As the self-storage industry continues to expand, and competition becomes fiercer, more customers than ever before turn to online search engines via desktop and on mobile devices. Competing in a digital world can be a challenge for your self-storage facility. What’s important for your website provided you have one? Unfortunately, without a website your organization will only show through Google places, aka local search. But unless you have a website, you will not show on search engines. Just by having a website isn’t enough to remain competitive especially against the big boys.
In today’s world wide web, it is imperative, that your storage operation’s website be maintained and optimized with high quality content, with high domain authority backlinks and a great user experience while remaining error free.
Setting up your website to rank is no easy task; it takes constant attention and updating especially on content. And as searches increase online via the various mobile devices, your website has to be indexed and mobile friendly, so that customers can view all your content across the multiple electronic devices that customers today use. Having a responsive website is necessary as it adjusts the page view to the device the customer uses.
Google as well as other search engines will penalize or devalue a webpage if content is not relevant and unique only to your website. Experts agree that content that is regularly updated around keywords relevant to the self-storage industry will help increase organic traffic. But what independent self-storage operation has the time or resources to continually update their website given all the other tasks needed to manage your facility.
Of course, if you can’t do the regular updating of your site, you can delegate it to an employee, but then that would take them away from other tasks. You could hire a content manager to do the regular updates. Both of these options incur additional costs and expense to your organization. Unfortunately, content alone won’t provide the ranking you need unless you are link building as well. And link building is a timely process that needs to be ongoing and it may be months before you see results.
Response to mobile, content and backlinks are all very important for ranking and customers to find you; however, it may all be for naught, if customers can’t complete a reservation online. What happens if the customer is searching after hours as many do today? Calling you to reserve is not going to help as you are closed. Unfortunately, most customers want to reserve and move on. If they can’t they will find another facility where they can book online. Online reservations are a way for your facility to be open online 24 hours, 7 days a week.
So what can an independent storage operator do without spending a lot of time and money on online search and remain competitive? How can your operation increase online visibility without breaking the bank? How can a storage facility operation manage a regular budget to do this?
A self storage aggregator can help your storage operation with online visibility and much more. Most aggregator’s platforms allow for online reservations, reviews and a way to track your performance. There is even a possibility that your operation may not even need a website if you are using an aggregator.
Now, what aggregator to use is the next question and depends on several factors. First question would be budget and what pricing model fits it. The most common pricing models are “Pay for reservation” in which you pay for each and every reservation you receive. This is great, you gained a new customer, but it is up to your team to convert to move-in. “Pay for rental” is often the most expensive, but you have a confirmed rental. Then you have pay as you go “monthly subscription”, which offers a flat price per month. Do you want local exposure or national exposure for your facility? If your budget allows, opt for national exposure, as this is really a “small world after all” and people tend move from city to city, state to state.
Using an aggregator can help your storage facility compete online and put you in equal footing against the large storage operators. Since aggregators have teams of highly skilled professional SEO managers, marketers and web developers, who work to optimize their site for ranking in each market they serve, you can concentrate on the business at hand, running your day to day operations. Relax, knowing that their teams stay updated on the latest trends and update the aggregator site as needed benefiting all who use them.
By: Lee Preston
Lee is the Director of Marketing and Promotion for EZstorit.com. When she is not dealing with storage facilities partners, she is writing about topics that affect our daily lives.