5 Things to Do Today to Improve Conversions on Your Apartment Website
In the numbers game that is apartment marketing, the more leads you have, the better chance you’ll find someone who will say yes to that great place, ideally at a higher rent. And if you need more leads, you might need to do some more advertising to get that increase in traffic … right?
Hold it right there.
Let’s say you’re not happy with your current occupancy, and you’re thinking you might need to add another ILS or some other advertising source to increase demand and get more traffic through the door.
Before you put one more dollar toward trying to get the attention of new prospects, it might make more sense to work on capturing more leads from the traffic you’re already paying for.
What we’re talking about here is increasing your conversion rate — how we get more visitors to take the desired action and contact you as an interested lead. And there are absolutely some proven things you can do to increase your conversion rate on your website.
Here are five things you can do today … send this list to your web developer, then jump on a call together and pull up your website. Making these improvements will turn your website into the conversion machine it’s supposed to be:
Make a Connection
What is it that you’re actually selling?
You’re not selling “the location” — rarely is that unique to only your property.
You’re not selling some generic “luxury lifestyle,” either … you need to help create a vision for the prospect of the type of lifestyle they’ll have access to by living there.
Help visitors see that you understand them, and that you can help give them access to a better lifestyle. How? Here are a few ideas:
- Show them something that will make them happy. Puppies are always a good idea.
- Remove a pain point. Is it a shorter commute? Easy access to public transportation or their favorite restaurants? Some other problem you can solve for them?
- Show them they’re making a smart decision
- Give them a preview of what it’s like to live there (with video if possible)
The more you can relate to that visitor (and fast), the more you increase the chance that that person can picture themselves living with you.
Get Them to Take Action Now
When it comes to websites and increasing conversions, you probably hear the term “call to action” (or CTA) a lot.
But take a look at your site. Are you giving them a reason to take action now? I mean now.
If they left your site without taking action today, could they come back later and get the same deal? Or can they easily say, “this looks good, but I don’t have time … I can just come back to this later”? (PS: They rarely come back.)
Here are a few potential ways to get visitors to take action now:
- Provide an incentive or some kind of special deal — “$100 off your first month’s rent” or “Starbucks gift card for every tour today”
- Create urgency — “This deal closes at midnight. Don’t miss out!” (Use it, and when you take an offer away, stick to it. Everyone knows that Bed Bath & Beyond honors expired coupons, so there’s no extra reason to get to the store this weekend.)
- Exclusive access — “Only 4 spots left for our lease-up’s Sneak Preview event next week. Make sure you’re on the list!”
- Make them feel like they might miss out. FOMO is a powerful thing. “Web exclusive deal” or “Only 2 left” or even “11 other people viewed this floor plan today” … CarMax does this well by showing you how many other people have saved the car you’re looking at.
Provide Calls to Action that Align with Where Prospects are in the Buying Process
At any given moment, “Apply Online” is going to be the right call to action for only a very small number of people visiting your website. Yet we regularly see that this is the primary (or often the only) CTA on apartment websites. It’s no wonder that more prospects pick up the phone than email … they have questions, but they’re not ready for the commitment of starting an application or creating an account.
There are three basic phases of the apartment shopping process: Look > Learn > Lease.
- LOOK: Most prospects don’t know the property where they want to live when they start their search, so they start by looking at what’s available in their preferred location.
- LEARN: Once they find you, they start doing more research to see if you’re a good fit.
- LEASE: Finally, when you’ve won them over, that’s when they ultimately decide to sign with you.
You should try to have CTAs that align with visitors who are in each of these phases, not just the last one.
LOOK. LEARN. LEASE.
So think about CTAs that would be valuable to people who aren’t yet ready to apply … what questions can you answer for them?
Here are some other potential CTAs to try:
- Download the 10 Questions You Should Ask on Every Apartment Tour
- Watch a Video Tour
- Send This Floor Plan to a Friend
- Get $100 Off Today
- Schedule an Appointment
- Can’t decide? Have our relocation specialist contact you.
