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The Latest Industry News

With the daunting amount of news and information coming at you constantly it is impossible for any one person to keep up. Our team curates and alerts you to the "must have” information to ensure you are in the know. Having relevant, current information helps you to make the best decisions possible.

  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010 3:03 PM | CSSSA Admin (Administrator)

    Together Online to Capture Renter Leads in an Increasingly Competitive Industry

    Kansas City, KS – June 23, 2010 – The largest privately-owned self storage company in the United States and Puerto Rico has teamed up with the self storage industry's most comprehensive search engine for web marketing and related support.

    Simply Self Storage (http://www.simplyss.com/) has signed the majority of its locations up for premium service at StorageFront (http://www.storagefront.com/), becoming one of the largest self storage companies with listings on StorageFront.

    "Self storage owners know that the web is today's yellow pages, and Google essentially controls which pages people will flip through,” StorageFront president Rich Cray said. "Unfortunately, climbing to the top of Google and converting leads online can be a costly and time-consuming course for a company of any size. That's why even the largest and most sophisticated storage facilities across the U.S. are turning to StorageFront. By offering Simply Self Storage comprehensive web marketing solutions, StorageFront is helping them more effectively connect with prospective renters.”

    Cray added that Simply Self Storage is a forward-thinking organization, pointing out the fact that the company was recently ranked No. 1 in Entrepreneur Magazine's Hot 100 Fastest-growing Businesses in America. Joining StorageFront, Cray said, should help Simply Self Storage continue to grow its business.

    "We joined StorageFront because they offer great online presence and many useful and user friendly tools for tracking conversions,” said Christina Furnia, Director of Marketing at Simply Self Storage. "StorageFront's tracking capabilities, Internet presence, web interface and price point were major attractions for us.”

    Simply Self Storage has locations across the U.S. and locations in Puerto Rico.

    "We are delighted to be selected by Simply Self Storage for web marketing support,” said Marc Smith, Director of Business Development at StorageFront. "Our expertise in web development and search engine marketing will ensure that Simply gets first-rate results in an increasingly competitive market.”

    About StorageFront (http://www.storagefront.com/)

    Headquartered in Kansas City, Kan., StorageFront launched in 2009 to provide a web marketing resource for the self storage industry specifically—which now numbers over 50,000 facilities nationwide and continues to appeal to the American population. A bilingual portal featuring search-by-amenity and geo-relevant sorting, StorageFront serves both storage owners and renters with an advanced search engine that comprises the majority of U.S. storage facilities.

    About Simply Self Storage (http://www.simplyss.com/)

    Ranked #1 in Entrepreneur Magazine's "Hot 100 Fast Growth Businesses in America,” Simply Self Storage is the largest privately owned self storage company in the United States and Puerto Rico. They own and operate over 160 facilities with over 11.8 million square feet of storage space.

    # # #


  • Monday, June 21, 2010 3:03 PM | CSSSA Admin (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Columbia, Missouri USA – June 18, 2010 - PhoneSmart self storage call center broke an all-time personal record for the most reservations made in one month. The off-site sales force and call center brought in 3,165 reservations during the month of May, representing an estimated $2,278,000.00 in revenue for its clients. (Data based on PhoneSmart's 90% conversion rate and an $800 lifetime customer value)

    PhoneSmart self storage marketing also saw the best month for average reservations per store. Tron Jordheim, PhoneSmart Director and business speaker, said, "We were not even close to the record number of calls per store or the record number of calls in a month. So don't think we did this just because we took more calls. Our conversion rate of calls to reservations was what made the difference. So the takeaways from May's outstanding results are three: 1, Our customer centric approach to selling works very well. 2, PhoneSmart's huge investment in training, monitoring and coaching pays real dollar dividends for our clients. 3, There is strong demand in the marketplace for self storage. All three of these are very positive for our clients.”

    This record-breaking month came as no surprise. On May 11, 2010, PhoneSmart forecasted that the month would be an uncharacteristically busy month as ‘Crazy Tuesday', the last Monday of the month and the first of June all swelled together to create a May Day buzz.

    May was not the only month for breaking records; June 1, 2010 now holds the PhoneSmart record for the most calls taken in a single day, while maintaining an answer rate that exceeded 95%.

    Tron Jordheim also added, "PhoneSmart's telesales reps take great pride in their sales success. We are not an answering service with a price list handy. We are not in the business of collecting names and phone numbers. It is not our goal to tell people to go to a kiosk or a website. PhoneSmart's goals are to rent space, reserve units, set appointments and take our clients' callers off the market.”

    About PhoneSmart:

    PhoneSmartself storage marketingis a call center offering storage unit reservation, lead generations and sales training seminars to the self storage industry. The company has served the industry for over 10 years and its call center answers for around 800 self storagefacilities across the U.S. and Canada. PhoneSmart has generated over 600,000 leads to the self storage industry and continues to be the leading self storage call center and source for sales training.

