The self-storage industry is undergoing tremendous growth, and market watchers say it’s poised for even more due to a variety of factors. This is good news for self-storage business owners. Less good news? With many new businesses trying to get in on the trend, supply is keeping pace with demand.

Given the influx of competition, attracting customers and growing your business is anything but a slam dunk. If you’re looking to make the most of the self-storage industry boom, you must have the right self-storage marketing strategies in place.

No only that, but while conventional marketing has its benefits, it’s no longer enough on its own. You must also capitalize on the many extraordinary benefits of digital marketing.

Guide to Self Storag Marketing solutions: the question "What are your goals?" written on a chalk board.

If you’re looking to amp up your self-storage business’s marketing efforts, this comprehensive guide can help. You’ll find everything you need to design and implement an effective self-storage marketing plan, from time-tested methods to the digital marketing imperatives.

Traditional Marketing for Self-Storage Businesses

Traditional marketing includes all kinds of promotions used to reach consumers offline, including telemarketing, print, broadcast, billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising, and direct mail.

There’s a reason why many traditional marketing methods have stood the test of time. They bring customers in the door. Here’s a closer look at a few especially opportune traditional marketing tactics for your self-storage business.


Especially in the self-storage industry which caters to a local clientele, flyers are a cost-effective way to get the word out — particularly if you’re trying to quickly fill empty units. Want to get even more out of those flyers? Offer an irresistible deal, coupon, or other incentive.


Another classic self-storage marketing method that gets results is billboards. Like flyers, they’re a useful way to deliver your message to a localized audience, especially if you advertise on a billboard that’s near your location, in a high-traffic area, and at a price point that fits your budget. If you can’t find a billboard that satisfies these three requirements, this may not be the best use of your marketing dollars.

Community Involvement

Brand loyalty is a sought-after commodity in today’s intensely competitive business world. One of the best ways to get it? Give back. Says Forbes, “Philanthropy increases brand loyalty when you practice it genuinely. Giving back increases engagement by sharing a mission and purpose with your customer base.”

Whether you sponsor a local Little League team or mobilize your team members to participate in a park cleanup, community involvement gets your name out there. When your target audience is looking for self-storage, your business will be the first that comes to mind.

Referral Incentives

Your existing customers aren’t just customers. They can also be ambassadors and even your best salespeople. How? By driving word-of-mouth. One tactic might be to offer a free month of rent for every referral that leads to a new rental for a minimum amount of time. Then, kick back and watch online inquiries and inbound calls skyrocket. Just make sure that whatever incentive you  offer is feasible and favors you financially.

Direct Mail

Direct mail refers to any kind of physical communication you send to customers in the hopes of attracting their business. This includes postcards, letters, flyers, and catalogs. Direct mail may seem a bit like shooting in the dark, but it’s been proven to generate high ROI.

For self-storage businesses, meanwhile, it can be especially beneficial because it allows you to use geo-targeting to reach your target audience.

What Is Digital Marketing?

Traditional marketing can help you expand your market reach. However, our increasingly digital age calls for new ways of reaching people.

Enter digital marketing, AKA online marketing or internet marketing.

Digital marketing refers to any and all forms of advertising done through digital channels. This includes websites, SEO, email, social media, content marketing, display advertising, paid search, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, and mobile.

Says Hubspot of the shift toward digital marketing, “As the world becomes more digital, the way we market has evolved. Not only is digital marketing sometimes more cost-effective than traditional, but also it is a more direct way to connect with target audiences globally.”

Why Digital Marketing Matters

If you think your self-storage business can get by without digital marketing, the evidence to the contrary speaks for itself.

Why digital marketing matters: the question "What's your online marketing strategy" written on a chalkboard with 6 big yellow and 1 red cube forming a question mark beside it.

These five data points are just a small sampling of the many reasons why digital marketing matters:

  • 93 percent of all online interactions begin with an internet search. If you want that internet search to find your self-storage business, the digital marketing tool SEO is essential to increasing your rankings.
  • 72 percent of online marketers report that high-quality content is the most effective SEO content. It’s not enough to just post; your posts must be timely, relevant, and valuable to build relationships with consumers.
  • More than 77,000 Google searches are entered EVERY SECOND. This adds up to 2 trillion searches every year.
  • The average open rate for welcome emails is more than 80 percent. Higher open rates increase the success of your marketing campaign with links to click-through rates and more. Every email that’s opened is an opportunity to engage with your target audience and increase sales.
  • The transactional rates of personalized emails are as much as six times higher than non-personalized emails.

