Resources and Ideas for
Your Storage Facility

Self Storage Industry Blog

Sara Heins, Former storEDGE Writer

Sara is a St. Louis native and recent graduate of the Mizzou journalism school who alternates her spare time activities between exercising and Netflix binges. She is a former content writer at storEDGE.

The Complete Guide to Offering Move-In Trucks

December 16, 2013 | Sara Heins

If you’re looking for a way to convert more leads into storage unit rentals, offering a free moving truck service is an important feature that customers look for in a facility.

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Attract More Businesses to Your Storage Facility

December 10, 2013 | Sara Heins

Many companies are unaware of the perks of renting self storage – it's a great alternative to relocating offices (especially if they're already in the perfect location) in order to find more space for documents, inventory, surplus supplies and equipment. So what can you provide to become more appealing to this clientele?

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Storage Facilities: Take Advantage of the Back to School Season

September 11, 2013 | Sara Heins

To most of America, September means boot season, football games and pumpkin spice Frappucinos, but fall offers other types of perks to storage facility owners and operators: the fact that college students move back on campus.

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To PPC or Not to PPC, That is the Question…

August 16, 2013 | Sara Heins

At StorageAhead, we have several customers who want to begin PPC campaigns; here's what we tell them, and why we think your efforts are better spent on enhancing your site with SEO techniques instead.

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How to Write Stellar Facility Descriptions on Your Storage Site

August 02, 2013 | Sara Heins

Describing your storage facility on your website just got easier with StorageAhead's guide to writing the best "About Us" paragraphs on the web. From unique content to SEO tips, our comprehensive blog will help make your locations stand out!

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Recap of storEDGE's Lead Tracking & ROI Webinar

August 01, 2013 | Sara Heins

Earlier today, Alex Bernath (Business Development) took us through his Lead Tracking &ROI Webinar. We realize everyone might not have been able to tune in so we've recapped it for you here!

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StorageAhead Releases 3.12 Update for WebWorks & WebReady Clients

July 29, 2013 | Sara Heins

You may notice some pretty drastic differences when you log in to the admin portion of your WebWorks or WebReady site. In our most recent update, 3.12, we’ve completely redesigned the interface and added several more options for checking your site's analytics.

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Vote for StorageAhead in the 2013 ISS Best of Business Awards

June 07, 2013 | Sara Heins

It's the time of year again - to vote for your favorite storage-related companies in the ISS Best of Business awards. Vote now for StorageAhead and its affiliate companies.

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View StorageAhead's SEO Audit Webinar Online Now!

May 24, 2013 | Sara Heins

Our webinar from Wednesday, May 22 is up online and ready to view! If you couldn't make it to the live showing, be sure to check it out now for tips on how to improve your web marketing presence.

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WebWorks 3.11 Release – Update to Customer Reviews Section

May 23, 2013 | Sara Heins

The newest WebWorks release has launched. With the 3.11 update, customers can now reply to customer reviews.

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Introducing StorageAhead's First Webinar - SEO Site Audits

May 17, 2013 | Sara Heins

Join us Wednesday, May 22 at 12:30 p.m. CDT for our first ever webinar on SEO site audits. Don't miss out on these valuable web marketing insights!

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How to Protect your Storage Facility from Summertime Pests

May 09, 2013 | Sara Heins

Summertime means shorts, t-shirts and creepy crawly things you don't want in your tenants' storage unit. Find out how to prevent and exterminate insects, spiders and rodents with our latest StorageAhead blog post.

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Is Rebranding the Right Move for Your Storage Facilities?

May 07, 2013 | Sara Heins

Considering rebranding or renaming your storage facilities? Read our blog before you make your final decision; rebranding, although great for your marketing efforts, can wreak havoc on your search engine optimization.

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Quick and Dirty Local SEO

April 24, 2013 | Sara Heins

The most basic step you can take to improve your site's SEO is clearly including your name, address & phone number.

