Post-Pandemic Marketing: Timing Is Everything
As the one-year anniversary of the earliest coronavirus pandemic lockdown orders approaches, regions in the United States are experiencing glimmers of hope for a return to some version of normal business life. We still have a long way to go, but vaccine distribution is underway, and a second set of economic stimulus checks have been distributed. With that in mind, self-storage operations have an opportunity to plan marketing strategies now with the goal of positioning their brand favorably when their local communities fully reopen.
The marketing strategies employed pre-pandemic likely need to be reviewed and refreshed to address the current social and economic climate. No two operations’ marketing plans may be the same, and timing and consistent messaging will be important factors. Demand will continue to be a result of key factors such as death, divorce, residential and business renovations, and population migration. Monitor your marketing area, refine your message, and increase the frequency as the economy evolves. Here are some ideas to consider when mapping out your marketing.
Focus On The Community
Most self-storage operations already focus marketing efforts on a local area, but now is the time to turn up the messaging to your specific target market. Many small businesses have experienced economic distress or closed as a result of the lockdown, and this has a negative impact on the local economy. Seek out ways to support your community while spreading your brand message. People may not be gathering in person yet, but the time is right to secure sponsorships with local sports teams, offer to speak at civic group meetings, or sponsor a donation drive for food, clothing, or school supplies. Another idea is to offer a referral discount for current customers and the new customers they refer to your business.
Communicate With Social Media
Some self-storage operations are already social-media savvy, but many dismiss the power of these platforms. The vast majority of your current and potential customers likely use some form of social media today. A recent survey of current social media users found that time spent on these platforms has increased 40 percent since the beginning of 2020. Facebook and Instagram in particular provide space for you to engage with the community in a way that isn’t strictly marketing, but serves to increase local familiarity with your brand, facility, staff, policies, and events. Social media is great place to put out the word about your work within the community, post reminders about your policies and hours, and share photos and videos. There are thousands of eyes on these platforms from within your market area; make sure you are part of the conversation.
Consumer surveys over the past year consistently demonstrate that people want businesses to address concerns about safety and health issues that may affect customers of a particular business. Now is the time to create marketing that emphasizes the value your self-storage operation places on security, customer safety, and specifically COVID-related issues. Let current and prospective customers know that you value the trust they place in your business and are working hard to keep everyone as safe as possible while taking steps to ensure the security of their stored items. This is also the time to communicate about your e-services such as online payments, online space reservations, and curbside pickup for orders of boxes and packing supplies.
Business challenges as a result of pandemic restrictions are ongoing, but there is hope in sight. For self-storage operations, it is an ideal time to analyze marketing needs and design a plan that is targeted, flexible, and demonstrates your corporate values of caring for customers and supporting the local community.
President and CEO