The takeaway? For growth-minded businesses, digital marketing is no longer a “nice to have.” It’s a necessity.

The Benefits of Digital Marketing

The benefits of digital marketing are numerous. Not only that, but as internet usage among adults continues to grow, so do the benefits of using this marketing channel.

Here are six benefits your self-storage business can look forward to with digital marketing:

1. You’ll boost customer loyalty through more frequent communication.

While we often talk about the imperative to get more customers, it’s equally if not more important to retain the ones you’ve already got. Why? Because customer retention costs considerably less than attracting and converting new ones. Customer loyalty is hard to come by, so you want to keep it when you have it.

Digital marketing not only amplifies your opportunities to connect with your customers, but also to connect with them in more meaningful ways, such as through personalization and social media engagement.

2. You'll engage with the customer across every stage of their journey.

Digital marketing offers new and actionable insights into the customer journey. While it was much harder to track a customer’s steps before the digital age, we now have the ability to know exactly where they are. This means we’re better positioned to target marketing to exactly what they need to move through the funnel.

Content marketing and the conversion funnel: prospects, contacts, leads, final list, and clients

The ability to engage with customers across many channels also means more chances for you to interact with them, address their questions, and influence their decision to purchase.

In improving the customer journey, you’ll also improve the effectiveness of your sales funnel. In turn, this will help you create a consistent lead pipeline to keep your business moving forward.

3. You'll understand and reach your target audience.

In marketing, knowing your target audience is everything. Digital marketing lets you take your efforts a step further through the power of segmentation. Within your target audience, you have different buyer personas at different phases of the customer journey. Digital marketing lets you target customers with content and ads that relate directly to who they are and what they want.

In addition to helping you connect with customers and add value, you also facilitate positive reinforcement. The easier and more satisfying you make the experience for your customers, the more likely they are to return.

4. You’ll enjoy lower costs and higher conversion rates — which you can measure.

Online advertising is considerably less expensive than television, radio, print ads, and other costly forms of traditional marketing. If that weren’t incentive enough to give online marketing a go, you’ll also get more bang for your buck.

How will you know if your marketing is paying off? Digital advertising gives you access to metrics and analytics that you simply cannot replicate with traditional methods. While there’s a certain degree of guesswork involved in understanding which traditional ads are working and therefore worthy of investing in, there’s much more clarity with digital ads.

In fact, with digital marketing you can track important data, or key performance indicators (KPIs), in many forms, including but not limited to CPC (cost-per-click), CAC (customer acquisition cost), CLTV (customer lifetime value), and return on investment (ROI).

5. You'll boost brand visibility and credibility.

Credibility is everything with today’s discerning consumers. And there’s no faster or more sustainable way to gain credibility than with social media marketing. This doesn’t mean it’s a given, however. In order to gain your customers’ trust, you must make good on a few things, including being reliable, purposeful, and adding value to their lives.

Blogging is only one example of how to establish your expertise and increase your business’s credibility. Do it right, and you can look forward to major payoffs: According to Hubspot, businesses that blog get up to 67 percent more leads than those that don’t.

6. You'll gain a competitive edge.

The advantage of digital marketing for all businesses speaks for itself. However, digital marketing can be especially powerful in certain situations. For example, if you are a small business with a smaller budget, having well-executed content marketing and SEO can help you keep up with and even outperform bigger, more established competitors.

Of course, this can be easier said than done. In order to harness the full power of digital marketing, you have to understand its ins and outs, keep up in the fast-changing landscape, and have the resources to implement — all while keeping up with the everyday tasks involved with keeping your business up and running.

Signs That Your Marketing Efforts Are Falling Short

Self-storage businesses can get in on all the benefits of digital marketing.  However, many aren’t getting the results they need. Others aren’t even trying at all. Why? Because they lack the expertise and resources to plan, implement, and measure their efforts. After all, attending to the day-to-day responsibilities of running a business is — literally — a full-time job.

