Smartphone growth has changed consumer expectations of how they interact with your properties, changing how you should be marketing your properties to prospects. In fact, smartphone adoption has grown from 36% to 61% of the U.S. population in 2 years, with 57% of these users saying they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website. Consumers today expect to use a mobile device to manage their interactions, which means delivering websites that allow for simple, one-hand navigation, fast-loading pages, clear calls-to-action, and access to most of the same content they may have come across when navigating from a desktop. It’s not as easy as building a responsive website though. To differentiate their websites, property marketers must incorporate best practices in navigation, speed and content layout as the device sizes to smaller screens.
The key to responsive design is navigation that is optimized based on the screen size and user interaction (mouse or touch). Navigation is the cornerstone to your website, ensuring a user knows where they are and where they can go. For smartphones, your design should adjust to allow the user to navigate with one hand, whereas the key on a tablet is generally a two-handed approach with the reach of the thumb being the target. Both of these practices allow your navigation and converting tasks to be within easy reach of users, meeting their needs where they expect it.
Not only is website speed a factor in how you rank with search engines, consumers expect your website to respond fast. Website loading speed drives “customer engagement,” and a slow website is a major contributor to website abandonment, bounce rate and decreased conversion. The average web page loads in 4.9 seconds, which seems like an eternity in today’s mobile world. All content on your site needs to load quickly (shoot for under 2 seconds), which may mean loading your website in stages, with the most critical features for customer engagement loading first:
- Homepage image
- Calls-to-action (CTAs)
- The remainder of the website
Make sure your homepage is super simple, focusing only on the tasks that convert or that kick off the path to conversion, such as requesting a tour. You can also speed up your website by putting slower features like slideshows, and video content behind tabs, lazily loading them behind the scenes and minimizing the impact to loading your critical features.
Eye-tracking studies show that web users scan first, and then read, only if engaged by your content. This means that clear calls to action (CTAs) and large images that highlight your location and brand are more important than ever in the path to conversion. Customers do not have the patience for home and task-oriented pages that are heavy in text, nor do they want to spend time finding CTAs that are “below the fold” of the screen. They expect that you know what they’re looking for, and then you make it easy and frictionless for them to find it. When building your website, define the path to conversion, and then surface those tasks to the customer, making it easier for them to engage and convert. If they need more information, make sure that you provide options that allow them to dig deeper.
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