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4 Benefits of Blogging for Your Storage Facility

April 12, 2013 | Sara Heins

StorageAhead delves into the top four reasons why it's time to start writing weekly posts for your self storage website. From helping your site's ranking to sharing advice with potential renters, blogging is key in today's era.

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What StorageAhead Learned at the ISS World Expo

April 10, 2013 | Sara Heins

StorageAhead employees left Kansas and ventured off to Vegas for the ISS trade show. Here's what we learned.

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Storage Wars and Canada, Eh?

April 05, 2013 | Sara Heins

The self storage industry took America by storm, and now its popularity is extending to Canada.

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Red Nova Labs Launches StorageAhead.com

April 05, 2013 | Sara Heins

Red Nova Labs launched their new web marketing website, StorageAhead.com, earlier this week as a resource for self storage owners and operators.

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Apartments Smaller Than Storage Units? Good News for You!

March 28, 2013 | Sara Heins

Micro-apartments are the next move for big city living. Housing size restrictions are decreasing nationwide, so architects are drawing up creative plans to take 200-450 square feet and make it "liveable."

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How to Write a Press Release in the Self Storage Industry

March 28, 2013 | Sara Heins

Read on to learn the basics of press release writing to step up your public relations and marketing efforts.

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Background Checks - Right for Your Storage Facility?

March 28, 2013 | Sara Heins

Are break-ins costing your storage facility customers? Find out how background checks can help prevent theft.

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Google Is Tired of Your Crap, Says Earn Your Own Darn Links

March 28, 2013 | Sara Heins

Confused by the never-ending SEO updates from Google? SEOMoz makes the ever-changing ranking algorithms simple to understand - rather than relying on some magical linkbuilding scheme, write content worth reading to earn your own darn links.

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Mystery Shopping Your Storage Facility

March 27, 2013 | Sara Heins

To avoid a horrible article written about one of your managers, you may want to consider hiring mystery shoppers. These incognito hired hands will pose as potential tenants to scope out what a typical customer experiences as they enter your storage facility

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What You'll Learn at the 2013 ISS World Expo in Las Vegas

March 27, 2013 | Sara Heins

Pumped for the ISS Expo in Las Vegas, but not sure what events to attend? Check out the list that the StorageAhead team is most excited about - we've handpicked the Expo's best web marketing presentations to help you boost your online presence.

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Sustainable Storage Inspiration from Starbucks

March 27, 2013 | Sara Heins

Storage facilities might take a page from Starbucks' book when it comes to sustainable building. This recently opened Starbucks concept store in Tukwila, Washington is made entirely of used shipping containers. As this story at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's blog notes, shipping containers are gaining use in sustainable design, like in this building project in nearby Georgetown, Washington, and even shipping container homes like the ones featured on ZeroCabin.

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4 Reasons for Your Storage Facility to Go Solar

March 27, 2013 | Sara Heins

A lot of businesses seem to be "going green" lately – recycling, installing solar panels and using energy efficient materials throughout the construction process. Even some storage facilities are hopping on the bandwagon and adopting more environmentally friendly techniques. Greenbox Self Storage, downtown Denver's first solar-powered facility, will generate more than 75,000 kW of power a year, saving 180,000 pounds of CO2 annually. The building is also applying for LEED Silver certification, a prestigious standing given to businesses built with efficient and recycled materials.

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Website Hygiene: Does Your Site Structure Stink?

March 26, 2013 | Sara Heins

You’re reading up on SEO, sitting through the webinars, blogging and linkbuilding like a pro… But you’re still not seeing improvements in your website’s search ranking? The culprit could be your website’s structure. No matter how diligent you are with your off-page SEO, if your on-page structure stinks the search bots will pass you by.

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How Do Customers See Your Pages?

March 07, 2013 | Sara Heins

Are you attracting customers with your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles, or driving them away? Mashable teamed up with EyeTrackShop, a startup that uses webcams to track eye movement and see where people engage most with content, based on where their eyes lingered longest. Although the study only involved 30 participants, the results are intriguing. Since social media profiles are usually formatted the same for businesses as they are for people, there may be some knowledge to gain here.

