Prioritizing space above the fold, strategically placed calls-to-action, and a smart design that balances visual and content hierarchies are the keys to optimizing commercial real estate websites for the conversion of new leads into leases In the world of commercial real estate (CRE), the return on investment is directly proportional to achieving target occupancy rates and attracting renters willing to pay the highest rents. A great user experience across corporate and property-level websites will drive more conversions and thus, increase net rental income (NRI).
According to Google, potential renters now only visit between one and three properties before signing a lease (vs. the previous average of 10 or more), proving that competition is at the website level, not the property level, and prospects are weeding out your property based on your website. As a result, your website should really be treated as your first “virtual” leasing agent and optimized to convert leads to leases.
Conversion optimization is not to be confused with the website redesign, a much more time-intensive process. Often, optimizing a website for conversion is as simple as updating the microcopy on an information request form or strategically shifting a call-to-action (CTA) so it is visible on the first load.
Here are four website-optimization tips that will lead to better conversions:
Tip #1: Prioritize Space Above the Fold
Are you familiar with the term “above the fold?” In web design, it refers to the space a user sees immediately upon visiting a website. This is the portion of a web page that is visible without scrolling and where the most impressions and interactions occur. “Optimizing a website for conversion means placing the primary CTA above the fold and having a simple, yet unobstructed navigation that makes it easy for visitors to browse the site,” said Sarah Barr, Director, G5 Studio.
“Above the fold is also where your unique value proposition (UVP) should live. For those unfamiliar with the concept of a UVP, it describes how your business solves customers’ needs, including benefits it offers and serves as a differentiator from in-market competitors,” she continued. When implemented correctly, it captures your visitors’ attention, working in concert with the CTA to drive them to the pages where they are most likely to convert.
Tip #2: Use CTAs Strategically
When an individual visits a commercial real estate website, they have questions that need to be answered. According to Barr, “The number one job of your website is to answer these questions and generate demand for new rentals. Used strategically, CTAs are excellent at guiding website visitors to the content that is most relevant to their queries.” Capture users’ attention with these CTA best practices:
- Buttons, not text. For optimal lead generation, CTAs should be obvious and attention-grabbing on the page. Website visitors have been conditioned to click on a CTA button rather than text. Simplify the user experience by placing the button above the fold and make sure the copy on the button clearly states what the next action will be. For example: Request More Info.
- Psychological triggers. Your UVP, customer reviews, or pricing and availability information can easily tie into your CTAs and drive users to convert. Users trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, which means leveraging the language from testimonials can help evoke a psychological response.
- Reinforce with repetition. CTAs should be repeated on long-scrolling pages to reinforce or remind users how easy it is to take action.
Tip #3: Simplify Form Fills
For your website to effectively generate leads, your contact forms should be optimized for maximum conversions. Barr suggests “making it as simple as possible for users to contact you for more information.” Don’t overwhelm users with more fields than necessary. Minimizing the fields on your contact forms can improve your conversion rates. The layout of your forms makes a difference, as well. Your input fields should match the expected length of the answers and labels should be placed above the corresponding input field for easy reference.
Consider microcopy when optimizing your contact forms for conversion. What is microcopy? It refers to the small copy details on your website that instruct users on which action to take next. This includes a copy that you may not have considered before, including contact form explainers. Form microcopy includes:
- Explainers in text boxes.
- Description at the top of a form.
- Text on Submit buttons.
Carefully choosing the microcopy for these elements ensures you maximize leads coming in from your website.
Tip #4: Balance Visual and Content Hierarchies
“Your website should focus on the value your company delivers to customers,” said Barr. The copywriting on your website tells the story in words and the use of photography, typography, and other design elements reinforce the value your company offers prospects. She added that “copywriting and design work together to tell your brand story and demonstrate your unique value proposition.”
Here are four reasons why investing in photography, in particular, can lead to a more conversion-focused website.
- Website photography pushes visitors toward the goal of conversion.
- Images, especially above the fold, instantly draw the eye and break up the monotony of text. Having images that align with your conversion goals can boost rentals or sales of your properties.
- Using real images of your properties and the surrounding neighborhoods show users what they can actually expect to see when visiting a property, and that builds trust.
- Stock photos may be good quality, but don’t necessarily speak to the truth of your properties. Using photos of real people on your websites encourages engagement and relatability with your brand.
Your website should also be scannable — copywriting plays a large role in search engine optimization (SEO) and attracting visitors to your website, but once there, people typically don’t read every word. Your copy, photography, and design elements should work together to create a better user interface that encourages visitors to click on CTAs and drive conversions.
Generate Leads with a Conversion-Optimized Website
Optimizing commercial real estate websites starts above the fold. Maximizing the impact of this space and focusing on the finer details of your site, like microcopy and CTA placement, can accelerate demand generation strategies and pre-qualify leads – which means less work for your sales team and more money in your pocket.