    In addition to call center services, PhoneSmart offers sales training, quality assurance and self storage marketing to the storage industry."


  • Thursday, June 10, 2010 3:03 PM | CSSSA Admin (Administrator)

    (Temple, GA – June 10, 2010) Janus International is pleased to announce the following staff additions:

    Jason Figart joins the Janus technical sales department and will manage both U.S. and European projects. Jason spent the last four years at U.S. Door as their International Sales/Estimating/National Accounts Manager. Prior to U.S. Door, he was an account manager for a refractory company in the steel industry. Jason will operate out of the Temple, GA and Peterlee, UK offices.

    Richard Seaberry has joined Janus as Western Region Sales Manager, Self Storage. Richard has over 20 years of experience in the coiling door industry, most recently with U.S. Door as a self storage sales manager. Richard will manage accounts in CA, AZ, UT, HI, NV and CO, and will be located in our Anaheim, CA office.

    Carl Wiman comes to Janus as Senior Draftsman. Carl initiated the drafting and design department at U.S. Door, and previously held positions at Roll-Lite Overhead Doors, Atlas Rolling Steel Doors and

    Clopay Building Products. Carl will be operating out of Orlando, FL.

    ###

    Headquartered in Temple, GA, Janus International is a leading manufacturer of sheet doors, self storage doors and building components, rolling steel doors and grilles. For more information, visit our website at http://www.janusintl.com/.

    For more information, contact:

    Amy Fuhlman

    Director of Marketing

    J A N U S I N T E R N A T I O N A L

    p. 770.562.2850

    f. 770.562.1991

    m. 404.787.8444

    http://www.janusintl.com/

    amyf@janusintl.com

    Visit Janus on Facebook | Linkedin | Twitter


  • Friday, May 28, 2010 3:03 PM | CSSSA Admin (Administrator)

    Barry Keyes
    05/27/2010

    Self-storage facilities are often perceived by their local communities as necessities, not assets, as hide-away places where people only go when they have a storage need. But that perception can be changed by self-storage operators embracing the green movement.

    Storage businesses can improve their public image by taking simple steps that will position them as champions of Mother Earth. In so doing, they'll bring in more sales while garnering great public relations.

    How Do You ‘Go Green'?
    "Going green” involves being conscious of the environmental impact of your actions―your business and personal practices, the products you use, etc.—and tailoring them to be Earth-friendly. It takes effort and often involves some up-front cost, but it's worthwhile in the long term. The end result for self-storage operators is that by working to help clean up the environment, they earn positive recognition and generate community awareness.

    There are many ways self-storage operators can go green. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

    • Use green energy. Put timers on lights and use energy-efficient light bulbs. You can also install solar panels, a "cool” metal roof (one using Polyvinylidene Fluoride paint) or even an energy-generating windmill, and then sell excess energy back to the city.
    • Use green products. Buy paints and siding that contain no volatile organic compounds. Use eco-friendly cleaning and insect-control products. (Orange oil is great for termites.)
    • Sell green products. Selling recycled boxes and packing is popular. Also consider selling storage products made from recycled plastic, corn, recycled tires, etc., and other unique materials.
    • Promote green websites and information. Provide green tips through your facility website. Link to the websites of green products and businesses or local green organizations.
    • Offer recycling bins. Many facilities do not offer any kind of recycling, but they should. You might even be able to make money on your customers' throwaways. Just make sure you keep your recycle bins clean.
    • Become an e-waste drop-off site. Collecting e-waste—drained batteries, empty ink cartridges, old cell phones, old computer equipment—is a convenience for existing customers and can attract new people to your facility. It's as easy as providing a recycle bin and appropriate signage.
    • Sponsor e-waste collection days. Promote the event on your website, post fliers and tell customers. After the collection event, ask a certified recycler to pick up the materials, or drop them off at a certified recycle facility.

    Going green can help self-storage facilities bring in client traffic and added revenue. With ingenuity and facility upgrades, operators can save money and create energy. Plus, expansion of green products sold to the public—in the storefront and online—helps operators become active members of their communities and be recognized as a vital business committed to cleaning up the neighborhood and saving the planet.

    Barry Keyes is CEO of California-based GREENspot DROPoff Inc., a network of e-waste collectors throughout California. Through partnerships with self-storage facilities and other DROPoff locations, the company provides free and convenient e-waste recycling to the public. The company also educates the public about the harms of e-waste, and gives back money to local schools and charities for every eligible piece of e-waste collected at one of the company's locations. For information, call 800.350.3550; visit http://www.greenspotdropoff.org/.

    The following article is reprinted with permission from Inside Self-Storage, the premier magazine of the self-storage industry. For more information, visit http: //www.insideselfstorage.com/.

