Once upon a time, lead aggregators established their place in the self storage industry. This was back when the Internet was young, the barriers to entry were more expensive and self storage operators still relied on the Yellow Pages for advertising. Because the self storage industry is historically slow to adopt new technologies, lead aggregators were able to position themselves as a cost-effective way to gain a web presence. Today, many self storage operators are still reliant on lead aggregators because they provide a source of leads. But to what cost and how qualified are the leads that are being generated?
Here are four truths about lead aggregators:
- You are paying to compete with yourself. Lead aggregators are your competition on organic search results queries and paid ad positioning. This is because they bid competitively on popular industry keywords and even on branded terms. This results in your business showing lower on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) as well as your PPC campaigns having a higher cost-per-click (CPC).
- Aggregators provide quantity over quality. Almost 65% of high-intent consumers are clicking on digital advertising. Often times the customers use aggregators to shop around without having an intent to purchase.
- You are listed next to your competitors. Instead of directing your customers to take specific actions on your website, the lead aggregators list you amongst your direct competitors. If you take leads directly to your website, you gain control over the conversation and their journey to lease.
- Aggregators can misconstrue your brand messaging. Your digital presence is your presence and you need to take ownership. There is no longer a distinction between your online and physical presence, so consistency is key.
Aggregators are no longer the most efficient way to get leads. In fact, many other industries such as airlines, hotel, etc., regret letting lead aggregators infiltrate their industry. Why? Because lead aggregators discount their brand image, compete with them for traffic and, ultimately, make companies pay a fee for unqualified leads. So, how do you reduce your reliance and budget spent on lead aggregators? Invest in direct channels like digital advertising and your website.
Here are four tips to help you combat lead aggregators:
- Understand How Leads Get to Your Website
The buying process for self storage prospects is comparatively last minute and moves fast. One month before a move, only 55% of customers have begun to research and 44% have already purchased. Even on the day of the move, though 99% have begun to research, only 89% have leased a unit.
When prospects move into the consideration or purchase phase, they turn to Google to find the information for which they are looking. However, Google tells us that 82% of prospects do not have a particular company in mind when they start at that consideration phase. This leaves a large opportunity to earn a prospect’s business by being in the right place at the right time. Most people are searching mid-move, which means that they are searching from their mobile phone. Digital ads currently take up 100% of the mobile search space, which means to show up, you have to have a digital advertising strategy in place. Whether they are searching one month in advance or day of, digital advertising puts you in front of qualified customers during the most crucial micro-moments.
- Incorporate “Near Me” Keywords in Your PPC Campaigns
When it comes to self storage, industry studies show that 75% of customers will not venture further than five miles from their home and 90% will not store beyond a ten-mile radius. Sometimes convenience plays an even bigger role than pricing in customers’ purchasing decisions.
“Near me” search queries are up 146% year-over-year; G5 is seeing a 234% increase in “near me” ad clicks year-over-year for self storage clients. “Near me” searches tend to be on mobile devices, so as mobile searches continue to rise, so will “near me” searches. Again, if you want your property to show up on mobile devices for these searches, you need to make sure your digital advertising strategy is optimized.
- Invest in a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Website
Now you have invested in digital advertising and you are directing prospects to your website. Be sure your website is set up to lead your potential customers to take a specific type of action. For users in research mode, provide a lighter call-to-action (CTA) such as a “Get a Quote Today” form or an “Online Special” button. For visitors who are ready to buy, add a stronger CTA, such as a “Rent Now” button. These CTA buttons should be easy to find and take the user directly to the page they are expecting.
- Make Leasing Fast and Online
In today’s mobile world, people want to make online purchases quickly, in as few clicks as possible and preferably without having to make a phone call or visit an office. If you are set up for online leasing, you can make this process seamless and easy for your prospects. In turn, this will increase your revenue and could potentially lower operating costs. Make sure that users do not have to dig too deep into your website to find your units and pricing. Ensure that your navigation bar contains well-labeled links, so users can intuitively find what they need.
Now is the time to take control of your digital presence, drive more qualified traffic to your website, avoid lead aggregator fees and add to your bottom line.
Ready to move away from lead aggregators? Work with a partner that can help elevate your digital advertising strategy to deliver highly-qualified leads at a fraction of the cost of lead aggregators or get started with the Beginner’s Guide to Pay-Per-Click.
As the leading data-driven marketing company in the property management sector, G5 empowers marketers to effectively impact growth in today’s increasingly complex mobile and social world. G5 offers tailored lead generation strategies that perform, website designs that convert and analytics that drive action, all through a cloud-based platform that has earned the trust of over 7,000 properties throughout the U.S. and Canada. With more than 12 years of experience in the real estate industry, G5 was recently named one of the fastest-growing private U.S. companies by Inc. magazine and one of North America’s fastest-growing technology companies by Deloitte. The Bend, OR-based company is backed by private equity investor PeakEquity Partners. For more information, visit GetG5.com.