Not that it bears repeating but we’re going to say it again. These are unprecedented times. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and a global recession. But as we’ve said before, storage has a history of being recession resistant. Early signs have pointed to an uptick in demand, at least temporarily. In most states, storage has been deemed an essential business and CISA, from the Department of Homeland Security, has labeled storage as a critical infrastructure.
In short, our communities need us right now. But, given the rapidly evolving situation, it’s important for operators to re-evaluate their operations to ensure that they are defending themselves from headwinds developing in the market.
We’ll outline four tactics operations can deploy to fortify their portfolios and defend their storage operation.
The key to marketing efficiency is all about getting the most out of every marketing dollar you spend. And even getting a boost without spending any money. Here are several ways to do just that.
Search Engine Optimization
Craft keyword rich copy, manage your online listings, and engage in link-building for your facility websites to drive leads to your site through organic Google search rather than paid advertisements. The best advantage here is that it’s free. And it can be one of the most effective marketing tools available.
Google My Business
Claim and verify your Google My Business listing so that consumers can find the correct information about your facility within Google Maps. Similar to your SEO, this is free and effective. So take advantage of it.
Track, review, and — when necessary — respond to reviews on third-party sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and others to help ensure a positive online reputation and boost your local SEO. This is more important than ever as storage shoppers, and consumers across the board, tend to avoid business with poor or few reviews online.
Marketplace & Aggregators
Place your facilities on pay-for-performance storage marketplace and aggregator sites like SelfStorage.com, StorageScout.com, or SpareFoot.com to bolster your other lead generation activities.
Engage Tenants Digitally
This is more important than ever amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Now and in the future it’s important to think about how tenants want, or don’t want to, engage with you. However, to ensure you’re capturing every lead and providing a tenant experience that meets expectations you can employ these three approaches.
Frictionless Reservations & Online Rentals
Convert more leads and enhance the tenant experience by enabling visitors to reserve and/or pay for their unit online directly on your website. This capability is crucial right now as social distancing protocols are in place throughout the country.
Online Account Management
Empower tenants with a convenient online self-service portal where they can access account information, pay their bill, and manage other relevant interactions with your facility. This is another vital capability to have in place with widespread social distancing and stay-at-home orders.
Deliver one-off or automated communications to customers on their channel of choice whether it be email, SMS, or physical mail so they are always in the know.
Busy work can bog your staff down, preventing them from taking care of more important issues. So, when they have less busy work, they can focus on things like maintaining the property and managing leads. Here are a couple of ways you can free them up.
Leverage Process Automation
Empower your staff to do more with process automation for delinquencies, tasking management, and various types of operational and financial reporting.
Automate Tenant Communication
Leverage event-based triggers to automation routine and non-standard tenant communications across email, text, mail house, and your tenant portal.
And finally, there are still ways many operators can begin to capture more revenue from tenants that they’re not tapping into. We’ll focus on two of those opportunities.
Offer ancillary products like tenant insurance or professional packing services to better serve your customers and supplement your rental revenue.
Optimize both rental rates and occupancy with a revenue management tool that sets dynamic prices based on variables including occupancy, seasonality, competitive data, and any other relevant variables.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak began, market forces were driving costs up and revenue down. And now, we’re in the first stages of a global recession of which the greater impact on our industry remains to be seen. We will continue to monitor leading indicators and share our findings here on this blog and our weekly webinar.
In the meantime, these four approaches are the best ways operators can fortify their business and defend it against any lasting effects of the virus and the recession.