Match marketing to buying habits

An informal review of your tenant profile may yield substantial information about what you can do to attract and keep more business.

For example, millennials may seek basic, inexpensive shelter for their stuff if they can sign up readily via a mobile device. Depending on their station in life (e.g., college singlehood versus professional familyhood), 24/7 access may or may not be of paramount importance.

A recent SpareFoot blogpost speaks to multiple segments of this rapidly growing segment of the buying population: "When Marty Kimble was looking for a self-storage unit in Southern California, he did what any good Millennial would do. He went to the Internet...As a college student, extended hours were crucial as classes and work limited his availability to visit his storage unit during normal business hours. Now in the workforce, Kimble is more concerned about price and security."

The post continues, "Some of these youthful workers-still trying to stabilize their income-may be leaning toward living in hip, urban areas, which also are attracting self-storage developments...But to live in these trendy and expensive urban cores will require Millennials to make sacrifices such as sharing space with roommates. To be sure, the byproduct of that necessity could spur the need for self-storage."

While a diverse buying group, millennials generally share preferences for convenience (mobile signup and around-the-clock access) and moderate pricing. If this is an important audience for you, make sure you maximize convenience and stay competitive on price.

On the other hand, affluent older tenants may require an aesthetically-pleasing, climate-controlled facility with state-of-the art security. If your facility is located in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut area, this may be a primary audience-given that a recent SpareFoot study identified it as spending the most per household in the country for self-storage, moving and freight. Inside Self-Storage notes in a recent article, " 'One reason storage, moving and freight spending is so high in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area is that the region has a bigger percentage of wealthy households than anywhere else in the country,' said SpareFoot CEO Chuck Gordon. 'Also, the cost of living in Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk is about 60 percent higher than the U.S. average.' "

In this area, self-storage tenants are more likely to spend more for more amenities. Whereas climate control could be a price dealbreaker for a college-attending millennial, it's much more likely to be a standard expectation in Bridgeport.

At the same time, it follows that this group is likely to be generally more established (translate: older) and may not be as mobile-savvy. For these folks, painting and sprucing up may be a higher priority than developing sophisticated mobile capabilities.

When all is said and done, your existing tenants and prospects can provide considerable insight to presenting and promoting your property.

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