Using ‘Storage Wars’ For Good: How Auction TV Can Help Promote Your Facility

November 19, 2012 2
Using ‘Storage Wars’ For Good: How Auction TV Can Help Promote Your Facility

While the public may be enjoying Storage Wars, response to the show from storage facility operators has been mixed to negative. Because the shows are staged to make the odds of striking gold look high, overeager first-timers end up crowding real-life auctions and may very well overwhelm small operators. Attendees hoping to score big end up driving bids to unreasonable levels and forcing regular auction attendees away. All of a sudden, your previously calm self-storage facility has become the new hotspot for curious and fervent fanboys aspiring to be as casually successful as Barry Weiss.

Are storage shows harming your facility overall, however? As the trite but true saying goes, all publicity is good publicity. There’s no doubt that the incredible presence of storage auctions in pop culture has increased the public’s awareness of storage facilities in general. Perhaps the better question to ask is: How can I use Storage Wars for good?

Last week, we discussed how technology could help you streamline the auction process. This week, we’ll be looking at how Storage Wars can help promote your auctions and facilities, so you can use storage auction shows for good.

“Do you do Storage Wars?”
Anyone involved in the storage industry has probably encountered this when they mention their line of work. Robert Madsen of U-Lock Mini Storage hears it a lot: “Not a day goes by where people don’t ask me about Storage Wars and if it’s real.”

Rather than responding to these questions with a diatribe about the annoyances of the show to the storage industry, however, Robert turns the conversation around to positively promote his own storage facility. “It allows me to say yes, but also to tell them that we allow a lot of small businesses a way to store their stuff and offer a variety of other services,” he said.

Most people perceive self-storage facilities based off what they see on Storage Wars, but auctions are a small part of the storage industry. The next time someone mentions Storage Wars, take that as an opportunity to talk about what else your storage facility does. Channel the interest and enthusiasm for Storage Wars as a segue to educate and endorse your services.

Reach unreachable delinquent tenants
Strangely enough, Storage Wars can also aid in the problem of unreachable delinquent tenants. Since the show aired, Robert told me response levels have greatly improved for his facilities. “Before, people probably didn’t believe that their stuff would be sold in auctions. Now they know that we do auction them, and that it’s a popular thing. Obviously, they don’t want their stuff to be sold.”

If you’re worried about delinquent tenants, bringing Storage Wars into the conversation may help make the consequences of unpaid rent more urgent and real.

Drive more excitement with social media 
If crowds are still slow or bids are too low at your auctions, take advantage of storage listing websites like StorageUnitAuctionList, Storage Auctions and Storage Treasures. Also consider using social media and web marketing to reach out to people who may not regularly attend your auctions. Facebook events are a great way to reach a wide network of people. In addition to listing the time, date, and place, you can personalize the event info. Make it sound interesting, fun, and exciting— capitalize on the idea of hidden treasures, interesting antiques and unique knick-knacks.

It’s also valuable to familiarize yourself with websites like Pinterest and Tumblr, where a huge percentage of users are interested in neat collectibles, various knick-knacks, and quirky DIY projects. Create a Pinterest board with cool items found at previous auctions, or simply use it to collect images of antique finds that get local viewers excited and inspired enough to check your auction out in the future.

Again, if you feel you will not be overwhelmed by bigger crowds, harness the excitement and interest generated by shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters. Make it a big deal in your customer email campaigns and other marketing. Sensationalize and mention Storage Wars and similar shows to get people excited. It’s all about building hype for your storage auction and getting people to notice. It’s the ultimate storage conversation starter, if nothing else.

Robert took the Storage Wars zeal to a new level at various home and business trade shows. “Sometimes we’ll have a Storage Wars theme and mock it, and people love it. If they see a Storage Wars theme, they come over to us and get excited.”

Image courtesy of mikegreener.com

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