There's always been a need for storage, but recent years have seen a growth in the number of large self-storage units on industrial parks and agricultural grounds.
As homes get smaller and more cramped, the storage unit can become a vital overspill area for all the possessions that are too precious to throw out, but won't fit in the home anymore.
Whether for unfortunate events such as a breakup or family bereavement, or more positive happenings such as short-term storage during a family relocation or temporary posting overseas, they can be a huge advantage for households in the UK. It's a solid business model, and one that can be scaled sustainably.
But as with anything else, there's good and bad, so how are you going to distinguish your offering from that of an increasing list of competitors? Here are six of the best ways.
Never underestimate the importance of getting to know your target audience. Many people rarely have the need to use a storage facility, so your priority is to identify the ones who do.
Find out who's using your service and why. Maybe you've got a lot of students storing their belongings over the holiday period? Maybe you're being used mostly by businesses rather than individuals, or possibly military families who frequently need to place their possessions into storage so that they can rent out their home during a long posting?
Those who use self-storage most may often the people who are dependent on rented homes, so build up your social media presence on the platforms that reach each group best. Build a website that speaks to your target audience and take into account their innermost concerns, obstacles, and wishes when publishing web content.
If you use social media a great deal – and you should as it's an excellent marketing tool – you can derive great benefits from doing much more than just talking about your own service. Build up the community around your business and spend plenty of time talking about other issues that might interest your customers.
It's important to market your own product of course, but be sure to share information about other companies whose services complement your own, or matters that are unrelated to storage but might be of concern to your customers. Think about the situation of your audience, and whether a news story might affect them. If so, share it, comment, and provide some useful advice.
That's obvious isn't it? You'd certainly think so, but all too often it's not the case. For online communications when using social media, it can be tempting to forget that there's a person behind every profile, so treat them as you would treat somebody calling the office landline.
Furthermore, your local community will be your first base of customers, and can be the bread-and-butter customers that pay the bills if business elsewhere is slow. Remembering this will ensure that you maintain strong relationships with locals, and run a sustainable business. Be careful what you say and how you say it, as word-of-mouth can be your biggest friend and your fiercest enemy.
As a storage provider you're not trading in isolation. There are other companies out there whose businesses overlap with yours, so find them and build positive relationships.
You'll need to get your local removal companies on side. Try to develop mutually supporting practices with them, because these are the people who'll recommend you to their customers. After all, most people needing storage will also need a removal company, and frequently they'll ask the latter for a recommendation.
Other businesses such as estate agents and furniture sales companies will also have ready access to your potential market, so ensure it's your details they pass on to customers.
Find ways to reward loyalty among your customers. Develop a programme of rewarding anything from a Facebook like to a personal recommendation or repeat business; offer prizes or an extra month's storage for free. Such things go a long way to building up a positive reputation for your company even if they're not used much
This is always a good tactic to raise awareness and earn respect. Have you noticed how many successful local companies attach their name to events, sports teams, and more? It works on a local level. Working with schools is something that never goes unnoticed. Put up the funds for a trip, or sponsor a charity event. Many of these families will be potential customers too.
Think about sponsoring competitions and providing prizes, or maybe fund a relevant event such as a car boot sale. It's about building your brand in a positive light, so that you're at the forefront of the mind when people require your services.
For more information on how you can use high-quality storage containers for your storage facility, get in touch with Willbox today.