How to find self storage onlineDate Added: September 21, 2007 03:03:57 PM
|Category: Self Storage|
Have the Yellow Pages and phone book directories been outdone by the world wide web? Finding a local self storage unit use to require thumbing through a list in the local phone book. Customers sat at the phone with their pencil and paper as they went down what could sometimes be a very long list of self storage providers.
While the phone book is an essential tool when you know exactly what you’re looking for, it can be a mystery to a customer who is just shopping around. Have you ever been new in town, or on vacation and tried looking up a church or doctor? You can easily become overwhelmed as each listing begins to look the same as the next. Many phone book users fall prey to the “close your eyes and point your finger” method as they hope to land on what they’re looking for.
Telephone directories have improved their ominous listing method by inserting advertisements and blocks of graphics for customers willing to pay the price. These boxes break up the monotony of listing after listing and offer some more insight into the service or good you may be looking for, but they don’t offer a consumer much more than the hours of operation, a phone number and a few highlights of what the business has to offer.
Finding the right doctor, church, restaurant or self storage provider doesn’t have to be an accident that you stumbled on in the phone book. Self storage customers looking for a more efficient way to weed out the bad to find the best self storage location can find their answer by searching online for local self storage. A majority of self storage facilities have web pages dedicated to educating their customers about what their properties have to offer. A consumer not only finds phone numbers and addresses online but may also view maps, search nearby locations, take online tours, find the right size of storage unit, look up self storage unit prices, determine what type of self storage they need and discover what amenities the property has to offer. In some cases a customer may even be able to reserve a storage unit online. You won’t find all that in the phone book, even in a full page ad.
Online research eliminates the confines of having to shop or make phone calls within normal business hours. Consumers can browse the Internet at their leisure and take as much or as little time as they want when locating self storage online. This is another strong advantage that looking online for local self storage has over the phone book. Research shows that a generous 50 percent of prospects look online for self storage after regular business hours.
Consumers looking online for self storage can create a short list and narrow down their list in order to make just a few phone calls. Data reflects that a consumer’s primary research is done online, but when it comes to making a decision, 80 percent of internet shoppers will make a phone call. A self storage customer doesn’t have to spend time calling each and every local self storage facility and so they are able to inquire to the facilities they are most interested in. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that telephone inquiries are being made most often by prospects who are serious about their need for self storage, as opposed to those who may just be browsing.
Searching online for self storage, and almost anything your heart desires, has become a normal practice as the internet has been integrated into our culture. Customers quickly search online while on break at work, in between classes at college, late at night, early in the morning, waiting in the airport and nearly every place imaginable. Because of the flexibility and convenience the internet offers, it has become an integral part of sales and the shopping experience. Self storage is based on the idea of convenience- a convenient place to put things while customers are in transition; a convenient place to keep the furniture, clothing and items you don’t have room for in your home; a convenient place to park your RV when not in use. So it seems that the convenience of the Internet and the convenience of self storage were made for each other.
Shopping for self storage online is most effective when prospects perform a vertical search, which is part of a larger sub grouping known as specialized search, and is a relatively new tier in the Internet search industry consisting of search engines that focus on specific businesses. While broad-based search engines such as Google or Yahoo dominate the online consumer search market, researchers say that many specialized search engines are emerging to address the particular information needs of niche audiences and professions.
Niche search engines have been around for a long time and are not new. Web sites that help users find people, shopping, goods and services and get business information have existed for years. However, the number of these search engines being introduced has greatly increased in recent years. The reason for the sudden increase of specialized search engines is directly linked to the increase in broad-based traffic as well as an increase in the amount of data and individual documents contained within a broad-based search engine. As broad-based search engines gather an increasing amount of various data, specialized search engines gather an increasing amount of data that applies to its niche audience.
Like consumers, businesses use the Internet for a variety of needs. In some cases, they’re looking for all the information they can attain. Consumers conducting in-depth research or users shopping around to see what’s our there can benefit from the vastness of Google and Yahoo search engines. However, consumers are more often looking for something very specific in relation to their need. That’s where vertical search engines come in. Vertical search engines deliver to businesses what the big sited can’t without the use of complex algorithms. The result is relevant and essential content versus an exhaustive return of information. For example, customers looking for local self storage can avoid sifting through results related to other types of storage such as electronic storage, closet organizers, plastic containers and more, which are all common results found when users search “storage” through a broad-based search engine. Specialized search engines are intended to offer relevant and useful information related to the query.
Broad-based search engines fetch a very large number of documents using a web crawler. Another program, called an indexer, then reads these documents and creates a search index based on words contained in each document. Each search engine uses a proprietary algorithm to create its indexes to that, ideally, only meaningful results are returned for each respective query.
On the other hand, vertical search engines send spiders out to a highly refined database, and their indexes contain information about a specific topic. As a result, they are of most value to people interested in a particular area. Moreover, the companies that advertise on these search engines reach a very focused audience. For example, there are search engines for doctors, job seekers, home buyers, travelers and even self storage search engines.
As the broad-based search engine grows even broader, their results have done the same. This has become increasingly frustrating to users who have turned to search engines to find information on a specialized topic, be it local self storage, travel sites or specific business channels.
