Using Online Self Storage Directories: Why Your Facility Should Be L


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Have you ever used travel websites like Travelocity, Orbitz, maybe Hotels.com? Most of you are probably nodding your head. You’ve probably used an aggregation website to book a hotel room, rental car, plane ticket, dinner reservation, tee time, and more. Online directories help us compare multiple options with the convenience of a single website. These days, online shopping for self storage units does not work any differently. The same directory business model has been used in the industry for almost a decade.

Directories are a valuable addition to the marketing strategy for thousands of self storage facilities. Go to your favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), type in storage unit, and you’ll see what I mean. Between natural search results and paid ads, each of the major search engines will return multiple industry directories, designed to help consumers compare multiple facilities through a single web portal. A good directory simplifies the buying process, which is important for an online shopper.

How do directories compete with each other?

Do directories compete in the online market and therefore rank high in search engines? Absoutely. These well-established sites usually have very aggressive search engine optimization and marketing strategies that get them found in search results. Because of their size, they enjoy economies of scale that individual installations cannot achieve, with entire teams dedicated to placing them as close to the top of search results as possible.

It can also be of benefit to you, the individual storage operator. You may not realize how many keyword combinations you will need to target to compete for the top spot in every storage-related search in your market. If you had to target only 10 keywords (for example, storage, self storage, mini storage, storage unit, etc.), times five geographic identifiers (postal code, city, district, etc.), times two variant wording ( keyword followed by geographic indicator and geographic indicator followed by a keyword), that’s 100 keywords that you would have to support in your SEO efforts.

If you think about it, you could easily find 30-40 keywords and a dozen geographic metrics that you would like your establishment to compete for. But most self-storage operators have neither the time nor the money to invest in these efforts. For this reason, consider using an online industry directory (or more), which already targets thousands of keyword possibilities. This will allow you to focus on the two or three keywords that are most relevant to your business, lower your internal online marketing costs, and reach more potential tenants.

Is it possible for your website to consume every spot on the first page of a major search engine results? No. But it is possible that your establishment is found several times on a page by joining a directory. There are only a limited number of ads on the first page of Google, so adding yourself to another seat at the table only makes sense.

Why should you list your facility in a directory?

First, it’s instant placement on the first page of major search engines. Most self-storage directories have been around for many years now. As a result, major directories are recognized by search engines as the most relevant results when users type in industry-related search terms. Depending on your particular market and the competition within it, your individual establishment’s website may take months or years to be found naturally on the first page (without the use of paid search engine ads) .

Second, a directory is set up to convert as many online visitors as possible. Whether it is a flat rate directory, a pay-per-conversion directory, or a combination of the two, if it does not convert users to paying tenants, it will not retain the operators of facilities as clients.

Directory websites invest thousands of dollars each year to monitor the online behavior of web visitors, test new variations, and implement hundreds of small changes to achieve optimal conversion rates. Do you have the time to do this with your website? If not, this is an intangible benefit that you receive by being listed in directories.

Which leads to reason # 3: Industry directory operators keep abreast of online trends and know what consumers want. Apart from conversion, they look at overall consumer behavior, how to capture and retain visitors, and how to keep them coming back to the website.

You may fear that you will be listed among your competition in these directories, but the reality is, you can’t afford not to be. A directory is a user-friendly website that allows storage seekers to shop for facilities and reserve / rent units. If your establishment is not listed, it will never be counted for the traffic that these sites generate from potential customers.

As stated earlier, the success of a directory is tied to customer conversions. Membership in these websites is usually short term, so immediate results are essential if the directory is to keep your business. Some directories only charge a fee when a customer calls a facility, visits the facility’s website, or books / rents a unit. Regardless of the pricing structure, a rental will usually cover the cost of directory membership for a period of time.

The bottom line is that self-storage directories are additional websites where your facility can be found and through which you can capture what every storage operator wants: more rentals.

Nick Bilava is the Director of Sales and Marketing for USstoragesearch.com , an Internet hub that connects online consumers with nationwide self-service storage facilities. Bilava works with storage operators to help them capture more tenants online through USstoragesearch.com and a network of partner sites including StorageUnit.com and Stockage.com . Over the past five years, he’s worked with thousands of properties to help them get more rentals online. He can be reached at 866.880.0742 or [email protected] .

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