Does your self-storage website design match your level of ambition as an operator?
As operators seek new ways to stand out in an increasingly competitive landscape, this is an essential question for operators to begin asking themselves.
To compete in this fast-growing industry, you must bake operational leverage into your self-storage business.
By embracing digital technology, you can build the renter's journey around your website and elevate customer experiences.
The structure and functionality of your self-storage website play a pivotal role in the customer's decision to do business with you.
Many new website visitors will find your site through an online search.
Once they arrive, you must engage prospective customers immediately and answer their questions swiftly.
If potential renters are unable to easily find the information they are looking for, or if your site is difficult to navigate, you will likely lose their business.
With every visitor, you have a small window of opportunity to make a positive impression and persuade them to become a paying customer.
As you start to map out the design of your new self-storage website, there are six must-haves for any operator's website.
An online tenant portal is an integral part of any fully functioning self-storage website. The portal should be easy to find and use, and it should allow tenants to do everything they need to do related to their storage unit, without having to pick up the phone or come into the office.
At a minimum, your portal should allow tenants to take the following actions:
These are just a few of the features that can be included in a tenant portal. The key is to make it as easy as possible for tenants to do business with you, without having to come into the office.
The ability to make payments online is a must-have for any self-storage operator's website.
With this feature, prospective tenants can view available units, select the unit they want, and complete the entire rental process without having to leave their computers.
This can radically accelerate time-to-payment. In addition, online payments are becoming increasingly popular with consumers. By offering this payment option, you'll make it easier for potential tenants to do business with you.
It's a no-brainer.
A great website connects to your facility management software (or “FMS” for short).
With a seamless connection between your website and your FMS, you can provide potential tenants with a real-time view of available storage units.
This prevents customers from having to call your office to check on unit availability, which can ensure your team is undistracted as they pour their energy into high-value tasks.
A mobile-first digital strategy is vital in today's market.
Your self-storage website must be optimized for mobile devices, as many prospective renters now use their smartphones to search for and book storage units.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, you will likely lose business to a competitor who has made the necessary investment to ensure their website is accessible on all devices.
What's the fastest way to get someone to take action?
Create a sense of urgency.
When storage units are in high demand, it's important to communicate this on your website.
You can do this by featuring a scarcity message or by highlighting units with limited availability.
This will prompt potential tenants to act quickly before someone else snatches it up.
By providing immediate answers to common questions, you can empower customers to make a decision without having to pick up the phone or come into the office.
A comprehensive FAQ page can help you close more business and reduce the number of inbound calls and walk-ins, freeing up your team's time to focus on other tasks.
When you open up a dialogue with a website designer, there are a few key questions you should ask to ensure they understand your needs and can provide you with the best possible service.
Some questions you may want to ask include:
Think of your website as an online billboard or a digital storefront.
It's not something you can set and forget; it requires regular updates and maintenance to ensure it accurately reflects your brand and meets the needs of your customers.
Business intelligence is becoming increasingly prevalent in the self-storage industry as operators strive to make data-driven decisions.
Your website is a key source of data that can be used to inform your marketing, sales, and operations strategies.
By tracking website visitors, you can gain valuable insights into who your customers are, what they're looking for, and how they found you.
This information can be used to improve your website's design, functionality, and overall performance.
With no single source of truth, self-storage analytics is fragmented.
This can create operational bottlenecks and cause significant frustration for self-storage operators. While it’s easy to measure dozens of metrics and build out a broad set of data, it’s more important to focus on the types of questions you are asking. Ultimately, analytics should tell you a story and enable you to weave together the different parts of a renter’s journey.
This leaves you with a tapestry of data points that you can learn from and use to refine your self-storage website design with the user experience in mind.
When it comes to knowing what to measure, here are just a few questions you could ask:
Asking the right questions can help you crack a winning conversion formula. Going forward, self-storage businesses will benefit from embracing integrations that centralize data collection and offer a well-rounded picture of customer behavior. This will allow operators to confidently make informed decisions about their marketing, sales, and operations strategies.
This brings us to our Operator’s Blueprint for building an unmanned storage facility.
Our all-in-one resource offers everything you need to know about how to run your self-storage business more efficiently.
It’s a practical guide with no shortage of actionable steps.