     



  • Tuesday, May 25, 2010 3:04 PM | CSSSA Admin (Administrator)

    XPS SOLUTIONS

    1251 Sherman Street, Suite 101 | Richardson, TX 75081 | T: 877.XPSUSA1 | F: 972.783.6468 | XPSUSA.COM

    XPS expands Operations and Sales Executive team to Drive Strategic Growth

     

    Richardson, TX. – May 19, 2010, - XPS Solutions provides best-in-class call management technology bundled with state-of-the-art web solutions. The XPS suite of products captures and tracks new leads, lead sources and receives payment transactions through the use call center, web platform and IVR tools. XPS Solutions announced today it has expanded its executive management team. Michael Roberts, Vice President of Business Development will continue to head up the Self Storage SBU (Strategic Business Unit). Hesham Tabbach, Vice President of Information Technology will continue to head up the XPS Solutions IT team.

    XPS Solutions is proud to welcome Laura Mauldin, as Vice President of Operations & New Business Development.

    In her role, Ms. Mauldin will be responsible for XPS Solutions' call center operations, as well as the new vertical and special project inside sales teams. She will report directly to the company's President and CEO John Traver.

    "Laura is a pro's pro. She brings a level of scope that our company is ready for.” said Mr. Traver. "The level of leadership that she brings to our call center operation is a huge win for our organization. And I know our clients will quickly find that she has the ability to grow their businesses as well.”

    Laura comes to XPS Solutions with over 20 years of operational and sales executive management experience in start-up, early-stage growth, and ongoing successful operations. Most recently, she was General Manager – Sales /Operations/ Call Center for Revo America where she was responsible for developing and building all aspects of a new security company. She recruited, developed, and managed sales and technical support (call center), warehouse, procurement, IT, ecommerce, marketing, product management and finance departments. Prior to that, Laura was Director of Contact Center Operations for Honeywell Inc. where she was responsible for managing ecommerce, sales, technical support, and an inbound/outbound contact center. 


  • Thursday, April 22, 2010 3:04 PM | CSSSA Admin (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release

    Contact: Poppy Behrens

    Phone: (602) 678-3579

    E-mail: pbehrens@minico.com

     

    NEW LAW TO BENEFIT ARIZONA STORAGE OPERATORS

    Comprehensive Law Offers Protection And New Permissions


    PHOENIX, ARIZONA—April 22, 2010—The Arizona Self Storage Association (AZSA) is pleased to announce the signing of a new law that will benefit the self-storage industry in Arizona. On April 19, 2010, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a new measure into law which will take effect in August or September of this year.

    Key features of the new law include:

    · E-mail will be allowed as another form of "verified mail” in many cases.

    · Storage operators will have alternative ways—free of liability—for dealing with "protected property,” materials which by law they were not permitted to sell previously such as sensitive files and financial records, wine and alcoholic beverages, pharmaceuticals, and some guns.

    · Storage operators will be able to auction boats, motor vehicles, and other property which they could not sell in the past when those items were subject to certain government "restitution” liens.

    Special rules will apply to each of the new procedures. Additionally, certain changes to all storage leases and to some notices will be required.However, the benefits and protections to storage operators will far outweigh those inconveniences.

    "Our thanks go out to all the people who made this possible including those AZSA members who have donated to our legislative fund, and to the Self-Storage Association for a generous grant from the SSA Legislative Fund,” says Martin Lorch, President of the Arizona Self-Storage Association. "Without a doubt, this new law is a boon to all self-storage operators in Arizona.”

    For more details about this new law and how it can impact your self-storage operation, be sure to attend the 2010 Arizona Self-Storage Association Conference & Expo where Richard Marmor, Chairman of the Legal & Legislative Committee, will provide the most current updates regarding legislative activities that will affect your business.

    Visit http://www.azselfstorage.com/ for information regarding the 2010 AZSA Conference & Trade Show.

    About The Arizona Self-Storage Association
    Founded in1996, the Arizona Self-Storage Association was created to strengthen the self-storage industry in Arizona, promote professional standards and quality, and present a unified voice on issues affecting the industry in the state and in its communities. The AZSA continues that mission today with more than 500 facility and vendor members. 


  • Monday, April 19, 2010 3:04 PM | CSSSA Admin (Administrator)

    A-1 Self Storage Proudly Signs up for Self Storage Manager™!

    A-1 Self Storage Signs up for Self Storage Manager™; management software by

    E-SoftSys for all for their locations in California.

    San Diego, CA – April 19, 2010 – A-1 Self Storage, the premier provider of self storage in California, announced today that they have purchased Self Storage Manager™ and will implement this web-based multi-facility management software at all 40 of their locations.

