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Unlocking the Potential of PBSA Lead Generation: Strategies to Boost Your Business

September 20, 2023

When marketing Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), success doesn't solely depend on accommodation quality but on effectively connecting with the right audience at the right moment.

In a competitive landscape, strong PBSA lead generation stands as the linchpin distinguishing prosperous businesses from the rest. This blog post intends to equip PBSA marketers with innovative strategies to enhance their lead-generation endeavours. From understanding the nuances of the PBSA audience – encompassing demographics, preferences, and technological leanings – to embracing techniques such as harnessing WeChat Mini Programs for lead conversion, we'll explore a comprehensive approach.

The objective? To unlock untapped potential in PBSA lead generation, propelling your business toward unparalleled growth.

Understanding the PBSA Audience

Understanding your audience is the initial step in any lead-generation strategy. In the PBSA market, this means breaking down your different audiences and adapting your approach for each market. In the UK, you have local, EU, and international students. Each requires a unique strategy, with Chinese students often being regarded as a completely separate segment from international students due to the vast differences.

Recognising the diverse pool of potential students seeking housing is crucial. Factors like age, nationality, major, and lifestyle allow you to tailor your marketing effectively.

International students come from various cultures. Adapting your messages to their cultural sensitivities builds connections beyond transactions. Acknowledging their traditions, languages, and preferences nurtures trust and belonging.

Lastly, it’s important to understand the influence of technology in decision-making. Students increasingly use digital tools. From researching accommodations to comparing prices, the digital landscape matters. Comprehending their tech inclinations helps optimise your online presence, meeting them where they're active – online.

Traditional PBSA Lead Generation Techniques

Traditional lead generation techniques still hold significant sway in the PBSA marketing landscape. These strategies remain effective in reaching and engaging prospective students on various platforms.

Social Media Marketing and Paid Advertising 

Social media platforms provide a dynamic space to showcase your PBSA offerings. Crafting compelling visuals, informative posts, and engaging videos can capture your audience’s attention. 

Make sure to meet your audience on the social platforms they’re on. For example, when targeting the Chinese market, leveraging WeChat is essential. 

The platform's diverse functionalities, from messaging to Mini Programs, provide seamless communication and engagement opportunities. Creating a WeChat Official Account allows you to develop WeChat Mini Programs tailored to your PBSA offerings.

Check out: How to Leverage WeChat's Mini Programs for PBSA Marketing Success

Paid advertising further amplifies your reach, allowing you to target specific demographics, interests, and behaviours, thereby enhancing the chances of attracting potential tenants.

Content Marketing and Blogging

Sharing valuable content through blogs and articles not only establishes your authority but also addresses the concerns of your audience. Crafting content around topics like student life, local attractions, and accommodation tips engages readers and showcases your expertise. By providing insightful information, you position your brand as a trustworthy resource, driving lead generation organically.

With your WeChat Official Account, you’re able to publish long-form content at least four times a month. Here’s an example of an article from the iQstudents Official WeChat account.

Check out these other ways to advertise on WeChat.

Email Marketing and Drip Campaigns

Email remains a powerful tool for direct communication. Building an email list enables you to deliver tailored content, promotions, and updates directly to potential tenants. Drip campaigns, a series of automated emails, nurture leads over time, guiding them through the decision-making process. This approach keeps your PBSA offerings fresh in their minds and encourages them to take action.

Leveraging WeChat Mini Programs for Lead Conversion

WeChat, often dubbed the "super-app" of China, has transcended the boundaries of a simple messaging platform to become an all-encompassing digital ecosystem. With just over 1.3 billion users, WeChat has become an integral part of daily life for individuals in China. From communication to e-commerce, payments, and even utility bill payments, WeChat offers an array of functionalities within a single app. This immense popularity and multifaceted nature make it an undeniable hub for businesses aiming to tap into the Chinese market.

One of the standout features within the WeChat ecosystem is the Mini Program. These compact, lightweight applications function seamlessly within the WeChat app itself, eliminating the need for users to download or install separate apps. As such, Mini Programs offer a convenient solution for businesses to engage users directly within a platform they're already comfortable using.