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StorageAhead Develops New Mini Storage Calculator

February 27, 2013 | Sara Heins

WebWorks clients, you may notice a cool new feature on your websites under your calculator page; our team of dedicated web marketers worked hard to develop a brand new self storage calculator.

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WebWorks Upgrade: Customers Can Now Leave Reviews Directly On Website

February 27, 2013 | Sara Heins

In the most recent WebWorks update, the StorageAhead developers built in a review system for customers to leave feedback on the site; they can do so by leaving a rating of one to five stars as well as an optional written testimonial.

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Why Small Businesses Hate G+ [Infographic]

February 19, 2013 | Sara Heins

We enjoyed Mike Ramsey’s sardonic perspective of Google+ Local. What self storage owner or agency hasn’t felt the sting of Google’s indifference about our customer reviews and what they mean for our business? Thanks to Nifty Marketing.

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Move over Twilight, Storage Facilities take over Pop Culture

February 14, 2013 | Sara Heins

You’ve got to admit that storage facilities have been all over the screens lately. One may even go as far as to say it’s rivaling the weird vampire craze that’s swept the nation over the past few years. How there are enough storage unit owners that default (and then actually have valuable stuff tucked away) that they can make four reality series of, I’m not sure. Although I also have no idea how they can keep attracting teenagers and middle-aged housewives* with this vampire crap either.

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How to Turn Your Storage Unit into the Ultimate Man Cave

February 03, 2013 | Sara Heins

With Super Bowl XLVII fast approaching, many people find the party as enticing as the game itself. However, maybe you're a real sports fan and want to get away from the people who don't care about the Harbaugh brothers or don't even know which teams are playing. To escape and watch the game in solace, why not turn your storage unit into a man cave and watch it there? A storage facility can be the perfect getaway from fair-weather fans, the apathetic mooches that just show up for the snacks, or even life itself.

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Denver Storage Facility Installs Solar Panels

January 30, 2013 | Sara Heins

Greenbox Self Storage recently became the first solar powered storage facility in downtown Denver. In such an environmentally conscious city, the company hopes to position itself as an attractive public storage option for the kinds of people who already recycle, compost and carpool.

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Should I be Branding My Storage Facility on Twitter and Facebook?

January 23, 2013 | Sara Heins

We’re not saying to completely ignore the social sphere, though. Social media can most certainly be beneficial (in a less direct way) in regards to your website’s organic search results.

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An In-Depth Guide in Adding Video to Your SEO Strategy

December 20, 2012 | Sara Heins

Previously, we discussed the value of video in terms of SEO, but now we want to show you how to go about adding this aspect to your SEO strategy.

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I’m Dreaming of Localized SEO, Increased Leads, and a White Christmas [VIDEO]

December 17, 2012 | Sara Heins

If Santa were dedicated to the self storage industry, he would probably deliver lots of hygienic, paying renters to facilities all over the world. Alas, that kind of haul would require an army of elves with ever-evolving proficiency in SEO—a learning curve that’s more exhausting than knowing the latest in extreme graphic chipset processors.

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Looking for a Boost in Search Engine Visibility? Add Video to Your SEO Strategy

October 17, 2012 | Sara Heins

Many people don’t realize this, but YouTube has recently become the second-largest search engine behind Google, which coincidentally owns YouTube. This has given rise to a duality in video search. Since engines also include videos in search engine results pages (SERPs), chances are quite good a video uploaded to YouTube will also show up in Google search results, as part of a “blended search.” Blended search is the practice in which search engines display videos, images, news stories, maps, and other types of results alongside their standard search results, and it has become increasingly common on major search engines.

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Are you a Click Crook? Offensive Clicking Harms Everybody

August 22, 2012 | Sara Heins

Are you one of the nearly 70% of self storage operators who markets on the web? If so, odds are you’re spending some of your marketing budget on pay-per-click (PPC) ads—managed either by you or by a service provider like StorageFront.

