senior living digital marketing man-struggling with bullseye graphic

Senior Living Digital Marketing: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

What are some of the biggest senior living digital marketing mistakes that we see day in and day out? Keep reading!

Mistake #1: Not having a plan or strategy.

It’s OK to wing some things in life, like creating a soup using whatever is in your fridge. But marketing is not one of those things. Well, we suppose you could try to wing it. But we guarantee you won’t be happy with the results.

Why is this the case? Well, marketing has gotten a lot more complex in the last two decades thanks to search, social media, and smartphones. In the “old days” of marketing, you could get by with an ad in the Yellow Pages (remember those?) and direct mail. That’s not the case now. You need to think about organic search, paid search, your website and blog, social media, and yes—some of those traditional marketing methods, like direct mail and print ads.

Because marketing is so complex, you need to have a senior living digital marketing plan in place. A good plan will make sure you’re implementing tasks that will achieve your goals. It will also keep everyone “honest” in that everyone knows what needs to happen day to day, week to week, and month to month.

Bottom line: Sure, you might be able to get by for a little while if you opt for a haphazard seat-of-your-pants approach. But it will catch up with you. Why wait to fail? Focus on developing a strong senior living marketing strategy now so your community (and marketing and sales teams) can reap the rewards.

Mistake #2: Not being consistent.

Too often we see senior living marketing teams getting psyched once they have a plan, but then the reality of work life interferes, and that awesome plan falls by the wayside or fizzles out over time.

Here’s the thing: effective senior living digital marketing is all about consistency. Lather, rinse, repeat—that’s the name of the game. Marketing guru Seth Godin refers to this as the “Drip, drip, drip” of marketing. You need to show up every day and engage prospects and delight them before you can turn them into residents and—hopefully—raving fans.

Bottom line: If you fall off your marketing horse, be kind to yourself. It happens. And before you get back on, ask yourself and your team a few questions: Was the plan realistic? Do you need to delegate more? Do you need outside help from a digital marketing agency?

Mistake #3: Not paying attention to results.

Why do all the work if it doesn’t deliver the results you’re looking for (i.e., move-ins)? We hate busy work just for the sake of looking busy. That’s where strategy comes into play. But not all strategies are going to be winners, which is why you need to monitor and measure the results.

Bottom line: If one particular marketing activity isn’t generating any leads—or it isn’t moving the marketing-qualified leads to sales-qualified leads—then you need to reconsider and recalibrate. You might want to tweak the activity in question and see if you get better results. Or you might want to put more time and money into the task that is working.

Mistake #4: Not embracing automation.

This one goes hand-in-hand with #2. The biggest reason that communities become inconsistent with their marketing is because they haven’t implemented tools that’ll help them be successful. And the tool we’re talking about here is marketing automation.

It would be impossible for one person or even one team to be responsible for manually doing things like analyzing and scoring leads, serving up and assigning the sales-qualified leads to the sales reps, and sending specific emails with specific content on a specific day and time to the marketing-qualified leads.

The only way to make it all work is through some sort of marketing automation. Any senior living community that shuns the idea is only hurting itself—and its marketing and sales teams. Don’t be this community!

Bottom line: Marketing automation makes life easier for marketing and sales teams while also delivering excellent results. (Provided it’s implemented correctly!) Psst: Need help sourcing and setting up the right marketing automation for your community? We can help!

Mistake #5: Not seeking expert help when you need it.

There’s no shame in outsourcing some of your digital marketing work. Even the most competent teams could use support—or even some strategy guidance from an objective third party. The key is making sure you use a senior living digital marketing agency, one that has experience in both digital marketing and senior living.

Bottom line: Senior Living SMART is the only agency whose team members have experience in digital marketing and senior living. We can help you avoid the big mistakes and get the results you crave. Get in touch!

senior-living-sales-office-workers-collaborating-graphic

Senior Living Sales Tips: The Problem with Third-Party Leads

Many senior living sales teams have become dependent on third-party lead aggregators to generate leads, tours, and move-ins. On the surface, a lead-gen aggregator sounds super appealing. You get more leads without lifting a finger, right? But as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

In today’s edition of senior living sales tips, we’re going to discuss the many problems with third-party leads (including how you should approach them if you’ve decided you simply can’t give them up).

1. All third-party leads are SHARED leads.

Unfortunately, it’s easy for senior living sales teams to buy into the illusion that they have plenty of leads if they’re only looking at the total number rather than the quality or the lead source itself.

Keep in mind, however, that lead aggregators aren’t sharing leads with just your community. They’re sharing the leads with five to seven other communities as well. Not to mention, a shared lead actually represents only 1/5 or 1/7 of an organic or exclusive lead. So you can’t consider any shared leads as “full” leads since doing so will artificially inflate your lead database or senior living CRM.

2. Third-party lead generators might provide a high volume of leads, but these leads typically have extremely low conversions.

It is not unusual for communities to attribute 80% of their total leads to third-party sources but only convert three to six percent of those leads to residents.

Think about that for a moment.

Your senior living sales team is spending eighty percent of its time working on leads that convert only three to six percent of the time! Organic leads, professional referrals, and friend and family referral sources all have significantly higher conversions.

