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5 Ways Email Marketing Can Help You Market Your Housing Property to College Students

By collegemktgrp | March 3, 2021 | Brands/Advertisers

Since the onset of the pandemic, campus closures across the country have forced many college students to move back in with their parents. Many current students have shifted to hybrid or remote learning, while others are taking a gap year until things are back to normal.

COVID conditions aren’t set to improve for another year or two. For off-campus housing companies, this means that connecting with students face-to-face is mostly still off the table.

Email marketing remains one of the best ways to market to prospective renters and their parents.

In addition to being cost-effective, most people report that email is their preferred channel for receiving marketing updates and coupons from brands.

But for your emails to do their job right, they need to follow best practices. That includes high-quality property photos, highlighting your property’s value propositions, and more.

Here are five email design tactics for housing companies that are sure to get college students and their parents interested in your leasing office!

1. Highlight What Your Property Has to Offer

When it comes to renting an apartment, college students and their parents want to know what makes your housing community better than the others. This is where highlighting your value propositions in your email copy comes into play.

Think about amenities and other features that appeal to students and their parents:

  • Students (and especially their parents) spend a lot on college tuition. If you cover any utility costs or offer free Wi-Fi, make sure to include that!
  • Pools and community study rooms are great, but you probably shouldn’t promote those during a pandemic. Instead, focus on individual study rooms, or the measures you’re taking to keep your property COVID-free.
  • Is your property walkable to campus? Is there public transportation nearby or should a student bring their car with them?
  • Helpful information like this can keep students from crossing your property name off their list.

Remember not to just focus on appealing to students. Their parents will most likely pay the rent (in addition to co-signing the lease).

For example, a student might not care much about building security features, but their parents probably will. Adding in that bit of detail could lead to a viewing!

2. Post High-Quality Photos of Your Property and Amenities

Did you know that the human brain can process an image up to 60,000 times faster than just text?

The copy in your email is important. But adding five-star photos can help you seal the deal.

High-quality images are critical for marketing your housing property. They help you connect emotionally with students and their parents, and are easy to share.

A good photo can tell a visual story and help students imagine a place where they can see themselves living. A high-quality image can even be the deciding factor for a prospective renter.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the best photos for your email:

  • If you’re using language like “new” or “upgrade” in your email content but the photos are low-quality, this could lead to distrust, causing students to look elsewhere.
  • Whether it’s students or their parents, everyone is on social media. Make sure to post the images you use in email across all social platforms.
  • A professional photographer or video editor can use their skills to help make your property shine.

High-quality photos give students and their parents a good idea of what to expect and eliminate the chance of surprises.

These photos also help with the effectiveness of your email campaign, leading to higher click-through rates and hopefully more property viewings.

3. Make Use of Video Walk-Throughs and Tours

Americans are well aware of the risk of Coronavirus. Even though some people are comfortable going out and about, you can’t assume that every student will want to stop by for an in-person tour.

If you’re looking for a great substitute, a virtual walk-through or tour might be just the thing to keep students interested in renting with you.

You don’t need fancy VR equipment to give prospective renters a good idea of what to expect from your community if they decide to move in.

There are many virtual software options to choose from to help bring your properties to life on screen. And some even let you decorate the virtual space with furniture and accessories.

Why not let future renters design their perfect home before moving in? Include a link to this functionality in your email, and let prospective students go wild.

4. Showcase Your Positive Reviews

In business, your online reputation can influence anything from getting hired to a customer choosing your product over a competitor.

Social proofing — or social influence — is big with Gen Z. And they’re more likely to research what others have to say about a brand or product.

It’s clear that your best reviews should be a part of your email marketing strategy. You’ll want to make sure that you’re posting a range of positive reviews (longer vs. shorter ones), and that they’re more than just a simple “I love this place!” Gen Z is brand-wary and might view short, generic reviews as inauthentic.

You should also motivate current renters to leave reviews with an incentive (like $100 off their next month’s rent). Timely responding to tenant complaints is a sure way to build trust and boost your online reviews from current tenants, too.

There’s not much you can do about bad reviews other than leaving a thoughtful response. This can help clear up any confusion about a situation, and add context in case students or their parents come across the review.

5. Entice Future Renters with a Discount or Specials

College students love discounts. And in a study done last year, 88% of respondents in the U.S. said they used a coupon during the shopping process.

A discount can help get students into your leasing office. A few ideas for a leasing discount or special to entice students include:

  • Offering to waive application fees or accept a reduced deposit
  • A look-and-lease special where you give out a free item (like a Roku or Chromecast) when someone signs a lease within 24 hours of their tour
  • Shifting from a one-year lease to a six-month or month-to-month structure could help take the pressure off students and families.

2020 was a rough year economically for many people. Your housing property can show you care by lending a helping hand and alleviating some of their financial worries.

Kickstart Your Email Marketing with College Marketing Group 

Marketing to college students in the age of COVID is tricky — especially when you’re trying to rent out vacancies in your off-campus housing property.

It’s important to engage and connect with students to keep them interested in your listings. Although face-to-face conversations and tours aren’t an option, reaching them through email is just as effective.

Following these email marketing best practices is a sure way to get more students interested in your properties — and signing a lease, too!

College Marketing Group can also help design your email campaigns from the ground up.

Contact us to get started today >

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