Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Inbound call handling best practices
- Understand why calls fail
- Expose blind spots in the customer journey
- See how to calculate what its costing your organization to not effectively capture calls.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
Here’s what you’ll learn:
You’ve likely set goals and key performance indicators (KPI) for your digital marketing strategy. Hopefully, you’re reviewing the data and adjusting your strategy based on the results against your goals. But to truly analyze your digital marketing success, you have to compare it to the results from your market. In other words, you need to conduct competitor analysis. This involves monitoring and measuring your competitors’ digital marketing efforts as well.
Want to be a better online sleuth? Focus on these top four areas and follow our tips.
Look at what types of content perform best. Which blogs have the most reads or the greatest number of likes and shares? What sort of content offers does the competition promote? What about videos? Infographics? You get the idea.
Pro tip: And speaking of ideas, keep track of content topics that your organization hasn’t been capitalizing on—yet. We’re not suggesting that you plagiarize, but we guarantee looking at your competitors’ content will get your own creative juices going.
It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole when looking at competitors’ websites and related analytics. Focus on these metrics for a solid overview of a site’s performance:
Search engine optimization has changed dramatically in the last two decades. One of the foundational elements is keywords (although the way we approach keywords has also evolved over the years).
When it comes to social media, look beyond “vanity metrics,” such as the number of followers, since those are rarely accurate. Instead, focus on engagement, such as the number of shares and comments. This will give you a better idea about what content is resonating with people.
Pro tip: Social Media Examiner offers a great list of four free tools to help you analyze and compare.
Want someone else to do the heavy lifting for you? That’s what we do! Click HERE to schedule a free consultation!
Fifty percent of all senior living sales inquiries occur outside of regular business hours. Prospects often engage during early mornings, after work, and on weekends when full-time sales teams are not typically in the community. And keep in mind that these prospects aren’t just looking at your community. They’re likely engaging with several at the same time.
This can create challenges since studies show that the sales person who responds to the prospect first—”speed to the lead”—has the best chance of converting them. This is why building a 24-hour virtual sales team is a must if you want your community to remain competitive.
Sound like a daunting task? Here’s the good news: Many solutions exist to help you fill in the sales “gap” during off hours.
Eighty-seven percent of your prospects begin their journey on your senior living website—and it’s open 24 hours a day.
What information should you have on your site? Think about the top 10 questions that prospects ask your sales people during the inquiry process (and what resources the sales team provides). Make sure that those answers and resources are easily accessible on your website.
For example, prospects usually want to know what your community offers. Therefore, information on accommodations, amenities, activities, and care should be accessible through downloadable brochures, calendars, menus, and floor plans. Extra points for video tours and photo galleries, since most people prefer to consume information visually rather than reading a lot of copy.
Prospects also want to know about pricing, so tell them (at least the “starting at” pricing). Pricing transparency improves qualified lead conversion. People use pricing information to self-qualify themselves, which will give your sales teams a better chance to work with high-conversion opportunities.
Finally, prospects want to educate themselves before they get a sales pitch. Having educational blogs, guides, and checklists to help prospects make an informed decision will go a long way in building trust.
Make sure that there are CTAs (calls to action) throughout your website to lead your visitors down a path to conversion. For example: scheduling a visit, requesting a call back, or subscribing to a newsletter. Each CTA creates an opportunity to convert an anonymous visitor into a lead.
If someone called into your community or scheduled a tour, your onsite sales team would follow up, right? Marketing automation creates workflows for ongoing lead nurturing after prospects leave your website—without your senior living sales team doing a thing.
Even better? The most powerful marketing automation will allow you to personalize the content and messaging based on each prospect’s interests. Lead nurturing that is both automated and personal tends to have the highest conversions.
Not convinced? Well, imagine this: someone comes to your website at 10 PM on a Saturday and they request a brochure. Your sales team is not available and your prospect does not want to wait for the information. No worries! As soon as the person requests the brochure, they would receive it right from the website along with a “thank you” email that demonstrates the community team is ready to help. From a backend perspective, the person would be automatically enrolled in a lead nurturing workflow.
