If you’ve been reading our blog, you know that we’re constantly exploring new ways for you to market your self-storage facility. Online marketing is becoming one of the most important tools for businesses, as consumers are spending more and more time online. Over the past few months, we’ve introduced the necessity of social networking, creating an attractive website, and utilizing self-storage SEO.
But what if you feel that you’re not tech-savvy enough? It can be extremely difficult to find time between managing your storage facility and keeping track of tenants to create an effective online presence. Maybe it’s time to hire a marketing intern. One of the bonuses of hiring an intern to manage your marketing efforts is that it allows you to explore different strategies and outlets that you otherwise would have ignored.
If this is your first time hiring a marketing intern, no fear! We’ve got a comprehensive guide to how you can hire a great marketing intern for your storage facility, complete with tried-and-true tips from our marketing managers Rachel Greenfield and Tony Emerson.
Where to Start
If you’re looking for someone tech-savvy, almost every college student will be overqualified in that department. One of the best places to start, then, is at your local or surrounding universities. Many universities have an online job board, so browse their website or contact the webmaster to get help on posting your listing. There will most likely be a representative at the university who handles all of these processes.
“Don’t forget to go to local university job fairs and in-person events,” said Rachel. “You can also subscribe to emails and get updates from your university’s job board website. Sign up for any career-related email lists.”
You can also use your local newspaper to advertise your job opening. If you already have a web presence, use your social networks to let people know that you are hiring. Using Facebook and Twitter to promote your job opening can be especially useful for finding a marketing intern, as most people interested in marketing will already have well-established web presences, and be extremely familiar and sensitive to social networks.
Don’t just limit your search to advertising or marketing majors. If you want someone who can blog, reach out to English and Journalism majors. It can also be useful to include art or design majors in your search.
Writing the Job Description
It’s extremely important to know exactly what you want your intern to accomplish, otherwise everyone loses and productivity suffers. Be specific with your job description–what do you want? What will your intern be doing? Being precise with your requirements will also help weed out those potential applicants who don’t qualify.
“Think about what you’re already doing in terms of marketing and write it down, sort of like your own to-do list,” Tony suggested. “Then ask yourself which duties you could outsource. This will provide a good basic outline for your intern’s new responsibilities.”
If you’re completely stumped on how to write an effective job description, you can model it after this basic outline:
This will be an opportunity to introduce your self-storage facility and its employees. Try to inject as much personality here as possible, since this will be one of the first things job seekers look at.
“Include fun things about your storage facility and reveal a little bit about your company’s culture,” said Rachel. “Say something personable, like ‘Mary makes the best brownies,’ or anything to make yourself look inviting and welcoming.”
These are the basic skills that you want your intern to have. Do you value GPA or previous experiences in a specific area? Do you care about professionalism, or would you rather find someone who is casual? Add anything else here that you believe is important to working with your facility. This will be the place where the most weeding out happens, so make sure you’re specific and know who your ideal candidate would be.
“There’s a difference between just doing administrative work and knowing how to handle PPC and SEO,” Tony said. “It’s important what kind of task this person is going to be doing. Once you figure that out, then you’ll know what kind of person you want to hire.”
If you’re not in a college city, you’re almost definitely going to have to pay your marketing intern. This can also be an effective weeding out tool–the higher you pay, the higher quality and quantity you’re going to get with applications.
“It helps to set goals for the role while you’re writing the job description,” Tony said. “For example, maybe you’ll say, ‘we want this person to make three fliers a month, or we want this person to write x blog posts per month.’ Get as specific as you can.”
It might also be difficult to market your internship as cool and exciting, especially to college students who know nothing about the self-storage industry. To counter this, make it clear that your intern will have a lot more responsibility that they won’t find at other places (where they might just make coffee and send faxes).
“Telling someone that they’ll get a lot of diverse experiences and ownership can be extremely attractive and enticing to an applicant,” said Rachel.
This can be a two-to-three item list of extra qualities your intern might possess. Keep it fun, something like “enjoys Mariah Carey” or “loves movies.” You’ll find that if you put personality into your job posting, you’ll get a similar response from your applicants.
Will the job come with perks or benefits? Since you’re looking for an intern, you won’t be listing any health benefits or stock options, so instead include only the things you know you can offer. If this is a paying internship, this would be the place to mention it.
Does your facility have kind and caring employees? Do your customers love interacting with you? Will the hours be flexible for your intern? Are there baked goods on Mondays? Add anything positive about working with your storage facility that you can think of here. Overall, your goal is to maximize the number of applicants and get as many applications as possible.
“Interview as many qualified people as you can, so that you can cull from there,” Rachel suggested. “Generally once you get to the interview phase, someone will stand out.”
The Interview Process
“Be casual, so that you’re not creating an intimidating environment,” said Rachel. “Have a really clear understanding of what you want them to do, so that you can focus on the practical skill sets.”
In addition to evaluating practical skill sets, Tony also advocated examining how the candidate can apply their skills to other things.
“If they are into social media, they should have a really well-branded online presence. If they’re going to do design, do they have a portfolio?”
“Ultimately, do they practice what they preach?” said Rachel.
Both Tony and Rachel suggested presenting the candidate with a situation and asking them how they would handle it.
“Facebook is a good example of a metric,” said Tony. “You could ask them how many updates or posts they can make a week. Blogging is also a good scenario. For example, you might ask the candidate what topics they think they could write about.”
Overall, however, both Rachel and Tony stressed the importance of keeping an open mind.
“If you find someone who’s really smart, they can do anything,” said Rachel. “Even if they don’t have the exact experience, they’ll be able to learn and do an awesome job. Hire someone you trust more than yourself.”
Once You’ve Found Your Intern
Congratulations, you’ve come so far! It’s been an arduous process, but you’ve finally found the perfect marketing intern for your storage facility. Now what?
“Have a plan in place before you hire someone,” Tony suggested. “On the intern level, you can’t expect someone to come in and devise their own plans. You’ll have to set the campaign and let them execute from there.”
Both Rachel and Tony agreed: a great way to lose your marketing intern would be to have them stuffing envelopes. Minimize non-marketing work, and instead set clear goals and deadlines related to the job that you hired them for.
“If you set goals at the start, it will help you make your assessment of their work more objective,” said Tony. “It’s less about behaviors and more about results.”
“It’s really useful to have a weekly one-on-one,” said Rachel. “Be really candid and conversational, and make yourself available so that your intern can come to you too. Try to educate them on the culture of your business upfront, so that they can understand how you deal with operational and cultural things. If they mess up at something, introduce it casually.”
Image courtesy of vice.com