Written by: Barbara Gretsch
In today’s market, advertising your student housing property is a necessity. For industry professionals, the competitive landscape has become increasingly crowded in recent years. Marketplace competition is based on many factors, including convenience, amenities, privacy, pricing, space, fewer distractions, and the opportunity to gain real-life experience.
How do student housing properties compete when they all espouse the same benefits? To us, the answer seems obvious – advertise. However, we suggest advertising only if you have crystal-clear marketing goals and a properly designed marketing strategy.
EXAMINING THE STUDENT HOUSING TARGET MARKET
Student rentals cater to Millennial and Generation Z audiences. Millennials and Gen Z are digitally native demographics, shaped by the consumption of experiences evaluated in the virtual world. To advertise to and connect with these demographics, you must include a digital advertising strategy in your marketing plans.
As with all advertising mediums, well-defined marketing goals are essential for effective digital advertising. But how do student housing properties establish marketing goals that will enable them to run a successful digital advertising campaign?
UTILIZING THE S.M.A.R.T. PROCESS
To design winning marketing goals for a student housing property, let’s begin by creating crystal-clear objectives with a systematic process called S.M.A.R.T goals. S.M.A.R.T. principles are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
Let us walk you through S.M.A.R.T. goal refinement.
Drill down into your goals. What are you looking to accomplish with your marketing? Be exacting with a specific purpose. Your purpose could be as simple as “within six months, we want 25 lease applications completed.”
How will you measure the results of your digital advertising campaign? What tools do you have in place? As the old cliché says, “what gets measured gets done.” By creating specific goals and ensuring you have tools to measure your results, you know what success will look like.
As you are establishing your marketing goals, you must be realistic. For example, if you have an average of 100 monthly website visitors, you should not expect to multiply that by 100X overnight. Set realistic goals and benchmarks so that you can attain the goals you are establishing.
Relevancy is another key factor that cannot be overlooked. Make sure your goals are in line with what you can measure. For example, if you are looking for leasing application completions, make sure you allow for lease application form completions to be tracked through the conversion tracking methods you have set up on your site. If you do not, pick another measure or put the appropriate tool in place.
Establishing deadlines for accomplishing your goals is equally important. A timeline will help you and your team visualize your destination clearly and ensure that you know when you need to arrive. Just remember, real results take time.
If you invest in the process, choose the right partners to help get you there, and commit to your goals, you will meet them.
USING THE JOURNEY TO CHANGE PRINCIPLES
In addition to established S.M.A.R.T. goals, we have one more exercise to get you closer to setting those crystal-clear marketing goals: The Journey to Change principles. The Journey to Change process will drill deeper into your marketing strategy and the steps you need to take to reach your goals.
Let’s get started.
Define the Problem.
- Examine your existing marketing strategy or lack there-of.
- What is working?
- What is not working?
- Strengths? Weakness?
- How do you measure up to your competitors in the market?
Define the Desired Outcome.
- What are your goals?
- Awareness: Are you looking to amplify your property awareness in the market?
- Considerations: Are you looking to win over (features and benefits) lease applicants who know what they want?
- Conversions: Are you looking for engagements (lease applications)?
- How much is your outcome worth? (For example, one completed lease application equals a value of $24,000 gross profit for the property.)
Outline Actions to Attain Goals.
- What steps are you taking to reach your goals? Paid Digital Campaign, Print Campaign, and so on?
- How much are you investing to attain these goals?
- What is your time commitment?
What are the Criteria for Success?
- Are you looking to attain specific results? This might be a specific number of website visitors, lease application form fill-outs, or social media
- Put an amount to your success criteria based on the data you currently have on hand. Every successful marketing plan needs a North Star. Define your North Star so that your marketing team can surround that goal and make it happen.
We hope these tools will get you started on developing appropriate marketing goals so that you can create a successful digital advertising campaign. Check back soon as we will discuss time commitments for building a successful digital advertising campaign, Google Advertising, Facebook Advertising for student housing, and more.
Are you looking for seasoned professionals to help you create and implement a successful digital marketing campaign?