Then, a day or so later, they receive a second email to see if they have any questions. The second email might also include a CTA to request a call back and a second piece of content, like “how to make a decision” guide. Finally, a few days later, they receive a check-in email with encouragement to schedule a visit.
Notice how each interaction offers resources, builds trust, and encourages them to take the next action—and it’s all happening automatically in the background without your sales team needing to do anything.
Remember, 90% of your first-time website visitors are “not ready to buy”—yet. Marketing automation keeps prospects engaged, brings them back to your website, and exposes them to your brand until they are ready to move forward.
Complete your virtual senior living sales team with these technology solutions (vetted and approved by us, Senior Living SMART):
And, of course, if you need help with your senior living website or marketing automation, give us a shout!
You may think you’re paying the senior living marketing agency for “custom” collateral, but in the end, it’s all the same: whatever they give you is simply another version of re-purposed designs.
Why? Because they can. Senior living marketing agencies have been doing it for decades, and richly rewarded during the process.
But here’s the good news: operators now have a better option for their senior living branding needs: our brand-on-demand technology: SMARTbrand.
Before we get into what SMARTbrand is, let’s quickly review design basics, copy, and collateral shelf life—and the inherent problems with each when it comes to senior living.
Regardless of the senior living marketing project—brochures, rack cards, pocket folders, sell sheets, post cards, flyers, or invitations—limitations exist within the design structure itself. You have only so many placement options for the image, headline, copy, CTA, date and time, and RSVP fields.
Not to mention that only certain fonts work well for senior living branding (you need to avoid fonts that are too thin or too “scripty” because older eyes will have a harder time reading the copy).
And let’s face it: everyone buys the same stock images.
There are only so many ways to describe the services, amenities, and programs that senior living communities offer. Sure, we can personalize the copy to add our branded names to the programs, but there are no new words.
Don’t believe me? Mystery-shop all of your competitors and lay out all of their collateral on the table (along with yours!) and you will see that it all looks the same and it all sounds the same.
The shelf life for most senior living collateral is under 30 days (longer perhaps for Independent Living). Event collateral and direct mail have a shelf life of under two weeks! These are the types of products that are best fulfilled with a brand-on-demand solution.
Imagine taking all the marketing content that you’ve developed and paid for over the years and creating your own custom library for your teams to access—and doing so without ever involving an agency again.
Users could select a project, customize image and font selections from an approved gallery, and add their details (like dates, times, CTAs, RSVP info, and so forth). They then see a proof instantly and either download or professionally print the piece. And it’s not just print pieces, either. Users could also create digital assets, such as email banners and Facebook posts.
THAT’S the power of brand-on-demand technology, and it’s something we’ve perfected for the senior living industry with our SMARTbrand platforms.
A quick 30-min demo showcasing real web-to-print examples could change the way your
marketing department achieves slick and affordable campaigns, without the big overhead costs
associated with a third party agency!
In today’s job market, the candidates have the upper hand. We know that 95 percent of the people that companies want to hire for critical roles are not actually looking for a job. As a result, companies are competing for the best candidates. In order to effectively vie for great talent, you need the right tools.
As part of their recruitment strategy, many companies are using outbound marketing. This involves reaching out to potential candidates through job postings, paid advertising, or a third-party recruiter.
But today’s recruitment efforts need a more advanced strategy—one that you’re likely already using to attract residents: inbound marketing.
With inbound marketing, you create content that attracts new prospects to your company. From there, you can engage with them and determine if they’re the right fit. It’s an opportunity to establish a dialogue with passive and active job seekers, create a unique candidate experience, and build relationships with top talent.
Here are five quick ways to get started with inbound marketing as a recruitment tool:
Before you start, decide on which positions you are trying to attract. Do you want to focus on executive level and above? Or do you also want to also use inbound marketing to source your nursing and care staff?
Once you know which roles you want to recruit for, you also have to determine the characteristics that you are looking for in your ideal candidate. You should start with educational background, previous experience, and any technical requirements (licensure, software knowledge, etc.) that you may want in a candidate. Then dig a little deeper. Look at employees who are successful in their roles and identify traits and skills that help them prosper.