Wondering whether what you’re doing is working and/or if you could be doing more? Here are some indications that your marketing efforts may be falling short.

Your social media accounts aren’t generating engagement

Many business owners think of social media as an afterthought, and only post when inspiration strikes. This is a huge missed opportunity to connect with your audience with content that resonates.

If people aren’t liking, commenting on, sharing, and retweeting your social media posts, this is a clear sign that your campaign needs work. In order to get the most out of your social media accounts, you need a social media plan, including a social media calendar.

2. Your website isn’t drawing traffic

Lack of visitors to your website is a major sign that your digital marketing campaign isn’t hitting the mark. Without SEO, your website will not rank highly. As a result, searchers won’t find your self-storage business when they conduct a search. Organic traffic is the lifeblood of your website, and you need SEO to get it.

3. Your conversion rates are low

Even if your website is drawing tons of visitors, your bottom line depends on conversions happening once they’re there. From mobile responsiveness to online bookings, your website must make it easy for your target audience to find the information they want and to take action. This has to happen quickly, too. Research tells us that if your website doesn’t automatically give visitors what they’re looking for, they’ll look for websites that do.

4. You don’t have a content strategy

Just like you need a social media strategy, you also need a  content strategy. Your website blog is a vital SEO element with the potential to draw traffic to your website. If you only post every once in a while, you not only take a hit with search engines that prize consistency, you also risk your credibility with your audience.

High-quality content serves many functions, including:

  • Informing, educating, and entertaining your ideal customers
  • Driving SEO
  • Earning valuable backlinks from other websites
  • High social media shareability
  • Establishing industry thought leadership
  • Boosting brand visibility, trust, and credibility
  • Increasing conversion rates

5. Your paid ads aren’t getting results

Pay-per-click ads like Facebook Ads and Google Ads can attract customers and generate business, but they can also be costly if you aren’t adhering to best practices, like targeting your ideal persona and optimizing your ads.

6. You’re not using multiple channels

There are many marketing channels through which to reach your target customers. While “putting all of your eggs in one basket” may seem easiest, there’s a reason this saying is associated with a warning. If you invest all of your efforts into one channel and it fails, you’ll end up out of money and empty-handed.

A multi-channel strategy is the best way to cover your bases. This doesn’t mean you have to use every channel available to you. However, it does mean you should be strategic about which avenues to pursue.

How to Promote Your Self Storage Business

If your self-storage business is having any of these issues with your marketing plan, you have three options for corrective action.

How to promote your self-storage business: a cup of black coffee beside a pen and paper with a note "action plan."

Some companies choose to delegate an employee to take on digital marketing responsibilities. Unfortunately, this often leads to less than optimal results for the simple reason that most employees don’t have the digital marketing knowledge and expertise to design and implement an efficient and effective plan.

Another option is to hire a marketing manager. While this person will have the experience you’re looking for,  this also means adding another person to your payroll. Many small businesses that are operating on a small profit margin simply do not have this option.

Which brings us to a best-of-both-worlds option: Outsourcing your marketing to a marketing agency. A marketing agency can offer the exact level of assistance you need in getting your marketing strategy where you need it to be.

Whether you’re looking for help in one specific aspect of marketing like content marketing, direct mail, or SEO, or you’re searching for a soup-to-nuts solution, a digital marketing firm will help you understand what you need to get results. They’ll also work with you to set a budget and stay within it.

In addition to helping you design and implement a plan, a digital marketing agency will help you take advantage of metrics and analytics that can be used to measure your results and make improvements.

Finally, self storage marketing services will keep up with the rapidly changing digital marketing ecosystem. What worked yesterday may no longer be successful today, and what’s successful today may fall short tomorrow. Digital marketers have their pulse on the industry, and can help you stay a step ahead of your competitors by offering access to innovative storage facility marketing ideas and more.

One last thing to keep in mind? The best plans for marketing your self storage facility are not either/or. Rather, they’re all about finding and maintaining the perfect balance. Regardless of the size and location of your self-storage business, success comes down to attracting the right customers. If your marketing plan isn’t doing everything it can to make this happen, leveling up your traditional and digital marketing game can be a game-changer.