3. Being first is the only one way to improve conversions (and that isn’t as easy as it sounds).

By “first,” we mean contacting the lead within 10 minutes of receiving it—and doing this on a regular basis day in and day out with all leads that come in. Talk about adding stress to your sales team!

And even if you are first, that might not get you very far since most marketing leads aren’t sales-ready until after six to eight marketing interactions.

4. You might already have the same lead in your CRM.

The lead the third-party aggregator provided might already exist in your senior living CRM because it came in another way, such as organic search or paid advertising.

And yet if you don’t promptly notify the third-party provider about the duplicate lead, you’ll end up “buying” a lead for a prospect you already have. Talk about a waste of valuable marketing dollars for your senior living sales team.

5. Third-party leads are expensive.

Most communities are paying the equivalent of one full month’s rent and care for third-party leads. Couldn’t you put that money to better use with marketing initiatives that bring in organic leads who are genuinely interested in your community? (Short answer: YES!)

Not ready to give up third-party lead aggregators just yet? At least be SMART about it.

If you’re going to continue with third-party lead aggregators, you need a smart strategy to convert leads faster using marketing automation technology. Luckily for you, we’ve created a solution that can help.

We call it “Speed to The Lead.” This solution will help your community respond quickly to third-party leads, deliver brochures immediately, and follow-up using an automated five-step lead nurturing workflow that nudges people along the sales funnel and encourages them to request a tour. Interested in hearing more about it? Get in touch and let’s chat!

senior living marketing graphic of filling lead funnel

Senior Living Marketing Channels: Which Ones Matter in 2021?

Which senior living marketing channels do the majority of your prospects hang out on today? Let’s keep it high level and discuss the big three umbrellas: Search, Social, and Email.

Senior Living Marketing Channel #1: The Search Is Over.

Who would have thunk when Google was founded in 1998 that it would take over in the way it has? Today, “google” is a verb, and it’s the first thing we all do when we’re searching for anything online, whether it’s a new place to eat, a new car to buy, or a new place to live, like a senior living community.

Sure, how your prospects get to you via search might not always be a straight line. Some searchers might come from review sites. Others from directories. Still others from your Google My Business listing or social media. And, of course, some will land on your website first and explore the above after. But it all starts with search.

We’ve shared stats like these before, but they’re worth sharing again:

Over 6000 searches related to senior living communities are made each hour. [Source: Senior Housing News]

Baby Boomers spend more time online than Millennials, and a staggering 92% of Boomers shop online. [Source: The Shelf]

Boomers have great attention spans and will read your content! 60% of Boomers regularly read blogs, and 70% percent watch video content online. [Source: The Shelf]

Boomers are almost as likely as Millennials to own a tablet. [Source: Marketing Charts]

68% of Boomers own a smartphone. [Source: Pew Research Center]

Plenty of senior living marketing tasks come under the search umbrella, including the following:

Bottom line: Whenever you think about senior living marketing, you should always be thinking about it in relation to search. Optimizing your digital marketing for search should drive everything you do.

Senior Living Marketing Channel #2: Let’s get social.

Social media is an important channel to focus on now—for a few reasons.

First, your prospects are already hanging out on various social platforms. Consider the following breakdown for social media usage among Baby Boomers in the U.S. according to Statista.

  • YouTube – 70%
  • Facebook – 68%
  • Pinterest – 27%
  • LinkedIn – 24%
  • Instagram – 23%
  • Twitter – 17%

Second, consider the generations following Boomers—specifically Gen X and older Millennials. They’re even bigger social media users. So investing in social media marketing now makes sense. You’ll capture the Boomers who are active, and you’ll be poised to welcome the next generations as they start thinking about senior living for themselves.

Third, you can be a lot more casual on social media than you can in other places, like your website or Google My Business listing. You can be whimsical. You can even make a typo without anyone walking away thinking you’re unprofessional. Best of all, you can give a real sense of what your community is like.

As we often remind our clients, all senior living communities are selling the same thing. Differentiating yourself from the community down the street or the next town over involves pulling back the curtain and letting people see your community’s true “essence”—those little things that make it different, special, and that might inspire someone to call your community home. Social media is a great way to share your community’s essence.

Senior living marketing activities that fall under the social media umbrella include:

Check out this series we recently completed on senior living social media marketing.

Senior Living Marketing Channel #3: The death of email has been greatly exaggerated.

The adoption of smartphones and tablets is one of the main reasons why email is alive and well—and will remain so for the near future.

This article reports that email is a top three distribution channel for both b2b and b2c marketers, that over 4 billion people around the world used email in 2020, and that email has over a 90% penetration rate among US internet users. The same article notes that email remains the most reliable channel for nurturing and converting marketing-qualified leads to sales-qualified leads to actual customers.

Of course, the key to effective email marketing is making sure you have a smart strategy—and that you have good marketing automation that’ll help you execute that strategy. This involves understanding your prospects’ journeys so you can develop the right content for the right prospect and deliver it to them via email at the right time.

Remember, silo mentalities need not apply.

Don’t approach each senior living marketing channel as if it exists separately from the others. Instead, create one strategy that includes all three channels. Need help? You’ve come to the right place. Our strategic marketing roadmap is an excellent place to start.

Marketing Automation graphic, HubSpot for senior living

Got HubSpot for Senior Living. Now What?

