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The Challenge

Johnson Trube & Associates, a full-service real estate development brokerage and consulting firm, partnered with Catalyst to assist in the lease-up of Skyloft, a new 18-story student housing property in Austin, Texas. The property was in a unique position where the physical building did not yet exist, but marketing needed to take place during the construction phases to not only create awareness and excitement in the market, but also generate a significant pre-leasing effort via a strong digital branding presence.

The Solution

The Catalyst team established the brand look and feel along with the creation of a marketing strategy that would help support leasing efforts for the Skyloft team — a custom website, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing (SMM), and reputation management. A strong brand presence was created with visual appeal that caused the client to stand out among the more traditional competitors within a very saturated market. To generate interest and boost leasing efforts for a unit unseen, Catalyst created a marketing strategy that encompassed the use of strategic digital tools.

SEO was utilized to maximize the clients’ online brand visibility while ensuring the site is streamlined and optimized to offer the best user experience, avoid search engine red flags, and implement strategic development and indexing of content. This allowed the brand to reach as many users as possible who are searching for an apartment to rent near campus.

The implementation of SEM was also a critical component to the brand’s lead generation efforts to leverage the power of search engines such as Google to reach potential customers. By using a thoughtful and strategic approach to building out their SEM campaigns, Catalyst ensured Skyloft reached precisely the users they were looking for, at the perfect time and place, via text ads on the Google Search Network.

The off-campus property also incorporated Catalyst’s reputation management service, which is designed to maintain the property’s branded image and serve as a beneficial tool to increase leasing traffic. Each review received personalized communication, while the client received Online Reputation Assessment (ORA™) score monitoring, operational insights, PR and legal support, and more.

In addition, a strong aspect of establishing a standout digital presence was the implementation of SMM, where Tier 1 (static image) ads ran on Instagram that captured the targeted audience’s attention.

The Results

Skyloft provides a great example of how starting branding and marketing efforts early in the process leads to pre-leasing success. By November 2017, the property had leased more than 91.1% of their beds while still five months away from officially opening their doors. Skyloft also successfully established brand recognition in the market, as evidenced by their social media following and online rankings. The top-performing SMM ad campaign used a meme approach to promote the luxury amenities of the new property, which produced impressive results — 21,007 impressions, 10,711 targeted users reached, and the meme post received 214 likes, 20 comments, 37 post shares, and 617 ad clicks.

SEO (Date range: 1/1/18–12/31/18)

  • Drove 33,903 sessions from 19,278 unique users
  • Generated 635 users to submit a form at a 1.87% CVR
  • Generated 3,144 Apply Now clicks at a 9.27% CVR

SEM (Date range: 1/1/18–4/9/18)

  • Drove 30 users to submit a form at a 0.79% CVR
  • Generated 186 Apply Now clicks at a 4.91% CVR
  • Generated 3,726 clicks to the website

SMM (Date range: 1/1/18–2/28/18)

  • Generated 18 leads at a 6.43% CVR
  • Generated 280 clicks
  • Drove 69,014 impressions to 22,125 people

Website General (Date range: 1/1/18–12/31/18)

  • Drove 52,753 sessions from 29,893 unique users
  • Generated 982 users to submit a form at a 1.86% CVR
  • Generated 4,458 Apply Now clicks at an 8.45% CVR
  • Bounce rate: 20.11%
  • Average session duration: 2:47