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A guest post by Brandy Olson of 43a.com.

Most people don't think about self storage units when they are considering great ways to market their products, but there is actually great marketing advice to be learned from the marketing of storage facilities.

Self storage units in no way, shape, or form look glamorous.  There is nothing really flashing about them that can be used as a gimmick, and they just come across as boring.  They are simply tin boxes with concrete floors in which we use to store our extra possessions in remote locations.  However, those marketing storage units are able to entice tenants by the droves.  How?  By using a few of the following basic marketing tricks:

1. Informing Your Target Market Why They Need Your Product

Just about everyone in the United States has stuff, and lots of it; however, we've gotten pretty good about storing it away in every cupboard, nook, and cranny of our house. Most people with extra things don't even think about renting a storage unit so storage unit owners tell them why they should consider it.  The general public won't do something or better their current way of doing things until you tell them why your product would enhance their lives.  Pick out key features of your product or service that will immediately make a potential client feel as though it would enhance their quality of life.

Marketing Lesson: Create a need for your product or service among your target audience by telling them why your product or service will enhance their life.

2. Pointing Out Current System Failures

Sure, a person who rents a self-storage unit could easily place their items in their basement or garage at no cost to them, but they chose to place their additional belongings.  Why?  Because marketers for storage units let their target audience know why storing their items in a garage or basement would be detrimental.  They point out the flaws in doing this.  Basements are prone to mold and mildew, and garages are often not protected from the extreme temperatures brought about by seasonal changes.  Potential tenants find the logic in this, and then start looking at storage facilities near them.

Marketing Lesson: Always state why or how your product or service is better than current solutions.

3. Remaining Aware of Trends

The self-storage industry has recently boomed because of the dip in the economy. When the economy began to increase the cost of living while keeping wages stagnant, self-storage owners knew many home owners would be looking to downsize their homes, and they allowed their target market to shift from simply those with too much to downsizing homeowners.  The switch paid off.  Many homeowners who have chosen to purchase smaller homes or rent apartments have chosen to store their additional belongings in storage units which has allowed this industry to profit while many other industries are struggling to get by.

Marketing Lesson: Trends will always effect how you market and who you market to.  Organize campaigns around trends.

4. Creating New Ways to Use the Same Product

When most people think of storage units, they envision a place where they can store their additional belongings.  Instead of accepting that this was the only function a storage unit could serve, storage facilities revamped their current product.  Storage units are no longer only for extra furniture or holiday decorations, now they can be a great place to restore a car or keep a wine cellar which has brought about a whole new craze to the industry.  When your target market starts to lose interest in your product, consider new and innovative ways that you can pitch the same product to them to pique interest once again.

Marketing Lesson: You have to tell potential clients how to use your product or service---even if the uses seem obvious.

5. Providing Great Customer Service

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the reason why you don't often see large marketing campaigns in the form of direct mailers or commercials for storage unit facilities is because they rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising.  Not only is this a free form of marketing, but it is also one of the most effective.  People turn to their friends and families when they are interested in purchasing a service, and if one of their friends or relatives have something good to say about your business, they will most likely seek you out allowing you to gain a new client at no cost to you.

Marketing Lesson: Customer service always create the best word-of-mouth marketing campaign.

If you are offering a service or product that may not be easy to sell, take a lesson from a storage facility and focus on functionality.  Most tenants don't necessarily need a storage unit, but storage facility owners have been able to convince them otherwise through efficient and effective marketing campaigns.

Brandy Olson is an internet marketer, writer, and lover of all things outdoors. She performs market research for 43a.com and represents StorageMart.

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