A Marketer’s Approach to Coronavirus: The Heights at Slippery Rock Case Study

As most of you know, the past few months have been a challenging time for all. A pandemic doesn’t mean business stops though. On the contrary, while people’s spending habits have changed they have most certainly not subsided. As marketers, our priority has been to shift our focus and adapt our marketing and knowledge base to help our clients through this time. If you can’t depend on your marketing team during a worldwide pandemic, who can you really count on!

The following is a case study on how we helped The Heights at Slippery Rock, a student housing townhome complex next to Slippery Rock University, switch gears to not only survive during the COVID-19 pandemic — but thrive.

What Problem Was the Client Facing?

  1. As an essential business, all apartment buildings were able to keep their doors open. However, being a student housing complex with a campus closed mid-school year meant so many things were up in the air.   
  2. Campus did make the decision to reopen for the fall 2020, but we had to identify the best way to communicate our safety procedures and changes to the property so people would see them as a safe option.
  3. Additionally, they opened up to freshmen for the first time, which required a separate and specific campaign all its own.

What Did We Do to Help Them?

  1. The Heights needed Hey Now! Media to put a halt to all current campaigns and switch gears ASAP. We came up with a new strategy within the week, and pulled and replaced all scheduled social media. Our new approach was to position The Heights as a thought leader when it comes to COVID-19 and off-campus living. This way, when reopenings started back, students would see The Heights as the safe and trusted option for student housing. Potentially even safer and more trusted than the school offerings. During this time we helped field feedback from scared upcoming or current residents, used their platforms to educate both on what they were doing, and what changes and recommendations were being made locally and nationally. Additionally, understanding our college age audience, we provided lots of ideas on ways to pass the time in quarantine to help provide a bit of levity and motivation during the early months.
  2. Once we got the news that campus would reopen for the 2020 school year, we added in our sales strategy, but now with a COVID conscious twist. Landing pages, social posts, and ads reflected a switch to contactless tours and leasing options. Although FaceTime tours were a hit, some individuals either couldn’t find the time to fit in a virtual tour, didn’t have the technology, or just wanted a quick preview before they booked a time slot. This is where virtual tour videos came into play! We encouraged staff at The Heights to send over pre-recorded videos — exactly how they would during a FaceTime tour, that we could post to socials, emails, and their website. Not only are these videos great during COVID-19, but they’re also the perfect call-to-action to drive traffic to their website year-round!
  3. For the new freshman push, we created freshman and freshman parent specific messaging, landing pages, targeting and more to properly communicate to this new audience.  

VIRTUAL TOUR SPOTLIGHT: Promoting virtual FaceTime tours was our number one priority during the pandemic. Virtual tours were a simple and easy addition that provided a ton of value to their audience. 

Organic Social + Email Example:



Organic Social + Email Example:


What Were the Results? 

The Heights was able to continue to bring in new residents for the upcoming school year despite the setbacks COVID-19 had caused, especially for the uncertainty associated with schools and student housing.

Website visitors continued to grow, with a 27% increase in traffic during this time.

Generated 62 NEW LEADS over the first three months of the pandemic.

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