Think about your company culture. How do you define success in your company? What are the company non-negotiables when it comes to character and performance? What are the top 10 words you would use to define your culture?
According to Career Builder, 75% of job seekers start their search on Google. So you should create search-friendly content that will attract the ideal candidates to your site (which is one of the reasons you develop the candidate personas).
Content can include why you are the best company to work for, associate testimonial videos, and educational info. Find the best channels to connect with your prospective candidate. This could be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, You Tube, as well as industry sites.
Get creative where you share this content. Based on chats with your current successful employees, is there anything that most have in common? For example, maybe most are members of the local YMCA. If that’s the case, see if you can conduct an informal job fair there or post some info about open positions on the Y’s bulletin boards.
Applying for a job is an investment. Today’s candidates want to know more about the company culture and role before they commit to the process. If a candidate isn’t ready to apply, create opportunities to engage them and develop a relationship. Give them opportunities to learn more about your company. This can be done with additional educational content, blog content, company resources, or signing up for a “keep in touch” newsletter.
It often takes many touch points to influence a decision, so invest the time in these relationships now to reap future rewards.
Learn more in this webinar: Inbound Marketing: Your Secret Weapon In Winning the Recruitment Game →
If you don’t know the answer, start thinking about it. Because understanding why your company is a great place to work will help you attract great staff.
It’s no secret that it’s a competitive hiring market in senior living. Many companies are vying for the same candidates, from care staff to executive directors. So when you find a candidate you like, how do you convince them that they should work for you? You have to market your community to potential job candidates with the same intensity you market to prospects.
Which is why knowing the top five reasons candidates would want to work at your community is a great way to engage prospective employees and stand out from the crowd.
How do you come up with your list? Start by asking your current employees why they work for you and what they like about their job, the community, their co-workers, their managers, and even the residents. You’ll probably get some valuable feedback and great insights into why staff members stay with your community.
When you’re talking to job candidates, share these insights with them and ask which one is most important. Then, talk about that particular topic in more depth. For example, if a collaborative workplace culture is important, show them the ways your community and team foster this sort of environment.
I sometimes miss working on the operations side of senior living, so much so that I’ll do occasional sales trainings and coaching projects to stay sharp. Whenever I dip my toes back into sales, the thing that surprises me most is this: marketing is like The Jetsons – innovative and exciting. Sales, however, is still like that Bill Murray classic: Groundhog Day. It’s as though time has stood still over the last 15 years as sales reps continue to struggle with the basics.
So let’s change that for good, shall we? Here are some ways to improve the sales process and results.
Look at your community through prospects’ eyes and be honest about the basics. Start with the experience of arriving at the community. Can you improve the locations, landscaping, and visibility of signage (even at night)? Will zoning allow you to add feather banners or A-frames? Is there dedicated parking reserved for tours near the front door or are prospects circling endlessly? Is the landscaping inviting year-round? Is the outdoor furniture clean and arranged?
These small details can make a huge difference between your tour arriving relaxed and feeling welcome or stressed out and frustrated.
Bonus tip: Personalize your tour parking signage to add the names of expected guests so there will be a parking spot with their name on it.
Prospects are typically looking at four to six communities. And let’s face it: most communities are very similar in design, services, and amenities. Prospects make decisions emotionally, which means you must build a strong sense of belonging from the minute they walk through your door. This starts with planning the visit to incorporate their life story, preferences, wants, needs, motivations, and non-negotiables.
Spending time as a team to plan every step of the visit will pay off with higher conversions. The better the discovery call, the better the planning and conversions. It takes the whole team to create a sense of belonging. For example, be sure the front desk is notified of all visits and has all the information they need to personalize their greeting. Also, provide notification to the line staff so they can participate more personally in the tour – and reward them when they do a great job!
Bonus tip: Use our turnkey “Red Carpet Tour” kit with all the resources needed to plan and execute the perfect tour.
It now costs an average of $1200 to get a family to tour. This is an emotional decision and families will be sharing personal concerns, so setting up a hospitality suite with refreshments is a must. Conference rooms and offices are not conducive to sensitive and personal conversations.