    "We conducted an extensive evaluation of management software from a number of software vendors and selected Self Storage Manager™, mainly due to the excellent reference we received about their software and support services from other self storage operators, their responsiveness in answering our queries, their ability to quickly add requested features and willingness to interface to 3rd party systems such as our phone system," said Brian Caster, President of A-1 Self Storage. "Self Storage Manager's corporate office module will make it easier for us to standardize the operations across all our facilities. We are also impressed with their CRM module, which is specifically designed for the self storage industry and will assist us in further improving our customer service.”

    The Self Storage Manager™ property management software is geared specifically for the Self Storage industry. It has the flexibility to be customized to suit individual operator needs, offers a fully integrated CRM module and provides 24/7 customer support. For more information, please visit http://www.selfstoragemanager.com/.

    For more information about A-1 Self Storage, please visit http://www.a1storage.com/.

    About A-1 Self Storage:

    A-1 Self Storage is one of the leading providers of self storage with over 40 locations across California. A-1 is the Self Storage division of the Caster Companies, a third generation family-owned company headquartered in Southern California since 1959. The Caster Companies specializes in acquisitions, development and management of A-1 Self Storage, and other commercial properties in California. Its Real Estate Portfolio includes over 4 million square feet in real estate properties. It is one of California's fastest growing companies.

    CONTACTS:

    Fran Laporga-Ching

    A-1 Self Storage

    (619) 287-8873 x 141

    press@a1storage.com

    http://www.a1storage.com/


  • Monday, April 12, 2010 3:05 PM | CSSSA Admin (Administrator)

    (Omaha, NE) April 12, 2010 – USstoragesearch.com is expanding the only pay-per-reservation call center in the storage industry to generate even more profits for its members. Under the company's pay-per-reservation model, member companies pay only for confirmed storage reservations with no monthly fees or call handling charges.

    With client membership up 300% and reservation volume up nearly 200% since 2009, the company has now doubled the number of trained sales agents. All sales calls flow directly to a dedicated sales team that earns commissions for confirmed storage reservations.

    Brian Bremer, Reservation Center Director of Operations has more than ten years of expertise in the call center industry. Bremer says dramatic increases in new client companies show that the pay-per-reservation call center delivers the best returns for the lowest cost. "By immediately directing all sales calls to our specialized sales agents, we can focus on converting every lead to a confirmed storage reservation. USstoragesearch.com is the only company in the industry willing to tie its success to the profits of our members. We think that's the way it should be,” explained Bremer.

    With a 95 percent or higher move-in rate on storage reservations generated, the USstoragesearch.com pay-per-reservation call center consistently outperforms more traditional flat rate call centers, generating ten times the amount of new revenue.

     

    ##

    About USstoragesearch.com

    Established in 2004, USstoragesearch.com is the self-storage industry leader with the longest running and largest storage directory, featuring over 12,000 member facilities and more than 2.8 million storage units nationwide. Storage customers using the USstoragesearch.com online reservation network search real-time available storage units by facility location, unit size, property features and specials. Customers have an easy way to find, compare and securely reserve storage by credit card in minutes. These real-time reservations have been proven to convert to paying rentals for member facilities more than 90% of the time. The major property management systems now integrate with the USstoragesearch.com online network including: Centershift STORE, SiteLink PC, SiteLink Web, DOMICO, Syrasoft, Storage Commander, StorMan, Symbio, Task Master, Total Recall and WinSen. USstoragesearch.com is a trusted storage partner; serving the storage industry with aggressive and cost-effective marketing. Visit USstoragesearch.com at http://www.usstoragesearch.com/.


  • Tuesday, March 09, 2010 2:05 PM | CSSSA Admin (Administrator)

    Search-by-amenity, geo-relevant sorting, and a fresh, friendly look help consumers find the most suitable self storage units near them, while intelligent web marketing tools keep facility owners geared to fill their spaces

    Kansas City, KS – January 20, 2010 – After a successful run of its Beta website through Q4 2009, StorageFront (http://www.storagefront.com/) goes live February 1st with its new self storage search engine and web marketing service. By cushioning the official launch three months, the independent website is able to incorporate findings from user feedback, call recordings, traffic statistics and lead conversions to offer a streamlined search engine for storage renters – complete with simplified user interface, advanced search, and geo-relevant results – and robust web marketing tools for facility owners.

    Usability test results were very positive, with both renters and owners stating that the site is clean, accessible and informative. Respondents showed particularly positive reactions to the frank yet cartoony "Web 2.0” look.

    "It's refreshing to land on a local-search site and not be bombarded by ads or unrelated businesses,” said Michael Glover, a resident of the Dallas area who reserved storage space via StorageFront. "I just wanted to get in, find the features I needed, and get out. StorageFront had all the information I was looking for, with none of the usual web directory clutter. I would recommend this site to anyone wants to find storage space.”

    Storage facility owners who participated as product testers said that StorageFront appears to be a better and less expensive online marketing solution than competing solutions such as storage directories, marketing agencies, and yellow pages (print and online). Vendors who tested the site's display-advertising system also experienced click-through success, which can be attributed to StorageFront's sparing placement of ads in two hotspots per web page (left column and footer).

