We’ve all seen them. Waving inflatable tube men dancing in the wind in a used car sales lot, or giant helium balloons calling out the grand opening of a small business. They’re impossible not to notice, and even a little entertaining to watch when you’re waiting in traffic. If you’ve ever thought about using a marketing inflatable, banner, or sign to get your business noticed, you’re not alone. Thousands of businesses large and small use this marketing tactic to bring in new customers or blow their event out of the water. Read on to learn all about how you can use marketing inflatables to bring in new customers to your storage business!

An inflatable puppet gif waving in the wind.

Check with city zoning first.

Your city has a zoning code that determines where signs can legally be placed. Marketing inflatables, banners, and flags fall under the temporary signage umbrella. In most cities, permits are needed for temporary signs to be placed outside your business. To get a permit, it’s essential that your sign or inflatable doesn’t obstruct or restrict sight visibility for drivers, block road signs or pedestrian traffic, or feature distracting animation (like bright, flashing LED lights) that negatively affects visibility for drivers. While some inflatable displays do come with sound systems, most cities do not permit businesses to use marketing inflatables or signs that project sound.

To apply for a permit, have the following information ready:

  • Your facility address and dimensions
  • The size, location, and type of sign, banner, flag, or marketing inflatable you want to use
  • The dates the sign will be in use (typically a max of 90 consecutive days)
  • The nearest street intersections
  • A responsible party’s name and contact information (who they can contact about the sign, if needed)

Most websites or small businesses selling marketing inflatables or banners will be able to give you all the information you’ll need to provide about the size and type of sign, banner, flag, or marketing inflatable you want to purchase. Since they frequently sell to small businesses, they’re often familiar with various city zoning laws.

Feather flags outside a storage facility.

Touch up your curb appeal.

Marketing inflatables are all about the wow factor and getting people’s attention. If the exterior of your facility isn’t in tip top shape, marketing inflatables and signs won’t be as effective at bringing in new business. The better your business looks, the better first impression you’ll have on potential customers. Curb appeal is especially important in the storage industry. Customers don’t want to store their expensive furniture or sentimental items with a business that looks run-down or unkempt. Make sure your storage property is offering max curb appeal using these tips before making the investment into a marketing inflatable, sign or banner.

  • General cleaning: Wash windows, power wash driveways and sidewalks, clean up spots or stains on the building’s existing signs, and empty trash and garbage bins. If your front door is looking old and dirty from use, clean it up or get it replaced.

  • Brighten up your landscaping: Add some greenery to freshen up your business’s exterior. A few evergreen bushes or plants and some rock, mulch, or green landscaping can improve the appearance of your building entrance.

  • Fresh paint: You probably know if your building, sign, fence, or gate could use a fresh coat of paint. Chipped paint is not only an eyesore, but also a detriment to your business that requires necessary maintenance to extend the life of your building or fence. If your parking lot has lines, touch them up with a little paint to look fresh and new.

  • Parking lot maintenance: People don’t want to be swerving around potholes when they’re hauling a moving trailer. Seal-coat your parking lot to prevent cracks, chips, and potholes and fix any existing damage. If your parking lot has lines, touch them up with a little paint to look fresh and new.

Green wind dancer. Image by m01229 via Flickr Creative Commons.

Check out all your options.

When you’re researching marketing inflatables, banners, and flags for your business, you’ll find dozens of options ranging from banners under $100 to custom inflatables priced over $5,000. Since there are so many options for temporary signs and marketing inflatables, check out this short list of the most common ones to get ideas for your self storage business.

American themed feather flags.

Feather flags

Also referred to as feather banners, flag banners, or feather flag banners, these are self-standing flags ranging anywhere from six to eighteen feet high. They can used indoors or outdoors, and they’re typically made from a lightweight, weather-resistant material. The flag can be removed from the pole - so the machine-washable flags are easy to maintain. Since feather flags are so lightweight, you may need to stake it into the grass, or place a weight or sandbag at the bottom of the flagpole to anchor it to the ground. Because you can print your logo or message on both sides of the material, feather flags are perfect for sidewalk or front lawn advertising to kick off a grand opening or promote a new move-in special.

