Search Marketing Strategies for Student Housing

Do you know what students type into Google when they search for an apartment? Do you know why some student housing ads get more clicks and impressions than others?

Most multifamily professionals know search marketing is an important component of a student housing marketing campaign, but they don’t know how student housing search marketing campaigns differ from general apartment search marketing campaigns, or what communities can do to stand out from others in the search engine.

By the end of this article, you won’t be like most multifamily housing professionals. You will have a better idea of how students search for apartments and what types of search ads they click on. You will know why some student housing search campaigns perform better than others and how your student housing community can use paid search campaigns to generate more traffic.

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Apartment SEO vs. SEM in 2019

If you took a sneak peek into thousands of apartment websites’ analytics accounts you might find that they tell a similar story. Most of their website traffic is coming from Google. Google is arguably the most important marketing channel for apartment marketers today, but it’s also one of the most difficult to compete in.

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Six Strategies for Writing Compelling Ad Copy

Pay Per ClickPay-per-click (PPC) ads allow you to create highly targeted advertising campaigns in an effort to reach your most valuable customers online. These paid search ads get your message in front of the right customers at the very top of search engine results pages.

When a potential customer enters a search query and your ad appears, it may be the first time they see or hear about your brand. Make a great first impression by crafting ad copy that introduces your offer to a customer, but also compels them to visit your website. Capturing their attention, enticing them with your offer, and providing them with the necessary steps to convert all begins with your ad copy. By following these six tried-and-true tactics, you can write great copy that compels your audience to click: 

  1. Be Relevant: Relevancy begins with an optimized campaign that delivers your message to the right audience. However, your ad copy is also critical in gaining relevance with potential customers. Your ad should match the keyword theme in its corresponding ad group and the copy you’re using should match the landing page users are directed to after clicking an ad. The more your ad matches the searcher’s intent, the more likely they are to click through to your website.
  1. Keep it concise: With character limits in ad headlines and descriptions, you don’t have much room for wordy messaging. Be concise and to the point. Stick to your message and don’t try to cover too much information in one ad.
  1. Share Your Unique Value: After grabbing the searcher’s attention with the headline, share something that makes you stand out from the competition. Why should the potential customer buy your product or use your service? Include promotions, exclusive offers, or other competitive differentiators to encourage users to click.
  1. Guide with a call-to-action:Tell the user what you want them to do after getting to your site with a call-to-action that drives click-through and conversion rates. Using phrases like, “buy now” or “contact us” will help guide your visitors to complete the action you want after getting to your site.
  1. Enable Ad Extensions: Your headlines are the most important part of your text ads. Ad extensions complement the headlines and improve overall click-through rate. Extensions like sitelinks, call or location extensions, and user reviews/ratings provide relevant messaging that gives searchers more information about your business.
  1. Test and Refine: Writing great ad copy that resonates with your audience doesn’t always happen on your first try. Implement ad tests so you can see what works and what doesn’t with your customers. Continue to test to discover what motivates searchers to act.

Need help creating and implementing your PPC campaign? Contact us today and we’ll help you deliver your compelling message to your target audience.


How Can Data Drive Local Campaigns?

Data Driven MarketingRelevant, effective digital ad campaigns are data-driven. Implementing a data-first strategy is key to ensuring return on investment on local campaigns. A recent report by SweetIQ shared the importance of using data to learn about who your consumers are, how they found you, and the products they’re interested in. What sort of data should you gather from different platforms including Google My Business, Facebook, Foursquare, and Bing to successfully execute your marketing strategy?

Google My Business: Google handles about 3.5 billion searches per day. With so much search activity, Google provides a wealth of information. You can discover how consumers are finding your business (local listings, paid, or organic search) and what location-specific action or conversions consumers are completing. Knowing insights on a per-location basis allows you to develop highly targeted marketing campaigns.

 

Data to gather and analyze: conversion clicks against in-store visits to assess which stores are drawing customers in, which listings are gaining the most views

Facebook: Facebook users spend an average of 40 minutes on Facebook per day, making it a prime place to advertise. Your Facebook ads need to be engaging, relevant, and accurately targeted to reach your audience. Facebook’s competitive landscape makes evaluating your analytics even more important. Understanding demographics and ad engagement are critical for successful local marketing.

Data to gather and analyze: audience demographics, post reach, shares, visits to page, and audience response.

Bing: Google may garner the most attention, but don’t neglect this search engine. Bing captures over 30 percent of the US search market and its users are ready to spend money (stat: ). Your competitors may be discounting the value of this platform, which means you can occupy a greater space for less ad spend.

Data to gather and analyze: user demographics, volume of impressions

Foursquare: Foursquare has 50+ million active monthly users and over 2 million businesses are listed on the app. You can gather insight into local search behavior and capture traffic of users who are looking for something quick and local. Leverage data to launch location-based campaigns and market to nearby consumers with special incentives and offers.

Data to gather and analyze: total and average check-ins per each location, number of new vs returning visitors, busiest hours, and demographics


5 Tips to Create Effective Paid Search Campaigns

Search Engine Marketing

Every day, more and more consumers use mobile search to find information and make purchases. Since most people are using mobile to search, you need to have an active presence on mobile. Google AdWords makes it easy to execute a paid search campaign to reach mobile users. By setting up an effective mobile paid search campaign you get in front of more prospects, when and where they’re looking for you.