We’ve had several senior living communities contact us because they recently purchased a license for marketing automation technology, like HubSpot for senior living, only to realize they had no idea what to do next.

We liken this experience to the holiday season when you’ve scored the one thing your child desperately wants, only to discover there are a thousand pieces you need to put together before your kid can play with the thing. And, come to find out, the special little magic wrench that screws everything together is missing.

That’s exactly how it can feel after you’ve signed a license for marketing automation like HubSpot. As you enter your shiny new online portal, you suddenly realize how many moving parts are involved—and how much work it’s going to take to get campaigns and workflows up and running. Not to mention, where the heck is that special little magic wrench anyway?

Our biggest piece of advice to senior living marketing teams is this: First, take a deep breath. Second, ask yourself the following questions. Because the truth is you might need to outsource the onboarding work to an agency partner that has experience in HubSpot for senior living.

1. Do you have existing staff to power your HubSpot for senior living?

Think in terms of immediate onboarding (the first 90 days are important). But consider the long haul as well. Is your marketing department one person? Or do you have a larger department where you can assign someone ownership of HubSpot? Is anyone on your team HubSpot certified? Or do you have someone in-house who’s ready to become a HubSpot master?

What to look for in the answer: First, there’s no right or wrong answer here. People bring different skill sets to their senior living marketing roles, and that’s OK. You might get lucky and have someone who is fluent in HubSpot—or who is a quick learner and willing to put in the time to get there.

If you don’t currently have a HubSpot person on staff—and no one has the bandwidth to take it on—then that’s a good sign it’s time to work with a HubSpot agency partner, like us.

2. Do you know what info you need from prospects—and how to use this info to inform your lead-nurturing workflows?

Good marketing automation helps you give the right person the right piece of content at the right time. But this process doesn’t magically happen on its own. You need to understand your prospective buyers—and their journeys. And you need to configure HubSpot so that you’re asking site visitors for the right info when they fill out a form. And by “right,” we mean information that’s relevant to your prospective buyers, such as their role in the decision, the decision stage, and their motivation.

What to look for in an answer: We love the adage, “You don’t need to know how to build a watch in order to tell time.” The same is true for marketing automation like HubSpot for senior living. It’s OK if you don’t know how to configure it. What’s essential is that you understand what you want it to do—and that you can articulate this to a HubSpot agency partner who can set it up properly for you.

3. Do you have multiple properties that are on your HubSpot portal?

Onboarding one property can be hard enough for a senior living marketing department to do on its own. But when multiple properties are involved? That’s when things can get super complicated super quick.

You need to build templates, create nurturing workflows with branching logic, create a strategy for lead scoring, develop lead distribution lists, and understand how to use personalization tokens so all communities can share the same email, landing page, and newsletter templates. When you successfully do the latter, you won’t have to copy these items over and over again for each property.

What to look for in an answer: Honestly, if multiple properties are involved, you should definitely work with a marketing automation expert. Even if it’s simply to spot check and test the setup your own team did. The only thing worse than no marketing automation is broken automation that sends the wrong piece of info to the wrong person. (Or does silly things like getting the name field wrong, so the email says, “Dear Fred” instead of “Dear Mary.”)

4. Do you have the right content to keep the right prospects engaged?

When we say the “right” content, we mean content that will move marketing-qualified leads to sales-qualified leads. Think relevant blogs, e-books, videos, infographics, and the like. You’ll be serving up this content to prospects based on their lead score and the email nurturing cadence you assign.

What to look for in an answer: If your content is lacking, it makes sense to work with a digital agency that can provide guidance on HubSpot and produce strong content. Remember, HubSpot can only do so much on its own. HubSpot is powerful, but if your current content offerings are weak, the results will be mediocre at best.

5. Is your HubSpot for senior living aligned with your sales process?

When communities start using marketing automation, the sales teams often panic due to what they perceive as a sudden drop in leads. Sales teams are used to working “all” leads. Yet this approach is inefficient because the majority of leads aren’t ready for a sales interaction.

Marketing automation helps segment leads into marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and sales-qualified leads (SQLs). Sales teams only need to follow up on the SQLs. The marketing automation will continue to nurture MQLs.

What to look for in the answer: The best way to avoid the panic is to educate the sales teams about this shift before you implement the software. This way you can address concerns. However, it can be hard to educate sales folks on this concept if it’s still a new concept to marketing teams as well. A good HubSpot agency partner can often provide training for both teams and ensure everyone’s goals are aligned.

How’d you do on our little “quiz”?

Did your answers surprise you? Did they make you realize that yes, your community needs assistance with configuring HubSpot? Let us help. We recently achieved the Platinum Tier in HubSpot’s Solutions Partners Program. This tier recognizes our expertise with all things HubSpot. We can help your community get yours up and running in no time. Get in touch and let’s talk HubSpot for senior living.

creating content for Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms

Senior Living Social Media Marketing: Instagram, LinkedIn, & More

This month, we’ve done a series on senior living social media marketing. In case you missed any articles and want to catch up, here are the links:

While YouTube and Facebook tend to be the most popular social media channels with Baby Boomers (the usage breakdown is 70% and 68% respectively, according to Statista), we predict that Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) will grow quickly in popularity among Boomers. So, we wanted to share some ideas for Instagram and what communities should keep in mind as they experiment with this social media channel.

