How do prospects know what to do next when they are on your website? That may seem an obvious question, but it's one that many apartment communities apparently don't think about that much based on the state of many of their websites.
Ideally, your apartment website is a prospect's first lengthy interaction with your community. They may have seen you as they were driving through the neighborhood or perhaps have heard about your community from a friend. But their first lengthy, focused engagement with your community is almost certainly on your website.
The goal of your website (assuming the person is a good lead) is to make sure that it is not their only interaction with your community. After seeing your website, you want the website visitor to do something more. One way of helping them to take that next step is to include what is called a call-to-action on every page on your website. A call-to-action can take many forms, but the thing that all CTAs share is that they are asking a website user to take the next step in whatever engagement process the website is trying to advance. So in the case of the multifamily industry, a call-to-action should nearly always be encouraging website users to call your leasing office to ask additional questions and schedule an in-person tour of the unit.
Below, we're going to talk about three things that every multifamily call-to-action ought to include.
First, make sure you're asking them to do something that is relatively easy and non-intimidating.
Human beings will respond to a request from someone based on the degree of trust they fell toward the person. So if my wife asks me to do something that seems difficult, uncomfortable, or strange, I'll still do it because she's my wife. But if an advertiser with whom I have no prior relationship asks me to do something only half as difficult, I'm still likely to refuse. Why? I don't trust them. So the first step with your call-to-action is make sure that you're making a request that the prospect will be willing to do.
We sometimes see communities that will have extensive paperwork and forms included on their website. The phone number, meanwhile, is usually buried on such sites. What these communities are asking of their prospects, then, assumes a level of trust they haven't even come close to earning. That website user is not ready to sign a lease or review community policies and rules. Right now they just want to learn more about the unit. So don't ask for an action that requires more trust than you have earned.
Make sure the call-to-action is prominent.
This is another common issue we see. Often communities make one of two mistakes when it comes to the prominence of their call-to-action. They either have five or six different elements that are all highly prominent (banner image + large menu text + marketing copy under banner image + call-to-action + logo) or they have a call-to-action that is buried underneath other content.
With the call-to-action, you want it to be prominent enough that users don't have to go hunting for the information, but not so large that it dominates the rest of the page. What we do for our clients is create a bit of large, easy-to-read black text in the top right corner with the simple directions: "Call Now:" followed by the phone number of the community. (Click the link above to see a demo site.) This text can be found on every page, so it is always easy for prospects to find the community phone number.
Obviously there are other ways of doing this, but we have found this strategy to be effective. That said, if you have other ideas for how to make your calls-to-action prominent but not obnoxious, we'd love to hear about them in the comments.
Finally, actually ask people to do something.
We see a decent number of sites that have the phone number listed somewhere. But it's important to recognize the difference between presenting information and asking prospects to do something with that information. Neil Patel has written a nice post for Social Media Examiner looking at how simply asking for retweets led to substantial increases in retweeting on Twitter.
The same principle applies in other contexts as well: If you ask prospects to do something, they are more likely to do it. Don't just give them your phone number; ask them to call you. The goal in providing self-serve information is that this information will prompt the prospect to action of some sort. So as much as possible, tie receiving various types of information to taking specific action, IE: Here is our phone number. You should call us.
Often you can significantly improve your site's conversion rate by simply making some small but significant changes. Fine-tuning your calls-to-action is one great way to do that. So experiment with various strategies that use the three tips described above and see what works for you. And if you have any questions, ask away in the comments section or find us on Twitter at @rentping. Thanks for reading!