Every January I get excited for the new opportunities and challenges that will present themselves over the next 12 months. Not only personal opportunities and challenges, but also for our business and clients. Whether you are in student housing or senior living, the same opportunities and challenges exist and the new year is ripe for making some changes to improve year-end results.
With the new opportunities and challenges it is important to stay on top of new trends. Here are the top 3 trends/changes we’re seeing in student housing marketing and residential housing in general.
1. Less is More – Gone are the days when we had to fit every amenity, phone number, fax number and special into a marketing piece. With the rise of mobile devices, prospects can now access your website anytime, anywhere to get all of the information they need. Student’s are more likely to visit a website before they call your leasing office. Think about the next time you want to cram a phone number on a small marketing piece. Additionally, print materials perform better when they aren’t cluttered with too many messages. If your community has multiple messages, consider an incremental campaign with each piece focusing on a different amenity or service. Less will lead to more leases.
2. Stock Photography is Out. While we realize the stock photos of hip twenty-somethings (or happy kids as we like to call them) available for sale are professional looking, our focus groups have shown that students want to see property pictures in marketing materials. As they say, a photograph is worth a thousand words (or maybe even leases), so consider the benefits of a custom photo shoot of your property instead of purchasing stock lifestyle images. You also don’t have to worry about your competitors using the same stock picture in their materials.
3. Social Strategy. Your social media campaign should be one of the key components to your marketing plan. But do Grumpy Cat posts and Game of Thrones memes help your strategy? It’s important to approach it with the same strategy as traditional marketing. But do you have a strategy? Creating a consistent online voice and strategic messaging that parallels your traditional marketing campaign is critical. Save Grumpy Cat for your personal page.
Changes like those trends we’ve listed above will help your student housing marketing or residential marketing results in 2014. This is a great time to start trying some new things and measuring the results that follow.