Carter’s City Self Storage Case Study
Carter’s City Self Storage is a small, independently owned, self-storage facility located in downtown Charleston SC. They have been in business for over 80 years, starting with a lumber business next door to their current location that is still in operation.
Business was declining and the cost of Yellow Pages advertising was raising constantly but not producing new business for them as people shifted to online search. To make the situation worse, a new national chain self-storage company built a new, modern facility right across the street. The new competitor had a large advertising budget, modern facility, and low prices. Carter’s had to take action to bring in new business to increase their occupancy rate and compete with the new competitor.
In year 1, we sat in on several meetings with Yellow Pages sales representatives, including a regional manager, to be sure we knew what was being offered and how to best advise Carter’s. We helped Carter’s produce search and lead generation data that showed the Yellow Pages online efforts were not very effective. Carter’s negotiated an “incentive based” package with Yellow Pages that provided free service if leads were not generated. At first, our only effort was a small online pay-per-click campaign to draw comparisons to the Yellow Pages results.
In year 2, the Yellow Pages campaign had produced very poor results and we expanded our effort to a broader pay-per-click campaign, a new website, a mobile website, and some solid local search SEO so they are found in the local listings.
Once Yellow Pages effort was reduced and we started a more integrated online marketing campaign in Year 2, the results accelerated. We were able to produce a steady stream of new leads, concentrating our efforts on
- Local college students
- Military families locating to Charleston
- The downtown population who view convenience of location as very important
Special offers were highlighted in the website, mobile website and in online advertising. These were targeted to seasonal opportunities, like college students storing their dorm room items for the summer.
By the end of Year 2, occupancy rate had increased from 65% to 95%. Carter’s City Self Storage was competing strongly with the new facility across the street. Their Yellow Pages monthly investment had dropped to a small percentage of what it was when the project started. Additionally, they had full visibility into where their marketing investment was going and what parts of it were producing new business.