Then, we’re going to chat about LinkedIn. Nope, it’s not a social channel that you’ll use to attract prospective residents. But it can be a great platform for attracting prospective employees while solidifying your brand’s narrative.

Let’s get to it!

Instagram for senior living communities

First, some impressive stats. As Instagram notes . . .

  • 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram.
  • 200 million+ Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily.
  • 1/3 of the most viewed stories are from businesses.

Second, let’s talk images. Because that’s what Instagram is ALL about: pictures. In fact, 995 photos are uploaded on Instagram every second.

If you want to have any sort of success with this platform, you need to take great pics and post them regularly.

What sorts of pics should your community post? Have at it, we say! Think people (residents and staff), nature, animals, people, grounds, food, people, different areas of the community at different times of day/different seasons, holidays, events, and oh did we mention PEOPLE? :)

You get the idea. Instagram (IG) is all about capturing moments, and no doubt your community offers up many, many moments every single day. Use IG as a way to truly communicate your community’s essence. You want prospects to be able to browse through your IG feed and picture themselves in your community—or not—Instagram could also serve as a great way to help people disqualify themselves as well.

In a previous post about Facebook tips, we mentioned that you should encourage your entire staff to take pics as they go about their days. To make it easy, set up a Dropbox where people can add pics directly from their phones. Not all photos will make the cut, but it’s great to have options and to get people in the habit of taking and sharing pics.

Pro Tips:

  • Make sure you have a business profile for your community (rather than a personal profile). Business profiles, like business pages on Facebook, have added functionality baked in.
  • Make sure you have a complete bio and a link to your website. Keep in mind that you can’t include links within posts.
  • Be smart about hashtags. Hashtags are the way people share specific content with a wider audience—and the way people find the content. Less is actually more, however. Search Engine Journal reports, “Using more hashtags actually decreases the average engagement rate. It’s likely better to use fewer hashtags (no more than 5) than to use too many. Ultimately, when it comes to hashtags, it’s not about quantity. It’s about relevance.”
  • Take advantage of Instagram features, like IGTV. IGTV is for long-form videos (no more than 60 minutes when uploaded from the web and no more than 15 minutes when uploaded from mobile; go here for specs and here for how to upload). THIS is how you can repurpose your awesome YouTube videos. Talk about a bigger bang for your buck, right?

LinkedIn for senior living communities

As for LinkedIn, only 24% of Boomers use it, which makes sense since it’s a professional networking site. Most older adults are phasing out of full-time work rather than networking and looking for new jobs. That said, even though LinkedIn isn’t a platform you’d use to engage with prospects, it is a platform you’d use to engage with current employees AND prospective employees.

And great employees make for a great senior living community, right?

Pro Tips:

  • Make sure you create a company page. Individuals have personal profiles. Businesses need to create a company page. Just like Instagram business profiles, your LinkedIn company page will have more features. Make sure you have up-to-date imagery and brand narratives about your community. Be sure to talk about the community from an employee perspective as well.
  • Keep your company page up to date. We see too many communities with outdated company pages. While you might not be as active on LinkedIn as you are on Facebook or Instagram, you should still post updates. Sharing blog content is an easy way to do this.
  • Make sure employees follow the company page. If community employees have a presence on LinkedIn (i.e., they have a personal profile), encourage them to follow the company page. And encourage them to list their position with your company on their personal profiles.
  • Make sure key personnel have current personal profiles. For visibility purposes, you want to make sure the C-suite and managers have updated personal LinkedIn profiles that include their current position with your company. (If you have a company page and an employee lists it in the work history, LinkedIn will automatically “pull” the company logo from your business page—this is incredibly important from a consistent branding perspective.)

Don’t rule out other platforms for senior living social media marketing.

Plenty of other social media platforms exist—and popular ones too, relatively speaking, like Twitter and Pinterest. When it comes to social media, you need to think strategically. What’s going to give you the biggest bang for your marketing buck? Right now, that’s probably YouTube and Facebook, so we’d recommend focusing on those first. But absolutely mix in one or two more (and even more than that if you have the staff and budget).

Also keep in mind that what works for your target audience today might not work five years from now. For example, while TikTok is currently a young person’s playground, it might not stay that way. Remember, when Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, it was geared toward college kids. Today’s college kids are using other platforms, like IG, Snapchat, and TikTok while their parents and grandparents play on Facebook.

Bottom line: Things are fluid, and senior living marketing teams need to remain nimble and be willing to pivot to new platforms when the time is right.

Creating high converting content ideas for Facebook

Senior Living Social Media Marketing: High-Converting Content Ideas for Facebook

For the last couple of posts on our blog, we’ve been taking a deeper dive into senior living social media marketing. In case you missed them, here are the links:

In our experience, social media is one of the least understood marketing vehicles in our industry. Sure, we all “get” Facebook, at least from a personal perspective. But these platforms can provide an excellent way to reach prospects and engage with current residents and their families.

So, let’s turn our attention to content ideas for another social media platform popular with older adults: Facebook.

1. Share videos.

According to Social Media Today, video posts on Facebook generate more engagement (59% more!) than other types of posts. The same article offers up several other worthwhile tips. First, focus on shorter videos (90 seconds or less). Provide captions that entice people to watch. Make sure your video has a compelling thumbnail.

