Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Self Storage in 2017 - Are You Ready to Embrace Technology?

We are now four days into 2017 (three if you consider it is still pretty early in this day) and most people are finally back at work after long holiday vacations. If you are a smart, driven professional who wants to succeed, you are probably asking yourself “what do I need to make 2017 even better than 2016”?

I spent about an hour this morning checking out various blogs in the self-storage industry. There was one major theme to most of the articles I read – TECHNOLOGY. How is the self-storage industry going to embrace technology this year? Technology is in every part of a self-storage business, including marketing, accounting, rentals and reservations, and even auctions!

What I am shocked to see and hear when I am talking to people in the industry is that so many owners and operators have yet to embrace the role of technology in their business. Why? The answers vary. Some operators are highly occupied and don’t think they need to make any changes. This high occupancy leads operators to believe that they are successfully competing with the REITs, so why invest in further efforts. We have even seen a decline in attendance at several trade shows and expos because people feel they are already succeeding and don’t need to look for new ideas or learn more.

The only problem with this way of thinking is --- it will only work until it stops working. Eventually, the market will cycle back around, and occupancy rates will begin to drop. The huge boom in development of self-storage facilities is going to create more supply than demand. Will the operators who ignore the need for technological advancements be caught with their proverbial pants down?

It is a lot of work to develop a successful digital marketing campaign. You don’t get to the first page of a Google in a day. Creating meaningful, engaging content is time consuming. Some people work for a very long time to draw attention to their blog. (Ex. Me!) If you are one of those operators that “doesn’t believe in SEO or search engine optimization,” I fear you are going to be in for a shock.

Numbers don’t lie. Millennials are the largest sector of American consumers. If you are going to get their business, you are going to have to make some changes and those changes all involve technology. Millennials love content. They want to hear your story. They want to read about you and create a picture in their mind of your business and then they want to talk to other people about you. They can and will do all of this at lightning speed, thanks to the internet.

Are you blogging? Are you posting on social media? Are you joining industry related groups and online forums? Are you getting your story out there? Are you a part of your digital community? If not, you need to start making changes TODAY!!!! You have competitors that have been preparing for these changes for quite a while now. Millennials are not going to choose your facility because they drove by or because you have new signage. They are going to look for storage on the internet. The only question remaining is WILL YOU BE FOUND?

Anybody who is planning to attend the Inside Self Storage World Expo April 10-13 in Las Vegas, please come to my education session “Marketing to Materials” to learn more about Millennials and marketing to them.

January 4, 2017

About the Author - Cheli Rosa - Director of Marketing, Auctioneer, Mom, Pinterest Addict and Amateur Scrapbooker.


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