“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
Or so the song goes. For those in the self storage industry, however, winter isn’t always the merriest, as spring and summer tend to be the busier times of year for storage. So, we’re often thinking of ways that self storage owners can market themselves for seasonal storage, especially during the Christmas holiday season.
We don’t want to keep you waiting. So without further ado, here are twelve unique ways to bring in business during the holiday season.
1. Become a Donation Drop-Off Spot
Engaging with the community is a great way to garner goodwill, build brand awareness, and gain future foot traffic. During the holiday season, many people are feeling charitable, so consider making your self storage facility a drop-off location for donations. Simply reach out to a charitable organization, such as Toys for Tots, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, or another local organization in your area and let them know that you’re willing to be listed as a drop-off location. If you have vacant units, you can store the donations until you’ve acquired a certain amount, and then bring them to the charity (if you have rental trucks on site, this makes the task especially easy). Also, if you sell retail self storage products, perhaps you’ll make some sales when people are dropping off their donations.
2. Target Seasonal Businesses
Are there some local businesses in your area that could use some extra space during the winter months? If you’re in a snowy climate, think about companies that go on hiatus for a while, such as landscaping businesses. Perhaps they could store some of their riding lawn mowers, push mowers, or other landscaping gear until spring (rather than in individual peoples’ garages). Who knows, they may transition to snow blowing services in the winter, meaning when spring rolls around they’ll swap out their lawn mowers for snowblowers, giving you a year-round tenant.
3. Target Apartment and Condominium Residents
Homeowners typically have basements, garages, or somewhere else to store items they can’t use during the winter. So, target apartment and condo dwellers. During the winter, their units can get especially cramped as they struggle to find a place to store their bikes, outdoor grills, and other equipment. Even if they have space, they may need this for hiding away their Christmas or Hanukkah gifts. Work with apartment or condo management to distribute flyers, and offer a discount so that they’ll look like a hero while promoting your business (they can state in their newsletter, for example, how they’ve partnered with your facility to offer discounted winter storage for residents).
4. Target Snowbirds
Are you in Florida or another location where Northerners migrate to during the winter months? They often stay in their winter homes from November through March/April, putting up all their decor, and then they may rent out their home or unit during the summer and fall. This can leave some of them struggling to find a place for all their holiday items (and general personal items). Rather than have them find secure space on their property, offer them space in your self storage facility. Of course, most snowbirds are seniors, but you don’t have to resort to traditional marketing tactics like mailers and print ads to reach them. Studies show more seniors than ever have adopted smartphones – 42%, according to Pew – and 67% say they have internet access.
5. Send Holiday Cards
Holiday cards are not just for family! Sending them to current customers is nice, and shows them your appreciation. Sending them to previous, quality customers is also a great idea, as it reminds them about your business and shows them that you remember them, too. Include an invitation to come back with a discount (first month free, etc). You can also mention they can share the invitation with friends and family.
6. Decorate Your Facility
Make your self storage facility stand out with a holiday display of your own! During the holiday season, many people drive around simply to see the lights, so make your business one of the stops on their list (and when the holidays are over, you don’t have to worry about storage). Check out this list of the best Christmas light displays in every state for inspiration. And remember, you don’t have to have a Macy’s-sized budget or need to go viral to get noticed, just go a little above and beyond to capture attention.
7. Create a Christmas Drive-Thru Event
Not up for decorating on your own? Invite your tenants to decorate their units, and let them know the winner will receive a prize (say, 6 months free rent). Then, promote a holiday display drive-thru event, where families can roll through the grounds and take a look at all the displays. You might even have them vote for their favorite to keep things fair. And who knows, maybe a local news or radio station will even promote your event to draw more people in. This will really keep your facility top-of-mind when locals decide they need a storage unit.
8. Create a Christmas Present Wrapping Station
You could offer wrapping services to gain foot traffic and earn some extra cash, or you might consider turning a large vacant unit into a “Christmas Present Wrapping Station,” where tenants can bring their presents to wrap them. Set up tables, and stock with tape, wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows. It’s this “surprise and delight” factor – the idea of offering something unexpected – that will keep your tenants happy. You may even market it to non-tenants to drive foot traffic and interest in your facility.
9. Hold a Holiday Decor Swap
Year after year, many people put up the same old decorations, in their homes and in their yards. It’s simply too expensive to change them out every year. So, consider holding a holiday decor swap event, where people can display their decor and exchange them with other people. You may already have tenants storing holiday decor who will participate, plus you can bring in outsiders and get them thinking of your facility as a storage spot for their seasonal items.
10. Get Involved in Community Holiday Events
Most communities hold some sort of community event during the holidays, such as a parade or other type of gathering. And, to put on such an event, they’re usually looking for sponsors. So, get your name out there by sponsoring an event, entering a parade, and so on. It’s a great way to grow your presence in the community and keep your self storage facility top of mind.
11. Build a Snowman/Christmas Tree Box Display
Do you sell self retail self storage products? Let passerbyers know by building a large snowman or Christmas tree out of storage boxes that can be displayed in front of your facility with a sign designating your location as the “Holiday Storage Headquarters.” You’ll want to stock, and advertise, the following:
- Holiday storage bins and Christmas storage bins
- Christmas ornament storage with packing dividers
- Christmas tree storage and Christmas tree storage bags
For your online marketing, be sure to point out that a storage unit is not just for seasonal decor storage, but that it makes a great place to stash Christmas gifts so that snooping kids or spouses don’t find them in the usual hiding spots!
12. Create an Email or Social Media Campaign With Holiday Storage Tips
People don’t like to constantly be promoted to, so promote yourself under the radar by offering valuable tips, such as holiday storage ideas. This type of information is useful to recipients, yet keeps your facility top of mind when it comes to seasonal storage. Storage tips could suggest dismantling large decorations and wrapping specific parts to keep them safe, using packaging dividers, bubble wrap, or other protection for fragile ornaments, using individual boxes for each string of lights to make untangling them easy, marking boxes clearly (it’s easy to forget what’s in what box after 10-11 months), and so on. You can also send these tips out one at a time over social media; consider creating 12 tips, as we did for this blog, and they can be your “12 Days of Christmas (Storage Tips).”
Become Your Neighborhood’s Holiday Storage Headquarters!
The holidays don’t need to be a slow time of the year when you think “outside the box.” By promoting your self storage facility as the Holiday Storage Headquarters, targeting the right audiences, and getting involved in the community, you can bring in business during the holidays that just may stay with you for the long term. Like what you read here? Be sure to check out 12 Year-Round Self Storage Marketing Ideas and be sure to subscribe to the Storelocal blog.