  • Pro tip: Try “boosting” posts with videos. This is a form of Facebook advertising that lets you take an existing organic post that you then share with a wider target demo for a budget you set. Boosted posts can give you a good idea regarding which types of videos perform best (for example, a people-focused video vs. a tour video). Pay attention to video metrics (Facebook offers deep analytics known as Insights).

2. Experiment with Facebook Live.

Facebook Live takes videos to a whole new level because you’re sharing video footage in real time as it’s happening. (Thus, the word “Live.”) This isn’t some gimmick, either. Facebook Live works. In fact, HubSpot reports that Facebook lives generate 10 times more engagement than traditional videos.

You might wonder, “Well why should I bother with traditional videos at all then?” Two reasons.

First, you should be creating traditional videos for YouTube since, as we reported in a previous article, YouTube is currently the top social media platform with the Boomer generation (78%). You can’t ignore that stat! If you’re creating videos for YouTube, you’ll get a much bigger banger for your buck if you share that video content across other platforms, like Facebook.

Second, not everyone is comfortable doing something live. Not to mention, Facebook Live videos are often less polished than traditional videos. (Think shaky cameras or people going off “script” or videos simply going longer.)

Like everything else with senior living social media marketing, you want to have a smart strategy in place. And this strategy should include a mix of traditional videos and Facebook Live.

3. Post images.

Facebook is a visual medium. As people scroll through their feed, they’re much more likely to stop on a captivating image rather than a block of text. In our next blog post, we’ll be talking about Instagram, which is ALL about images. The image suggestions we make in that post will most definitely apply to Facebook.

Here’s the overarching theme when it comes to Facebook images.

People, people, people. Think residents and their families. Staff members. Crowds from events like an author visit or Mother’s Day luncheon.

Spaces within your community. The pub, the salon, different room styles, dining areas (inside and out), fitness centers, views from various vantage points.

  • Pro tip: Always include captions, which can help provide context.

4. Share testimonials.

Got a great review, comment from a resident, or sweet anecdote in a letter or email? Share it on Facebook (ideally with a pic for added visual interest).

  • Pro tip: Whenever possible, include a picture of the person who gave the testimonial. And don’t just think in terms of residents and families. Testimonials from staff members can be great to share as well. And, of course, video testimonials are great as well.

5. Post important/relevant announcements.

Facebook can be a great way to get the word out about breaking news or important announcements. During the pandemic, many businesses communicated with people via social media (both through Facebook Live and “static” announcements).

For example, if your community is in the path of a hurricane, Facebook can be an excellent way to provide updates for families who are watching from afar and can’t get through to loved ones due to sketchy cell service and downed power lines.

  • Pro tip: For shorter announcements that you want to stand out, use Facebook’s colorful background feature. It essentially turns your status update into a larger picture-type post (with bigger text and a colorful background—this makes it eye-catching). (Here’s how to do it.)

6. Share content from your community’s other digital assets.

Share your senior living blog posts on Facebook. (Write an engaging caption.) Share resources that followers will find helpful, like a guide for how to downsize a home. Share links to your podcasts. This is the cornerstone of effective senior living social media marketing.

  • Pro tip: Make sure you pay attention to the analytics so that you can measure results. For example, if you share a link to a recent blog post, how much engagement did that Facebook post get (likes, clicks, comments)? And most importantly, how many people clicked FROM Facebook to your blog post? The goal is to get a better feel for what types of content get people to click so that you can post more of it.

7. Share content from relevant and reputable third-party sources.

For example, during the pandemic, linking to CDC and/or state guidelines made sense. Or you could share links to articles where your community or someone from your community is featured.

  • Pro tip: Before sharing third-party content, always ask yourself if it will serve/help your target audience. Always check links. Always make sure you’re sharing accurate, properly vetted info. Avoid content that’s highly polarizing (such as political memes).

Ideas for compelling YouTube videos

Senior Living Social Media Marketing: YouTube Content Ideas

In our previous blog post on senior living social media marketing, we noted the most popular social media platforms among the Boomer generation, and YouTube sits at the top of the list at 70%.

Some folks might not think of YouTube as a social media platform, but it most definitely is since users can like, share, comment, and reply on videos. YouTube videos also rank well in organic search results (provided you optimize your video titles and descriptions—treat these the same way you do optimization elements on your website).

When thinking through your senior living marketing plan and budget, diversification is important—but so is a smart strategy. YouTube is an excellent platform to invest in not only because Boomers spend time on the platform, but also because you can easily use your YouTube videos on other platforms, like Facebook, blog posts, and Google My Business listings.

When it comes to content, what sorts of videos should you develop for your senior living community’s YouTube channel? Here are some ideas . . .

1. Give a virtual tour of your entire community.

No doubt, you might be tired of hearing the words “virtual tour” thanks to the pandemic. But virtual tour videos offer people a great bird’s eye view of your community.

They can also be an excellent way to move people from the marketing-qualified stage to the sales-qualified stage. For example, if you embed your tour video in a lead nurturing workflow and someone books an in-person tour after viewing it, you’ll know that you’ve got an interested prospect on your hands.

Not to mention, virtual tours are excellent vehicles for people who are coming from outside the immediate area. So, for example, if adult children are looking for places for mom and dad in another state, virtual tours can provide important info.