Here are five tips to create an effective campaign:

1.Set Goals: What are your campaign objectives? Do you want to generate more calls? Improve traffic? Increase click-through rates? Setting goals helps you gauge whether or not your campaign is running smoothly. Continually analyze your campaign performance, test, and optimize.

2.Define Your Target Audience: Accurate targeting helps you reach in-market buyers. Knowing about your customers, including their location and device helps you pinpoint which search queries are a good match for your ads. Precise, focused targeting helps drive your ad creative so you can capture interested buyers when they are looking for what you have to offer.

3.Determine Your Keywords: The keywords you choose to target tell Google AdWords which user searches your ads should appear for. It’s important to consider the many different keywords and phrases a mobile searcher uses when looking for information. Choose unique, action-oriented keywords that help users make a decision quickly.

4.Use Ad Extensions: Ad extensions are simple to set up and can have a huge impact on your paid search performance. AdWords independently creates and displays the automated extensions (seller ratings, consumer ratings, social extensions, and previous visits) when it predicts that they’ll improve your ad’s performance. You can manually create new ad extensions that will show beneath your ad, including:

  • Site extension: links to promote additional landing pages or direct customers to more specific page on site
  • Call extension: a click to call button
  • Location extension: address to find nearest storefront
  • Click-to-text extensions: like call extensions, but they provide users a method for sending a direct text to the business.

5.Compel mobile searchers to click with clear calls to action: A focused call-to-action with a few well-chose words is better than long, convoluted paragraphs. Skip the flowery language and opt for clear, direct language that conveys your message in simple terms. One clear call-to-action offers value to the consumer and increases conversions.

Paid search is all about showing the right ads to the right audience. We have the expertise and experience to execute an effective paid search campaign that delivers results. Contact us today.


Search Campaigns Can be Used for Branding

Search advertising has long been used as a direct-response marketing strategy, but a new study from Google reveals it could be helpful in branding as well.

Throughout 2013, Google and Ipsos MediaCT conducted 61 search experiments to measure the impact of search ads on brand awareness. They measured both top-of-mind awareness and unaided brand awareness even when the consumer doesn’t click on the ad.

Overall, Google found that there was a positive impact on unaided brand awareness and top of mind awareness.

Top of mind awareness from search campaigns

This can add an interesting twist to your search campaigns. Rather than focusing solely on direct-response campaigns, you can include a search campaign for branding as well. This can help drive your direct-response campaigns by improving your mindshare of customers.

To learn more about getting your own search campaign up and running, contact us today.


Tablet users are engaged during primetime – are you marketing to them?

Tablets are becoming more and more commonplace both in work and at home, and they are now the ultimate companion device for consumers as they watch TV.

In a new report from Flurry Analytics, tablet users are shown to use their tablets throughout the day, but during the primetime hours the usage spikes.

What does this mean? It means tablet users are using their devices as they watch TV. They’re searching, networking and playing games. Their high engagement during the primetime TV hours means that you have an additional way to get their attention instead of just TV commercials.

Imagine you run a primetime TV spot at 7:30 p.m. on a local news channel. An interested customer sees your ad, grabs their tablet and looks you up online. You have two opportunities to grab them while they are searching for your business.

The first is with a search targeting campaign. Also known as paid search, search targeting puts your ad at the top of search engines. This gives you the chance to reach people as they look up your business.

The second is with Retargeting. Retargeting displays ads to people after they visit your website, allowing you to remarket your business to them. So if the interested tablet user searches and finds your website, but leaves without taking action, you can still reach out to them through a Retargeting campaign.

Tablet users have high primetime engagement, and tend to be older and more affluent than other demographics. It’s time to target tablet users with search and display ads.


Boeing Classic Campaign Part Two: Pixel Targeting

The second part of the campaign was a Pixel Targeting campaign. Pixel Targeting is a unique product that we developed to find appropriate customers based on their purchase history, search intent, search history and more. For Boeing Classic, the Pixel Targeting campaign was aimed at Washington State golf enthusiasts. This allowed Boeing Classic to reach out to people who might not have heard about their website, but would be interested in attending the tournament.

The Pixel Targeting campaign used the same creative as the Site Retargeting campaign, and the eye-popping design grabbed the attention of golf enthusiasts as they browsed their favorite websites. This part of the campaign was focused on high-volume ad inventory and succeeded in reaching thousands of people in Boeing Classic’s target demographic.

Overall campaign stats were just as impressive as Retargeting: 301,051 impressions, 527 clicks and a CTR of .18%


It’s Time to Start Targeting

Targeting is the new way to reach your customers. In a new study from ValueClick, more than half of all marketers said that they thought Retargeting was one of the most important forms of targeting available.

The reason is simple: you are able to advertise and reach out to your website visitors repeatedly, giving you more opportunities to bring them back to your site and heightening brand awareness so they’ll remember you.

You already spend money bringing people to your website, so don’t you want to have multiple chances to reach out to them? Retargeting increases the ROI on all your other advertising because it brings back people who you hear about your website through all other advertising.

There are other forms of targeting such as behavioral, contextual, pixel and search retargeting. Each one offers a different way to reach your customers, and can be combined to bring you the best mix of traffic to your site.

If you currently don’t do any targeting, however, Retargeting is a great way to start. It makes use of your existing advertising and the website traffic you currently have. Retargeting is so simple that if you aren’t retargeting then you aren’t even in the game. It’s time to step up and start Retargeting your website visitors.