When we were listening to TED talks on disruption in 2019, I don’t think a year like 2020 was a scenario that played into too many people’s minds. It’s clearly a tumultuous time, but if we had to find an optimistic outlook, it’s this: as more of the leasing journey moved online this year, we uncovered new opportunities to engage renters in this increasingly digital landscape. Here are five things to consider when marketing to the modern renter.

1. Your Renter Has Changed

Perhaps this seems obvious, but we feel it’s worth stating, as our world has changed so have our lives and the lives of your future renters. More Americans are working from home than ever before. 42% of the U.S. labor force was working from home full-time in June 2020, and this trend is expected to continue post-pandemic. Not to mention that in July, according to the Pew Research Center, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents. College students taking classes remotely this fall and possibly into the next academic year, need to continue storing their belongings from their rapid March move-outs. 

As more employees and students are pushed from the office building into their living room, kitchen table, or childhood bedroom, space becomes a premium. Many make-shift work from home spaces may have seemed like a temporary solution in March, when we thought the pandemic lock-downs would take six weeks. But, it’s been months. And it’s becoming abundantly clear it will be months longer. 

In self storage, your renter could be anyone, and their needs vary widely. But here are a few common pandemic-era needs your property could help to solve: making room for learning and work from home spaces, home remodels, and housing consolidation as families move in together. 

2. Socially Distant Media and Technology

Social media is keeping us connected in this tumultuous time. We are traveling less, seeing people seldomly, and as a result, social media usage is up, with just about half of users spending more time scrolling through their phones. It’s been a year of seemingly endless Tuesdays, and we crave some sort of normalcy, empathy, and clarity. Social media can connect to your renters with authenticity and empathy — reminding them that at the end of the day, you’re simply humans too. Grab attention and get your brand seen by posting packing tips, tote reviews, and affordable DIY work or study space ideas. Using social media to share might not bring in leads today, but the awareness generated will pay off down the line, when those engaged prospects start their search for a storage unit.

3. MarTech is Better than Ever

Just as our daily lives changed in March, so did business practices and expectations. According to the American Marketing Association, 85% of consumers are open to digital offerings and 84% are open to digital experiences. We expect customers’ focus on digital offerings to be a permanent shift. Which is good news, because in MarTech you have more options to choose from than ever before. From email marketing to customer analytics dashboards, there are now over 8,000 options to choose from — that’s 13.6% more than last year. This is an indicator we know to be true: marketing matters more than ever. Moreover, with the focus on contactless leasing options, your renters’ journeys begin and end on your website. We recently partnered with a REIT to streamline their leasing online process, learn more by reading our case study

4. Search is Up

Now that the initial pandemic panic has worn off, online search levels are back up and are above 2019 levels. In fact, according to data provided through our Google Premier Partnership, there was an 8% increase in overall search growth in Q2 2020, when compared to the previous year, with 57% of searches coming from mobile devices. Having a mobile-first website is no longer a nice-to-have feature, but a need-to-have approach to connecting to renters where they are.  

5. Best-in-Class Partnerships

We believe teamwork makes the dream work. Best-in-class partners are the dream team you’ve always wanted to work with. When you partner with top-notch tech providers they eliminate data and tech silos, which can decrease efficiency and increase error. Additionally, best-in-class partners operate as an extension of your team. They have developers, engineers, project managers, and programmers working to innovate so that your team can focus on what you do best — connecting with prospective renters. It’s important to thoughtfully select these partners as they have the power to transform the way you work. There is no “waiting until after COVID-19” anymore, with consumers’ digital-focus, there’s never been a better time to add a technology partner to your tech stack.

We’re in this Together 

We’re here to help you navigate the ongoing unknown challenges presented by the pandemic. Check out this checklist to unlock some insights on how to take your marketing to the next level for the rest of 2020 and into 2021.