Beyond UX: Creating a Website That (Actually) Works
The digital search for a new apartment begins the moment a researching renter types into a search engine “one-bedroom apartments near XYZ park.” Then a renter clicks on a search result, or a digital advertisement, and ends up on your website. From there, it’s your website’s job to lead them on their journey to renting an apartment at your property.
Finding a new apartment home is a complex, emotional, and often long buying journey. Rent accounts for around thirty percent of most households’ take-home pay, making it one of their largest financial commitments, not to mention, a place where they will spend much of their time. So, your website needs to make renters think and feel, “that looks like home.”
Max Zarosinski, Multifamily Regional Sales Director at G5, recently spoke at the MRI Ascend conference. In case you missed it, you don’t need to miss out. In this blog, you’ll learn how we build websites that convert. We’ve simplified this to a three-piece puzzle.
First, start with emotions that drive decisions. Second, weave in data known about your shoppers. Third, blend images and copy to tell your story.
When you have all three of these pieces, your website will “click” into place, and be a conversion-focused machine.
Let’s start with the website’s end result in mind. What works is what gets you interest, not just any interest, but interest from the right people. Let’s break this down.
In the attention-economy, interest and time are the currency. You want researching renters, aka website visitors, to feel like your website is deserving of their time and attention. Let’s get more specific. You want those visitors to also be ready-to-rent prospects calling your properties. You don’t need never-gonna-rent, wishy-washy, prospects tying up your phone line (and your team’s time).
What we know about prospects today is that like you, and like us, they’re also distracted, busy, impatient, humans. They live complex lives and they wanted the question they asked answered not in five minutes, but yesterday or last week. In other words, their expectations are high.
So how do you get their attention? Marketers have often messaged toward prospective renters’ likes, wants, and needs. We often talk about solving pain points. Your website must do all of this, and to truly have your message resonate at a core level with researching renters, you need to also ease their fears. When we bring up fears we don’t mean play into their vulnerabilities and be a fear monger, that’s both not nice and not effective. No, we do genuinely mean, think about what would keep someone from signing your lease, and then address these core level fears.
For example, as an apartment is around 30% of someone’s monthly take-home pay, the last thing they want to feel is regret that they’re paying too much, or that they chose the wrong apartment. One way to ease this fear is reminding them of the value that they’ll experience at your property, so that they’ll feel confident about their choice. Click or hover on the tiles below to learn the flip side to each fear that an apartment renter might be worried about.
Design With Data
The second ingredient that a website that actually works needs is: data-proven practices, and data-backed content. Follow best practices for website navigation, structure, UX, and design. (P.S. For more on this watch our Brand + UX webinar). Then, once more, take the best practices one step farther. The top five apartment features renters were seeking according to NMHC, Kingsley 2020 were: air conditioning, soundproof walls, garbage disposal, high-speed internet, and washer/dryer in-unit. The top community amenities from that same report were: reliable cell reception, controlled amenity access, swimming pool, secure 24/7 package access, and fitness center.
Remember those fears we just talked about, let’s connect them with the data-proven amenities we know renters want. For example, we know renters fear danger, and want to be assured of their safety. AND, we know renters want controlled amenity access, meaning they believe their neighbors and other community members are likely vetted and safe humans to be around, and they want assurance that their amenities are only for residents and safety is ensured. Fears about safety could also be related to location. To address more of a location-based fear for an urban location, you might want to include something in your website copy to address this fear such as, “Nestled in the heart of the city and just steps from the subway, you’ll rest easy, living your life, your way.” Clearly, if your property is nestled in suburbia, and 1500 miles from a subway station (not the sandwich franchise), you’ll need to customize the text for your property.
Putting It All Together
Let’s consider a few more of the fears we mentioned above. No one wants to feel embarrassed about where they live, so make sure researching renters and residents know that they’ll be proud of where they live AND weave in data to take it to the next level. How do you do this? Simple, share about the community amenities through images and include website copy like “Entertain your friends at our resort-style pool or resident lounge.” Remember that list of community amenities above? A swimming pool is the third most desirable community amenity, so, show. it. off. It’s something to feel proud about.
Now, interact with the flip cards below to see what features and amenities you could promote to address each fear, and then we’ll bring this home with one more example.
We’ve talked about the fears of regret, embarrassment, and safety. So let’s dive into a very Millennial and Gen Z fear: loneliness. It’s no secret that as a society we’re paradoxically both more connected and lonelier than ever before, so addressing this fear head-on is important. Ease this fear by including verbiage about the connection vibrancy at your property like this, “Just steps to downtown and all its hot spots, this is a community to experience.” Then support this with images that show snippets of what a prospective renter could expect to enjoy at your property, like those listed on the back of each flip card above.
Long Story Short
If you skimmed your way through this, you’ve arrived at the two-sentence snapshot summary. Good job. To lock in all the pieces we talked about above, first, identify the emotions that drive renters’ decisions. Next, weave in data known about your prospects, and finally, blend images and copy to tell your story and ease these fears.
Remember, you aren’t alone. G5’s Studio Team is second to none, with talented copywriters and brand strategists, who know how to blend words, images and emotion to create a website that actually works. Learn more with our G5 MarTech Series Report all about Brand + UX.