Running a storage facility usually means you have a small staff. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for marketing professionals.
When you need to market your facility, whether it’s creating a website or getting active on social media, the first thought is usually to look around the office for the first available set of hands. The problem is most people on your staff probably don’t have the digital marketing expertise to successfully do what you need. Sure, they may be able to create a social media profile and post every once in a while. But can they build a functional website? Can they write effective copy? Can they do PPC? Can they handle negative reviews on social media?
So what does a self storage operator do to get that desperately-needed digital marketing expertise? Some will look to a freelancer. There are plenty of freelancers out there for whatever marketing project you need, from website design to copywriting and social media. However, you must know the risks involved and how to avoid them.
They Can Be Slow
While definitely not the case of all, many freelancers have a mindset that deadlines are on their schedule rather than yours. You want to create clear agreed-upon deadlines for their deliverables. Plus, you’ll want to know how many revisions you can request or how many hours they’re going to devote to your project.
They Can Be Unresponsive
Wondering what your hired gun is up to after about five emails with no answer? Good question. Some freelancers have a temperament that doesn’t tolerate much client interaction. And some will see repeated or multiple daily emails as interference on the project. A good freelancer will give you regular updates, which you might want to establish when you sign their agreement or contract.
They Can Disappear
One of the biggest problems with freelancers is that they fall off the edge of the earth, never to be heard from again. When you call them, it instantly goes to voicemail, or worse, you get a disconnection message. Bounce-back emails (i.e., when you try to email them and it gets returned) are never a good sign either. There could be a number of issues at work here, but a good freelancer will respond on a regular basis and keep the lines of communication open.
They Can Be Vindictive
This is probably the worst-case scenario, but thankfully, the rarest. But it can happen. Vindictive freelancers who take down your website and/or social media pages, or worse yet, put something undesirable up in place of them are taking out their professional anger on you.
One important caveat: Never give total control of anything to a freelancer. This means do not turn over things like buying or administrating your domain, creating your social media pages, or providing all-important passwords to them. Failing to keep administrative control can set you up for big-time headaches.
What to Do?
Before you decide on a freelancer, talk to their previous clients. Check the freelancer out on LinkedIn. Look at who has recommended them and for what. Ask others in the self storage industry. Look deeper than just a freelancer’s website. A good freelancer will be happy to provide you with a list of previous clients or employers for references. And remember that freelancers can work for you across the country, too. Ask around within your online circles of professional peers to find good candidates.
Of course, if you want to avoid these issues entirely, you can always hire a marketing agency. An established entity with an office typically offers more stability. It’s a more expensive option, perhaps, but you’d be surprised the price points some agencies can work with. And you can be confident that your calls will get returned, emails will be answered, and that you’ve got a whole team of professional marketers on your side.
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Nick Bilava is the Sales Director for Storage.com. Nick has been an active member of the storage community for more than nine years and can be found at various industry events throughout the nation. Nick’s goal at Storage.com is to help storage operators market their businesses more efficiently and effectively. For more information, visit Storage.com.