One of the most frequently asked questions by our clients is why SpareFoot works so well. How are we able to find so many customers who are seeking self-storage? Well, the nitty gritty details are SpareFoot's "secret sauce," so we can't share too much. However, we think it's really important for the facility operators who use SpareFoot to understand the different paths that the customers we send them have taken.
Our goal is to get your facility in front of storage shoppers before they opt to rent from a national brand with a giant marketing budget (who might be outspending you in terms of online pay-per-click ads, billboards, and other campaigns).
The major way we accomplish this goal is by having a large array of traffic sources that appeal to a wide, diverse audience of consumers at various stages of their moving, relocating or storage search. Don't worry, it's not important or necessary for you to memorize all the variations and intricacies that we discuss in this article. The main takeaways are:
- SpareFoot does lots of work (online and offline) to locate, attract and convert prospective customers for you.
- When you're talking to a SpareFoot customer, remember that their journey to find you (and SpareFoot) can be any one of a number of experiences, many of which are described here.
SpareFoot takes a lot of risk up front by renting online ad space, expanding to work with new different partners and affiliates, and experimenting with new channels and tactics. We're constantly tweaking our spending and our approaches to see what earns you the most business. The beauty of using SpareFoot is that, since we're completely pay for performance, you aren't taking any of this risk! You only pay for the end result - getting new, paying tenants to your door.
Partners are the main magic that makes SpareFoot happen. The list is always growing and each partner works a bit differently, but below are the major categories with some case studies in each. The goal here is to give you a sense of the types of partnerships we have, and what they look and feel like.
Storage Directory Partners
Many of our partners are online storage directories just like SpareFoot. These include selfstorage.com, selfstoragedeals.com, selfstoragefinders.com, onlineselfstoragedirectory.com, findstoragefast.com and many more.
Moving Resource Partners
Moving can be stressful, and fortunately there are lots of great web-based resources for people to make planning and price shopping a breeze. SpareFoot powers the storage options for many of these sites, including:
- UShip.com - the leading online shipping marketplace
- MovingCompanyReviews.com - a comparison shopping site for moving trucks
- ForRent.com - a leading apartment hunting website
- MyMove.com - A resource to help people with all of the various pains of moving (utility services, moving trucks, etc.). They've even partnered with the USPS to provide relevant moving ads and resources to the change of address "check out" process on USPS.com.
- AAA Discounts & Rewards - SpareFoot is working with AAA to bring their members exclusive deals at "best of breed" facilities with exceptional customer service. With a giant network of stellar facilities and 30,000+ customer reviews, SpareFoot is a great fit for the excellence AAA members have come to know and love. Only facilities working with SpareFoot can be eligible for this exclusive opportunity, meaning this is just another way we give you a leg up over your competitors. Visit http://www.sparefoot.com/aaa to learn more about the program, your eligibility and opting in.
- Penske Truck Rental - We're fully integrated with Penske's top-notch call center, meaning that customers who call Penske to rent a truck are also able to reserve any storage unit (listed on SpareFoot) on the same call. In fact, if a Penske agent identifies that the customer needs storage, we have a one-click integration from their call center application that automatically enters the customer's destination and truck size into a nifty storage unit picker, pre-selected for their specifications.
Paid Media is an extremely nuanced and difficult channel to succeed with, and SpareFoot is very fortunate to have an awesome in-house team that runs and tracks a variety of paid online campaigns. They've tried it all, from advertisements on Pandora and Twitter, to cool click-to-call campaigns with coupon and merchandising sites.
Additionally, sometimes customers browse our site but leave before making a reservation. Since we know that these customers are in the market for storage, we want to get them back and ensure that they reserve a unit. Many websites around the internet (Facebook, blogs, lifestyle pages, and even the login pages for lots of email services) will display relevant ads to the viewer after they leave the website. Our Paid Media team does the same by retargeting these customers and showing them the storage facility's listing that they had previously been viewing.
Though we're always tweaking the display of these ads, here's an idea of what a paid ad might look like:
Having a great presence online isn't free, nor is it easy. Though you can't directly pay Google, Bing or other search engines to appear in their top organic search spot, it takes lots of marketing know-how to ensure that your brand or business is deemed relevant and high-quality.
Fortunately, our in-house team of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) experts help optimize SpareFoot's performance in search engines. Additionally, our marketing team creates loads of resources for consumers, which strengthen the legitimacy of our brand and our website. Our resources help educate consumers about moving and storage, which empowers them to make an informed decision and feel confident about booking with you.
Search engines are looking for the best and most relevant content and they reward sites (like ours) that consistently deliver it. If you're curious, feel free to check out our high-quality blogs (The SpareFoot Blog, and the SpareFoot Storage Beat), press releases, and news mentions (in notable publications like The Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and more).
Don't I want search engine traffic to come to my website?
It's incredibly time consuming and expensive to continue to generate relevant content to guarantee your site a top spot in search results. SpareFoot does that for you, ensuring that lots of search engine traffic makes its way to you via your SpareFoot affiliation.
While this traffic isn't coming straight to you (via your own website), the return on investment is much more positive from SpareFoot. Let's say it costs $3,000 each month to earn yourself the second rank on Google (this is hypothetical pricing, as SEO costs vary by city and by agency). Remember, that expense is spent up front before it earns you a single tenant. If you wind up getting seven or eight customers each month from your website's SEO, you're spending $400 per tenant.
Furthermore, almost 50 percent of the people who reserve a storage unit on SpareFoot reserve a unit in an area where they aren't located. For example, a customer might be located in Dallas, TX, but reserve a unit in Houston, TX. This makes lots of sense, as people are frequently looking for storage in a city where they're moving to.
In the above example, let's say you're spending $3,000 each month to rank for "Houston self-storage." The customer located in Dallas who typed a more generic term ("storage units," "self storage facilities," etc.) wouldn't find you based on your SEO efforts to rank for Houston self-storage, but there's a good chance they'd find you through SpareFoot.
SpareFoot's search engine strategy is to perform well for generic search terms (like "self-storage," "Austin storage units," or "Brooklyn self-storage"). We don't aim to get traffic from using your brand or your business name, and your own website should always show up first in Google searches for your facility's name.
We strongly encourage all facilities to develop their brand and their online presence. Just remember that SpareFoot is an extremely ROI-positive addition to your online marketing arsenal.
We've designed optimized "landing pages" so that customers who find a SpareFoot partner on Google are directed to a relevant, personalized page for them and not just the SpareFoot.com homepage.
We have similar pages and experiences for customers searching for storage by colleges and universities. For example, someone who makes an online search for "University of Texas at Austin" will probably find a link to our page showing storage facilities by the University of Texas in Austin, TX.