Whether you’re a small facility owner or a titan of industry managing multiple large properties, everyone wants to rent more of their units at premium rates. If you want to rent more units at full price, you’ll need to fine tune your marketing efforts first, or else you could end up sending leads to your lower-priced competitors. Find out how you can shine up your business’s online storefront and improve your online marketing strategy by reading on below, or check out the full article on the Inside Self-Storage blog.

What is economic occupancy?

Your storage facility’s economic occupancy rate is one of the most important metrics of your business. Economic occupancy shows your current income per month compared to your potential income per month. Unlike your unit and square foot occupancy rates (which tend to hover within a few percentage points of one another), your economic occupancy rate tends to fall behind due to one thing: deals. Any time you offer rent coupons, promotions, and deals to fill your units, you’re increasing your facility occupancy while decreasing your economic occupancy. Whenever you charge below full price for a unit, it has a negative impact on your facility’s economic occupancy rate. An economic occupancy of close to 100% is great and anything less than 90% is poor (indicating over 10% in lost profits). For a more in-depth look at occupancy rates and facility profits, check out this blog post.

Whenever you charge below full price for a storage unit, it has a negative impact on your facility’s economic occupancy rate.

So what does marketing have to do with economic occupancy? Everything! The way you market your facility to leads online is extremely important when it comes to driving online rentals and increasing rent rates. Think about it this way: as a customer, I’m much more willing to trust and rent from a facility with an excellent website, high-quality facility photos, excellent customer reviews, a high-ranking view in search, and tons of resources online because it makes me feel like the storage business is knowledgeable, secure, and professional. Having all of the above helps build consumer trust during my initial online research process and makes me (the potential renter) more willing to pay a little more. When all of these online tools give your prospective renters the green light, you’ll eliminate obstacles in the online rental and reservation process. When tenants feel like they’re getting their money’s worth and your facility offers excellent value, they’ll be more tolerant of scheduled price increases.

How to improve your facility’s economic occupancy with smart marketing

In our recent article on the Inside Self-Storage blog, we outline three easy ways self storage owners can improve their overall marketing strategy:

  1. Start tracking your marketing dollars religiously
  2. Commit to improving your online review scores
  3. Experiment with paid search and self storage aggregators

Nailing these three marketing practices can also help you to improve your facility’s economic occupancy. As a business owner, you need to be looking at important business metrics like economic occupancy every month. By keeping track of your marketing data at the same time, you can easily compare the two and see how your recent marketing efforts have affected your economic occupancy. If you haven’t been properly measuring your business’s metrics, it’s never too late to start.

Customer reviews also have a strong impact on economic occupancy, but in a more qualitative and hard-to-measure way. Over 90% of your renters find your facility online before ever calling, visiting the facility, or reserving a unit online, and showcasing reviews for higher-priced products (like your facility’s climate controlled units and large RV parking spaces) can result in nearly 5x more conversions. When deciding which unit to rent, your online leads are easily convinced to spend more at your facility by customer reviews that tout how awesome your climate controlled units are and showcase the value of premium-priced amenities.

Showcasing online customer reviews for higher-priced products (like your climate controlled self storage units or large RV parking spaces) can increase conversion rates by almost 400%.

Paid search is one of the most cost-effective ways for storage owners to attract new tenants without dropping rates, making it perfect for boosting economic occupancy. Plus, there’s no better tool than paid search for winning online leads who are in a hurry and looking for the best local storage. Paid search tools allow you to be seen as an ideal solution for exactly what users are searching. For example, if indoor RV storage is your specialty and you’d like better visibility to people looking for this specific type of storage, you could set aside some budget to test paid search for terms like “covered RV storage” and “climate controlled RV storage.” You’ll only show up for leads who are looking for the exact type of storage units you’re hoping to lease up.

Many self storage owners can be hesitant to try aggregators. If you’ve ever booked a flight or hotel on Priceline, Travelocity, or Expedia, then you’ve used an aggregator. Every industry has them, and self-storage is no different. Hotels use aggregators to supplement their business with bookings they may not otherwise earn on their own. Similarly, many operators use self storage aggregators as a way to supplement their more organic, foundational marketing tools, like their website and online reviews. Self storage aggregators like SpareFoot help showcase your units in an easy-to-use format for prospective renters.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this blog post, you may also like: 15 metrics every storage owner should be tracking, A simple plan for measuring your storage brand’s marketing effectiveness, and How to use your facility’s occupancy rates to maximize profits.