Skip Nav

How Review Generation and Response Can Supercharge Your
Self-Storage Business

In the modern self-storage world, search engine optimization can easily be the difference between a comfortable 95% occupancy and a frustrating 85% occupancy. Standing out from the pack isn't just about climate-controlled units and 24/7 access (although those are nice too!), it’s about your potential customers knowing that you provide an excellent, and attentive tenancy. Today's savvy renters are navigating the digital landscape, and for them, online reviews are a social signifier that you and your business are trustworthy. Beyond that, Google’s algorithm also looks to reviews for a clue as to where you belong on a search results page. For self-storage operators, unlocking the SEO goldmine in these reviews can feel like trying to solve an Agatha Christie mystery. But fear not intrepid storage sleuths! We are here to give you a few relatively easy steps you can take to uncover the clues and solve this mystery.

Reviews: The Key to Unlocking Your SEO Superpower

In the digital age, online reviews are the new word-of-mouth. These recommendations are the life’s blood of any customer-facing business, giving you immediate credibility in the eyes of consumers. And for self-storage businesses, these can also turn into low-hanging fruit for juicing your SEO. Google Business Profile (GBP), the holy grail of local SEO, takes your reviews, your responses to those reviews, and your speed in responding into account when making the split-second decision of where to rank your website relative to your competitors. Positive reviews boost your GBP ranking, driving your business to the top of search results when potential tenants type "storage 
near me." 

The power of reviews goes beyond mere ranking. They're trust-building tools, humanizing your brand and assuring potential customers that you're not just another faceless REIT gobbling up local business. Detailed reviews packed with praise for your friendly staff, spotless facilities, and convenient access become virtual tours, painting a picture of easy and care-free tenancy that resonates with renters.

  • 93% of consumers read online reviews before they make a purchase decision: We found this fact in Power Reviews “Survey: The Ever Growing Power of Reviews (2023 Edition).”
  • Even more surprising, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations: You can read about that in Reputation X’s “2024 Online Reputation Management Statistics” Report.

That's a whole lot of tenants swayed by the power of a well-placed "5 stars – This place is a lifesaver!"

Review Generation: From Zero to Hero

So, how do we unlock this review goldmine and turn those crickets chirping on your GMB page into a chorus of satisfied customers singing your praises? It’s a closely guarded secret, but we’re going to let you know right here. You ask for it. Seriously, that’s it. Just asking for a review increases the likelihood that you’ll get a review by about 70%.

Here are the steps to follow every time to turbocharge your review generation:

  • Timing is everything: Don't ambush your renters with review requests the moment they step through the door. Wait until they've had a chance to settle in, experience your exceptional service, and maybe even hum happily as they unpack their prized porcelain llama collection.
  • Make it easy: Ditch the clunky forms and embrace streamlined review platforms. A simple email or text message with a link can do wonders. Bonus points for integrating review requests into your post-move-in survey or automated follow-up emails.
  • Personalize it: Generic requests are a snooze. Tailor your message to the specific customer's experience. Mention their name, the unit they rented, and why you think their feedback would be valuable

Connecting the Dots: Turbocharge the SEO By Responding

You’ve got your generation plan down and the reviews are pouring in. Now you could stop here. Bringing in those reviews is going to boost your SERP position, without a doubt. Most of your competitors are stopping here. They send out “Hey Bob, thanks for your business! Please leave us a review to let us know how we did!” and then kick their feet up and turn on the game. 

But you’re not like you’re competitors! You want that extra edge, that SEO juice they are leaving on the table. So you’re going to take that extra step, and you’re going to respond to your reviews. And you’re going to do that because you know that the numbers back up the value of that time spent.

  • 70% of consumers are more likely to use a business that responds to reviews: This statistic comes from a 2023 study by BrightLocal, titled "Local Consumer Review Survey 2023.”
  • Responding to reviews increases click-through rates by 73%: Read more from this 2022 study by Moz, titled "The Local Search Ranking Factors Survey 2022." 
  • Businesses with positive review responses see a 15% lift in conversion rates: This claim is based on a 2021 case study by Podium, titled "The State of Reviews 2021."

Responding to reviews isn’t just about an improved SERP position. Responding to reviews builds trust, humanizes your brand, and demonstrates a genuine commitment to customer satisfaction. Imagine the difference between an echoing silence and a thoughtful reply – it speaks volumes about the value you place on your customers and their experiences.

Review Response Best Practices: From Meh to Marvelous

Turning a response from "meh" to "marvelous" takes more effort, but it’s worth it. Here's your guide to crafting responses that resonate:

  • Acknowledge & Respond Promptly: Show you're listening. Aim to respond within 24-48 hours for positive reviews and even sooner for negative ones.
  • Personalize, Personalize, Personalize: Address the reviewer by name, reference their specific experience, and avoid generic responses.
  • Express Gratitude for Positive Feedback: A simple "Thank you!" goes a long way. Show genuine appreciation for their kind words and highlight what makes you happy to hear.
  • Make Each Response Unique: Don’t just respond to every good review with “Thanks!” and every negative review with “Please call our office.” Make sure that each review embraces your brand voice, and treats the customer like an individual. Both the customer and Google’s algorithm will appreciate this one.
  • Leverage the Power of Keywords: Sprinkle relevant keywords naturally throughout your responses, but prioritize genuine communication over SEO stuffing.
  • Use Reviews as Learning Opportunities: Analyze both positive and negative feedback to identify areas for improvement and enhance your customer experience.
  • Respond Consistently: Make review responses a part of your ongoing marketing strategy. Dedicate time and resources to responding to all reviews, and building a positive online reputation.
  • Bonus Tip: Showcase positive review excerpts on your website and social media to further amplify their impact

Responding to Reviews: The Art of Turning Lemons into Lemonade

No discussion of review responses would be complete without addressing the terror of how to reply to a negative review. But fear not, for even the sourest lemons can be squeezed into SEO lemonade! Here's how:

  • Acknowledge and apologize: Show empathy and professionalism. Address the customer's concerns directly and express your sincere regret for any inconvenience caused.
  • Take it offline: Don't get into a public debate on your GMB page. Offer to take the conversation private to discuss the issue further and find a resolution.
  • Turn negatives into positives: Use the feedback as an opportunity to improve. Address the issue internally and let the customer know what steps you're taking to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Follow these rules and not only will potential tenants see that you work hard to make every customer happy, but on occasion, you can even turn around the negative reviewer's experience and get them to update a review about how well you handled their negative feedback.

Closing the SEO Case

By now you should have your hands around why review generation is important, why responding is important, and some key tactics that will allow you to jump into the online reputation fray. 

Remember, review generation and response are not just marketing tactics. Sure, they help to boost your hyperlocal SEO, an important battle in self-storage. But more importantly, they're cornerstones of building trust, creating relationships, and ultimately, attracting more renters to your facility. If you would like to learn more about the tools we use to help our clients with their reputation management and reviews, feel free to reach out to us!