Even before your turn period is over the next leasing period has already begun. At Room Choice, we support and help properties all over the nation. We combine years of experience, companies, consulting, and working with amazing clients. We also conduct a lot of surveys and property tours. We’re happy to meet with your team and review your plans. Here are a few ideas you may consider as you move into your next leasing period. As always, we welcome more ideas and feedback.
Do you have a written marketing plan? Who’s going to write the plan for the company? Who's going to write the plan for each property? Who needs to approve the plan and budget?
How do you target renewal, new students, and transfer students directly?
Have you added semesters and housing periods online for the coming season?
Have you updated and posted our pricing online?
Have you updated and posted our new contract online?
Is all your website content correct? Have team members cross verify sites to ensure they're as updated as possible.
Can you afford a photographer to take some really nice images? You should have 10-20 online and available for advertising material.
Do you like your logo and property name? If you need a reputation reset a new name and website clears out past online reviews giving you a clean slate. Is it worth a redo? (run a quick logo design tournament and have a new logo in a week! https://logotournament.com/)
Have you ordered new banners and signs? When will the banners and signs be installed?
What publications will you advertise in this year?
Did you track lead sources from last year to know what worked?
Do you have Facebook ads ready? Facebook is a great source for targeted ads. Need Help? Check out this post: https://adespresso.com/guides/facebook-ads-beginner/demographic-targeting/
Do you have Google ads ready?
How to you create really nice ads, social media post, flyers, and more? If you're not an Adobe Creative Cloud expert try https://www.canva.com/. Canva is a super simple design tool to ensure all your post are top notch. If you need a few great images https://unsplash.com/ has you covered!
Great floor plans help show the space. Make sure your website and brochures include layouts. See about marketing floor plans here https://www.studenthousingsoftware.com/features-services/marketing-floor-plans
How are you retargeting online traffic? Google Adwords has this feature, you may also look at https://www.adroll.com/.
www.vrstudenthousing.com/ has some innovative examples on how to give thousands of property tours online!
Show, Don't Tell. https://engrain.com/ innovative touchscreen, interactive mapping, and data visualization products for your leasing team!
What do your online reviews look like? How can you improve your online reviews. We recommend adding https://gatherup.com/ or https://www.podium.com/ and constantly seek feedback! Both of these services help your tenants leave reviews on sites that matter like Google, Facebook, and more.
Do you have a renewal marketing plan in place? When will renewals be pushed to each current resident?
How will you contact each current resident at least 3 different ways?
Which unit(s) will be your model(s)? Is the model unit fully decorated (i.e. don't show a used mattress, cover it with a nice duvet!) How do you handle occupied model units? (ie does the unit receive a discount or bonus?)
What three to four larger leasing events will you hold this year? Make a list of things other properties well. We saw a property give free helicopter rides during a leasing and signing day. They landed the helicopter right on their parking garage and flew around the campus giving rides!
What do your handouts look like? Print some nice ones on the cheap at http://www.nextdayflyers.com/ (or similar online printing sites). Do you need design work? Grab a local design team or go to https://99designs.com/. For a very modest budget, you should have professional flyers to hand out. We recommend going to 3-4 hotels and comparing your handouts to theirs. Keep them clean and simple.
What was the most effective thing you did last year?
What was the most effective thing your competition did last year? Which properties do you see as a leader in leasing efforts in our area?
Have you toured the competition and their model units?
Have each manager present in your monthly sales meeting about their tours and what they learned. Ask them to find ways to improve their tours and model units.
Corporate teams may benefit from touring other markets. Pick a market with Class-A housing managed by some of the national teams and go on some visits. You’re sure to learn and improve as you study outside of your “box" or traditional market. Make a vacation of it!
What is a reasonable monthly budget for your consistent 12-month marketing effort? Set this as a price per bed per month and dedicated to consistent marketing. Keep in mind that with revolving leasing and future leasing you may not see a time or month when marketing would be turned off. So this base budget should support a consistent plan that ramps up based on leasing seasons.
What sales classes or training do your managers have?
How is your maintenance team part of sales? With online systems the maintenance team may be the most visual property employees.
How does your property (i.e. physical) Instagram wall look? Has it been used or what can be done to improve it? See Instagram Walls for Student Housing
Which social media pages or sites do you want to maintain (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter)? Are these going to be daily, weekly, or monthly efforts?
Who’s responsible for the social media updates?
Who’s holding these social pages and people accountable?
User-Generated Content. How do you “collect and curate” the experiences of your students and community? https://www.juicer.io/, https://www.tintup.com/, https://birdeye.com. Does your sales effort focus on the student experience or the property amenities?
Do you want to use paid SEO services?
Do you have a professional voice/phone system? Are all calls tracked and recorded? What’s the goal for all calls being answered (i.e. before the third ring, etc)? If calls are not answered how quickly are voicemails returned?
Do you send calls to a live answering service after hours? We’ve found a simple tool like Voicenation.com is a reputation saver! Instead of sending late-night calls to a sleepy and grumpy maintenance employee, use a paid service. Let Voice Nation (or similar) wake up your team if appropriate and save your reputation.
What do your resident surveys say? What’s the one thing that we can improve based on student feedback?
Compare the move-in survey against the move-out survey. What’s the number one reason new students come to our property, what’s the reason student leave? Do we like these reasons?
Do we have owner/manager signed approval on our marketing plan and pricing?