Student Housing Marketing Strategies to Turn Around Occupancy Quickly

  • 8 April 2024

The student housing industry is set to see a rise in competition as new supply hits the market. Yardi forecasts 46,285 new beds will be added by the end of 2024, a 30% increase from the 35,610 beds delivered in 2023.

As the demand for student housing is tampered with by rising supply and increasingly cost-conscious families, how you market and position your student property will be more important than ever in the years ahead.

If you’re tasked with leasing student properties in high-supply markets and aren’t meeting your expected targets, here are five marketing strategies you can apply to ramp up pre-leasing activity.

Optimize Keyword Targeting in Paid Search

Paid Search advertising is highly effective for reaching prospects actively in the market for student housing. With one of the highest lead conversion rates, traffic from this channel tends to be the most qualified. To get the most out of this channel,  ensure you have a tight keyword strategy in place to avoid wasting ad dollars on really broad search terms if you are in a highly competitive multifamily market. Consider increasing your search budgets during seasons when your two buying personas tend to search more (November and March for parents, then spring and summer months for students) and adjust your location targeting accordingly.

Reach Students Living Near Campus With Hyper-Local Targeting Strategies

Increase your brand awareness among current students with local targeting strategies. While state and national targeting is typically the most effective location targeting strategy for reaching parents and incoming freshmen, local targeting can be an effective way to increase leasing activity among college students looking for new accommodations for the next semester or school year. When it comes to local search optimization, maintaining an up-to-date Google Business Profile can be key to increasing visibility in Google Maps and local search listings in Google. In addition to optimizing your Google Business Profile, consider leveraging radius targeting in Display and Paid Social advertising to ensure your property is discoverable throughout the school year.

Increase Visibility With Social Media Advertising

Social media is important to students. They use it as a source of information and as a way to connect with family and friends. 

Simply publishing content on social media, however, means running the risk of reaching audiences that are not interested in off-campus housing. Invest in ads so you can make use of targeting options such as location and interests that guarantee you’re reaching your buyer personas. Consider advertising on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok to ensure you’re reaching as many interested people as possible. While Facebook is widely used by Gen X parents, Instagram and TikTok cater to both students and younger parents. YouTube spans both of these age groups.

With 2.9 billion monthly active users, YouTube exposes your ads to a wide range of audiences but can be coupled with keyword targeting to ensure your ads are sure to reach a high-intent audience.

Leverage the Rise of Connected TV Popularity

Another video platform that is gaining popularity is Connected TV, especially for those within your current student and parent age groups. As more households get an Internet-connected TV device (87%), CTV usage is projected to be at 110 million among Gen Z and millennials. The good news for marketers is that almost 75% of these CTV viewers say they don’t mind watching ads on CTV as long as content remains free over paying for ad-free content. Non-skippable and with impressive targeting capabilities based on viewing habits, interests, and demographics, CTV ads are highly personalized and can, therefore, offer high conversion potential.

“Sell” the Right Lifestyle Messaging

One of the reasons students opt for off-campus housing is that it’s more private, it’s less chaotic than in-campus dorm life, and it offers more freedom. Highlight how your student housing can provide all of these – and more – to the student prospects. Talk about your amenities and how convenient their student life will be living in one of your units. Make these pieces of information known by publishing them on your social media channels and website.

Set Your Property Up For Success in a Competitive Market

While the reopening of schools has brought back a consistent flow of students seeking accommodation, the competitive landscape underscores the importance of strategic marketing efforts. By implementing targeted strategies such as local targeting, social media advertising, video advertising, paid search, and emphasizing lifestyle benefits, property owners can effectively position their offerings to attract discerning students and parents. In an increasingly competitive market, differentiation through effective marketing will be key to maximizing occupancy and profitability in the student housing sector.

Let us help you shape your student housing marketing strategy. Book a call today.

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