Whether it’s a yard sale or a charity auction, if you hold an event at your self-storage facility, potential customers likely will come. And while they’re at your facility, they’ll assess the setup.
“The way an event is run directly impacts how people view your facility,” said Daron Walker, manager of STORE Self Storage & Wine Storage in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
If all goes well, visitors will remember your place later, when they, or others they know, need storage.
Here are six ways to help make sure your next community event is an all-around success.
1. Have a purpose.
“The biggest reason we host is for awareness,” said Burke Bradshaw, chief operating officer of Towne Storage Management, which operates facilities in Utah and Nevada. “People come to our location and know that we’re there.”
This strategy was particularly effective in 2014, when road construction affected traffic in front of Towne Storage’s Cottonwood Heights, UT, facility for several months. “Everyone took alternate routes,” Bradshaw said.
When the road construction finished, the facility wanted to let others know the place was still in business. “We partnered with a local food truck,” Bradshaw said. The food truck, which sells waffles, notified its followers regarding the time and day it would be at the facility.
Towne Storage also emailed current and past customers about the event. “We invited people to come to the office to pick up a coupon for a free waffle,” Bradshaw said.
2. Start preparations early.
If you want to involve a nonprofit organization, “plan your event at least three months in advance,” said Tresha Powe, marketing manager at Southern Self Storage and marketing consultant for My Neighborhood Storage Center.
Start by setting a date for the event, and make initial plans with the organization. You’ll also want to get managers involved. To encourage their participation, ask them about their own passions and interests, Powe said. You might learn, for instance, that a manager adores pets. Hosting an event to support the local Humane Society might be a good fit.
3. Get the word out.
In addition to asking other participating organizations and businesses to promote the event, consider printing flyers, running an ad in a local newspaper and putting announcements on your social media pages.
For an ongoing fundraiser, such as Charity Storage, you might post regular updates on your website or Facebook page.
Through Charity Storage, your facility designates one storage unit to be used as a charity unit. Tenants and community members can donate items to the unit. When the space is full, the unit is auctioned off and proceeds go to Charity Storage for distribution.
4. Involve others.
Let tenants know about your upcoming event, Powe said. You might find some are willing to volunteer their services. Perhaps a tenant does face painting or plays music; that person might come for the event and paint children’s faces or provide entertainment.
Other businesses in the area might be interested in attending as well. “We hold an annual customer appreciation day and partner with a number of businesses in the area,” Bradshaw said.
Some of those businesses donate items for a raffle. Others hand out coupons for free items or food.
5. Follow up.
During the summer, the City of Palm Beach Gardens hosts the weekly GreenMarket at the STORE facility. While it runs, “we get 800 to 1,000 people every Sunday,” Walker said.
The facility maintains a table at the market with flyers and promotional materials. “We usually have some sort of drawing,” Walker said. In 2014, the company gave away a TV at the end of the summer.
For drawings, ask for contact information on a ticket or sign-up sheet. For those interested in being contacted, add their email addresses to your list. After the event, thank them for coming, and let them know about your upcoming promotions and activities. If a visitor doesn’t want to be contacted, be sure to make note of that, Powe suggested.
6. Build on previous events.
Evaluate each event before planning the next one. You might find, for instance, that events achieve the best results when they’re held periodically. If you host activities too frequently, you could run the risk of them being less effective, Burkshaw said.
You also might discover that the timing of a particular event wasn’t ideal. For instance, if you held a car wash on Halloween to raise money for a local pet shelter, the turnout might be low.
“Don’t get discouraged,” Powe said. Instead, apply what you learned to the next event.
As you gain experience, events are likely to be more effective. Better yet, a snowball effect could occur. “If the event is a success, word will get out,” Powe said. “And the next event will be bigger.”
GreenMarket photo courtesy of the Palm Beach Post