Focusing on Individuality and Culture in Self Storage

Absolute Storage Management, a company managing more than 85 self storage facilities across the United States, has recently undergone an unprecedented redesign of their website, facilitated by their website provider storEDGE. This redesign was prompted by the company’s overall goal of maintaining and boosting the local identities of the many self storage properties they manage.

Grace Anderson, the company’s Director of Online Marketing, was kind enough to give me a few moments of her time to discuss the direction ASM is headed, their hopes for the newly redesigned website, and the way the company is changing the face of the self storage industry.

Building the Business of Independent Properties

With more than 20 years of industry experience between them, CEO Michael Haugh, CFO Scott Beatty, and COO Matt Bailey are driven by their original business plan to never manage a facility whose business could not be bettered through their assistance. ASM only grants contracts to clients whose facility can, in some way, benefit from their management, rather than just to gain another property for their portfolio.

This level of dedication is abnormal for a management company, whose main place in the self storage industry is to offer professional management services to facilities that may be without a manager or in need of better managerial direction. Difficulties can arise from having so many properties across the country. With facilities in 11 states and 60 cities, ASM manages locations in a wide range of local cultures and communities. But Absolute’s focus on bettering their facilities and retaining the personality and local flare of each property it takes on has helped them succeed.

These two important parts of their business plan have also brought about a period of growth in the company. In the next month, ASM expects to launch eight new facilities. Growth is always a good thing and, in this case, demonstrated to the company that an alteration to their website was necessary to maintaining their overall goals.

“Our website was outdated and had an overarching theme built around the colors of Absolute Storage Management,” said Anderson. “We wanted to make sure that each of our facilities was properly represented on their individual pages. They are the whole reason we do what we do, so our website needed to reflect that.”

Luckily, storEDGE was able to step up to the plate and offer them a new feature for their marketing website: custom colors and logos. This functionality has allowed each of ASM’s facilities to have their own branding on their facility page through colors and images specific to each location. This update will work toward ASM’s goal of making each facility its own entity and to retain the branding that is familiar to their local communities.

Using Technology to Boost Local Marketing

Another tactic Absolute has adopted is using employees to boost the local marketing strategies of their properties. These employees are known as SMACs (Social Media Area Coordinators) and they work closely with each facility to create effective web marketing for each local area.

Said Grace Anderson: “This brand new program is designed to cover our various regions. We knew we needed to promote our properties locally by posting consistent content, working with Google+, and responding to reviews. We started the SMAC program by reaching out to key people in the field to request their support. SMACs get in touch with managers and businesses about events and local demographics to create content, upload images, and build the web presence of the businesses we manage.”

By targeting local markets by using social media and web content, Absolute is now able to further enhance and support the local nature of each of its businesses.

Creating Relationships Between Properties

Although Absolute Storage Management has a clear mission to maintain the individuality of every facility they manage, they also try to build networks between facilities located in the same area. Of the 60 cities that are home to ASM properties, at least 16 metropolitan areas have multiple facilities near one another. This situation allows each location to act as a district, lending each other a helping hand when needed.

Grace Anderson pointed out how this works and why it is important to each local area: “Each local area acts as a district might for any other retail business. If a potential tenant stops by one of our facilities looking for a 10’x10’ unit and that particular facility has no units of that type available, then they can recommend a nearby Absolute managed facility to solve that customer’s needs.”

“Similarly, if a facility is out of a certain product at their office store, other facilities in the area can bring surplus inventory to them. It’s a lot like a family. We want our facilities and managers to feel like they can support one another in order to provide the best possible service to their customers. Linking local facilities creates a sense of camaraderie.”

By creating relationships between properties and the teams that work at each facility, ASM is making it easier for customers to get the space they need. Their website design makes it simple for these teams to look up other facilities managed by ASM in their area.

Promoting a Unique Company Culture

Some might consider the self storage industry to be stagnant or outdated; but if anything has shown us that just isn’t true, it’s the new technology that is being developed every year for the management and marketing of these companies. Absolute Storage Management is going one step further to keep its company fresh by offering internship opportunities to young professionals attending the University of Memphis.

The Memphis Institute of Leadership Education (MILE) is a professional development program that seeks to match corporations with students who are driven and love the city of Memphis. ASM has been seeking interns from this program for several years, and the program has offered them many skilled interns in all departments.

“Our interns offer support to our Memphis office. The MILE program allows us to get some of the best students in the Memphis area. Many of these internship opportunities turn into chances for full-time employment. It helps us keep our company young and up-to-date.”

Grace herself came to ASM through the MILE program and is a testament to the quality and value these interns bring to local Memphis businesses.

A Trend of Continued Success

When it comes to managing self storage facilities, no one is doing it better than Absolute Storage Management. Their goal to support the local nature and individuality of their businesses is crucial to maintaining the overall feel of their company. The redesign of their website has proven that they are dedicated to maintaining and nurturing the local markets of these properties and truly want to make a difference in every one of their acquisitions.

One of the last things Grace told me in our interview was that Absolute Storage Management has only had to terminate two contracts over the entire lifetime of the company. This speaks to the success of their business plan and the effectiveness that having a clear set of company values in place can make. Working with storEDGE to produce a website that reflects these values will allow ASM to continue their successful trend.