    Unique visitor traffic to the website has climbed steadily at a rate of 290% month over month since the October Beta launch. The company credits the climb to intricate search engine optimization techniques (a complicated process that can take well over a year to fully index), plus a targeted Google AdWords pay-per-click campaign executed in the Texas test-market.

    "I am nothing short of impressed with StorageFront's command of the technology, the tools available on the site, and the high personal level of service the company provides,” said Robert Francis, owner of three Plantation Self Storage locations and outgoing chairman of the national Self Storage Association (SSA). As an active user, Mr. Francis rented six storage units in the typically slow month of December via StorageFront's Beta website, and averaged 4.3 unique visitors to his sites per day.

    Following February's launch, StorageFront will continue to progress its offerings in an effort to maximize the renter's search experience as well as to enhance the storage owner's visibility online—currently a learning curve for business owners in an industry that has long relied on traditional phone book and billboard advertising. StorageFront enhancements already slated for Q1 2010 include an advanced space-calculation widget that helps renters accurately select a suitable storage unit size and a Spanish-language search engine for the burgeoning Hispanic self storage niche.

    StorageFront's positioning targets two distinct audiences in the self storage industry: residential and commercial consumers who need more space, and owners and managers of U.S. self storage facilities.

    For Consumers: A Renter-friendly Search Engine

    "The U.S. is one of the most consumer-driven countries in the world, but where to put it all? As Americans, we like our space almost as much as we like our stuff,” mused Marc Smith, StorageFront's Director of Business Development. "StorageFront is set to shine a new light on the self storage option. As the whole industry evolves from commodity space into specialty service, we're gearing up accordingly with a premium, precise search experience. Whether the consumer is moving, deploying, or just cleaning house, StorageFront puts mini storage front-and-center.”

    Like web-based yellow pages, StorageFront specializes in local-area business search online. However, the company is sharply focused on the self storage industry specifically, enabling it to assemble tools and information that are uniquely relevant to the self storage shopper. For example, because renters most often choose facilities by location (typically within a two- to three-mile radius of home), directory features like geo-relevant results and visual mapping are essential to their nationwide search. Additional renter concerns include safety, accessibility and security, as well as business specialties like climate control and wine storage. StorageFront enables users to narrow their search by amenity.

    StorageFront differs from other industry search engines in that it is much more than a database; the website provides depth and accuracy of content throughout, thanks in large part to the company's proactive sales and service team. Enhancements have been made to refine the relevancy of returned search results and improve the interactivity of maps. As a result, users can search by zip code, with fewer clicks and more flexibility.

    What's more, StorageFront largely levels the playing field between facilities. Whether a storage business is comprised of one facility or a large national chain, the search engine shows everything that fits the renter's criteria, sorted by proximity. StorageFront currently lists over 40,000 locations—more than three quarters of the U.S. market. The complete storage facility directory can be viewed at http://www.storagefront.com/state-listing.

    To reinforce the search engine as a self storage resource, StorageFront has kicked off a growing library of tools, tips and checklists. Well-researched topics range from antique wood furniture storage to RV winterization.

    The front end of the website was designed to be extremely approachable and easy-to-use. Months of research revealed that although strong branding may be important to a market-specific search engine, affable feel and usability are essential. Thus StorageFront sidestepped the utilitarian look that is typical of industry directories for a friendlier, renter-centric feel. The site assimilates today's "standards and best practices” in web design to suit an audience that is largely female, lightly web savvy, and often relocating. Other design considerations included slower connection speeds, consumers with poor eyesight, and conservative commercial audiences.

    To ensure that renters search StorageFront first, the company will continue to employ advanced search engine optimization and marketing. Complementary marketing, networking and promotional techniques will further boost exposure. By focusing marketing dollars on the renter more than the owner, StorageFront will draw more qualified shopper traffic to the owner and thus become the industry's leading search directory and web marketing resource.

    For Storage Owners: More Manageable Marketing

    "With StorageFront.com, we believe we have set the bar for online marketing in the self storage industry,” said Rich Cray, President of StorageFront. "On the front end, the website appears singly resourceful and inviting to the prospective renter, thanks to our first-rate search, smart tools and helpful reference materials. But on the admin side, the interface is actually a self storage owner's dream—especially if he/she isn't well versed in the complexities and costs of online marketing. StorageFront covers the applied web marketing gamut – from informative website layouts to search engine optimization to call tracking and trending – at an extremely competitive price. But most importantly: it generates rentals.”

    Subscription packages on StorageFront range from $0.00/month for a "Basic” listing to $69.95/month for a "Priority Track” marketing suite, per facility. Optional premium services (such as Google AdWords management or virtual tours) are bid by project. "Competing services can run many hundreds of dollars, with premium services easily putting owners into the thousand-dollars-per-month column,” added Mr. Cray. "We suspect that's the main reason our Beta testers responded so positively to our offerings: StorageFront can pay for itself with just one rental.”

