May 08, 2018
How to Market Student Housing Properties Online
All across the cities, suburbs and towns of America, there is a distinct segment of renter: The student renter. If you own or are managing affordable rentals located anywhere near a college, you’ll need to market your student housing properties online. It’s a growing and increasingly competitive market, with many purpose-built units being set up on and around campuses.
Here are a few marketing tips to capture more student renter leads.
Be Where They Look
Zen-like heading aside, you need to be in the places that students look for housing online. Students do everything online (even ordering pizza!), so this means you need to be found on Craigslist, as well as popular student classifieds. This may also be the time you want to invest in PPC ads or fine tune your SEO to ensure that your website appears for student housing searches.
So, you’ve got your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and you’re ready to rock-and-roll? Think again. According to recent stats from Pew Research Center, young adults are flocking to Instagram and Snapchat. For Instagram, it’s expected to surpass a billion users in 2018. (Pro tip: 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded.) Forty-five percent of Snapchat’s user base is in the 18-24 age range, making it a perfect fit for student housing marketers, but it’s live storytelling approach is quite different from Facebook, making it a challenge.
Create a Lifestyle Image
It should be a snap for students to see themselves in your building or housing units. Your ads should contain lots of photographs, of both the unit itself as well as amenities and nearby attractions — like popular student shopping spots, bars and sports venues. And, don’t forget video! Video tours of the building can help sway both the student and their parents.
Tell Them About the Stuff that Matters
What appeals to a middle-aged couple with kids and a 20-something student are two very different things. Write online ads to include all the things that students want to know. What’s the distance to the campus? Is there nearby public transportation? Is there free wifi in the building? Are there laundry facilities in the unit or the building (or even better, a laundry service!) If the closets are large in the bedrooms, mention it! If you can easily fit a desk in the bedroom, mention that too. Of course, be sure to include any building security features as well.
Add a Little Extra
What can you throw in to encourage new student renters? Everyone loves a little extra bonus, and students are no exception. Partner up with local coffee shops, student bookstores and other popular handouts to offer gift cards or discounts. And, remember, don’t just reward new student renters with a signing bonus, use these same incentives to encourage your current student tenants to renew early.
Be a Tech Showoff
Does your student housing accept online payments? Can the students report a maintenance issues simply by using their mobile phone? Students don’t use checks. And, anything they can do by phone is a bonus. So, highlight how your property uses technology to make life easier for student residents.
Every year students move out of state to attend the college of their choice. And, foreign students flood into the states to take attend some of the finest schools in the world. Combine that with students who move to college town within their own state, and there is now the new reality that prospects need to be captured around the clock. Drive your marketing efforts to online applications. These can ensure that all necessary fields – including guarantor information and consent – are correctly completed prior to qualifying prospective student tenants.
Get Students Talking
Build your online brand ambassadors. Prior to the end of lease renewal time, ask your student renters to tell their friends about available units. Students are connected! Encourage student residents to post pics of their soon-to-be available apartment with your property’s name and location as hashtags.
How Property Vista Helps
To learn more about our solutions for student housing marketing, leasing, communication and operations, see our pricing and sign up to get a demo of our online property management software.