Back in 1970, the first Earth Day involved “teach-ins” across the U.S. that promoted environmental protection. Now, every April 22, millions of people around the globe participate in events geared toward protecting the planet.
For self-storage operators and managers, Earth Day is a perfect time to reach out to your community and let others know what your facility is doing to care for the environment.
“Going green in general can be an advantage for any business,” said Shel Horowitz, a green-business consultant and author of “Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet.”
More and more consumers are looking to do business with environmentally conscious companies. “If you can set yourself apart as a green self-storage facility, you can go after that market,” Horowitz said.
Here are eight strategies you can embrace to market your facility on Earth Day—and beyond.
1. Help with recycling.
Encourage customers to get rid of their old electronics by dropping them off at your facility, said Anna Horn, a public relations specialist for NYC Mini Storage.
Consider accepting computers, TV sets and other electronics during the month of April, not just on Earth Day. Another option: Launch an electronics recycling program in April and continue it throughout the year.
To collect the materials, set aside space in one unit. Then check for organizations in your community that will pick up the items to be recycled, or just take them to a nearby electronics recycling center.
2. Set up a donation box.
Many self-storage tenants find they no longer need certain items. Rather than having the tenants trash that stuff, set up a box where gently used goods and clothing can be placed. When it’s full, take it in to a local charity or secondhand store.
3. Consider solar panels.
Installing solar panels brings a number of benefits. First, you’ll reduce electrical costs at your facility.
“Ideally, you can save money and pass along savings to customers,” said Jacquie Ottman, a consultant specializing in sustainability strategy and author of “The New Rules of Green Marketing.”
But solar panels also can be a marketing tool. If you do have solar panels, let others know of your eco-friendly setup. Place a banner outside the facility that touts the solar panels. In April, create a blog post or send an email to inform current and potential tenants about your commitment to solar power.
4. Hand out seeds.
Give out something the community will see and see several times, said self-storage operator Marc Goodin, president of Storage Authority, a self-storage franchising business.
For instance, pass out packets of seeds to members of the community and local businesses. On each package, include your facility’s name and address. Recipients likely will think of your storage facility again when they plant the seeds, and once more when the flowers or plants grow.
5. Spruce up the landscaping.
“The number one thing a self-storage facility can have is a beautiful impression,” Goodin said.
When customers see you take good care of the landscaping around your facility, they’ll likely think you’re capable of taking good care of their belongings as well.
On Earth Day, plant new trees around your facility, put in a flowerbed or start a vegetable garden.
6. Reuse boxes.
For the month of April, collect used boxes from tenants, Horn suggests. Then, let them be reused by others.
Tell clients and potential clients about the offer when they call. Also get the word out through social media and your website.
7. Help pick up litter.
Your facility might be able to sponsor a litter pickup in the community. The event could take place in April, or could be advertised in April and carried out at a later date.
This can help boost your green reputation, Ottman said. “People always appreciate when local businesses sponsor litter or highway cleanups,” she said.
8. Distribute information.
Use Earth Day as a time to create a direct mail campaign. Send out a flyer with tips on decluttering and on storing goods that aren’t needed. Also consider a brochure with advice on how to make a home eco-friendly.
If there’s a “tiny house” movement in your area, get the word out about it, Horowitz recommends. Those interested can gain more living space by storing most of their goods at your facility.