Five Tips For Marketing To Your Residents

by Katie Sloan

Class is back in session! Start marketing now for the new class and your new residents

It’s only been 30 days since classes have been back in session, but now it’s time to begin diving into the next leasing season. It seems like we just got all of our students moved back in and the dust hasn’t even begun to settle, but in student housing, there is no such thing as a slow time of year or a time to sit back and kick up your feet. What’s most important is we take these opportunities to interact with our new residents and their friends. Here are my five tips for reaching out to your student audience while having a positive presence around your community and on campus.

1. You need to have school spirit

On college campuses, a lot of prime recruiting opportunities for you revolve around university events. Decide what the most popular sports team is and host tailgate parties before home games at your apartment community. If the school allows it, set up a tent in the tailgate lot and hand out food and fun collateral to students. Make sure to invite your current residents, their friends, parents and university staff to stop by. Better yet, partner up with the university or student groups for a joint tailgate. More exposure = More fun!

2. Encourage your residents to bring friends
When you host an event, encourage your residents to bring their friends. These are your potential renters! Don’t be afraid to advertise your resident events on campus and in the school newspaper. This is the fastest way, aside from Facebook, to spread the word. More students will want to come knowing their friends are welcome.

3. Start advertising immediately
Don’t wait until you are in full-blown leasing season, or realize you have fewer renewals than anticipated, to start advertising on campus. Find out when Welcome Week, Homecoming and even Involvement Fairs are and have your ads ready to go in the student newspaper, freshman move-in guides, visitor brochures, sports calendars, etc. Get creative with where you advertise!

4. Partner with the university
Creating open lines of communication with the university is extremely important. Set up meetings with the Student Life Department to find out how you can help with campus events, share tips for student safety and discuss easing the transition from on-campus to off-campus living. Inform the university on any changes to your lease agreements or community policies to keep them aware of how it may affect students. Keeping the university involved and informed will help build a lasting relationship, benefiting your residents in the end.

5. Get involved
Put on a friendly face and put out a helping hand to your community from the first day. Organize your staff to welcome residents on move-in day, go big and have fun with it. Recruit a welcome committee or ambassador program to help new students learn where to find everything around the community, and let them know what upcoming resident events they can look forward to. Help your residents, as well as other students, get acclimated with the university by providing restaurant guides, maps, campus, and resident event calendars or bus schedules. You can bet these types of resources will be put on their refrigerator or in their backpack, so make sure it’s branded with your apartment community name, website, and email address.

Most importantly, as with any apartment community, make sure to provide excellent customer service, and you will have happy residents that will ultimately do the word-of-mouth marketing for you.

— Kim Cory is Sales & Marketing Director with University Village Apartments

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