Find yourself browsing for your next vacation getaway? And then that leads you to looking up trendy restaurants in that area…which leads you to looking up that one recipe from that one foodie blog you follow? Before you know it, you’ve viewed or clicked or scrolled multiple websites across multiple platforms, and probably read at least a few reviews. This searching behavior is not uncommon, especially when people are looking for a storage unit. 

My fellow marketers and operators, don’t you wish you knew what that shopper’s researching footprint looked like? Turns out, we do. 

In just the past few years, we’ve experienced an increase in tech adoption. Having food delivered from Uber Eats during, how shall we say, “off hours,” to subscribing to three streaming channels, so we get to watch all of our favorite shows. Tech adoption happened fast, as the saying goes “necessity is the mother of invention.” Well, the beauty of all this is that self storage shoppers are using this tech to search for…you guessed it, their next storage unit.

And as you know full well, for your storage renters, finding a unit for their belongings is a decision driven by timing, convenience, security, and price. Plus, when you factor in the evolving workplace landscape with more and more companies allowing permanent WFH options, people are more mobile than ever before. Talk about search overload! We’re finding that prospective renters are not only taking longer to research before contacting you (so many options), they’re also researching deeper

The Invisible Period

Let us translate it for you: On average, self storage shoppers are spending nearly two weeks (13 days) cruising around websites, paid ads, social platforms, and more. In other words, they’re spending two weeks deciding if you are even worth calling. We call this “The Invisible Period” and we dug a little more.

During these two weeks of research, renters take about 16 steps before reaching out to you. That’s a lot of views, clicks, zooms, and scrolls being done without you.

We know, you’re curious. Is this a lot? Has this behavior changed? We looked at what self storage renters were doing last year to compare. Lo and behold, while they’re taking about 5% more steps this year than last year (Jan-April), they are spending 26% more time researching. Interesting, right?

To probe a bit more, we asked our data scientists which marketing channel was bringing in qualified calls, aka people who were actually interested in renting. Although it was neck-and-neck between Organic Search (and your websites) and Digital Advertising, Google Business Profile (GBP) was the most influential channel bringing in those calls from renters with an ‘intent to rent.’

Now we get to the good stuff. What actions should you be taking? Since Google Business Profile is your top source of quality leads, it needs some care and feeding.

  1. Show Up – Be sure to provide complete and accurate information about your facility. This is business 101. We’re talking about your legal business name, and phone number. Also make sure your business category is what people think of when looking for you, and most importantly, keep your business hours updated,  including holidays. It matters. Last but not least, be sure to request ownership of your Business Listing (aka claim it as yours).
  2. Show Off – Now we’re ready for some marketing fun. In today’s world, your brand is essentially limited to what the channels decide they’ll include. So when it comes to visually impacting areas, like photos, it’s time to shine. Select photos carefully and if you get new ones, come back and keep it fresh. And, consider the “Products & Services” section where you should show off your extras like boxes and other upsells. The choice is yours.
  3. Show Empathy – Choosing a storage unit is an important decision, so how you respond to reviews and answer Q&A matters. This can be a turning point when a prospect decides if you are worth a phone call or if they scratch you off the list. Take care here. Be professional and respond to everything. No really, everything. And, even if you know what really happened and want to go into defense mode? Don’t. People need to get their voice heard and even some negative reviews are okay. We know it happens, and prospects just want to see that you handle it with empathy, or at least compassion.

That’s it! Show up, show off, and show empathy on Google Business Profile. But, with a busy schedule and limited resources, it is easy to let days, if not weeks and months, go by without checking for new reviews/questions. If you manage a portfolio, consider a tool that consolidates everything into one place or a service that makes sure someone is on top of it.

Schedule a demo to learn how G5+LL can help you maximize your Google Business Profile.