Monday, September 26, 2011
I was recently reviewing some notes from a tradeshow I attended in
a couple of weeks ago. This was a typical SSA show, the usual vendors, some new guys, and great storage people we had quality conversations with. During the show I had the luxury of attending the “keynote” session given by Dean Jernigan of U-Store-It. To my surprise much of this keynote was a sales presentation. This seemed to surprise many of the people in attendance as well. Much of the audience were independent self storage owners, so you can imagine their surprise when the chairman of a larger self storage operator makes a statement about his company’s efforts in gaining first page ranking on Google by purchasing multitudes of key words and how they buy more key words than anyone else in the industry. I believe the quote was, "if you're not buying the right key words or first on Google you're losing." Wow, not the best thing to say to a group of owners who are desperately trying to gain relevance on the internet more so now than ever and you’re telling them you’re doing your best to outbid them. My opinion, this came off sounding more like, my budget is bigger than yours and good luck trying. Las Vegas
From my perspective I can tell you what I heard and what we do. I can also tell you that we’ve never charged our eMove Storage Affiliates an additional dime for the placement we’ve gotten them on Google or any online directory nor have we had to bid on keywords to gain relevance on the internet. We have a dedicated team of hard working people working to get our network members visibility on the internet. We’ve committed resources to these efforts many years ago because of our mutually beneficial interests, SURVIVAL IN THE SELF STORAGE INDUSTRY. Don’t believe me, ask the 400 plus local sites we’re listing our Affiliates on and not charging an additional dime for. It’s because of this many of our network members our able to sustain a competitive online presence. As far as bidding on keys words here’s my advice; Bidding on keywords is not a sustainable practice for the smaller operator, don’t believe me just try it. Better yet, I’ll give you my $100 “free” advertising coupon I received from the Google Small Business Team last month. Google even allows you to set your daily budget to spend this $100 in free online advertising; you might get a whole day out of it.
Back to our original topic…I commend Dean’s efforts to get his new name out there in front of a captive audience but there’s a better forum for it. His presentation would have been best left for his investors. Maybe I should be saying, Shame on you SSA.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
If someone tells you today that they can get you first page Google placement turn and run unless their business card says I OWN GOOGLE. Within the last few years I've seen many new self storage "experts" come into this industry claiming that they're SEO experts, Social media experts, or best of all, Google experts. Really, a Google expert? Such bold statements for an area (the internet) that changes daily and truly has not been around that long. As for social media, the only experts are the ones who created it; it's hard to argue otherwise. Major universities can't teach this stuff quick enough. By the time a semester is over, much of what the CIS student (Computer Information Systems) has learned can change before the end of the semester, good luck to college professors trying to create the curriculums.
Back to our industry…Do your research before you choose an "expert". Make sure they know your industry and know your customer, anything else is merely their opinion. Be cautious of the guy with the magic elixir, there's a good chance his potion might not work for your prospective customer.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Throughout the year I am fortunate to travel many places and visit with great people in the self storage industry. Personally I have been involved in this industry for many years, just over 17. I have seen a lot change in the self storage industry throughout the years, from the ways we market the storage product to the ways we manage it. Today, everyone is talking about what you should do online, from management software to the replacing your yellow page ads with online directories. I can remember in the late 90s early 2000's when owners would tell me that they would never display their rates online. Their reasoning, why would they want to make it easy for their competitor to know their rates. I must say it's good to see this mindset somewhat evolve with more and more owner/operators displaying their rates online. For those operators not yet convinced, the guy down the street appreciates you not helping the prospective customer. Remember, if you're not displaying your pricing the perception from the consumers standpoint is your prices are too high. At the end of the day your website should function no different than you or your employee answering the phone at your location; Yes I can quote you a price, Yes I can give you directions to my location, Yes I can reserve that room for you, etc. Fulfilment is what your online prospective customer is looking for. Don't waste online visits by hiding your pricing.