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How to Market Student Housing: Your Essential Guide

by | March 14, 2023

The off-campus rental property business is a competitive field, but you can win if you know the right way to market student housing.
Market student housing illustration

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Off-campus housing is a huge slice of any college town economy. To tap into the motivated local market, you’ll need to know the basics of how to market student housing.

To start, student housing is any living situation that isn’t on-campus housing — and that includes apartment complexes and shared homes. Student housing is generally close to campus, more affordable than more permanent homes, and not owned by a college or university.

First, Find the Renter

For Rent sign

Before reaching out to potential renters, consider your target audience. Usually, you can define this group based on your location and monthly rent. You’ll need to include these two factors in your marketing materials along with the amenities you offer.

Begin generating leads by posting your rental property on as many real estate websites as possible. Along with traditional sites like Zillow or, remember to post your listing to social media sites like Facebook Marketplace or even TikTok. More on that below!

Looking to make your real estate agency or property look more visible? Consider registering your property or rental office with a My Google Business profile. This helps verify your contact information and generate more web traffic. 

Once the property is listed, it’s time to vibe with some video.

Use Video to Reach More Renters

Video apartment tour

You’ve probably heard you should be advertising your student housing occupancy on social media, and you should. These days, student renters are mostly Gen Z. As the first generation of digital natives, these young people have grown up using all forms of technology.

Social media is one of the best ways to reach them. Nearly half of real estate businesses say social media delivers the highest quality leads.

Using video content on your social media and website is one of your strongest marketing tools. Video makes up around 82% of current trending content. Not only does it give your brand a personality, it’s easily shareable. Real estate is a visual market and video fits right into that. 

  • Post video tours of available properties on your website
  • Use TikTok or Instagram stories to talk up building amenities
  • Introduce building staff like property managers or leasing agents to show how approachable your team is
  • Build occupancy rates or available units into the video to build a sense of urgency

You can get some inspiration for the kind of videos to post by following #apartmentmarketingideas on TikTok.

Pitch to Parents

Parents help a college student move in.

Don’t forget to attract parents and caretakers, because they’re often footing the bill and signing leases. Like student renters, they also care about amenities and speedy repairs. You will also want to reach college students who are parents themselves, the so-called “non-traditional students.”

Here are a few marketing strategies to attract them specifically:

  • Safety first! Be sure to include the property’s safety features in listings and digital content. This should also include things like a well-lit neighborhood and in-building staff.
  • Online maintenance matters. Advertise the convenience of payment portals and online maintenance requests. Parents who are supporting students from a distance depend on these services.
  • Be available for questions. Answer parent questions about student housing with parent-oriented FAQs on the website or through social media content. Train all staff to address these topics should parents call or visit in person.

Consider Conversational Marketing 

Chatbot illustration

You probably never thought a robot would be one of the most valuable sales tools at a real estate agency. Yet learning how to market student housing may come down to robotic technology.

Conversational marketing is a marketing technique using chatbot technology. Chatbots deliver targeted messaging to engaged users. 

Using chatbot technology on your website can be a great way to reach potential renters after hours. It also frees your leasing agents up to meet with interested renters. Let the chatbot answer the FAQs and leave more substantial student leasing convos to the humans.

Don’t Forget to Market Offline

Apartment open house

“Offline marketing tactics” is a fancy way of referring to more traditional advertising: print ads and flyers, attending in-person events, or developing partnerships with other local businesses. Blending online and offline marketing techniques is critical for a well-rounded campaign. 

Digital marketing alone isn’t enough to attract potential renters. Students want to experience what it’s like to live in your property. Offline marketing gives them the option to do that. Generate in-person interactions by using the right calls to action in your online ads.

For instance, encourage interested renters to call the office to learn more about a property or promotion. Encourage video tour participants to attend open houses or fitness events at the building’s gym. 

Don’t forget to reach out to the local university or college. Student resource centers are great networking opportunities. 

  • Host open-houses at your property or rental agency for potential renters 
  • Print and distribute fliers or brochures at campus events or post on bulletins
  • Collaborate with campus programs or student services departments
  • Post contact information or occupancy rates on properties using clear, readable fonts

Kindness Creates Word-of-Mouth Advertising

Apartment repair worker fixes a ventilation fan.

It goes without saying, but treating your tenants right creates the best word-of-mouth advertising. The way you market student housing can come down to how well residents feel cared for and respected by their landlords. Do that by:

  • Responding quickly to repair requests
  • Keeping apartments and common areas well maintained
  • Transparency and communication throughout the leasing and renewal process

Let Us Help Fill Your Vacancies

Want to find out how to market your student housing property right? Let College Marketing Group give you a hand. Our name says it all! We apply our years of experience creating successful marketing campaigns to target students to your business. With dynamic campaigns that make it easy to capitalize on SEO and engagement, we’re the brand boost you’ve been looking for.

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