- Get neighborhood updates from our blog
- Ask a Question
J.C. Hart Communities gets this. They created multiple ways to connect with prospects, including a simple downloadable checklist that they promote to apartment hunters earlier in the process. This gives them a huge head start on reaching out to those potential customers and helping them find their perfect place.
Think about it this way: How can you get prospects to raise their hand and show interest earlier in the shopping process, when they’re not yet ready to buy?
The sooner you can get that prospect in front of your leasing team, the more you’re doing to help them close the deal ahead of your competition.
How can you get prospects to raise their hand and show interest earlier in the shopping process?
Show That You’re Easy to Do Business With
Want more visitors to convert into solid leads? Earn their trust by showing them that you’re the easiest to do business with, and that they might even like it. Better yet, have this part come from your customers … visitors are more likely to believe them over you, anyway.
- Keep the copy on your page simple, and don’t try to overwhelm the visitor with too much information. Break up your paragraphs and use bullets to make your copy easier to read. Make it easy for them to understand what you offer, why they should care, and what they should do next.
- Be clear about the price or the offer you’re promoting. For apartments, this might be a clear explanation of the security deposit or total cost to move in.
- Show social proof. Share testimonials, reviews, a quote from the mayor or a local newspaper, “as seen in” logos, the number of other people who have already leased with you, how many people follow you on social media, pictures of handwritten notes … whatever you can find that shows other people telling the story (and closing the deal) for you.
- Provide some comfort that they’re making a good decision. If you have a guarantee, put it out there. If you’re a top-rated property on Apartment Ratings or Yelp, proudly display those badges. If you belong to any local associations (BBB, the local Chamber, a neighborhood association, etc.), show off those logos and let people see that you’re connected with those groups they probably already know and trust.
Follow Up: Don’t Leave Them Hanging
Once you’ve captured an interested lead on your website, you’re not done. In most cases, very few customers are going to complete the entire leasing process in one step. You need to keep selling, all the way until the lease is signed (and beyond).
Lead Nurturing Emails: Like it or not, email is still going to be the communication channel of choice for most prospects, so keep nurturing that relationship through their inbox. Use emails to keep telling your story after they leave your site.
Now that you’ve earned permission to contact them, point them to the other cool things you’re doing — videos, your neighborhood blog, your ratings, whatever helps to strengthen the case you’ve already made. The best part is that you can create these emails once, then use your email marketing system to send them automatically to every new prospect, which can really help to support your leasing team’s follow-up efforts. (Here are a few ideas to help you with this.)
We regularly see that prospects will contact you once, not end up leasing, then convert later after receiving a marketing email that finally convinces them to sign. In fact, for each of our clients who are committed to email marketing, it is by far their highest converting digital channel. But you need to get them to raise their hand (read: convert) first.
Remarketing Ads: Besides email, the best way to stay in front of your prospect is through remarketing ads (sometimes called retargeting). You’ve seen these — they’re the ads for those shoes you looked at that now seem to be following you around the Web. For apartments, these ads help to reinforce your message and encourage your prospect to keep moving closer to the lease.
You can run remarketing ads as banners on other sites, in search results, and on social media. Try allocating 10-20% of your paid search/social budgets to remarketing through Google and Facebook, as well as Instagram and Twitter.
Close More of the Traffic You’re Already Getting
It’s no secret that it’s a competitive market for apartments right now. Onsite teams are getting stretched thin with more responsibilities, and may not have time to deal with more unqualified leads from some new ad source.
So take a step back, look at what you’re doing now, and see if you’re able to apply any (or all) of these ideas to help you convert more of the traffic you’re already getting into interested prospects … ideally as early in the shopping process as possible.
This is the first in a two-part series on increasing conversions. Next, we’ll look at the metrics you need to watch to make sure your website conversions are on track. Be sure to subscribe to get those posts sent to you, too. Or reach out anytime if you’d like us to help you implement these ideas on your site. (See … there I go trying to get you to convert.)
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