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.
Apartment marketing should be dynamic. That’s why “stagnant” is the last word you want to be associated with your property’s website. Google rewards websites that are constantly refreshed with new content and relevant keywords, so “set it and forget it” is not a winning strategy for any websites used as multifamily marketing materials. In fact, websites should be treated much like a social media page. You’re probably aware that a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in a long time is a bad look for any business. In the same way, websites that haven’t been updated with new content suffer in search rankings.
A blog is the easiest way to update your site with content that is both consistent and useful, which are two key aspects of SEO. Useful content is more likely to be shared on other sites, including residents’ social media pages. When someone links back to your blog, it creates a backlink. A backlink is an incoming hyperlink from someone else’s web page to your website, and they provide huge boosts to your site’s search ranking.
Is there anything on your website right now that residents would feel inclined to share with their friends? If the answer is no, a blog can change that right away. The key is to write content that solves people’s problems. Whether you’re marketing to millennials or senior citizens, people want to feel like your blog can add something to their lives.
Properties should post at least two new blogs each month to keep their page fresh and ranking high on Google. It’s important to be consistent, so if you upload your first blog on a Tuesday, you should always upload blogs on Tuesdays. Not only will this help with SEO ranking, but your residents will come to expect a new blog on the same day each week.
Blogs can really provide added value if they’re filled with shareable content. Here are some apartment marketing ideas that we love using in blogs.
Call Attention to Amenities
Do your properties have luxury amenities like a cabana or outdoor grill?
Write about BBQ recipes or burger grilling dos and don’ts.
Got a state-of-the-art workout facility?
Write about trendy new exercises or workout equipment.
This type of content can be found all over the web, but not every site has the advantage of being able to tie it back to on-site amenities for their audience. Not only do amenity-focused blogs boost SEO, they also help residents feel like they’re getting more out of their community. A well-written, topical monthly blog series can even act as an additional luxury amenity when done right.
Rank Bars and Restaurants
Restaurant rankings and reviews make for ideal blog content. If you’re going to write about local restaurants, be sure to include links to the restaurants’ websites. These links will boost your SEO since Google uses keywords from the restaurant websites in addition to your blog content to determine search ranking. When done well, a simple breakdown of new bars and restaurants near your property can do wonders for your website’s search ranking. This type of content is also incredibly useful, and highly shareable as a result.
Give Residents Something to Do
Just like restaurant rankings, posts about local events are the perfect opportunity to link to local venue and event pages. This is also some of the most shareable, relevant content your website can produce.
Think about it, wouldn’t you love to see a list of events in your area, then share it to a friend’s Facebook wall?
A blog about local events will frame your property as the go-to source for residents looking for something to do in the community. All it takes is one useful blog for residents to start checking back for new posts each week. More readers mean more shared posts and more backlinks.
Since every website needs a blog these days, we at Threshold provide blog writing services for properties all over the country. If you don’t have time to write 2 to 4 blogs every month, let Threshold give your website an SEO boost with useful, relevant blog content. Check back in a couple weeks for more marketing ideas for apartments from Threshold agency.
I love my parents. They are a big reason I started my own agency so many years ago. Sure there was some trepidation and fear but I forged ahead. Made my own path, so to speak. They’ve lived up in the Dallas area for nearly 20 years now and recently decided to relocate to be closer to the family in Austin.
So began the trek to find them a place to live – something “nice, elegant, upgraded but affordable,” said my mom. As most of you know, Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in America – all the hip, cool, creative types just can’t get enough. We’re changing the world down here, man! At any rate, we turned our eyes to the quickly growing city of Buda and all the new housing developments under construction.
Visiting the sales centers I realized just how important new development marketing and pre-sales/leasing centers are when you’re, in all essence, selling dirt. Good ‘ole Texas clay. At Threshold, we’ve spent a considerable amount of time developing best-of-class new development creative that gives clients a leg up. Here’s some advice on new development marketing when breaking ground on a new student apartment community, senior housing facility or any new home division:
- Make sure to find a pre-sales or leasing center that can staff your team of marketing experts until the permanent model home or clubhouse is finished. Preferably, doors for the sales centers need to open well in advance of anticipated move-in (especially in student housing) in order to build the brand awareness necessary to capture folks when they begin searching.
- Your digital brochure – aka website – needs to be up and running as soon as a name, the amenities and a contact are ready to go. Search engines take time to index you and the extra time will be well worth it when things really start to heat up.
- Get the construction site filled with as much signage as possible. Bright, creative, relevant designs that won’t dirty OR are cheap to replace. We hate seeing great creative all muddied up from the elements. Check with the city on temporary construction sign ordinances to ensure your sign isn’t removed.
- Think about ways your future residents can interact with your community at the pre-leasing center. Mini-models or interactive display boards are fun and certainly help people pass the time while they wait in the long lines to lease or buy.
- Create a solid marketing plan. New developments will cost more to market becuase you are building awareness. Do it right the first year and you’ll be thankful the second.
Now, while this list isn’t all-inclusive it’s a good start to ensuring your new start launches well. Those folks in Buda did a good job at ensuring my parents felt comfortable and excited about that new piece of Texas clay they just purchased. And we’re certainly excited because we now have another set of well-qualified babysitters moving to town.