    The Basic ($0.00) package includes a directory listing and a web page with address, phone, map, and driving directions. Owners can opt to "verify” a listing by confirming accuracy by phone. They can also tag their state and national association affiliations for added credibility. "We consider the zero-dollar price tag a ‘community service' to both owners and renters, as it assures a comprehensive list of stores in a given area,” Mr. Cray said.

     

    Priority ($29.95) and Priority Track ($69.95) suites provide owners with a toolchest of aesthetic and functional enhancements over the free package. For one, the listings rank higher in the directory and show more detail (logo, tagline, map marker, and up to ten amenities that feed the advanced search function). For another, subscribers' websites are packed with particulars like property photos, unit sizes, descriptions, and hours of operation. Moreover, the page layout is strategically arranged to capture the lead, down to the prominent coupon in the top fold. Prospective renters can inquire, reserve, get directions, print or share with one click.

    For the owner, setup appears easy; no design or coding experience is necessary to get custom page(s) up and running. The owner selects a design template that suits his brand, uploads a logo, and fills in the blanks. For owners of multiple locations, a "super admin” area supports control over many sites, including employee permission settings. Once the site is up, StorageFront drives local search engine optimization and pay-per-click.

    The key selling point of the Priority Track suite appears to be the vast amount of information it puts at the fingertips of business owners. Most notably, a unique phone number is assigned which not only times calls but also records them. A facility owner can log in from anywhere and listen to entire sales calls on his PC or iPhone.

    Web page data like unique-visitor traffic and call-to-action buttons are also tracked, then charted graphically in a marketing statistics dashboard. Owners can even opt to be notified via email the moment a new web lead or call comes in, which many Beta testers found useful for training managers to convert prospects to renter occupants.

    A product chart comparing Basic, Priority and Priority Track is at http://www.storagefront.com/owner-benefits.

    StorageFront runs entirely on open-source software in "the Internet cloud,” thus requiring no expensive infrastructure or software installation/updates by the storage owner. The database is powered by a proprietary programming language used to build data models with formal methods; the interface is powered by a specialized framework for building fast and secure websites. To prevent data loss and to protect sensitive information from hackers, StorageFront is protected 24/7 on a PCI-compliant dedicated server in a tier IV data center, backed up hourly. The restoration process is tested weekly.

    From StorageFront's perspective, February's official website launch is just the beginning. "We'll continue to improve our tools and user interface based on the needs of both renters and facility owners,” concluded Mr. Cray. Plans currently include integration of application programming interfaces (APIs) to bridge the gap between marketing and operations, as well as a "how-to” resource library tailored to the self storage marketplace.

    "Storage owners have become a hot target for marketing businesses, both because the self storage industry is becoming saturated – forcing facilities to compete harder for renters – and because the industry fares relatively well through economic slumps. But with so many different voices plugging ‘Google this' and ‘Tweet that,' it can be difficult for owners to decipher what really works for storage these days,” advised Carrie Royce, VP Marketing for StorageFront. "That's why it is our pride and singular purpose at StorageFront to fully understand this marketplace and the web's increasing role in it. As experts of both self storage marketing and online innovation, we endeavor to help owners better navigate their opportunities and penetrate the web—affordably.”

    About StorageFront.com

    StorageFront (http://www.storagefront.com/) launched in 2009 as an independent online marketing resource for the self storage industry—which now numbers over 50,000 facilities nationwide and continues to appeal to the American population. A bilingual search engine and marketing portal, StorageFront serves both storage owners and renters with an advanced, dynamic directory that currently comprises U.S. storage facilities. StorageFront is based in Kansas City, Kansas, and employs several specialists in development, sales and marketing disciplines.

     

    Contacts:

    Rich Cray, President

    Direct Line 913-469-0997

    rich.cray@storagefront.com

    Carrie Royce, VP Marketing

    Direct Line 785-393-7370

    carrie.royce@storagefront.com


  • Tuesday, March 09, 2010 2:05 PM | CSSSA Admin (Administrator)

    Search-by-amenity, geo-relevant sorting, and a fresh, friendly look help consumers find the most suitable self storage units near them, while intelligent web marketing tools keep facility owners geared to fill their spaces

    Kansas City, KS – January 20, 2010 – After a successful run of its Beta website through Q4 2009, StorageFront (http://www.storagefront.com/) goes live February 1st with its new self storage search engine and web marketing service. By cushioning the official launch three months, the independent website is able to incorporate findings from user feedback, call recordings, traffic statistics and lead conversions to offer a streamlined search engine for storage renters – complete with simplified user interface, advanced search, and geo-relevant results – and robust web marketing tools for facility owners.

