Whether your apartment community is conventional housing near a major college or university, or if you have specified student housing, it’s important to attract the right residents. Student housing marketing is vital to the success of your community. Since your turnover rate may be higher than most communities (unless you’ve got a few Super Seniors) it’s important to keep the sales funnel filled with possibilities of your next residents.
In order to be the community that’s synonymous with student housing, you need to be sure to leverage every tool you have. Ready to learn?
In order to become the community where students want to be, you have to take a deep dive into student culture.
This generation of students are the first tech-native generation—life is online. So meet them where they are, with instagram reels and stories. Make sure your website is up to date and your branding is on point. Be careful with your aesthetics, and have us create custom-branded graphics for your social media posts.
Create a partnership with the college and university nearby. Get in touch with the student development office, and answer any questions they have. When you’re known (and appreciated) by the college staff, they’ll be much more likely to recommend you as an option for housing. Show up at the schools (colleges, trade schools) and drop off information—packets for touring students, or offer incentives with school-based codes so you know where your residents are attending/coming from.
TALK TO MOM
Keep in mind, also, that the student may not be the only one investigating where to live. If this is the student’s first home away from home, parents or even grandparents may be helping them make the decision, too. (It may very well even be them co-signing a lease or helping with monthly rent payments).
Finally, for visibility, word of mouth and social sharing will be key to get your name out there. Consider hosting an annual pool party and have residents invite 1-2 guests (with passes) and be sure to have a food truck or two on hand. Get out plenty of fun pool floats, and have your leasing specials and incentives on display for any future student residents who are still looking for a place to stay.
Being fake is something that this next generation of students seems to be able to spot without even trying.
SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE
It’s important to be able to speak their language, though. They don’t want emails. They want social media. They don’t want documentaries (necessarily)—they want short video snippets. Keep a shorter attention span in mind when you’re creating any sort of video marketing collateral, and put in closed captions as well so they can enjoy it with the sound off.
As for instagram, post regularly. Make sure there are people in your photos. Have plenty of testimonials and photos of current residents. Advertise your fun community events coming up. Keep an updated running calendar of events saved on your stories—it’s not helpful if it’s from 2 years ago! Also consider having a Live Q&A or an “Ask Anything” box on your stories. Not only does this answer the question one resident has, it can help clue you in to what they value and what’s important to them. This, then, can help you determine what to post (that’s relevant) on your page. Make your posts attractive (aesthetics mean a lot) and stick with your branding: colors, fonts, student focus. Videos can help you reach your biggest audience. Create some reel ideas as a fun version of FAQ, such as “a packing list” “where to park” “pool rules” and other fun topics. Ask actual residents to help you with these, so it feels relevant to your followers.
Beyond short videos and Instagram, it’s important for you to create a clear landing page (where prospective student residents will go from social media) on your website—one that’s made for student housing exclusively. Be sure to include an actual FAQ, and focus on the group of students that are most likely to live in your community—not all student residents are the same; some want a more dormitory feel and some may want a more residential feel, if they’re upperclassmen, for example. Tailor your web copy and content so that it feels like you’re speaking directly to them.
Students love options.
Like we said above, not one size fits all. Same goes for budgets. Consider offering lease signing incentives. Student residents have student loans looming, and they’re careful with their residential bills. Focus on practical and useful amenities, and show off the things they’ll get with their unit: wifi? Pool access? A good study space? A fitness center?
THIS IS YOUR HOME
Also create attractive floor plans. 2d or 3d options with furniture details can give them a hint of what life could be like as a student in your community. Creating a family feel in your community is vital, as well. Build out the calendar with youthful-focused events like video game night, popcorn and a movie night, cooking classes, and of course: food trucks and coffee carts. When students are known, it creates a close-knit community, similar to a dormitory. And don’t forget a personal touch: write a welcome note upon move-in letting them know you’re there if they need anything.
The biggest key to newbie residents? Be helpful. Create move-in checklists. Show where to put empty moving boxes. Indicate where your bike storage is and where students should park. Outline security policies (parents will love this) and keep all the amenities functioning properly. It’s also important to point out the best your neighborhood has to offer with a community map—so they know where to go to get the best cup of coffee or a late night snack nearby.
Most of all, you must provide value, whether it’s through amenities that put you above the competition, or through your leasing incentives. Another great way to stand out is by showing off your green side. The latest generation of students are concerned about the environment. Create a campaign or capitalize on an existing one—show off your eco-friendly apartments through social media and on your website.
When it comes to student housing, you’ll need to know your resident well to speak to them directly. Beyond authenticity, helping students is vital. Being a comfortable place to live will help students take that big first step out of their family home and into your community.
Need help attracting student residents to your community? Reach out to the experts here at zipcode.