How to Utilize SEM in Marketing Your Self Storage Facility

This is part 2 of 4 in the Storitz blog’s series on How to Maximize Your Facility’s Online Presence.  Last time we went through 5 Simple Ways to Optimize Your Self Storage Facility’s Website and we hope you found those tips & tricks to be helpful.

However, SEO and website optimization are big jobs and one of the most important things to remember is that even if you use all the tricks in the book, you aren’t going to see results overnight.  SEO can make a huge difference in your site traffic but it takes time.

But you don’t want to wait around doing nothing until you begin to see traction from your changes.  You still want to work to increase your site’s visibility as well as drive relevant traffic to your page.  This may mean you want to implement a Search Engine Marketing strategy.

Search Engine Marketing is different from SEO in many ways, but the most important and relevant to your self storage facility is probably that:  it isn’t free.  When you do a search online, in addition to the “organic” search results that Google or Bing believe to be most relevant to your search, you will also see sponsored results that company’s have paid to have appear when users search for certain words (like “self storage in Atlanta” or “mini storage near Jersey City”).

Sponsored Results

 

 

These ads are the result of an SEM campaign.  The companies in these ads pay google or Bing each time a user clicks on the link.  There is no guarantee that the person who clicks on the ad is going to end up buying anything so it is very important that you create an AdWords campaign that is targeting relevant consumers.  That is, you are trying to sell self storage, so even though there may be many related searches, you will only want to pay to get your ads in front of someone who is actually shopping for self storage.  Otherwise, you may end up paying for traffic from people who are searching for something entirely different, or who are not ready to buy yet and that can really add up.

This is why creating successful SEM campaigns can be painstaking work.  You want your ad in front of as many relevant potential customers as possible but you don’t want to pay for a lot of traffic that is not going to result in sales.

Making sure your ads are performing to their maximum potential can involve a lot of time and finesse.  Before even starting your campaign you will want to do your due diligence in researching keywords.  Both Google AdWords and Microsoft Ad Center (by far the two largest SEM vendors) offer Keyword tools that you can use to compare search traffic for different search terms.  Below, you’ll see an example of the Google AdWords Keyword Tool in action – comparing the search terms “self storage” and “mini storage”.  Of course you’ll want to be much more specific in determining your keywords, especially using the geographic areas where you facilities are located.

The trick to Google AdWords is that different combinations of keywords, different ad copy and different bids will all change how many users will click your ad (this number is called Click Through Rate or CTR) and there aren’t any hard and fast rules about how to improve this rate.  The longer you run your campaign and the more closely you monitor your ads and how they are performing the more easily you’ll be able to determine which ads work for your particular business.  It could be as simple as knowing that in one geographic area, “mini storage” is the popular parlance for self storage but if could be more complex and there’s no way to really be sure until you start your campaign.

You can also use the Keyword Tools to identify keywords that don’t have as much competition for traffic.  This will mean it’s cheaper to have your ad listed on the first page of the search results which will mean your ad is that much more likely to be clicked.

Some have noted that SEM is more of an art while SEO is more of a science.  However, using the two together is necessary to generate the best and most relevant traffic for your self storage facility’s site.

Do you use SEM in your current marketing plan?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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