Benefits of Using WeChat Mini Programs for Lead Generation

  1. Seamless User Experience within the WeChat Ecosystem: When users engage with your Mini Program, they're not redirected to external websites or apps. Instead, they navigate seamlessly within the WeChat environment. This seamlessness significantly reduces user drop-off rates that often occur when transitioning between different platforms. By ensuring a smooth, uninterrupted experience, you increase the likelihood of retaining users and guiding them through the lead-generation process.
  2. Personalisation and Customisation Opportunities: Leveraging user data and preferences, you can provide content and offerings that resonate with each potential tenant. For instance, you can create personalised recommendations based on their field of study, interests, and preferred amenities. 
  3. Enhanced Engagement through Interactive Features: Mini Programs offer an array of interactive features that go beyond static content. From interactive maps showcasing proximity to campus facilities to immersive virtual tours of different room layouts, these features can captivate and engage users. 

Steps to Set Up a WeChat Mini Program for Your PBSA Business

Leveraging WeChat Mini Programs to enhance your PBSA promotion involves a few strategic steps that can help you establish a strong digital presence within the WeChat ecosystem.

  1. Set up an Official WeChat Account: Before diving into Mini Programs, you need an official WeChat account. This provides your PBSA business with a verified and credible identity on the platform. Setting up an official account is your gateway to interacting with users and potential tenants. It enables you to share content, updates, and build a community around your accommodations. The team at VIVA CITY can help you set up your official account if you need assistance.
  2. Use the VIVA CITY Platform to Build Your Branded Mini Program: VIVA CITY can help with creating the design and development of your WeChat Mini Program. We’ll tailor the Mini Program to match your PBSA offerings, incorporating functionalities like virtual tours, room layouts, and interactive maps. The benefit of going through VIVA CITY is that the backend of your Mini Program provides a great data set and insights into your customers, plus it’s all in English.
  3. Set Up a QR Code to Your Mini Program and Add It to Your Website: A QR code serves as a direct link to your WeChat Mini Program. Place this QR code strategically on your website, marketing materials, and even within your physical accommodations if applicable. When potential tenants scan the QR code with their WeChat, they're seamlessly directed to your Mini Program within WeChat. This simple yet effective step eliminates the need for them to search or navigate through various platforms, ensuring a direct pathway to your PBSA offerings.

Multi-Channel Approach for Comprehensive Lead Generation 

While WeChat Mini Programs offer a powerful lead generation avenue, their effectiveness can be further amplified through integration with other platforms. Syncing your Mini Program with your official website, social media accounts, and email campaigns ensures a seamless user experience across multiple touchpoints. This integration allows potential tenants to engage with your brand through their preferred channels, increasing your visibility and the likelihood of lead conversion.

Cross-promotion proves mutually beneficial. Partnering with institutions, student bodies, or booking agencies expands your audience. Joint content sharing, event hosting, and mutual features leverage partners' audiences, introducing your accommodations to new prospects.

In a multi-channel approach, maintaining a consistent brand message is paramount. Regardless of where prospects encounter your offerings—WeChat Mini Program, email, or website—the brand identity should be cohesive. This unity fosters trust, signifying a reliable PBSA business. Coordinating your efforts across platforms ensures that the narrative you present aligns seamlessly, reassuring potential tenants of the authenticity and value your accommodations offer.

Adopt a Holistic Lead Generation Strategy

As the PBSA landscape continues to evolve, marketers must remain agile and open to innovation. The strategies we've explored are by no means static; they should serve as a foundation upon which you build and adapt. Technology, cultural shifts, and the preferences of students will continue to shape the way you approach lead generation. By embracing change and proactively seeking new avenues for engagement, you position your PBSA business at the forefront of the industry's growth.

Among the strategies discussed, WeChat Mini Programs stand out as a game-changer. With their seamless integration within the WeChat ecosystem, personalised experiences, and interactive features, Mini Programs offer a direct pathway to engaging potential tenants. Get in touch with our team to find out how to integrate a WeChat Mini Program into your PBSA lead generation strategy.

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