In the world of student apartment marketing, what you do during the spring and summer months can make all the difference in next year’s occupancy rates. If you’re struggling to fill your final beds for summer or fall semesters, this blog is for you. These digital marketing tips can help you get heads in beds fast.
Use Geofencing To Your Advantage
Know when your target audience is likely to be in town and take advantage of it with geofencing campaigns targeting specific locations. Housing fairs, new student or transfer student orientations, and community or leasing events open to the public are the perfect kinds of events to capture. Once you’ve captured your audience through this geofencing campaign, retarget them with tailored messaging to increase brand awareness, encourage tours, and increase foot traffic. Event retargeting allows you to connect more personally with the audience you captured because you know they attended a specific event for a specific reason and you have a solution to a need that they are looking to satisfy—a place to live.
Raise Your Ad Spend Now When It Matters Most
With most student housing properties, we see August move-in dates and May-July move-out dates, so don’t be afraid to spend your marketing budget in the spring when it matters most and you’re down to the wire to fill beds for summer or fall. Spend your budget on digital marketing tactics that will drive qualified traffic—like search ads—or increase brand awareness—like geotargeting or social ads. Speaking of social ads, don’t just stop at Facebook and Instagram. Think about TikTok and/or YouTube where a video component can go a long way to encourage online engagement. And don’t forget to implement a retargeting component to keep your brand top of mind as prospects continue shopping.
Scale your budget back when you’ve reached your leasing goals and maintain a presence online without breaking the bank. Then do it all again next year. Being flexible with your ad spend throughout the year helps maximize the impact of your ad budget by allowing you to solve for leasing challenges quickly or proactively get in front of them before they even become a challenge.
Strategically Expand Your Audience Targeting
Expand your audience targeting by creating custom audiences based on websites your audience may have visited such as a university housing page. Several tactics allow for customer matching or lookalike audiences. Use data that you already have collected to find similar users.
Refine Your Messaging to Earn More Qualified Traffic
What REALLY sets you apart from your competitors? Ask yourself the question, “Why would a student choose my property over our competitors?” Focus on one or two key differentiators in your ad messaging in order to tap into the segment of your student audience that really values what makes your community unique. For example, if your community is located right across from campus and your competitors are a mile away, focus on your location, using clever phrasing when you can. “Tired of taking the shuttle?” is a great way to get your point across in a playful way.
If you’re not sure what messaging to focus on, try listening to feedback from prospects and residents. What questions are they asking when they call you or visit your leasing office? What feedback have they given you about other properties they have visited in the area? What do they mention in positive reviews on your community? Notice any trends within the feedback and incorporate into your messaging where possible. Getting a lot of calls about pricing? Prominently display pricing in your ad copy and utilize price extensions in search. Getting a lot of questions about a specific floor plan layout? Create a carousel ad on social highlighting that floor plan, detailing the features, and incorporate some photos of that specific floor plan.
And don’t forget about the parents. Parents are still involved in housing decisions and are most likely paying the bills, so don’t leave them out. Your messaging can still be amenity focused and playful while still taking into account the things that are important to parents: all-inclusive living, fully furnished, privacy, etc. Just remember where your parent audience is. Most likely, parents are on Facebook while students are on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube. Remember to use multiple ads and select different placements so you can tailor your messaging for students and parents.