Vertical search engines will benefit a self storage customer by allowing them to search online for self storage and gather only the most relevant results. Several self storage search engines allow a consumer to search by Zip Code and receive results listed in order of proximity. This is an excellent tool in finding the most convenient location for a consumer.
As complex and the algorithms, indexers and practices of broad-based and vertical search engines can seem, a user only need know what he or she is looking for. Locating self storage online is as simple as typing in a few keywords. Once you’ve entered a query, the search engines do the rest.
Learning how to search online for local self storage is simple. You may begin by searching “self storage”. However, those results may lead to locations far from your local area. You may then decide to search, for example, “Self Storage in Kansas City, Missouri”. The results will then relate to self storage nearby.
Internet users have developed a keen eye when evaluating web pages. They have a trained eye and use some quick critical thinking so that they may decide which websites are worth exploring and when to move on to the next.
When searching online for self storage there are a few things to keep in mind in order to locate a suitable storage provider. You should begin by reading the URL. If the site is somebody’s personal page it is likely to contain a personal name, or variation (e.g. johndoe or jdoe), in which case you may decide to move on to a more solid source of information.
Businesses most often use professionals to design and/ or host their web pages. The business name, or variation, is usually incorporated into the URL and the page will appear to be well-organized and should offer several tabs, or links, to extend information or go beyond the website to related web pages. Official business web sites also contain links in which a customer can find contact information. The link is usually found at the very top or very bottom and is labeled as “Contact Us”. However, self storage web pages usually link to or provide a pull-down menu in which users may browse between several locations. In this case, each facility’s contact information should be easily seen in each respective link or menu option.
Shopping for self storage online brings time saving advantages to consumers. A self storage customer can not only locate a local self storage provider, but find advice and charts which will help them gauge what the best sized storage unit would be based on their individual needs.
Self storage web pages often include a chart which identifies the various sizes offered and what typically fits into each size, respectively. The Internet even offers self storage unit calculators in which a customer may enter the types of items they intend to store and the calculator will tabulate the appropriate sizes. This is especially helpful for self storage consumers who have not used self storage before.
Self storage seekers can also learn about the different types of self storage units. These types may include specialized storage such as wine storage or food storage. They often differ between climate controlled storage and standard self storage. They may also feature several levels of storage in multi-level storage facilities. Web sites will specify which of their locations offer these types of self storage units.
Self storage is not limited to four walls. Truck, RV and car storage is a popular service and storage spaces may vary from garage-style parking, covered parking, or outdoor parking spaces.
Corporate self storage web pages often list the availability and vacancies they have at each location and sometimes offer prices online. This is beneficial to a self storage shopper because it eliminates the need to make a phone call in order to query about the pricing.
Self storage businesses reward their online consumers by oftentimes offering a printable coupon redeemable for a discount on their monthly rent or a percentage off other supplies offered by the company such as moving boxes, packing tape, wardrobe boxes, mattress covers, bubble wrap, shelving, organizers, plastic totes and more.
When online self storage customers take a closer look, they’ll find that the self storage industry has much more to offer than an empty space. The security features and amenities among self storage providers can vary. Searching online allows self storage customers to compare what each of their local self storage facilities has to offer.
Some common and often standard, self storage security features are things such as a fenced area complete with an access controlled gate, which allows only tenants to enter the perimeter and keeps passersby off the property; a well lit area which provides good lighting for dusk and nighttime hours; on-site managers to provide added security and keep a watchful eye out. Self storage security can also include features like video surveillance, which provides peace of mind and extra security; police patrolling, individual door alarms and more.
The self storage industry also offers amenities to their customers that can make the self storage experience easier and more convenient. Features such as drive up storage units, which have garage style, roll up doors allow easy loading and unloading. Loading docks allow customers to stay protected from and out of the elements while moving in and out of their storage unit. Some storage providers offer dollies, carts for customers to use while moving their items. Skids or pallets can also be used in the storage unit to keep items off concrete floors, which protects it from condensation.
Storage facilities often rent moving vans and trucks in addition to storage space. Several storage providers also offer free or discounted trucks as an incentive to new customers. Information like this can be viewed online and often motivates tenants to act quickly on such a great special.
The advantages of surfing the web don’t end with shopping; self storage customers can enjoy the ease of bill pay options via the Internet. This option is offered by several self storage companies and makes paying your monthly bill as easy as it was to find local self storage. The Internet has many benefits over print advertising. Does that mean that phone directory advertisement, local advertisement, flyers and similar ads have become old fashioned?
Despite the hype built up by search engines and online advertisers, print is not dead. In fact, self storage and property management leads are generated almost equally between online and print- about 28 percent by each. Many self storage providers take advantage of the power of printed ads by including their website in their phone book advertisements. Doing so allows a consumer to gather more information than they otherwise would have and also attracts more attention than ads without online resources.
Self storage is much more than renting an empty space. The Internet allows customers to step inside the world of self storage and discover a growing industry. The sites and sounds the Internet has to offer allow users to locate the excellent amenities, security and peace of mind that local self storage facilities have to offer.
Whether you locate local self storage online or find a storage unit near you by using the phone book, calling the office and speaking with the manager is a great way to get to know your local self storage provider. Talking with them on the phone will allow you to get a first impression and also learn some of the characteristics that might not be given online. Self storage managers are always happy to answer your questions and reserve a storage unit for you so that you’ll have a place to put your belongings when the time is right.
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