How to Capture User Interest and Retain It
Consider how the average user is likely to look for self storage. Prospective tenants tend to search “self storage” and their city name or a phrase like “near me” in a search engine to ensure the facility’s location is a good fit. Once they land on a search engine results page (SERP) full of relevant local self storage options, users typically visit two to three websites online to compare location, rates and offerings. While location and price are the primary factors in most storage purchasing decisions, rates and specials can cause a prospective tenant to choose you over a closer location. A few more minutes’ drive is worth a better monthly rate.
Since a slightly higher monthly rate or lack of an alluring special can mean losing potential tenants, it’s well worth the time spent to do a competitor price comparison with your five nearest competitors. Your facility does not need to consistently offer the lowest rate for every single unit size to draw reservations and rentals. Instead, your goal should be to offer a competitive rate for your area, especially on unit sizes that have more availability. Sometimes rates are not the only offering in your market; it’s important to analyze discounts and special offers as well. If offering discounts is a choice you’d prefer to approach gently, the best first step is to assess which unit sizes have been available for the longest or have the most availability and start your special strategy with those first.
Keep Your Offers Honest
The way your prices or specials display can play an important role in keeping users engaged on your page. Points of friction that often lead users to abandon rate or reservation pages are:
If you do not clearly state what the special is and the duration of the special, users will feel less than confident in renting with you. A wordy special with conditions is also likely to put off users. Conditions can lead prospective tenants to feel trapped. Even worse, if the stated special does not apply to users once they get to the final reservation/rental forms, they are likely to drop off the page and look for other options.
- Online admin fees or reservation fees
Requiring online fees can create frustration for users when they have already spent time comparing prices. An additional fee appearing after they have made a decision about the best price can feel dishonest.
- Demands for a credit card up front
Asking the user for a credit card to pay initial admin fees or a fee to reserve can make you feel more secure about their business, but it is sure to drive away users when so many facilities do not demand billing/payment information just to hold a unit.
When users are met with a lack of clarity or demands that lock them in and require commitment, they tend to leave the site, go back to Google, and click on other results (your competitors). Realize that many users are rapidly price shopping. You may feel your facility has friendlier service, is better lit, looks cleaner, etc., so your demand for more money or money up front is valid, but these features are not as urgent as price during an initial internet search.
Prioritize User Experience and Rank Stronger
Being static with your pricing when many competitors keep their rates dynamic will not only impede units getting filled, it will impact the user signals Google receives about your site. User signals allow Google to rank businesses according to who assists the user most in completing their intended action. If a growing number of users bounce from your page back to Google results, this signals to Google that your page may not be the most relevant result for the given search. Over time, these signals are telling Google your facility is not the best option and can cause your business to rank poorly.
Pricing is a smart way to better position your business to draw conversions. Whether you are feeling very flexible or mostly firm about pricing, there is room for your business to stay competitive by testing specials month to month. While you craft discounts — and look over your rates table — be sure to consider whether your special is clear and honest in its claims for the user. If there is room for doubt, you risk your search engine rank taking a hit.