By Nick Bilava, Storage.com

Storage facilities have long utilized word-of-mouth marketing to help get their name out to the masses. While this has worked well for many self storage operations, the rise in online marketing tactics over the last few years has challenged the effectiveness of word-of-mouth advertising as a stand-alone marketing method.

One way that storage facilities have been able to keep word-of-mouth marketing alive is through customer and client testimonials. There’s more to a testimonial than a quick opinion, though. Good customer testimonials share some inherent characteristics, and there are a few ways you can encourage your customers to keep to these guidelines when writing about your business.

It Should Be Brief

A testimonial isn’t meant to resemble a blog post or cover the entire page of your website. In order to keep testimonials brief, ask that anyone leaving feedback keep it under 100 words, or at best, under 50. By asking clients to keep their thoughts short, they will concisely say what they really feel. This will make it easier for potential customers to get a clear impression of your facility.

It Should Be Real

There have been horror stories about testimonials that were paid for, or worse, made up by the company posting them. In order to establish trust with prospective customers, having paid or in-house testimonials is something you want to avoid. When it comes to keeping testimonials real, there are a two simple rules of thumb to live by:

  • Request the first and last name of the customer leaving the testimonial.
  • Don’t try to sway the testimonial by giving talking points.

With a customer’s first and last name, they instantly become searchable. If people can find who they are, a firm level of trust is created. By not over-editing the testimonial, you will be able to retain the genuine feeling behind it. If you try giving a customer or client “points of emphasis” you would like to see, the testimonial probably won’t feel right or read naturally. Ask only one question, such as, “How would you describe our storage facility’s service?” It doesn’t have to be so broad, but the more you narrow it, the less genuine the responses may be.

It Should Be Positive

Not every testimonial you receive will make it sound like everything at your storage facility is perfect. However, you obviously only want to feature customer reviews that highlight the strengths and benefits of your operation. Carefully review all customer comments to gain valuable feedback about you business, but only feature positive testimonials on your website. Therefore, you’ll want to establish a submission process for comments that allows you to moderate and publish the testimonials that are strongest for your business.

In order to generate customer feedback, you could easily create a posting system through emails that are sent out after a customer’s first month and ask them to tell you and others about their initial experiences. Your facility could also offer small incentives as a thank you (such as a one-month discount), prompting current customers to write a testimonial and refer your business to a friend or colleague.

When other self storage seekers come to your website and see positive testimonials, they will have the chance to feel a connection with your facility beyond the scope of a simple advertisement. The power of word-of-mouth marketing can still work for your business through customer testimonials on your website.