    Usability test results were very positive, with both renters and owners stating that the site is clean, accessible and informative. Respondents showed particularly positive reactions to the frank yet cartoony "Web 2.0” look.

    "It's refreshing to land on a local-search site and not be bombarded by ads or unrelated businesses,” said Michael Glover, a resident of the Dallas area who reserved storage space via StorageFront. "I just wanted to get in, find the features I needed, and get out. StorageFront had all the information I was looking for, with none of the usual web directory clutter. I would recommend this site to anyone wants to find storage space.”

    Storage facility owners who participated as product testers said that StorageFront appears to be a better and less expensive online marketing solution than competing solutions such as storage directories, marketing agencies, and yellow pages (print and online). Vendors who tested the site's display-advertising system also experienced click-through success, which can be attributed to StorageFront's sparing placement of ads in two hotspots per web page (left column and footer).

    Unique visitor traffic to the website has climbed steadily at a rate of 290% month over month since the October Beta launch. The company credits the climb to intricate search engine optimization techniques (a complicated process that can take well over a year to fully index), plus a targeted Google AdWords pay-per-click campaign executed in the Texas test-market.

    "I am nothing short of impressed with StorageFront's command of the technology, the tools available on the site, and the high personal level of service the company provides,” said Robert Francis, owner of three Plantation Self Storage locations and outgoing chairman of the national Self Storage Association (SSA). As an active user, Mr. Francis rented six storage units in the typically slow month of December via StorageFront's Beta website, and averaged 4.3 unique visitors to his sites per day.

    Following February's launch, StorageFront will continue to progress its offerings in an effort to maximize the renter's search experience as well as to enhance the storage owner's visibility online—currently a learning curve for business owners in an industry that has long relied on traditional phone book and billboard advertising. StorageFront enhancements already slated for Q1 2010 include an advanced space-calculation widget that helps renters accurately select a suitable storage unit size and a Spanish-language search engine for the burgeoning Hispanic self storage niche.

    StorageFront's positioning targets two distinct audiences in the self storage industry: residential and commercial consumers who need more space, and owners and managers of U.S. self storage facilities.

    For Consumers: A Renter-friendly Search Engine

    "The U.S. is one of the most consumer-driven countries in the world, but where to put it all? As Americans, we like our space almost as much as we like our stuff,” mused Marc Smith, StorageFront's Director of Business Development. "StorageFront is set to shine a new light on the self storage option. As the whole industry evolves from commodity space into specialty service, we're gearing up accordingly with a premium, precise search experience. Whether the consumer is moving, deploying, or just cleaning house, StorageFront puts mini storage front-and-center.”

    Like web-based yellow pages, StorageFront specializes in local-area business search online. However, the company is sharply focused on the self storage industry specifically, enabling it to assemble tools and information that are uniquely relevant to the self storage shopper. For example, because renters most often choose facilities by location (typically within a two- to three-mile radius of home), directory features like geo-relevant results and visual mapping are essential to their nationwide search. Additional renter concerns include safety, accessibility and security, as well as business specialties like climate control and wine storage. StorageFront enables users to narrow their search by amenity.

    StorageFront differs from other industry search engines in that it is much more than a database; the website provides depth and accuracy of content throughout, thanks in large part to the company's proactive sales and service team. Enhancements have been made to refine the relevancy of returned search results and improve the interactivity of maps. As a result, users can search by zip code, with fewer clicks and more flexibility.

    What's more, StorageFront largely levels the playing field between facilities. Whether a storage business is comprised of one facility or a large national chain, the search engine shows everything that fits the renter's criteria, sorted by proximity. StorageFront currently lists over 40,000 locations—more than three quarters of the U.S. market. The complete storage facility directory can be viewed at http://www.storagefront.com/state-listing.

    To reinforce the search engine as a self storage resource, StorageFront has kicked off a growing library of tools, tips and checklists. Well-researched topics range from antique wood furniture storage to RV winterization.

    The front end of the website was designed to be extremely approachable and easy-to-use. Months of research revealed that although strong branding may be important to a market-specific search engine, affable feel and usability are essential. Thus StorageFront sidestepped the utilitarian look that is typical of industry directories for a friendlier, renter-centric feel. The site assimilates today's "standards and best practices” in web design to suit an audience that is largely female, lightly web savvy, and often relocating. Other design considerations included slower connection speeds, consumers with poor eyesight, and conservative commercial audiences.

    To ensure that renters search StorageFront first, the company will continue to employ advanced search engine optimization and marketing. Complementary marketing, networking and promotional techniques will further boost exposure. By focusing marketing dollars on the renter more than the owner, StorageFront will draw more qualified shopper traffic to the owner and thus become the industry's leading search directory and web marketing resource.

