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Trust is Key in Self-Storage Marketing to Growing Hispanic Market Segment

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By : Scott Meyers    99 or more times read
Trust is important in any business relationship. It is especially important for the growing Hispanic market segment. An awareness of the importance of trust, along with the role played by cultural and linguistic influences, is an essential part of any winning business strategy.

Self-storage operators in states on the Mexican border are doing business with an increasingly Hispanic client base. The Internet has been a valuable tool in reaching these customers. Thatís because studies show Hispanic consumers are more likely than others to research a product or service online. This makes it easier for you to inform them of your self-storage facility and services through your online presence. It also makes it easier for you to establish a necessary, initial level of trust before you ever meet the potential customer.

However, studies also find that Hispanic customers are less likely to finalize a deal online. The reasons for this are varied. Some customers donít finalize online because they are cash-based consumers who either do not have, or prefer not to use a credit card. Others are unwilling to finalize the deal online because of the quality of the translation on your website. They want to see the facility for themselves to be sure what theyíre being told is actually what they see online. Either way, you must take into account that most Hispanic prospects are going to visit your facility to finalize the deal. When they visit, they will want to be able to communicate with the staff. They want their questions about security and tenant insurance answered by someone at the facility. For that communication to be in Spanish is important to their level of trust in the facility and their willingness to close the deal. Bilingual employees are essential to this market segment. When these prospects arrive at your self-storage facility, having someone there who can speak to them is essential to their comfort and willingness to commit to any deal.

A similarly large consideration is the fact that most Hispanics have learned that the Spanish content of a website is not an accurate translation of the English version of that same content. This is because many of the translations are made by way of online services or translated verbatim from English to Spanish. In many instances, Hispanic customers prefer the English version of the site, believing the more accurate information is available there. Given that trust in the facility, security, and operations is of vital importance to potential customers in the Hispanic market, youíll need to meet this requirement in a culturally sensitive way.

One way is to create marketing materials in Spanish rather than simply translating your existing materials into Spanish. Survey your existing Hispanic customers to find out what attracted them to your facility, as well as what keeps them there. Include these points in your Spanish-language materials. According to Yvonne Cerrano, a Self-Storage Facility Manager in El Paso, greeting customers that walk in English is great, but being able to do the same in Spanish is even better. Many times, Hispanic customers look to communicate with someone that speaks their language so that they can get the most accurate information and feel more comfortable during a deal. Thatís why when they ask Cerrano if she speaks Spanish, ďAs soon as I say yes, they feel comfortable and know I can help them,Ē says Cerrano. This reaches out to your marketing materials as well. The better your Spanish language materials, the more likely you will make a favorable impression on potential Hispanic customers and get them to visit your site.

Two other things you must take into account are the way the Hispanic market segment accesses web content and their growing use of social media. Itís not enough that your materials are in Spanish for a Spanish audience. They must also be accessible on mobile devices since many potential customers in the Hispanic market segment will be accessing your materials from their phones. Having your Spanish-language content on a site designed to facilitate this will only be to your benefit. As for social media, since studies indicate that Hispanic consumers use social media for research on products and services to a larger extent than the general population, having a presence in the various social media communities is a good business move. A bilingual presence will put you firmly on their radar. And a bilingual presence that takes the expectations of the Hispanic community into account will go even further in instilling trust in this market segment.

While taking the time to interact online with the Hispanic market segment, donít just market your self-storage units. Talk about the features at your facility. List the security benefits on your site, as security is a concern for this market segment. Include information about tenant insurance and other culturally relevant features your facility has to offer. While youíre at it, get involved in social media. Tweet about your facility and any deals, events or activities. Have a Facebook page with fans and send information to them on a consistent basis. Just be sure the content is linguistically and culturally in tune with the Hispanic market segment youíre trying to reach. Make your efforts go as far as they can by involving these potential customers in a dialogue about the needs they're trying to fill and what they hope to find in an ideal self-storage facility.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your potential Hispanic customers are looking for information and assurance that your self-storage facility is the right one for them. The easier it is for them to access your information, communicate with your staff, and find content that is written in Spanish for a Spanish-speaking audience, the more likely it is that they will finalize the deal online or take the time to visit the facility to finalize the deal there. Once they reach your facility and speak with your staff, have a chance to look around, and see that what you have is what they need; your efforts will pay off. The time you've taken to reach this market segment via the Internet and social media will have been just the first step in establishing a long and profitable relationship. As they spread the word through their social media and other contacts, your share of this market will grow.
Scott Meyers, CSSM is the owner and President of Alcatraz Storageģ which operates several Self Storage Facilities in the Midwest. Scott is a Certified Self Storage Manager (CSSM©) through the National Self Storage Association and has been a real estate investor since 1993. He was an instructor of the Landlord 101 course through the University of Indianapolis and now Scott Speaks to Investor groups nationwide and has students around the world, but mostly enjoys spending time at home with his wife and 3 young children in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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