Self storage industry valuer, Malcolm Collins, recently wrote about freehold property worth. In his piece, Malcolm spoke of the traditional ‘real-world’ assets that one needs to consider when evaluating property worth – such as land, buildings, fixtures, fittings, etc. However, as Malcolm pointed out, digital real estate is just as important these days.
The shift to digital
87% of Australians now access the internet daily1, with 55% of users accessing it more than five times per day2. Furthermore, the percentage of households with internet access at home (86%3) is at an all-time high and will only continue to grow.
Consumers now flick between multiple websites, platforms, channels – and multiple devices! With these kind of statistics, it’s crucial that your business – regardless of industry – invests in digital real estate across most channels.
If we start out by looking at websites, research4 shows that a stale website is less engaging, will result in lower search engine rankings, a higher bounce rate and flat / lower search traffic.
Similarly, if we look at social media, the same research4 shows that regularly-active accounts will increase brand exposure, increase traffic, generate leads, develop loyal fans, grow business partnerships, and improve sales.
Consumers now flick between multiple websites, platforms, channels and devices. Is your business visible wherever your prospects are looking?
New ways to reach your audience
Advertising too, has changed dramatically over the last few years. The days of effective ‘pay and spray’ TV advertising for a SME are long gone – it’s expensive, untargeted and unmeasurable.
Today, businesses are turning to measurable advertising platforms such as Google AdWords, Facebook & Instagram (nb. Facebook purchased Instagram for $1B USD in 2012) advertising where you can define your audience and only pay to serve-up content or advertising to those who matter most. This is particularly relevant for the self storage industry, as virtually every single-site storage facility would have a very specific and limited catchment area.
Facebook, for instance, is a great example of a platform where you can refine your audience and thus, your advertising spend, to a very specific set of people. This is thanks to Facebook’s love of data – where they record most of a user’s web activity even if their Facebook session is closed. In other words – any website that has a “Like” or “Share” button on it is sending browsing behaviour back to Facebook (by the way – they’ve been doing this for at least seven years). Oh and by the way, these ‘tracking cookies’ never expire.
Good news for business
For advertisers and businesses like yours, this is great news – because it means you can serve an advertisement to someone on Instagram & Facebook for self storage as soon as they start visiting websites, or liking / viewing Facebook pages, relating to home renovations, removalists or if they’ve been searching for details on, say, how to transfer their electricity or gas supply.
On the flipside, this also means that – after reading this – you may now, as a user of Facebook, decide to make a few changes to your browsing habits.
Digital Real Estate is here to stay: 5 tips to get started
Regardless of how you look at it, digital real estate is here to stay and it’s becoming more and more prevalent. If you’re not already across it for your business, then the sooner you get on board, the better.
- Ensure your business has a professional, dedicated website that promotes what you do. Ensure the domain name (i.e. www.yourcompany…) matches your name, what you do, and is easy to enter. Make sure your website explains your key differentiators (i.e. Reasons why people should choose you over the competition) in a few short points and be sure to update your website regularly. If you’re in the self storage industry, then ensure your website makes it easy to convert ‘browsers’ into ‘buyers’, using tools such as Storman Online Reservations or Storman Online Move-Ins (for reserving / renting units directly from your website).
- Setup social media accounts in your business name. For Facebook, setup a ‘Page’ for your business. Instagram and Twitter are also channels worth being across. If you want to attract a younger crowd (generally 18-24 year olds5), go with Snapchat as well.
- Spend some time setting up highly-targeted, local audiences on Facebook (which also links to Instagram) and define a few different audience types. If we take self storage as an example, then setup an audience for people moving house and another for people renovating.
- Once you have your audiences defined, create image & video advertising to serve-up to them. I’d recommend serving different content to your various audiences. Remember: to be effective, advertising needs to be targeted – an ad about moving house won’t interest someone who needs storage space while they’re renovating – or an accountant who needs space for their client’s files. Match the ad to the audience, and vary the ad-copy & imagery on a monthly basis.
- For the more advanced: Use the services of a conversion rate optimisation expert to improve your website visitor > lead conversions, and lower your cost-per-click on ad-spend by refining your audiences.
Sound too hard? You can outsource all of this to an industry expert. Got any other great digital real estate tips or questions? Leave a comment below.