    For Storage Owners: More Manageable Marketing

    "With StorageFront.com, we believe we have set the bar for online marketing in the self storage industry,” said Rich Cray, President of StorageFront. "On the front end, the website appears singly resourceful and inviting to the prospective renter, thanks to our first-rate search, smart tools and helpful reference materials. But on the admin side, the interface is actually a self storage owner's dream—especially if he/she isn't well versed in the complexities and costs of online marketing. StorageFront covers the applied web marketing gamut – from informative website layouts to search engine optimization to call tracking and trending – at an extremely competitive price. But most importantly: it generates rentals.”

    Subscription packages on StorageFront range from $0.00/month for a "Basic” listing to $69.95/month for a "Priority Track” marketing suite, per facility. Optional premium services (such as Google AdWords management or virtual tours) are bid by project. "Competing services can run many hundreds of dollars, with premium services easily putting owners into the thousand-dollars-per-month column,” added Mr. Cray. "We suspect that's the main reason our Beta testers responded so positively to our offerings: StorageFront can pay for itself with just one rental.”

    The Basic ($0.00) package includes a directory listing and a web page with address, phone, map, and driving directions. Owners can opt to "verify” a listing by confirming accuracy by phone. They can also tag their state and national association affiliations for added credibility. "We consider the zero-dollar price tag a ‘community service' to both owners and renters, as it assures a comprehensive list of stores in a given area,” Mr. Cray said.

     

    Priority ($29.95) and Priority Track ($69.95) suites provide owners with a toolchest of aesthetic and functional enhancements over the free package. For one, the listings rank higher in the directory and show more detail (logo, tagline, map marker, and up to ten amenities that feed the advanced search function). For another, subscribers' websites are packed with particulars like property photos, unit sizes, descriptions, and hours of operation. Moreover, the page layout is strategically arranged to capture the lead, down to the prominent coupon in the top fold. Prospective renters can inquire, reserve, get directions, print or share with one click.

    For the owner, setup appears easy; no design or coding experience is necessary to get custom page(s) up and running. The owner selects a design template that suits his brand, uploads a logo, and fills in the blanks. For owners of multiple locations, a "super admin” area supports control over many sites, including employee permission settings. Once the site is up, StorageFront drives local search engine optimization and pay-per-click.

    The key selling point of the Priority Track suite appears to be the vast amount of information it puts at the fingertips of business owners. Most notably, a unique phone number is assigned which not only times calls but also records them. A facility owner can log in from anywhere and listen to entire sales calls on his PC or iPhone.

    Web page data like unique-visitor traffic and call-to-action buttons are also tracked, then charted graphically in a marketing statistics dashboard. Owners can even opt to be notified via email the moment a new web lead or call comes in, which many Beta testers found useful for training managers to convert prospects to renter occupants.

    A product chart comparing Basic, Priority and Priority Track is at http://www.storagefront.com/owner-benefits.

    StorageFront runs entirely on open-source software in "the Internet cloud,” thus requiring no expensive infrastructure or software installation/updates by the storage owner. The database is powered by a proprietary programming language used to build data models with formal methods; the interface is powered by a specialized framework for building fast and secure websites. To prevent data loss and to protect sensitive information from hackers, StorageFront is protected 24/7 on a PCI-compliant dedicated server in a tier IV data center, backed up hourly. The restoration process is tested weekly.

    From StorageFront's perspective, February's official website launch is just the beginning. "We'll continue to improve our tools and user interface based on the needs of both renters and facility owners,” concluded Mr. Cray. Plans currently include integration of application programming interfaces (APIs) to bridge the gap between marketing and operations, as well as a "how-to” resource library tailored to the self storage marketplace.

    "Storage owners have become a hot target for marketing businesses, both because the self storage industry is becoming saturated – forcing facilities to compete harder for renters – and because the industry fares relatively well through economic slumps. But with so many different voices plugging ‘Google this' and ‘Tweet that,' it can be difficult for owners to decipher what really works for storage these days,” advised Carrie Royce, VP Marketing for StorageFront. "That's why it is our pride and singular purpose at StorageFront to fully understand this marketplace and the web's increasing role in it. As experts of both self storage marketing and online innovation, we endeavor to help owners better navigate their opportunities and penetrate the web—affordably.”

    About StorageFront.com

    StorageFront (http://www.storagefront.com/) launched in 2009 as an independent online marketing resource for the self storage industry—which now numbers over 50,000 facilities nationwide and continues to appeal to the American population. A bilingual search engine and marketing portal, StorageFront serves both storage owners and renters with an advanced, dynamic directory that currently comprises U.S. storage facilities. StorageFront is based in Kansas City, Kansas, and employs several specialists in development, sales and marketing disciplines.

     

    Contacts:

    Rich Cray, President

    Direct Line 913-469-0997

    rich.cray@storagefront.com

    Carrie Royce, VP Marketing

    Direct Line 785-393-7370

    carrie.royce@storagefront.com


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