  • Pro tip: Your tour of the community itself is just that—it should provide a solid overview. Don’t make it overly long, either. Three to four minutes should be enough to give everyone a good sense of place.

2. Provide a tour of various room layouts/floorplans.

Consider these your “drill-down” videos where you provide a deeper look into one aspect of your community. Most prospects want to know about the residences themselves. What floorplans are available? How big are the bedrooms? Is there a patio/deck? What other amenities do certain floorplans have? You get the idea. Create videos for each type of residence your community offers.

  • Pro tip: Add a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of each video so people can download the actual floorplan. You could choose to give away the floor plan free and clear (no name required) or put it behind a VERY brief form so that you can nurture the person further.

3. Show off your dining areas (inside and out).

Anyone who’s worked in senior living sales for any length of time knows that one of the most popular questions centers around food. What are the dining options? Who’s the chef? Are any residences outfitted with full kitchens? Does the community offer a private function room for family events like birthdays and anniversaries? Is there a pub on site? And so forth.

Think of all the questions you get about food in your community and create a video (or set of videos) that focuses on cuisine and other culinary aspects.

  • Pro tip: What truly differentiates your community from others in the area when it comes to dining? Do you have an award-winning chef? Then, do a video interview with them. Do you cater to different diets, including contemporary diets, like keto and paleo? Talk about how you accommodate.

4. Stroll the grounds.

Setting is everything, and if this is what makes your community special—perhaps it sits on a golf course or overlooks conservation land or is a stone’s throw from the ocean—then create a video that captures the magic. Get footage from different times of day and, ideally, different times of year.

  • Pro tip: Regarding our last suggestion, you could create a series of “seasonal strolls.” So if you have a senior living community in the northeast, make sure you have a video of your community in every season. Play up the gorgeous maples with their leaves ablaze in the fall and the blooming dogwoods in the spring. Capture residents sipping cocktails on the veranda on a hot summer’s evening. Celebrate how your community looks decked out in holiday decorations in December.

5. Record events.

Think guest musicians, sing-alongs, poetry slams, comedy nights, and the like. Residents who missed an event can watch on demand from the comfort of their home. Prospects will get a good feel for how active and engaging the event schedule is in your community.

  • Pro tip: When recording an event, ask the videographer to also get b-roll of the space and to get reaction quotes from attendees (i.e., your current residents and their family/friends). While these “candid” clips won’t make it into the cut of the event itself, you’ll have the footage available for other marketing purposes. (Like our next idea.) 

6. Create yearly retrospectives.

Put out a “best of” video every December that features clips from events and anything else that was new that year (such as the opening of a new amenity, for example). These can be great videos to share across social media in December, since people are always eager to reflect on the past 12 months. And they can serve as great marketing vehicles moving forward.

7. Highlight area attractions.

When it comes to senior living—and truly demonstrating that it is indeed a different lifestyle than the myths that persist around “retirement homes”—you need to go beyond the community itself. Because while all the amenities your community provides are certainly important things to share and show off, you also want to give people a flavor for what life in the town/city and nearby areas has to offer.

  • Pro tip: Ask your existing residents about their favorite nearby spots. If you keep hearing the same answer, make sure you add that spot to the list.

8. Interview residents, family members, and staff.

Highlight the people who reside and work within your community. Record a resident or group of residents with a great story. Tape short resident testimonials (this should be an ongoing item). Feature staff members from various departments. Again, look for people with interesting stories, who’ve been part of your community’s family for a long time, and/or who are popular with residents/staff.

  • Pro tip: Videos with staff can perform double duty. Yes, they can be a great marketing tool, but they can also be a great recruitment Post your videos to places like your community’s company page on LinkedIn.

9. Experiment, play, and try new things.

What we shared above isn’t an exhaustive list. Honestly, the sky’s the limit when it comes to YouTube content ideas. Be willing to experiment and try new things. Ask people in your community for ideas. (You might be surprised at the creativity!)

  • Pro tip: If you need help, seek it, which brings us to our final point.

More likes equals profits

Senior Living Social Media Marketing: 4 Reasons to Invest

We’re getting ready to unleash a series of blog posts on senior living social media marketing. First up, why should you invest in social media anyway? Here are four good reasons.


1. Your prospective buyers are already hanging out on social media.

Social media use has skyrocketed among all demographics, including older adults. According to Tech.co, among people 55+, there’s been a 66% increase in product discovery via social media over the past four years, and 70% have bought something online in the last month.

Here’s the breakdown for social media usage among U.S. Baby Boomers. (Source: Statista.)

  • YouTube – 70%
  • Facebook – 68%
  • Pinterest – 27%
  • LinkedIn – 24%
  • Instagram – 23%
  • Twitter – 17%

Bottom line: Your prospects are already spending ample time on social media. So why not meet them where they are? This is why senior living communities need a strong overall digital presence. Having a great website is important, but it’s not enough. Your brand needs to extend to social media as well.

2. Solid ROI is possible, provided your social media marketing is done right.

Too often, communities take a willy-nilly approach with their senior living social media. They might post occasionally to Facebook. Or maybe they start an Instagram page, only to abandon it after a few months. Or maybe the marketing team is posting the same things across ALL channels, thus giving themselves (and only themselves) the appearance that the community is “active” on social media.

