Marketing Self Storage to the Next Generation

They are referred to as "Millennials," "Generation Y," and "Echo Boomers" and they make up the second largest generation in US history. These children of the Baby Boomers, born from the mid- 1970s to the mid-1990s, are over 70 million strong and will soon replace their parents as the nation's most influential group of consumers; a group that interacts with the world in a very different way than past generations. Millennials were raised in a digital age where computers and instant access to information were the standard, and that makes them very unique from a marketing perspective. Here are some tips that will give you practical ways to reach out to this new, and very lucrative, group of consumers.

Website

It is now 2010 and if your self storage business does not have a website, you are destined to be overlooked by a significant portion of your customer base. Virtually no one under the age of 30 uses the Yellow Pages anymore, so in order for you to be found by today's consumers, a strong internet presence is crucial. If someone does a Google search for "self storage" in your town, does your company website show up? If not, you are missing out on potential customers who use search engines as their primary means of locating businesses. Many self storage owners think that running a website will be expensive and time consuming; it doesn't have to be! Many of the domain registry sites like www.NetworkSolutions.com or www.GoDaddy.com not only offer domain names at reasonable prices (some as low as $10.99 per year), but they also offer complete hosting and website building packages all in one place. If you feel like you need some extra guidance, enlist the help of a website designer. A site like www.FreelanceDesigners.com is a great place to solicit bids on design work and will ensure that you stay within your budget. Once your website is up and running, you can use the suggestions below to enhance your online presence, maximizing your business' exposure to potential clients.

YouTube

You might be surprised to learn that YouTube is now the world's #2 search engine behind Google. This means that today's internet users place a high importance on video content when they are searching for information online. Millennials are very comfortable with the idea of watching and sharing video on their computers and YouTube has become the prominent site for online video broadcasting. Many self storage operators are using YouTube to get their messages in front of younger consumers. If you are already using TV or radio spots in your advertising campaigns, consider posting the same content on YouTube. You could give video facility tours, promote a new special or discount or introduce your staff in short video clips that can be uploaded quickly to YouTube and to your facility's website.

Google will index all of the video content on your website and use it to rank your site in search results, so the importance of video extends to your entire web presence. Take a few minutes to do a YouTube search for self storage in your city. This will give you a sense for what your competitors are posting and hopefully spark some ideas on how you can promote your business. Contrary to popular belief, videos on YouTube don't have to be silly or funny, but don't be afraid to loosen up and try something more casual than you may be used to. Online viewers will be receptive to this type of advertising and funny, lighthearted content is more likely to be shared by viewers to other platforms on the web. The best part about marketing on YouTube is that it doesn't cost you a dime, so there's really no downside to giving it a try.

Text Marketing

Do you want to be on the forefront of marketing technology? Give text marketing a try. This method appeals to Millennials who are rarely more than an arm's length away from their cell phones or mobile devices. A recent survey conducted by ABI Research found that consumers are becoming less resistant to receiving promotions, coupons and discounts on their mobile phones. In this study, 45% of respondents were willing to accept promotions, provided they had some control over the process. This number is up from 36% just one year ago. If this continues, we will see text marketing become a significant marketing medium as individuals who were "born and raised" with cell phones view it as the norm. Self storage operators, particularly those in college markets might want to consider special promotions via text. You could run an ad in the campus newspaper or post on your monument sign for people to text a code like "storage" to your company's unique number to receive a discount or free month's rent. This not only gives you an initial response to your offer, but also a database of cell phone numbers that you can market to in the future. There are numerous companies that provide mobile marketing services. Most offer very reasonable prices and no long term commitments so you aren't stuck with the service if you find it doesn't work for your business. A quick Google search for "text marketing providers" will give you a list of companies who can provide advice on the most effective ways to use text marketing to expand your marketing reach.

The important thing to remember is that the Millennial generation is just beginning to influence the way we do business. Many of the new technologies and techniques we view as cutting edge today will soon be commonplace, so now is the time to establish your presence before your competitors do. As the Millennials shift the way we communicate and interact, you'll be ready to meet them in the new digital age!

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