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Self Storage Can be Twitter Savvy Too

August 05, 2012 | Sara Heins

Ever think of twitter as a capacity to communicate directly with renters and secure their unit through social media? While there’s no way to track such leads like you can through StorageFront.com, Twitter is a reasonable and amiable way to reach out to customers and take care of their storage unit needs.

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Google Search Changes Make Google+ Pages More Relevant

July 17, 2012 | Sara Heins

So what’s the point in having a Google+ page for your self storage business if the search terms that you’re battling for don’t show up in Search Plus Your World? For one thing, the more places you’re found, the better.

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Spelling for SEO

July 15, 2012 | Sara Heins

Whenever I read a book and come to a misspelled word, it takes me about 10 seconds before I can move on. Books should be better than that. A publishing company has deemed that collection of words worthy for publication, worthy of a binding and a cover. There is just something special about books. They should be above mistakes. After all, doesn’t that copy go in front of many, many sets of eyes before I, the reader, see it?

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10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO “Expert” for Self Storage Marketing

June 23, 2012 | Sara Heins

Before engaging in any discussion with a search engine optimization (SEO) vendor, it’s wise to do a bit of reconnaissance. A few observations and analytical snapshots will tell you if a company is worth talking to. Google them. Bing them. Study their website design, code, keywords, links, anchor text, flexibility and optimization.

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SEO Best Practices: The Proof is in the Puddin’

February 15, 2012 | Sara Heins

Here at StorageAhead, we are constantly harping on our self storage clients about best practices in search engine optimization –the “unpaid” organic type. Just take a look back through this blog and you’ll see: Most articles cover SEO topics and trends that may help self storage operators understand how to get ahead in search.

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Customer Reviews and Self Storage: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

January 20, 2012 | Sara Heins

Customer reviews carry more weight than your self storage website. Hard to believe, but that’s what new research is telling us: That online reviews and customer input may have a greater impact on the reputation of a small local business than its own web pages.The reason?  Peer trust outweighs people’s faith in business.

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A Lesson to be Learned from Kodak

January 12, 2012 | Sara Heins

The news that Eastman Kodak would be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the coming months made me sit back and think. Not only would this be another tragic end for the inventor of Kodak Films, but how could such a powerhouse crash so prematurely? After all, they were once the dominating force when it came to film prints and even led the way for digital photography in the early 2000s. But their downfall began when they didn’t anticipate and recognize new consumer trends; they failed to react with the new information in hand. They failed to adapt to the changing market even though they knew it was inevitable. So how could this have happened with such a juggernaut?

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How to Make Sure Your Web Presence Reaches the Hipster Masses

January 03, 2012 | Sara Heins

What’s the worst attitude you can have about your web presence? Listen up, you hipster whiners who like your websites all pretty and user-interfacey. It’s time for you to meet Don Chernoff, the man behind a sweet little suitcase called SkyRoll.

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Tweet Toolbox: How Ten Simple Tools Make Twitter Work for Me (Part 2 of 2)

December 20, 2011 | Sara Heins

If you manage one account – socializing on behalf of your company or your personal brand – Twitter itself is probably an adequate application for the job. It’s fun and user-friendly. For tweeting on-the-go, you can download the Twitter app for your Smartphone. (As of this writing, running the redesigned Twitter website from your iPhone is a pain in the arse.)

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Tweet Toolbox: How Ten Simple Tools Make Twitter Work for Me (Part 1 of 2)

December 20, 2011 | Sara Heins

Twitter’s rapid growth is showing no signs of slowing. Even though the social network seems like a communications tool built just for oddly obsessed foodies and short attention span narcissists, it plays host to more than 300 million accounts today and is growing at a rate of close to three-quarters of a million accounts daily. Yep, 10 more accounts are signed up every second. We can’t all be loonies, can we?

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The Battle for Web Visibility: Google Maps

December 18, 2011 | Sara Heins

When Steve Chaires received his local yellow pages book recently, he was mad. But his anger was tempered by the realization that what he was so upset about probably didn’t matter all that much.Chaires, who owns Advanced Moving and Storing in Tallahassee, Fla., looked up his listing to discover that the print was too small for him to read.

