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Using Your Data to Stay Competitive in Self Storage

Today the storage industry has been reported to have some down turns ahead. This means the more intelligence you have generating your revenue, the better you will be. Increasing rentals begins with the user, the person searching for storage, your prospective tenant. The user will drive all other choices as you decide which digital channels matter most for building a connection. Consider the mental processes that lead them to choose your facility for their storage.

Instead of plotting how you will persuade with clever content, realize that you don’t need to convince anyone why storage is valuable. Spend your time and money making sure each user gets the primary information they need to make a decision - where you are, which units sizes you have, and what your rates are. Make their experience effortless. If your specials are confusing, you ask for an admin fee when the next facility doesn’t, or you don’t display your rates, all it takes is a bounce back to the Google search results to find another facility that can offer much better user experience.

Mastering the Search Page for Your Self Storage Business

To start, consider the SERP or Search Engine Results Page. Most users will type in some combination of “self storage” and their city or “near me.” The results page Google generates for this search will display three to four ads, a pack of local businesses with a map, and more ‘organic’ page results. While some users will confidently click the first result they see, in this case an ad, some users do their shopping exclusively within Google’s Local Pack results, and others will consciously avoid clicking ads or maps and scroll down to view organic results. Client results at Automatit have revealed that 90% of traffic from Google searches originate from three main sections of the search results page: Ads account for 15%, Brand Keywords 35%, and Maps 35%. These are your three strongest chances to get in front of users, so an effort to be as visible as possible is key.

For the many users choosing to shop and compare with Google Maps, your greatest priority should be how you stack up against the competitors nearest your facility. These facilities will be listed beside yours when users zoom in on Google’s map of the local area. Online shoppers compare your facility with others in terms of rates, unit size offerings, and any other features that matter to users in your area (climate control, security cameras, gated facility, parking offerings). Self storage customers prioritize location and price first, so when competition in your area is heated, it’s important to analyze competitor rates and special offers. This is precisely what the user is doing - opening pages and price shopping by hopping between storage sites to see who has the size they want at the best price. This type of search behavior is received by Google as “user signals” and search engines use these queues to help inform their ranking algorithm.

User signals, or behavioral patterns of users, are used to decide which landing pages are most valuable and should rank first. The purpose of Google Search at this point is to provide users with the landing pages and information required to complete an action (i.e. looking for storage, finding a local mechanic, learning to roast a chicken) easily. If users are searching for storage in your city and many of them visit your page only to return to the search results page, this sends a signal to Google that your page is not as relevant or valuable for users trying to complete that action. This would mean ranking lower in your local search, which could precipitate fewer site visits and fewer rentals. These signals can all go favorably for your business when you prioritize the user experience on your page through changes that give the user primary information to help them make a decision rapidly.

As for how frequently you should be comparing competitor rates - facilities that are serious about filling empty units will compare daily. If the notion of running specials on every unit size all of the time concerns you, remember that specials are a better move than slashing your rates. Specials do not need to be offered across the board for you to see results either. Assess which unit sizes have more availability, and how many more units you’ll need to reach the percentage occupancy you’re aiming for.

Opt for Clarity with the User and Remove Friction

Even when you feel that your facility is better quality, cleaner, better lit, and your managers are friendlier, online users aren’t likely to see this upon their first search. When performing an online search, prospective tenants are comparing site to site, rates page to rates page.

Clarity definitely trumps persuasion for self storage customers. Users are primarily looking for a neat, organized landing page that prioritizes the information they need to make a rental decision (this can include price, specials, unit sizes, features, office hours, or 24/7 access).

What tips the scales in favor of your facility over another can be as simple as your reservation calendar, so every detail counts. Automatit performs heat mapping and usability tests for clients with this attention to detail in mind. We can only confidently recommend site changes to improve user experience after observing results that are tracked.

Value Proposition

This is the vehicle that provides the potential for your conversion rate, it is the most important of the six factors.

Relevance

Does your web page deliver on what your prospects expect? Does it match their needs and feelings?

Clarity

How easily is your value proposition communicated? This includes eyeflow, imagery, copywriting and calls-to-action.

Urgency

How are you matching the visitors’ internal urgency and creating external incentives?

Distraction

Is your website content diverting visitors away from you primary goal?

Anxiety

What elements on the page could be creating uncertainty for your prospects about taking action?

Improve Conversion Rate by Prioritizing User Experience

When articulating the role of user experience in conversion rate optimization, we frequently refer to the LIFT Model® developed by Chris Goward. Goward’s model outlines the six conversion factors to consider when evaluating your landing pages - urgency, value proposition, relevance, clarity, distraction, and anxiety. In the storage industry, urgency dictates how careful your user’s search will be. If an individual is going through a life event where they need storage in the next few days, they are likely to choose quickly without much time for consideration. Users planning ahead of time will be much more scrupulous, so your landing page relevance, clarity, points of distraction, and points of anxiety will matter much more as you deliver your value proposition.

1.

Relevance

Relevance means a landing page that properly fits the search terms they’ve used in their google search. If you are in their city, offer storage, and have climate controlled units when they typed “climate controlled” into their search query - they are likely to choose you above other page results that are in their city, offer storage, but do not boast climate control.

