Dear Student RLTDs,
You did it! You got through turn! Heads are in beds and you can take a breath. Whether you fully pre-leased months ago, weeks ago, or maybe couldn’t quite hit your goal, let’s just stop and take some time to congratulate you for your hard work over the last year.
Okay well, not too much time - because ready or not, the new leasing season is here! Regardless of how your property performed last year, 2023 offers a fresh start - an entirely new demographic of incoming students ready to find their dream housing experience. The beauty about the student housing cycle is that no matter what the historic leasing timeline has been, you can always start earlier. Imagine running a marathon and knowing the only goal is to win the marathon – but you can start four hours before everyone else.
With thousands of students needing a place to call home next fall, you need to set your property apart from the competition. Make your community the indisputable choice. Think of them as Matt James and you’re Rachael Kirkconnell. Get that rose.
I’ll say it again for the people in the back. It is never too early to start marketing in the student housing industry. Which is why you should launch your 2023 Leasing Digital Marketing campaign immediately after move-in. A new academic year presents the opportunity to capitalize on peak excitement and drive urgency from Day 1. Many students just moved into a dorm and are already daydreaming about having their own room and freedom next year. Other students may have moved into a competitor’s property and had a negative move-in experience. Capitalizing on these emotions can drive engagement and early demand to jumpstart your new leasing and renewal efforts.
Many ownership groups define broad success with two metrics: Occupancy and Rental Rate Growth. Together, we can set your property up for early success in both of these factors. A strong marketing campaign that generates early demand can drive 100% Occupancy. When you generate more demand than needed, you can then drive significant rental rate growth.
Earlier Marketing = More Marketing = More Demand = Increased Occupancy and Rental Rate Growth
When you launch a new Google Ads or Facebook Ads campaign, your account enters a “learning” phase. Think of this like you’re giving the algorithm an assignment. You tell it who you want to reach, how much you’re willing to spend, and your ultimate desired result. The algorithm then incrementally learns the best way to deliver to that audience, within that budget, to get that result. As it collects more and more data, it continues to learn and optimize based on these conditions, improving the efficiency of the account over time. During this stage, it is very normal for your cost-per-click to be higher and conversion rates to be lower. This is all part of the algorithm’s process to understand what best delivers the results you’re asking it to optimize.
Now, would you rather your Ads account be “learning” in September or in January? A successful Ads campaign takes about three months of continual optimization to fully mature. That’s why it is critical to launch your campaign as soon as possible! Some of your competitors will wait, and a fully mature Ads account by the new year will give your property that extra leg up.
Historically, cost-per-click is at its lowest in student housing right after turn. The level of competition and market saturation simply isn’t as fierce in the fall or winter - and understandably so. Many property owners have a bad case of marketing burnout from the competitive spring and summer months. Instead of joining the pack, use this market trend to your advantage and gain an edge on the competition. Launching an ads campaign as early as September also means that your account is in the “learning phase” when CPC is at its lowest. Better to invest your marketing dollars on optimization in a mellow Q4 market. Your property will then have a well-oiled machine in its arsenal, equipped for the competitive mid-year landscape.