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Google+ Pages for Business Yield Search Advantages

November 22, 2011 | Sara Heins

Google+ opened up a new service for businesses and brands, Google+ Pages, last week. Many businesses tried to set up G+ pages when the network launched in July and had their Pages deleted (Google was only allowing personal accounts), so there’s clearly a business marketing interest in the networking platform. But if you’re not ESPN or The New York Times, what’s the advantage of being on Google+? Will you just get lost in the shuffle?

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Why (and how) Location-Based Services Should be Utilized in Self Storage

September 25, 2011 | Sara Heins

Google Places, Yahoo Local, Foursquare, Groupon. We all hear these words. And while many owners and managers don’t understand what they are and how they can be utilized, it doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Location-based services, come in many different shapes and sizes.

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Q & A with Online Hispanic Marketing Expert Carla Briceno

August 19, 2011 | Sara Heins

When I started researching for my story about marketing to Hispanics online for Inside Self Storage Magazine, I quickly figured out the foremost authority on the subject was Carla Briceno.

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The Magic* of SEO

August 03, 2011 | Sara Heins

The other day it was quitting time at work and a couple of us gathered around a computer monitor, talking about the new fall television shows, and wanting to check out one of J.J. Abrams’ newest creations: Alcatraz. Unsatisfied with my coworker’s search terms in Google to bring about the proper sneak peek video I had already seen, I took over his computer and typed in a few keywords that I knew would get me the results I wanted. I was right, but was surprised by the fact that my own blog showed up fourth in organic results.

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Self Storage Mad Hatters: Black Hat, White Hat, and the Dangers of Buying Links for SEO

April 24, 2011 | Sara Heins

Black hat tactics are originally conjured up by clever hackers who figure out how to game a search engine’s system. Then, SEO “specialists” around the world quickly catch on and trace the hackers’ steps in droves. To-date, more than a dozen black hat tactics have come to light.

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Twitter for Self Storage Operators & Movers, Part 6: Tweeters & Tools

April 23, 2011 | Sara Heins

Here it is, my friends: The final chapter on using Twitter for self storage & movers’ marketing. I hope this section serves you well as a quick reference guide while you become more strategic with your tweets. Here’s what’s covered:  Tweet Key ,  Twitter Goodies ,  Accessory Sites , and  Industry Tweeters .

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Twitter for Self Storage Operators & Movers, Part 5: How to Tweet

April 23, 2011 | Sara Heins

Lots of different people use Twitter in lots of different ways, and the medium is still evolving. Anyway, it’s not about marketing so much as connecting. Twitter gives people the opportunity to converse, to know and like each other, to build trust—quickly and succinctly. So let’s get started… What should you tweet?

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Twitter for Self Storage Operators & Movers, Part 4: What’s Your Story?

April 23, 2011 | Sara Heins

At StorageFront, we’re in the business of web marketing for self storage. Before starting this company I spent 15 years marketing businesses in a bunch of different industries. I love marketing like hippies love hemp. So you can imagine my unease when I hear operators in this industry say, “Brand doesn’t really factor into a renter’s decision unless you’re a national chain, like Public Storage or Extra Space. Just throw a logo together and write something about me.”

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Twitter for Self Storage Operators & Movers, Part 3: Building a Following

April 23, 2011 | Sara Heins

Let’s start off Part 3 in this series with the wise words of marketing guru Seth Godin. Godin writes endlessly about breaking out of traditional marketing’s broadcast-box and finding new ways to effectively engage customers.

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Twitter for Self Storage Operators & Movers, Part 2: Getting Started

April 23, 2011 | Sara Heins

It’s interesting to note that many companies choose to glue a human face onto their corporate tweets. They assign one person to actively monitor, participate in and engage others on Twitter throughout the day. Some of these corporate profiles even show “Who’s Tweeting” information via custom-designed art and avatar (that little image that shows up next to all of your messages).

