When it comes to using promotional items to market your facility, experts say it pays to be clever when coming up with ideas for products — and it also helps if they work with your message.
“Of all of the thousands of things that we’ve ordered and used through the years, I think the most important part is it has to tie into your message,” said Anne Ballard, president of marketing, training and developmental services at Atlanta-based Universal Storage Group.
Logoed pens, flashlights, water bottles, tote bags and other promotional items can be affordable and effective ways to let people know about your self-storage business. In fact, every time people use these products, they’re essentially advertising your facility.
Tie in your message
Ballard said if you’re giving out pencils, the message might be “Pencil me in for a great self-storage experience.” Or give out emery boards that read: “Your files belong with us.” Universal has handed out small, logoed tape measurers with a level on the top that reads, “At Universal, we really measure up.”
“Or let’s say you decide you want to give out ceramic coffee mugs, and there are millions of them out there,” Ballard added. “You have your logo and website on it and it also says: ‘…We fill your cup with service.’
Also, plastic stadium cups filled with candy, your business cards and pens are an ideal marketing kit because they keep your brand in sight while people drink. “They stay right in front of you,” Ballard said.
Below are nine tried-and-true promotional items suggested by some of self-storage industry marketers:
1. Bottled water
Brand-labeled water bottles work well since people get thirsty doing their moving, said Tron Jordheim, chief marketing officer for Columbia, MO-based StorageMart.
Shari Sutton, president of Las Vegas-based Sutton Watkins Advertising and Marketing and marketing director for client StorageOne, also says that bottled water is a powerful promotional item.
“It’s very hot in Vegas so in the summertime we give logoed water bottles to each new tenant, or if we’re sponsoring a community event, we’ll donate a couple of cases of bottled water,” she said.
2. Key chains
StorageOne also gives new tenants logoed key chains in the shape of a #1.
“They’re promoting StorageOne, because they have that key chain with them wherever they go,” Sutton said.
Some of StorageOne’s facilities do little care packages for new tenants that include branded water bottles and a notepad and pen.
“It’s just that little extra something that says, ‘Wow, thanks for thinking of me!’” Sutton said.
In addition to key fobs, Jordheim likes the idea of giving new customers flashlights. “Flashlights are good as not all units have lights in them and people often access their units after dark,” he said.
Marinda Carr, corporate administrator at Edina, MN-based storage operator Mayflower Properties, finds that simple logoed pens are effective promotional items.
“People always are taking them with them and then who knows where they go from there,” she said. “Our pens include our website so they can see all of our locations.”
5. Reusable shopping bags
Handing out recyclable shopping totes with your company logo and website is an ideal way to promote your business, said Michelle Wight-Sands, director of operations at Roseville, CA-based LifeStorage.
“Customers will use them again and again while at the market or toting their lunch or other items,” she said. “They’re great advertisement for a self-storage facility.”
6. Chip clips
Wight-Sands also suggests snack clips/chip clips since households use them frequently and it’s a promotional item that rarely gets tossed in the trash. “It advertises your facility every time your customer or guests reach for the bag,” she said.
Frisbees are a good promotional item for the summer months or warmer-climate properties. “They’re always a big hit for customers with children,” said Wight-Sands.
8. Travel mugs
Wight-Sands’ other ideas include measuring tapes created in your company or store colors, logoed hand sanitizer, and travel coffee mugs or warm/heat cups embossed with your company logo and website.
“This is a major marketing and promotional tool that we get a lot of traction from,” she said. “Customers love them as a giveaway and use them daily. We also use them to market new facilities by filling them with candy and our business card and delivering them personally to moving companies, real estate offices, chamber presidents and like-businesses where we can cross-pollinate our services in partnership.”
9. Phone chargers
Also effective are logoed phone or tablet chargers because they’re never thrown away, Wight-Sands added.
“They’re a clever promotional item that’s sure to be appreciated,” she said.
Top photo courtesy LifeStorage