None of this is strategic. And none of this is smart. None of this is going to give you a good return on investment (ROI).

Remember, senior living social media ROI doesn’t magically happen. Like everything else in marketing, you need to have a smart strategy to achieve the ROI you’re looking for.

In addition to strategy, you also need a way to measure your results. This will absolutely require robust analytics and a senior living website that’s built to convert visitors into leads—along with marketing automation to nurture those leads.

By the way, if you’re wondering what we mean by ROI, we’re typically talking two big things when it comes to senior living social media marketing:

  • Lead generation
  • Brand awareness

And keep in mind that ROI opportunities exist within both paid and organic social media.

You likely understand how paid social media advertising can result in ROI. But people sometimes forget that ROI applies to organic social media as well. It takes time and people to do the work that can deliver strong organic results (and those hours and people cost money!).

3. Senior living social media channels provide a great way to share your community’s “essence.”

Your senior living website is a great place for information, both factual (e.g., locations, amenities, floor plans, price ranges) and educational (e.g., “10 tips for financing senior living”). All of this is essential and important info for your prospective buyers to have. However, as we often acknowledge, so many senior living websites sound the same because they’re all essentially selling the same basic “product.”

Social media provides the perfect place to elevate your community and share its true essence. Post a shot of a resident enjoying a cup of coffee on a summer morning as she sits on her patio marveling at the view. The way the sun spills onto the patio, the smile on her face, the view itself—this is REAL. It’s not posed. It’s not a stock image. It can help a prospective buyer picture what their morning might be like waking up with a cup of coffee in your community.

4. Content for social media channels can be easier and less stressful to create than traditional marketing materials.

People expect your website and printed sales collateral to be slick and polished. But with social media, people crave authenticity. While some might feel overwhelmed by this, we think that the casual nature makes it easier to create content, not harder.

Strike a truly conversational tone in posts, captions, and comments. Sound like a real person. Talk about real, relevant things in an honest way. Have fun with emojis. Be playful in your tone. If you make a typo, don’t sweat it.

Take pics with your phone (they don’t need to be perfect). In fact, you’ll be rewarded for more authentic shots. This makes it easier for more people to participate beyond your marketing and sales teams. Anyone with a phone has the ability to capture something special that you can share.

For example, that fabulous shot we described above of the resident enjoying a cup of coffee? You can share it across multiple channels. Sure, you should resize the image according to the platform’s specs. And you will need to tweak the description/caption, depending on where you’re posting it. But still—you get more mileage from that one shot.

Repurpose content across channels (but do so thoughtfully). Keep in mind that repurposing content doesn’t mean simply copying, pasting, and sharing it across five different channels. Instead, be thoughtful in your approach. Where should you use that one awesome shot you took of a resident enjoying coffee? The shot is great for Facebook and Instagram, but probably less so for LinkedIn since LI focuses on professional networking.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Don’t go it alone! Turn to experts in social media and senior living. (That would be us!)

Thanks to our decades of experience working in senior living, we understand what prospects crave. And as digital marketers, we get social media as well. We can bring it all together and deliver the results you’ve been looking for. Let’s chat!

Senior Living Marketing Strategy: What is Premium Content?

If you want to have an excellent senior living marketing strategy, you need an excellent content strategy. Content can take many forms—emails, landing pages, blog posts, and one of our favorites: premium content.

In today’s article, we’re going to answer commonly asked questions about premium content.


What is premium content?

Simply put, premium content is (usually) long-form content that lives behind a website form. You might also hear the term “gated” content. If a website visitor wants to access the content, they need to give something in return—most often their name and email address.

What are some examples of premium content?

Any piece of content could be premium content. While premium content is usually long-form, it doesn’t have to be. The content’s value is what ultimately matters. For example, a prospect might consider a one-pager on your community’s pricing to be extremely valuable.

That said, examples of premium content include the following:

  • Brochures
  • Case studies
  • Checklists
  • Ebooks
  • Guides
  • Infographics
  • Pricing lists
  • White papers

Why is premium content critical to an effective senior living marketing strategy?

Premium content is critical to a senior living marketing strategy because it can help define where someone is in their buying journey. From there, we can “score” them. Are they a marketing-qualified lead or a sales-qualified lead?

For example, someone who downloads a free guide from your site on “Questions to ask when you begin researching senior living options” is likely in a vastly different place from the person who requests pricing for your community.

The person wanting the guide isn’t ready for a sales interaction. They are still in the research stage. So if a sales rep called them, the rep would be wasting everyone’s time. Not to mention, the rep might label the lead as “cold” or “dead,” which wouldn’t be accurate. The lead simply isn’t ready.

The person wanting your community’s specific pricing is probably closer to making a decision. So a follow-up call from the sales rep would likely yield better results—such as a tour or a sit-down conversation.

But what about that person who downloaded the guide? They’ve engaged with content on your site and they’ve shown interest and curiosity in senior living. We’d call them a marketing-qualified lead (MQL). And because we have the person’s email address, we can continue staying in front of them by sending them helpful information via email. All of this can happen seamlessly behind the scenes via marketing automation.

Bottom line: Sales reps should only work leads that are truly sales-qualified. Meanwhile, the marketing automation can continue to nurture the marketing-qualified leads. And it all begins with the various kinds of premium content you have on your site, and who engages with what.