2.

Clarity

Clarity for storage translates to - is it clear where you are located? what unit sizes you have? what your rates are? how the special applies? etc. If the user has to work too hard to find these details, they are likely to bounce back to the Google search results page to find a clearer business.

3.

Distraction

We often see distraction in the form of too much information that does not relate to rates, location, contact info. For example, if your rates page displays a large block of text about you, your managers, or how inviting the front lobby is above the rates table, you are distracting your user.

4.

Anxiety

Causes of anxiety for prospective tenants are demands like requiring a credit card for an administrative fee upon reservation or a site that the user’s browser labels as not secure.

So to sum this whole thing up, don’t look at your website user through the “this is what I would do” glasses. Those glasses can cost you dearly in lost revenue as most people do not look at things the way you do.

WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS SAY ABOUT US

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David Segal
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Automatit has been a great company to work with. They are incredibly responsive and friendly. I am very impressed with their company and all the people who I interact with there.
David Allan
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Automatit has been a great partner to work with and helped us put together a top notch website. They've been responsive to our questions and minor maintenance issues and have been a great partner over the last 5 years. Thank you!
Michael Tsouroupakis
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I recently redesigned my website and Automatit did the work for me. They were excellent especially Victoria who led the project from start to finish. Overall I'm very happy and I highly recommend them. Thank you for everything.
Maria Arcenas
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We are very satisfied with the new website Automatit created for Aliso Viejo Self Storage. Automatit's staff gave the best customer service!Thanks to everyone involved in this project.
Franklin Young
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Highway 5 Self Storage
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We are so pleased with Automatit. They were helpful and made it so easy for us. There very creative and will walk you through the project from beginning to finish. There knowledge and customer service is awesome.
Kelley Reever
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We are so happy with our new website! Thanks Automatit!
Neil Kadakia
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Heather and Kelly from Automatit were very friendly, courteous, and their customer service was top-notch. They were patient through our yearlong process to complete our website and worked with us to create a website we're happy with. I would recommend their service to other self-storage business owners. Cheers!
Nancy Persico
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Stacie Maxwell
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If you are looking for a web team to truly take you to the top with expert advice, beautiful design, and data-driven results, then Automatit, Inc. is definitely your A-Team.
James Nault
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Sira Lawless
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Michael McDaniel
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martin westbrook
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I’m am very pleased with the Automatit team in the development and implementation of my self-storage website!
Tom Leddy
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Excellent partner with my business. They have had a major impact on the growth as customers search over the internet.
Jeff Romlein
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The dedicated team at Automatit did an excellent job at redesigning our Stadium Self Storage website making it clean, modern and easy to navigate. They integrated seamlessly into our unit management software, allowing us to publish our rates to the web, as well as rent and reserve units online. If you are in the self storage business, and want a successful web presence, then you need Automatit a... Read More
The dedicated team at Automatit did an excellent job at redesigning our Stadium Self Storage website making it clean, modern and easy to navigate. They integrated seamlessly into our unit management software, allowing us to publish our rates to the web, as well as rent and reserve units online. If you are in the self storage business, and want a successful web presence, then you need Automatit as your partner.
Amelia Sholar
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Our experience with the Automatit team has been exceptional at every level. They have been incredibly responsive and exceeded our expectations with our new website design. I would highly recommend working with them for self storage web design.
Harold Panciera, Jr.
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Over the past 2 months, I have been working with Automatit to develop our new website. It went live recently and I want to share that it was a pleasurable experience to work with them. Their team is comprised of highly qualified, professional people and all have an abundance of sincere caring to please the customer. Having owned numerous businesses throughout the U.S. over the past 41 years, I kno... Read More
Over the past 2 months, I have been working with Automatit to develop our new website. It went live recently and I want to share that it was a pleasurable experience to work with them. Their team is comprised of highly qualified, professional people and all have an abundance of sincere caring to please the customer. Having owned numerous businesses throughout the U.S. over the past 41 years, I know the critical importance of those qualities to a successful business. While there may a bit more fine tuning to do, I am very pleased with our website.
Jacqueline Feldman
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Automatit is a great company to work with! Their staff is very friendly, and their customer service is top of the line! They always go above and beyond when answering questions or making updates to our website, and they are very timely. Highly recommend!
floyd hubbell
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I've been a customer for many years. They do a great job with my website and SEO!
G Dog
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Sean Barron
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The team at Automatit has been a pleasure to work with over the past year. From web design to SEO to tech help, they are first rate. They are attentive, responsive and really care about serving the customer to the best of their ability. I look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.
Brad North
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I've worked with Automatit for years and they've been great to work with. They seem to always be on the cutting edge of driving internet traffic to our stores through optimizing our Search Engine Optimization and Paid Search Programs. They have become my #1 source for lead generation!
A Schillinger Self Storage
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Excellent service..very attentive to individual needs..I highly recommend them!!! Jim Tucker
Ann Winston
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We highly recommend Automatit. They helped us design an attractive and easy-to-navigate website for our self storage business. When we request changes, they are quick to respond. Most importantly, the website functions really well, with a large portion of our customers making reservations for rentals on the website.

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