Below is the list of Answers to the Questions asked during the July 12, 2017 Promotions and Incentives webinar with SpareFoot. If you missed the webinar you may watch it on-demand from the SiteLink website.
Q. If you offer the first month free for new tenants, what about current tenants who did not get that special?A.
It’s always a consideration that you may get a reaction from customers. If they complain, it’s good to have a backup strategy and say something like “if you stay another 6 months then I’ll extend the offer to you.” If you can make it work for yourself and your customers you can create an incentive for them to stay longer.
We know that consumers see offers out there and realize they come and go and that it’s a limited time only. So you may want to say something like “sorry this was a limited offer, but maybe there’s some other way we can give you an incentive.”
Q. Does SiteLink allow for stacking on the discount screen?A.
In SiteLink you can add a discount at the move-in screen, and then on the payment screen you can apply another discount—for example: apply free first month during move-in and then go to the payments screen and apply a discount plan on subsequent charges, like 15% off the next 3 months.
Q. Where should I mention my incentive? How do I get the word out?A.
It depends on how you’re trying to promote your store. Online aggregators can make your incentive very clear up front. If you’re using local advertising or something else, make sure you lead with those incentives as well. Grassroots advertising in front of your stores also works to drive better walk-ins.
Q. The webinar poll indicated that percent off and money off were used almost equally. In your opinion, what drives a higher quality, long-term tenant?A.
It depends on location. In some parts of the country, you may see a lower tenant duration with a very aggressive offer. In other parts of the country, it would actually have a longer duration. Test a couple of incentives that are out there in the marketplace, then after 2 or 3 months you should get a feel for the duration curve in your area.
Offering an ongoing discount can typically help drive a longer tenant duration and solve the short-term tenant problem.
Q. Is online traffic far exceeding walk-in traffic for facilities?A.
There’s still a decent percent of people walking in to rent. However, between 80% and 90% of consumers in general are influenced by online research. Storage as a category continues to increase because the demand is out there and because people are doing research online. Always assume that the majority of customers, whether they walk in or not, are influenced by online research.
Q. I don’t have a website. Should I list my offers on Facebook?A.
First, it’s a good idea to have some sort of website, as Operators using SiteLink Web Edition, you get a free website, so if you don’t have one contact SiteLink to get your SiteLinkStore for taking real-time online payments and reservations. You can also list on aggregators like SpareFoot.
If you don’t have either of these, you can use other sources such as print media and local advertising. In business in general, try to reach consumers through as many channels as possible. Not everyone is a Facebook user, and not everyone reads the paper, but there are segments who use each of these and you want to reach all types of people. If you market at multiple points, you should have success.
Q. Does a “Free Truck” imply a free U-Haul or Penske-style truck? We have a pickup truck.A.
Usually we do see a box truck, but pickups could work as well. It's important to clearly describe what the consumer is getting.
Q. Does SiteLink have any plans to change how the term discounts show up in the system? For instance, 20% off for 6 months adds all 6 months to the tenant account at once, making it confusing for tenants and managers to figure out what is actually due.A.
The current due on the screen would only include charges due as of that day. Many times tenants can have multiple charges on the account, but that doesn't mean all is due at that time. Be sure if you are invoicing to only invoice them for current and past periods.The setting to ensure this is in program defaults > invoice tab.
Q. Is there usually a limit on number of free boxes?A.
Not that we're aware of. We've seen 5 boxes or 10 boxes, but oftentimes facilities don't give a hard limit so we don't have any data on that number.
Q. Does SiteLink have the ability to stack specials and automatically push those to our website, i.e. first month free and 15% off next 3 months?A.
Currently, the SiteLink API supports stacked discounts, but only in certain scenarios. The website can give a discount on the tenant's permanent rate and then another one-time discount. For example, 10% off standard rate and first month's rent free for renting now online.You cannot apply multiple non-permanent discounts through the API at this time. Your managers can apply those types of non-expiring stacked discounts directly in the Web Edition software, applying one discount plan (free first month) at move-in and then going to the payments screen and applying a discount plan on subsequent charges, like 15% off the next 3 months.
Q. I use SpareFoot to get reviews, but is there another way other than # of reviews to move up on the Google search engine?A.
Google uses over 200+ signals when determining rankings, so it's very hard to say exactly what works or doesn't. Generally though, Google wants to ensure that consumers who land on your site have achieved a successful outcome to the query they searched for. So that means that you need to ensure that your website is clear, easy to use, and provides them with the most up-to-date, helpful information. Reviews are an example of content that consumers like to see and they provide more clarity on your facility. Additional factors would be how you highlight your incentive, the amenities at your facility, and anything else that clearly shows the benefit of storing with you.