Anyone can hang out a virtual shingle and call themselves a senior living marketing agency. In reality, not all agencies are created equal.
The worst part? Sometimes you won’t recognize the warning signs simply because you don’t know what you don’t know.
Let’s remedy this, OK?
Below, we discuss eight signs that your senior living marketing agency isn’t passing muster. Any one issue alone is worth having a conversation with the agency. Two or more signs, and you’ll likely want to begin looking elsewhere for marketing support… Here are the eight indicators:
- Your account team has never discussed its strategy with you.
- You don’t have visibility into your marketing.
- You don’t receive comprehensive reporting that you understand.
- You’re spending money on things you don’t understand (like PPC).
- Your agency treats marketing as a “set it and forget it” task.
- You only occasionally hear from your account team.
- You don’t own your marketing assets.
- Your account team keeps changing.
1. Your account team has never discussed its strategy with you.
Not all senior living marketing agencies take a strategic approach to marketing, which is a huge red flag. A sound strategy drives successful marketing, period. Too often, agencies will apply a one-size-fits-all template to your marketing.
How can you recognize when this happens? The “plan” will often sound like a pre-set formula: four blog posts a month, three Facebook posts a week, one Google Ads campaign, and one new ebook a quarter.
On the surface, the plan might sound reasonable. And yet, it’s the equivalent of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Your strategy should always dictate the campaigns, tactics, and content that you create. Maybe your strategy doesn’t require four blogs per month because you already have an excellent library of blog content. But maybe you do need better landing pages for your pay-per-click ads to increase your ROI.
We’re riffing here, but you likely get the gist. Beware of an agency that slaps together a 90-day plan within hours of a kick-off call with you. This indicates a formula or templated approach rather than a thoughtful strategy.
A thoughtful marketing strategy requires a careful analysis of your online presence, goals, competitors, and many other things before the account team can devise a plan to maximize your marketing budget while achieving your objectives.
2. You don’t have visibility into your marketing.
Marketing should never feel like this loosey-goosey intangible thing that’s impossible to quantify. Effective marketing produces measurable results like marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), sales-qualified leads (SQLs), tours, and move-ins.
It’s possible your marketing team assumes you understand all the various dashboards and charts in your marketing automation and CRM platforms. That’s an unfair assumption—and laziness on the account team’s part.
Yes, it’s good for you to dig into dashboards and review analytics, but it’s the marketing agency’s job to ensure you’re interpreting data correctly and you understand the changes the agency is making based on the data. And they should be making adjustments and tweaks.
3. You don’t receive comprehensive reporting that you understand.
This point aligns with the previous one. In a nutshell, good agencies avoid “dashboard dazzle,” where they deliver impressive-looking marketing dashboards filled with charts, graphs, and senior living marketing analytics that you can’t make heads or tails of—no matter how hard you try.
Your team should deliver regular updates and reports, but they should do so in a way that’s easy for you and other key stakeholders to understand. If you can’t quickly recap what the latest reporting or dashboard is telling you, consider that a troubling sign.
Request that they deliver more user-friendly reports. If they can’t or don’t, that is a sign you should look elsewhere.
4. You’re spending money on things you don’t understand (like PPC).
A good agency will walk you through complex marketing topics and make sure you understand what’s happening—and why. A good agency can also easily justify why it’s taking specific actions (or requesting a certain budget) so that you don’t have to wonder where your marketing dollars are going.
For example, you don’t need to become a PPC expert, but you should understand the basics—particularly the expected and actual ROI. This is true for all marketing campaigns, especially ones that might be out of your wheelhouse, like Google Ad campaigns.
5. Your agency treats marketing as a “set it and forget it” task.
Marketing is dynamic. What worked last quarter might not work next quarter. The social media platform that was hot might be cooling down. Bidding costs for paid ads will fluctuate and affect your budget. Situations out of your control (like a pandemic or natural disaster) might mean you need to rethink your marketing quickly.
Our point: Your senior living marketing agency must be able to pivot, which isn’t easy if the agency is beholden to a formula or is used to setting and forgetting things (like PPC campaigns).
6. You only occasionally hear from your account team (and never with fresh marketing strategies or ideas).
How often do you hear from your account team? Do they check in with you regularly? Or do they only respond when you email or call them?
The best senior living marketing agencies take a proactive rather than reactive approach. The agency stays on top of what’s working (and what isn’t) for your community, and they come to you with recommendations. They also regularly bring you creative marketing ideas and fresh strategies—and not simply when they’re trying to renew their contract.
7. You don’t own your marketing assets.
Your senior living marketing agency should never hold your marketing assets hostage. Your community should own its website, hosting, relevant Google accounts (like Google Business Profile, Google AdSense, Google Analytics), directory listings, collateral materials, etc.
Reputable agencies clarify in their contracts that you retain ownership of everything developed and created during your engagement.
Yes, members of your account team will need access to specific software (like Google products), but these products make it easy to add marketing partners (for this very reason—so that you don’t lose ownership of your assets).
8. Your account team keeps changing.
It’s normal for an occasional change on your account, but if your account team experiences regular turnover, consider it a warning sign.
Your marketing agency’s team is one that you can rely on. Constantly getting new team members up to speed is exhausting and disruptive. Plus, this merry-go-round behavior likely indicates a more significant problem within the agency.
Time to make a switch? Contact our senior living marketing agency.
For over a decade, we’ve helped senior living communities of all sizes rock their marketing. You won’t have to worry about any of the above issues when you choose us. Contact us today and experience the difference.