty
Moderators: Melissa Huff

Category: Marketing
Focus: Owners & Operators
Aired: August 25, 2022
Duration: 1:19:18


If you don't have time to watch the whole Session, here are some of our favorite parts:

  • At 3:20, panelists talk about the foundation of marketing in self storage. Grace starts off by highlighting the importance of your website.
  • 5:00, Tommy agrees with Grace and adds Google Business Profile as the other half of your online marketing foundation.
  • At 6:15, Grace also brings up tracking leads on-site as critical.
  • Beginning at 7:55, our panelists define a few common marketing terms.
  • 8:18: SEO: what it means and how to manage it.
  • Improving SEO begins at 22:40, with panelists discussing the importance of content.
  • At 12:00, Grace lists the five major listings sites and "NAPP."
  • 13:30, Tommy talks knowing whether you even need to improve SEO and why you should write content for people to read.
  • Starting at 15:20, Tommy talks about the three key ways to improve SEO: the technical approach, the local approach, and your Google Business Profile.
  • At 21:10, Grace, Tommy, and Melissa discuss SEO audits.
  • 23:10, Tommy explains the main components of an internal audit and the importance of using a self-storage-centric professional if you get third-party audits.
  • 27:10, Tommy talks about the importance of an accessible website.
  • Starting at 28:25, our guests approach the topic of blogs.
  • At 32:55, we hear about the importance of establishing what success means for your blog, setting expectations, and going in only after you have a solid foundation.
  • 36:30, Grace reiterates that her company only went all-in on a blog once they had the other pieces in order first.
  • At 38:00, our panelists begin discussing what it means to market for your specific facility.
  • 48:00 - We flip the script from marketing for your facility to marketing for your specific customers.
  • At 56:30, our experts answer the Question of the Week!


Question of the Week

We asked our experts: If you had a month to “level up” a facility’s marketing, what would you do?

If I only had 30 days, and an owner was like I need more leads, I need more rentals. I'm going to say, then we need to focus on pay-to-play options... Because that's a turn on and turn off." - Grace Totty

"My first place that I would start is check everywhere that your phone number and your address show up. Start there. Because maybe the phone number is wrong, and you don't need better SEO because you already show up great but people can't find you... Number two, if you have the capability to do it, go ahead and turn on the ability to do ecommerce." - Tommy Nguyen

Gabfocus Takeaway

SEO. Blogs. Pay-per-click ads. Paid aggregators. All of that works, but they're not where you should start. Make sure you have a working website and a well-maintained Google Business Profile. THEN you can start getting into all of those other things that go on top. Make sure you can track them all, too, so that you don't invest time and money into something that isn't working for you.

What are Gabfocus Sessions?

Gabfocus Sessions are virtual workshops for self storage owners, managers, and operators. Brought to you by the team behind Gabfest: StoragePug and Affordable Storage Guys Management.

Each session features hand-picked industry pros who will dive deep into relevant topics surrounding our industry, share best practices, and explore trends in the market. It's our hope that these sessions help you navigate your self storage business better during these uncertain times.

Want to learn more about self storage? Join us on select Thursdays for Gabfocus.

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Questions Answered in this Session

  1. What are the most important marketing tools a facility should use?
  2. What is SEO, and how does it work?
  3. What can I do to improve my SEO?
  4. What is an SEO audit? Should I get one?
  5. Do I need a blog on my website? How long to be effective? What should it include?
  6. How is marketing for a single location different than for multiple locations? One brand vs multiple brands?
  7. How do you figure out who your customers are?
  8. If you had a month to “level up” a facility’s marketing, what would you do?

Live Poll Results: What tools are most important to provide to your employees?




Meet your speakers


Tommy Nguyen


Website: https://www.storagepug.com/
Email: tommy@storagepug.com

Grace Totty

Absolute Storage Management

Website: http://absolutemgmt.com
Email: grace.totty@absolutemgmt.com

Got questions or comments for the panelists?

Our panelists will be happy to answer any questions you have. We hope you enjoyed this Gabfest Session. Talk soon!

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Resources from this session

Awesome Quotes

“Once your operation is in place, you can become more dynamic with your pricing, but that requires data. You need some method of being able to record the data that you need to know whether your price is in the right place - whether you need to move it up or start giving some concessions.” - Warren Lieberman
“I never want to downplay to what someone else is doing. I'm better than they are, then I'm going to be worth a higher price. That's what value is. If you go out to a restaurant and get really good service, would you go back? Yes! What if it was pricier? You'd still go back because you got better service and a better product.” - Jim Mooney
"It's good to be informed on your competition. I don't want to ignore them, but I don't want to respond too strongly to them either." - Warren Lieberman
"We did a survey of 10,000 facilities on their pricing. We found out that two-thirds of those operators didn't change the price of a single unit of the course of a month." - Warren Lieberman
“Rate increases and value pricing are the number one ways to grow your revenue.” - Jim Mooney
"Tenants in more convenient units tend to be less price sensitive." - Warren Lieberman
"The size of the unit is only one aspect of what people are willing to pay for." - Warren Lieberman


Foundational marketing strategies to have in place - whether leasing up or stabilized:

  • Website
  • Set up listings (Yelp, Google My Business, Apple Maps)
  • Social Media
  • Establish Local Partnerships

Lease up marketing strategies:

  • Lead Generating Strategies (like digital ads)
  • Aggregators (Sparefoot, Storagefront, etc.)
  • Awareness Campaigns (like billboards, flyers, and sponsorships)

Your average customer value
Find the average stay length of all tenants. Next take your economic occupancy and divide by how many units you have. That will tell you what the average customer pays.

Multiply the average length of stay by what the average customer pays, and that's the average value of a customer.

For example, if a customer stays for 12 months and pays $100 per month, then their value is $1,200.

Your average lead value

Figure out your closing rate (or conversion rate) i.e. how many leads do you turn into tenants? Multiply that by your average customer lifetime value to figure out what your leads are worth. 

Pro Tip: see which lead sources are converting the best. It may be that certain sources have a higher conversion rate, so those leads are worth more to you than a source that barely converts.

Typical Lease-up timeline

According to our panelists, it's typical to see a 3-4% increase each month, putting your facility at 36% after the first year, and 72% after the second.

Alternately, you can look at your lease up goals through the lens of your units, aiming for 20 units rented per month.

For Nick and StorageMax, they pro forma their economic occupancy at 85% with their sweet spot at 92%.

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