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Twitter for Self Storage Operators & Movers, Part 1: Why I Love Twitter

April 23, 2011 | Sara Heins

I am addicted to Twitter. So addicted, in fact, that the marketing team here at StorageAhead openly teases about my attentiveness to tweets (just take a look at CJ’s StorageFront news release.

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Local Search: The Key to Web Success for Self Storage

April 18, 2011 | Sara Heins

It seems like old news that more than 80 percent of North American consumers go online to check out potential purchases, competitive pricing, consumer ratings and other factors before they spend. Nowadays it just makes sense; if a person has a computer or mobile phone, why look anywhere else? The Internet can serve up timely, inclusive information and word-of-mouth guidance almost instantly.

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SEO is out, BSO is in! See the Future of Self Storage Marketing

April 01, 2011 | Sara Heins

Sure, our specialties are sweet web design and search optimization for the niche market. But we’re always brainstorming new ways for our clients to fill their storage units. We strive to be diverse and flexible, so we can help our clients lure customers in off the streets—customers who don’t just rely on Google and 3G phones to find local space, but also rely on their noses.

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Self Storage Customer Reviews: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

March 14, 2011 | Sara Heins

After four days of little sleep and much learning about SEO, SEM, and everything in between at SMX West in San Jose (a search marketing conference), I feel like I just went back to college. I was happy that there was no final exam, but I am going to treat this blog post as my final anyway. Feel free grade the usefulness of my post.

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Why Web Visibility is Critical to Self Storage Success

March 01, 2011 | Sara Heins

StorageFront recently ran a sales experiment on our better performing Basic (unpaid) listings. The results stunned virtually everyone in our office. Chris Klein and Marc Smith spoke with several of the operators in our database who responded that they don’t have Internet access. Not only that, but they don’t even have a web page or so much as an online phone book listing!

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Calculating Your Social Media Return on Investment (ROI)

February 27, 2011 | Sara Heins

You’ve been hearing that you need to increase your social media presence by signing your facility(ies) up for Facebook and Twitter. You’ve even attempted to start a blog. But at what expense? How can you accurately measure your return on investment, affectionately known as ROI.

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The Search Shift Part 4: Online Brand Equity (What People Trust)

November 23, 2010 | Sara Heins

Once upon a time, the Internet was the Great Level Playing Field of Commerce. Businesses large/known and small/unknown could compete for the same online visitors without spending seven figures on marketing. Those days are long gone.

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The Search Shift Part 3: Browsing Behavior (What People Are Looking At)

November 23, 2010 | Sara Heins

In the world of SEO, you’ll probably  be hearing the word “clickstream” more and more. A clickstream, or “search funnel” as some marketers call it, is a record of what a web user clicks while browsing online. In theory, every web page requested in a clickstream will generate a signal, giving Google insight into what users prefer to see.

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The Search Shift Part 2: Social Signals (What people are talking about)

November 23, 2010 | Sara Heins

Social-based signals can be highly valuable to Google because they serve as pointers from human users who, in previous search generations, couldn’t “vote” for content with emotion and commendation. With the inclusion of social signals, Google will take what people like or share into consideration. Your friends – as opposed to brainless bots – will actually influence what you see online.

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The Search Shift Part 1: How Google Will Assess Websites in the Future

November 23, 2010 | Sara Heins

In last month’s article, we explained how a website’s position in Google results is largely determined by what other sites are saying about it—particularly in links. Indeed, we wrote that inbound links to your self storage site from other reputable, related websites may determine up to three-quarters’ worth of your Google rank.

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Set Up Your Local Listings (Google, Yelp, CitySearch, MerchantCircle)

October 16, 2010 | Sara Heins

Don’t know a lot about local listings? You are not alone. The web’s local marketing landscape is rapidly changing, what with search engine and listing giants like Google, Bing and Yelp all vying for local ad dollars. In the midst of all that evolution, it can be difficult to figure out where, what and how to market your business effectively.

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