So when I create premium content for my senior living community, do I have to think about different types of content for MQLs and SQLs?

Short answer: Yes. But the longer answer goes like this. It’s better to think about content according to your different types of buyers and the various points they’ll likely hit on their journey.

For example, a seventy-year-old couple who is just beginning the process of thinking about downsizing and moving into a community is in a different mindset than the adult daughter who needs to find a place for her eighty-nine-year-old mother with dementia. What types of content would be helpful to each persona? THAT’S how you have to think about it.

Oh, boy. That sounds confusing. Can you break down content development into steps?

We sure can!

  • List your buyer personas. (Need help? Check out our guide on persona development.)
  • List the various points they’ll be in their respective journeys—research stage, consideration stage, decision stage.
  • Then, list the various types of content that would help each persona in each stage.

Yes, you’ll likely have some overlap between certain personas/stages. But this gives you a rough idea about how to approach this senior living marketing strategy.

Wow! That sounds like A LOT of content to develop.

It is, but keep in mind we’re big fans of repurposing content.

So let’s say you write a guide called “10 Financial Mistakes to Avoid When Considering Senior Living.” Once you write the guide, you can use snippets in other channels:

  • Blog – do a series of 10 blog posts, one on each mistake
  • Tweet/post different mistakes on social media and link to the complete guide
  • Do a podcast about the mistakes
  • Do a 10-minute video—one minute for each mistake

You get the idea. You can use one good piece of long-form content in multiple ways. So while the initial content is an investment (we recommend using a professional copywriter), the ROI will be huge.

Can Senior Living SMART help my community write, design, and publish premium content?

Absolutely! Not only do we create premium content that gets results (in other words, conversions!), we can also help you implement marketing automation. (Including lead scoring and lead nurturing.) Contact us for a complimentary brainstorming session!

Senior Living marketing automation best practices - the do's and don'ts

4 Email Marketing Automation Best Practices

Email marketing automation might seem like a magic wand. But you have to set it up correctly to get the biggest benefits.

Below, you’ll find four email marketing automation best practices that’ll help your senior living community experience the magic.


1. Email marketing automation best practices: Don’t buy lists.

Recently, we’ve had several clients interested in purchasing email lists. We advised them against it. (And we told them we wouldn’t upload the lists to HubSpot or Active Campaign.) Why are we anti purchased lists? For several reasons.

  • First, purchased lists are truly COLD lists. List vendors can only deliver on demographics, such as location, age, sex. They can’t deliver on need or intent. Meaning, they have no way of knowing whether someone on their list needs a senior living community or currently has any intention of moving to one.
  • Second, purchased lists violate the terms of most (if not all) quality marketing automation software, like HubSpot or Active Campaign. (That’s one of the reasons we refuse to upload these lists.)
  • Third, a better way exists. Why not create keyword-rich content that your prospective buyers are already searching for in Google and use this content to attract them to your site? Doesn’t that make more sense? It’s not rocket science either. Inbound marketing, when done right, will produce more qualified leads than a purchased list—every single time.

2. Email marketing automation best practices: When it comes to messaging, one size doesn’t fit all.

The most effective email marketing automation is custom. We realize that might sound like an oxymoron. How can something be “custom” and “automated” at the same time? Simple. You start by knowing the personas for your senior living community.

Let’s say you have five key personas. You should focus on writing custom content for each persona. Why? Think about it. An email to the adult daughter of an eighty-year-old woman with memory issues should be different from the email you send to a seventy-year-old couple looking to start the next chapter of their lives.

Once you have your custom content for each persona, THEN you can automate the delivery via email.

3. Email marketing automation best practices: Revisit copy regularly.

Messages will change over time. The year 2020 served as a great example. Most (if not all) messages in your emails should have referenced COVID-19, even if it was only a link in your signature. (Something like, “Visit our COVID-19 resource center for current information on how we’re navigating the pandemic.”)

Auditing email copy should be a regular part of your marketing plan. You don’t need to audit everything at once. But every quarter, make sure you’re reviewing some email campaigns. Lather, rinse, repeat.

4. Email marketing automation best practices: Review analytics and make adjustments accordingly.

Marketing automation doesn’t simply exist to make life easier in terms of sending out emails. Yes, that’s a benefit. But marketing automation’s main purpose is to help increase conversions by moving marketing-qualified leads down the sale funnel.

The only way you’ll know if it’s working is by monitoring the results. Marketing automation software like HubSpot provides excellent analytics that’ll show you things like open rate, click-through-rate (on links and offers you include in your emails), and conversion rates. Depending on how sophisticated your marketing automation is, you can even A/B test the all-important email subject lines so you can identify a clear winner.

The biggest mistake we see senior living communities make is they’ll give the analytics a cursory glance every month or quarter. That’s not enough. You need to make decisions based on what the data is telling you.

For example, do you have an email marketing campaign where one email isn’t getting many clicks? Change the offer and/or revise the copy and see if that helps boost clicks.

Or maybe you’re getting clicks, but once people get to the landing page with the offer, they bounce away. Make some tweaks to the landing page (or adjust the email copy’s messaging so it better reflects what people can expect once they get to the landing page).

Analytics offer a treasure trove of intel that you can use to get your email marketing automation working better for you. Take advantage of these insights.