10 Steps to Reach Your Student Housing Property Marketing Goals

Topics: Marketing Toolkit, Public Relations, Digital Media, Media + Advertising, Property Marketing

Posted by: Marketing

As student housing property managers struggle to meet their occupancy goals in an intensely competitive environment, many are looking for innovative marketing strategies that will successfully deliver heads in beds. It’s easy to get lost in a deluge of marketing gimmicks and conflicting advice. Throughout almost two decades of delivering winning marketing strategies, we’ve honed our process for maximum effectiveness and efficiency. The end result? Ten concise steps to successfully reach your student housing property marketing goals.

two women walking away through a hallway

Our results-driven property marketing strategy for student housing has three pillars: discover, create and execute. As you follow our ten-step process, you will:

  • DISCOVER your marketing goals, identify a buyer persona for your target market, and explore the best marketing tactics for the job at hand.
  • CREATE a full-funnel holistic plan that includes the right mix of paid advertising (digital and traditional) and earned, owned, and shared media.
  • EXECUTE your campaign, track your results, and refine if necessary.

Three Deliverables of Exceptional Service-Pillar


We’ve all heard the saying, “measure twice, cut once.” The point of this old but always relevant bromide is to emphasize how important proper preparation is for success. This remains true whether we’re creating a physical object, a marketing campaign, or executing any other worthwhile endeavor. 

When you consider how to successfully reach your student housing property marketing goals, there are several preparatory steps you should undertake to ensure maximum return on your investment of time, energy, and money.

#1 Define the problem. 

Begin by examining your existing marketing strategy or lack there-of. What’s working? What’s not working? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your current plans and efforts? Are there ways you can augment your existing endeavors to increase your results or do you need to start from scratch?

#2 Develop marketing goals. 

Well-defined marketing goals are essential for effective advertising. Are you looking to amplify your property awareness in the market? Win over lease applicants who know what they want? Increase lease applications? How much is your outcome worth? (For example, one completed lease application might equal a value of $24,000 gross profit for the property.)

You need to create crystal-clear objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Be exacting when you specify your purpose, and make your desired results something that can be easily measured. (For example, "Within six months, we want to receive 25 completed lease applications.") 

As you’re establishing your marketing goals, you must also be realistic. If you currently have an average of 100 monthly website visitors, you shouldn’t expect to multiply that a hundred-fold overnight. 

In addition, your specific goals should be relevant to your overall objectives and the current market conditions. A relevant goal can answer "yes" to these questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • Is now the right time?
  • Does this match our other existing efforts and needs?
  • Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?

Establishing deadlines for accomplishing your marketing goals is equally important. A timeline will help your team visualize your destination clearly, put the right steps in place to get there and ensure that you arrive at the optimum moment. Just remember, real results take time.


+ Learn more about how to set student housing marketing goals. 


#3 Identify your target buyer persona. 

The second step in developing a successful student housing property marketing campaign is identifying a buyer’s persona for your target audience. After all, the best way to successfully engage with any audience is to understand who they are and what they want. Consider their personal background, role, challenges, goals, how they learn and more.


+ Learn how to identify target market personas step-by-step.


#4 Research the marketplace and your competitors. 

A strong understanding of your industry and the competition is vital. Knowing who and what performs well and why will inevitably influence your marketing strategy. Review what’s already available in the market and how you measure up to your competitors. Stay aware of current trends and don’t coast with the status quo.

#5 Identify the best marketing channels for the job. 

Begin by identifying the marketing channels and assets you already have in place. Take the time to learn about new and trending marketing channels and ways of getting your message out to your target audience. Consider whether you should incorporate additional tactics into the mix, or if you need to amplify any of your existing efforts.  Dated, ineffective or irrelevant strategies may need to be discarded.



As you use the knowledge you’ve gained from the discovery process to create your marketing strategy and the associated marketing materials, be aware that your property marketing campaign will be most effective if it integrates a wide range of tactics and addresses every stage of the buyer’s journey. 

Pay attention to how much you will need to invest to reach your goals using the tactics you choose. Consider the expected time commitment as well, and be sure you have the available bandwidth to take the necessary action steps.

#6 Integrate traditional advertising, digital tactics, and PR. 

By combining tactics from these three marketing arenas, you can extend your reach while each part of your marketing campaign amplifies the efforts of the others. This holistic view incorporates appropriate combinations of traditional out of home and print advertising, display, video, search, social, earned media, influencer marketing and promotional events to produce the outcomes you're looking for. 

To maximize effectiveness and keep costs in line, you will want to include the right mix of paid, earned, owned, and shared media. And in this increasingly virtual era, digital marketing tactics are especially important.

  • Social Media: Each social media site serves a distinct purpose and your company needs to know how to utilize each of these platforms.
  • Mobile: It is important that companies know how to optimize their campaigns for a mobile setting and make the mobile shopping experience as easy and seamless as possible.
  • Video: Videos are a key marketing tool and are rapidly growing in popularity. With video, your marketing message can be effectively conveyed to a wide audience faster than ever before.


+ Learn how to identify the right media mix for a successful integrated marketing strategy.


#7 Consider the buyer's journey. 

To effectively motivate your target audience to act, it’s important to understand their journey from the top of the funnel (awareness), through the middle (consideration), to the bottom (decision/action). Taking the time to grasp this process is another property marketing best practice.


You should also consider the buyer's journey in relation to the goals you’ve established for your marketing campaign.

  • Awareness: Are you looking to amplify your property awareness in the market?
  • Considerations: Are you looking to win over (with your property’s features and benefits) lease applicants who know what they want?
  • Conversions: Are you looking for engagements (lease applications)?

And remember, your marketing strategy must focus, not just on your service or product, but on your customer’s needs. This is the golden rule of marketing. 

Ensure that your messaging hones in on how your customers will benefit from what you’re offering. Have a comprehensive understanding of your property’s assets and how they meet your target customer’s needs, and then be sure to communicate that information in clear, simple terms to your target audience.


Once you’ve mapped out a clear, concise and well-considered campaign strategy and developed the right mix of marketing materials, it’s time to execute!

See our Case Study page for examples of successful full-funnel integrated marketing campaigns in action.




#8 Launch your plan. 

Now that you have all your ducks in a row, you can finally put your properly designed, full-funnel, integrated marketing strategy to work. Digital content and all types of advertising will be live. Email campaigns will begin. Social media posts will be published on schedule. Event plans and influencer marketing campaigns will be in place. And your team should be ready to respond to and interact with the audience you reach in whatever way is appropriate.

#9 Track your results. 

To know if your marketing efforts have been successful, you must track the results in a way that is measurable. Key performance indicators may include number of in-person property tours or website views, brochure downloads, number of completed applications, cost per lead etc. The measures you use for tracking will depend on your end goals. But whether you’re aiming for increased awareness, consideration or conversions, you will need to have the proper assessment tools in place. 

#10 Refine and adjust. 

Measuring and analyzing your campaign data can provide unique insight into your audience, marketing channels, and budget. To optimize your campaign’s effectiveness, you will likely need to put these insights to work and make a few adjustments along the way. 

See our Marketing Toolkit for our handy 10 Steps to Reach Your Student Housing Property Marketing Goals infographic.





As Charles Atlas (best remembered as the developer of a process-driven bodybuilding method) said, “Step by step and the thing is done.” By following our proven ten step plan, you can rest assured that you have done the work required to reach your student housing property marketing goals.

Would you like to learn more about how to create a successful property marketing campaign for student housing? See our complete guide to property marketing in the student housing sector.



Here at MSSmedia, we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSSmedia a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!

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