Curious about Google My Business, online leasing, or cost-effective ways to market self storage in a COVID-19 world? You’re not alone. We checked in with Will Harlan, National Sales Director and Self Storage marketing guru, to answer some frequently asked questions we hear about marketing in 2020. 

1. What is Google My Business and how does it improve business?

Think of Google My Business, or GMB, as your company’s hype person. Presently, we see roughly 35-55% of website traffic coming through GMB. Of course, GMB profiles can’t do all the work of your website, but they can get potential renters interested and move them along the path to signing a lease. Populate your free GMB listing to connect with customers on basic information like address, hours, website, phone number, and photos or videos of your business. GMB influences local SEO, which is huge when you consider that in our reporting, 31% of online leases are driven via a location’s GMB listing. 

2. What percentage of users that rent online are mobile users? 

According to Google, in Q4 2019, 58% of users that searched for self storage rentals did so on a mobile device, a 15% increase from the previous year. With more folks at home juggling multiple priorities, experts expect this to rise. Since January, we’ve seen 56.9% of online leases come through on mobile. Of course, COVID-19 could have caused this to rise quickly, but in general, the trend is consistent with what we’ve seen. We know COVID-19 has shifted consumer behavior with more customers turning to online options. This trend is expected to hold steady post-COVID, making mobile-first optimization more vital than ever. 

3. Once the SEO is done for my website is there really ongoing work needed? 

When you buy a car, do you skip oil changes? Like any engine, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, needs a regular tune-up. SEO is constantly changing. As additional platforms like Google My Business influence local SEO, properties need a multi-faceted approach to keep top-of-search and top-of-mind. A strong marketing partner should be up-to-date on SEO shifts and maintain your SEO strategy so your business has a strong presence on organic search results. Not sure where to start? Schedule quarterly or semi-annual SEO audits, and use our Nine Things you Need to Know about SEO as a springboard. 

4. What are cost-effective ways to advertise online, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

It’s no secret that digital advertising costs are rising. Click-through rates are decreasing and cost-per-click is increasing. In self storage more specifically, large companies with deeper pockets can flood the market with ads, making competition challenging for small and medium-sized businesses. You pay each time someone clicks on an ad, so your ultimate goal is to make sure every click matters. The simplest thing is to make sure your strategy includes the right keywords, so that your ads show up in the most relevant searches which reduces unwanted clicks.

Beyond having the right strategy in place, the smartest marketers today are leveraging technology to spend ad budgets efficiently. G5 Ad Optimization determines which ads deliver the most qualified prospects to your property and then redirects spend to those higher-performing ad channels. Some companies might do this work manually, but at best, it could take upwards of 20 hours for a human analyst to get it right — wasting your time and money. G5 uses data science and automation to do this automatically every day and we are seeing amazing results. Our customers have seen a 200% increase in qualified calls for the same ad budget. 

5. What is a good Google Ads budget?

Whew! What a toughie. Unfortunately, that’s not an easy answer. Our recommendation is to start with the end in mind. Ask yourself a few foundational questions. Do you want to generate leases? What is your current occupancy? What is your typical leasing season? Do you want to create a brand identity? 

Next, think about your market. How many competitors do you have within five to ten miles? Speaking generally, a property that is in a lease-up needs an aggressive (and probably larger) budget to help fill units and drive occupancy at the facility. Whereas, a property that is stabilized needs to examine historical turnover to understand occupancy fluctuation patterns and allocate the funds appropriately. 

Graphic showing the Hierarchy of Advertising Decisions

It’s complicated, and a lot to navigate alone. Having a  best-in-class marketing partner will go a long way in getting the best return from your digital advertising dollar. 

More Questions?

Digital marketing is vital to driving revenue and leases. Learn more about it with our eBook.