If you are a self storage operator in Asia, there is only good news when it comes to online marketing–if you move fast. Asia lags behind the US in development of the self storage industry and in online marketing, and this creates an opportunity for early movers to get almost instant results from online marketing efforts, rather than making the 12 to 24 month investment a new company in the US would have to make. Add to this the widespread adoption of mobile technology in Asia and easy access to the Internet and online marketing becomes the closest thing to free advertising a self storage operator can find.
While the technical details of online marketing can change from one country to another in Asia, there are three key areas where all self storage operators need to invest.
1. Responsive design. Over the past few years many self storage companies have invested in mobile apps or mobile websites. The wave of the future is neither apps nor separate mobile websites (often hosted on a separate URL like “m.mystoragecompany.com”) but a single website that adjusts to fit any screen size, whether it’s the desktop, a tablet, or smartphone. The kind of web design that changes its layout to fit any screen size is referred to as “responsive design” because it responds to the website visitor’s screen size needs. This type of website generally provides more functionality than the typical mobile self storage website, and is much more affordable to create than an app.
2. Optimized website. A self storage website should be optimized for the keyword search terms people use to find self storage in the geographical area where a storage company’s facilities are located. In Hong Kong, that means focusing on keywords like “hong kong self storage” or “hong kong storage” and their equivalents in Chinese. While the details can get a bit technical, some general rules are to make sure title tags contain keywords that are both relevant to the business and helpful for site visitors, and to use HTML text where possible instead of text in graphics or images. It is also important to not over-optimize or engage in behavior considered “spammy” by the search engines like crowding your website with keywords or trying to hide keywords in your code. If your website is built on the popular content management framework WordPress, you can use the WordPress SEO Plugin from Yoast to help you do most of the initial optimization of your site. The most important advice I can give you is to focus on people first, and search engines second.
3. Ongoing optimization. While some optimization of your website happens once, with updates here and there as needed, most of the work of getting business from search engines depends on ongoing optimization of your site. Ongoing optimization is necessary in part because search engines are constantly changing, but mostly because your competitors are trying to get ahead of you. To stay ahead of your competitors you need to focus on two areas; 1) building inbound links to your website from high quality, relevant websites, and 2) creating new content on your website on a regular basis. A storage company in Hong Kong would want to get links from other Hong Kong websites, such as business partner websites and local publications, as well as from regional or global websites that have to do with self storage. The easiest way to create new content on your website is to have a company blog where news, tips, and other updates are posted.
There are also opportunities for self storage companies to invest in paid search, video optimization, and social media, but the type of search engines optimization I’ve summarized above will provide the best long term return on investment.