Monday, October 3, 2011
Should I jump?
In today's day and age self storage facility owners are looking for more ways to save money and make more money. Yes, sounds like one of my ads in an industry publication but this is the reality of the world we live in today. One common theme swirling around the self storage industry is when should I make the jump away from the yellow pages. Recently I heard two CEOs of larger chains say that they are done with yellow page advertising and focusing all of their efforts online. I can tell you that these weren't overnight decisions and you can bet these larger companies had a fleet of people counting numbers before they made the "calculated" decision to exit the yellow pages completely. What we're witnessing is the early stages of what's quickly becoming a very busy arena of calculated moves bought and paid for by the guy with the biggest checkbook. Just Google (Bing or Yahoo) search "storage" and the market your facility is in. Yes the bigger guys will buy position just as they did with the yellow pages. Sitting here as someone representing a group that only functions online it should be easy for me to say JUMP NOW WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! But I believe that common sense tells us to think before we do it, don't do it just because the other guy did it. Just as the larger guys calculated their jump so should you. As I've said in previous blogs, outbidding the big guys is not a sustainable practice for a smaller operator. What I like to compare it to is bidding on that double truck or full page ad...it's hard to compete and usually beyond most of our budgets. Of course you should make the jump at some point if you haven't already done so, but make sure you're prepared and have aligned yourself with someone who can help you compete against the “big guys”.
Here are a few simple suggestions; know your existing and prospective customers and find out how they heard about you. If 90% say I saw you in the yellow pages your decision is simple, although this is doubtful. And when you find out that no one uses the yellow pages anymore, make sure that your prospective customer can find you online, get details about you online, and can transact with you online. And remember, the internet is ever changing so don’t assume you can manage it like your yellow page ad. Conforming to this shift is just a start.