Updated August 2023

Student housing is a unique marketing strategy compared to traditional multifamily apartments, as it comes with a different set of marketing guidelines, expectations, and leasing cycle. Student housing is an ever-evolving market with an audience that’s looking for an affordable rental with the amenities and location, regardless if it’s only for a semester. Students are looking at apartments in prime locations with proximity to campus and points of interest, and are using different channels when researching their next apartment. On top of that, you need to stay ahead of the marketing trends to grab their attention. We’re here to school you on some key focus areas for your student housing marketing strategy.

Student Housing Leasing Cycle

Student housing trends evolve and change constantly, sometimes seemingly overnight! The student
housing space creates unique conditions for marketers but running successful campaigns doesn’t have to be complicated. Student housing’s unique lease cycle provides the framework for what can be an exciting leasing season, and Digible’s process for campaign success to reach your goals.

Through continuous testing, granular targeting, and data-driven decision-making, we are able to reach your potential renters at the right time and place. Our process focuses on turning potential renters into
residents by implementing a detailed strategy focused on the unique aspects of your property.

Leasing Considerations: Begins around 2 months after move-in, percentage of renewals based on the class rank of previous year’s residents, and enrollment trends (if your property is affiliated with the University).

  • Renewal Rumble: October – December (Q4). During this time period, many students begin looking at accommodation options for the following school year. It’s best to create this awareness before they leave for the holidays.

    • We Recommend: Adding SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Paid Social, and Display.

  • Preleasing Push: January – April (Q1). The majority of the annual marketing budget is allocated to conversion-driven campaigns in Q,1 with the goal of being 100% leased by the end of March for August move-ins. Awareness of property highlights, such as amenities, resident events, and leasing specials, along with proximity to campus and points of interest, and room mating matching (if applicable).

    • We Recommend: Paid Search, Paid Social, and TikTok Ads. Geofencing is also a great addition to your marketing mix, especially for any open-house events.

  • Home Stretch: April – August (Q2). This is a final push to lease for the following school year’s move-in.

    • We Recommend: Paid Search and Social Lead Generation.

  • Move In: August- September (Q3). With students securing their housing for the school year and move-ins, focusing on organic social and maintaining your reputation (reviews, ads, and social commentary).

    • We Recommend: Reputation Management, Ad-Watch monitoring paid ad comments, and Organic Social Media.

TikTok Advertising for Student Housing

Focus on their Study-Life Balance

Luxury amenities used to be the hottest commodity, but now health and wellness is the best play when you are marketing to students. There are still plenty of apartments out there with tanning beds or jumbo movie theaters, but students are looking for places to study with stable internet and fitness equipment. Large study areas and flex spaces can provide students with a place to study or socialize. After a long study session, a fitness center or yoga studio with all the accouterments is exactly what they are looking for to work off their stress.

Target Gen Z on Their Mobile Device

Gen Z’ers aren’t fond of calling people on the phone. They even say they’d rather text than talk to someone in person. Try setting up a phone number they can text when they want to take a tour or learn more about your property or provide virtual tours on your website and social media channels. Conversely, you can also text them after they’ve come in for a visit and learn more about their experience. They may not give you the time of day when you give them a ring, but a quick text can get you closer to them signing a lease.

TikTok is what keeps their screen time high. Gen Z’ers are on it daily and love to share what they are doing with their friends. Onsite teams can showcase resident life and events, university tips and tricks, and the latest trends. The possibilities are endless when showing students what they can have at their next home.

Proximity to Campus and Points of Interest

Amenities are fantastic, don’t get us wrong, but students will spend a lot of time away from home, whether they are visiting friends or going to class. Be sure to include certain pieces of information in your on-site content and social media strategy:

  • Close to class? Raise your hand if you remember waking up 7 minutes before your first class in college and having to run over a mess. *Raises hand emphatically* We all know that students are busy and stressed. Is your building close to campus? Mention it on your site, “5 minutes from campus”, to give students a better idea of what they are working with when they are building schedules.
    Be mindful of Fair Housing verbiage. Not sure if your content is Fair Housing compliant? Ask us about our Fair Housing Tool that monitors your digital footprint.
  • Location, Location, Location. Students oftentimes don’t have cars, so mentioning access to alternative modes of transportation, such as bike storage or rentals, electronic scooters, reliable public transport systems, and rideshares. Link to a map of public transportation lines that includes ticketing information as well, and you are bound to save them some time searching online!
  • Did you say sporting event? Events are prime time for students. Hanging out with their friends, wearing school pride hoodies, and going to games for almost (if not 100%) free is the best time in college. Is your neighboring university the reigning champs in hockey or football? Mention how close you are to the stadium to garner some excitement and raffles are a fun way to engage and retain student residents.

Student Housing Strategy

The student housing sector creates unique conditions for marketers but running successful campaigns doesn’t have to be complicated. Ensure you’re optimizing your campaigns in alignment with the University school year, allocating budgets accordingly, and attracting your Gen Z renters where they are the most active.

Have questions or need support with your Student Housing Marketing Strategy? Drop us a line at [email protected]

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