A yellow inflatable air dancer. Image by Michael Sobota via Flickr Creative Commons.

Air dancers

Your toddler’s favorite sign, air dancers (also referred to as air puppets, inflatable dancers, or inflatable tube men) are giant, fan-powered windsocks that move in the breeze and immediately attract eyes to your business. These fun signs typically range from 15 to 28 feet tall for maximum wind-dance effect. Businesses often print words on the “trunk” of the air dancer to advertise their products, but the message can be hard to read when the inflatable is moving. Keep it simple when it comes to wording: “SALE” or your brand’s name are ideal. If you recently took over an existing facility, or if you just want to get the word out about your business, this is the ideal marketing inflatable for you.

A banner stand in the storEDGE booth at a self storage trade show.

Banner stands

If you’ve been to a self storage trade show, you’ve likely seen a banner stand (also referred to as a banner displays, post up stand, or retractable banner) alongside a vendor booth. These displays are typically around eight feet high and weigh around 15-20 lbs. They can be used indoors and offer double-sided printing for double the branding opportunities. If your facility is indoors or you simply want to place a banner near your business entrance, this easy-to-setup, low-maintenance option might be perfect for you.

A large husky mascot inflatable and a real husky mascot.

Character inflatables

While you typically see these around Christmas time in the form of Santa and giant snowmen, inflatable characters (or inflatable mascots) are a great way to advertise your business and show off your company’s personality. Like air dancers, character inflatables typically require a blower or fan, and small inflatables start at around $500. If you have a company mascot, or you stand with a local college or sports team, a character inflatable might be the perfect choice for you. Thousands of common characters are available for instant purchase, or you can customize your inflatable to be a replica of your mascot or logo. The sky is really the limit when it comes to character inflatables. They are excellent ways to get your message out there or promote a charity event, and they offer tons of options for branding and social media - try including your company’s social media account on the inflatable so that when people take pictures with it, you’ll be tagged. (Like this clever example.)

A large green inflatable archway.

Inflatable tents or arches

If you’re hosting a charity event in your parking lot, an inflatable tent or ach could be the perfect addition. These inflatables are great for catching the eye of passersby and getting more people to stop and check out your event. Most businesses allow you to order an inflatable tent or arch by simply choosing a size and color and adding your logo to it. Like air dancers and character inflatables, most of these feature a fan or blower and sell for upwards of $500.

An orange helium balloon advertising cigarettes. Image by Isabelle via Flickr Creative Commons.

Helium inflatables

Helium inflatables are just giant, customized balloons. They’re not as dynamic as an air dancer or character inflatable, but they draw attention with their size and color. You’ve probably seen them in the shape of blimps at car lots or restaurant grand openings. While the shapes are a little more limited (usually either a blimp or sphere shape), you can easily get a customized helium balloon with your logo or brand name on it. Helium inflatables can be anywhere from three to thirty feet in size. Since they’re helium, they need to be strapped down securely or they will float away. But if you take care of the inflatable properly, you’ll be able to refill it and use it over and over again.

An orange and yellow wind dancer. Image by Lynn Friedman via Flickr Creative Commons.

Perform routine maintenance.

To keep your flag or inflatable in tip top shape, bring it in from outside at night to prevent theft or vandalism. Also, watch the weather closely and bring it in if there is a storm coming or a high wind advisory in your area. Keep an eye out for wear and tear on your marketing inflatable - bright colored materials tend to fade over time from sun exposure and flags will start to look ratty at the ends after being repeatedly battered by the wind. When your marketing inflatable starts to look shabby, it’s time to take it down and replace it. It’s better to not use one at all than to use one that looks dingy and dilapidated.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you may also like: How Your Facility Can Give Back to Your Community Around the Holidays, Pokemon Go: Good or Bad for Your Self Storage Business?, and Employing Grassroots Marketing Strategies at Your Storage Facility.