And let’s get rid of Styrofoam, paper cups, and plastic cups and plates once and for all! The average resident lifetime value is usually greater than $100,000, so let’s roll out the glassware and china. Please use name-brand beverages. Store brand and generic brands shout “cheap.”
Bonus tip: Here is everything you need to create an inviting hospitality suite.
I can’t tell you how many times I find the model apartment at the farthest end of the building. Why? So the maintenance department will not have to move it! The result? By the time the family gets to the model, they are already questioning if their loved one will be able to manage due to physical or memory deficits.
Always think of your prospect first—and what will be convenient to them. Ideally, the model apartments should be located in proximity to the hospitality suite. The model apartment should engage all senses: lights on, music playing, scented plug-ins, soft fabrics, and refreshments available. This is a place to linger, so have calendars, newsletters, floor plans, and menus out to create meaningful conversations.
Bonus tip: Use this model apartment checklist to see if your models are up to snuff! (download model apartment checklist)
Once the visit is wrapping up, it’s time to get a commitment to advance the relationship. This will be different for each prospect based on their unique situation. For earlier stage leads, a home visit, luncheon, or upcoming event may work best. For those closer to making a decision, a deposit, assessment, or re-tour with other decision-makers would be appropriate. Giving prospects something special is a memorable way to part ways, so consider having a swag collection available so you can find the right gift for each prospect. I recommend having dog/cat treats, teas/coffees, mugs, candies, small books etc. so I can find just the right gift for each prospect.
Bonus tip: Walk all tours out to their car to end the visit with a personal gesture.
Execute the perfect tour with planning tools, including forms, signs, staff recognition & post-tour gifts and followup resources.
A few years ago, Eat This, Not That! was published to provide advice on how to replace unhealthy food choices with better alternatives.
We recommend focusing on five critical metrics:
Don’t be distracted by website traffic. Instead, focus on what matters: conversions. As in traffic that actually converts into customers.
Invest your budget in creating more website conversion points rather than simply increasing traffic. Here are some ideas for doing exactly that:
Note: Marketing teams should be able to quantify how many leads have converted to inquiry calls (using call tracking, such as Marchex), scheduled tours, and brochure/ pricing requests.
Question to bring up during your next meeting with marketing and sales: “What are the conversion rates for each marketing channel?”
Asking how many leads are generated is the wrong question. A better question to ask is this: How many leads are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) vs. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)? You should have a way of measuring both.
Having technology that can apply lead scoring to quickly sort leads into MQLs and SQLs is critical in today’s competitive “speed to the lead” environment. And your marketing team should be able to provide the number of MQLs and SQLs in the pipeline.
Question to bring up during your next meeting with marketing and sales: “How do we identify MQLs vs SQLs so the sales team is working with the prospects most likely to convert?”
Pressure on getting move-ins TODAY has created dangerous behaviors of focusing exclusively on urgent (high acuity) leads rather than building a healthy pipeline.
Each sales team member can realistically manage only about 10 active leads. So what do you think is happening with the other 200+ leads languishing in the CRM? Not much beyond maybe a few perfunctory “just checking in” follow-up calls to make an activity quota.
Marketing teams should have a strategy to keep the “not ready” leads engaged. Marketing automation (we use HubSpot) takes rote and repetitive tasks off the sales team’s plates and uses automated workflows to ensure that “not ready” leads are given resources while being exposed to your brand. Over time, this fosters trust and encourages the lead to advance to an SQL as they continue on their decision-making journey.
The best part? You can customize these strategic “drip campaigns” to each prospect based on their expressed interests and website behaviors. Links to blogs, premium content, newsletters, and event invitations keep prospects engaged until they are “ready.”
Question to bring up during your next meeting with marketing and sales: “What is our strategy to engage, nurture, and convert ‘not ready’ leads?”
The question most executives ask is “how many leads are in the CRM?” But a better question is this: “How many unique leads are in the database?”
A VP of Sales & Marketing recently told me that 80% of the leads in their CRM were generated from third party lead sources. This is important for two reasons. First, these leads averaged a 3% conversion rate. This means the sales team spends 80% of their time with low conversion opportunities. That leaves them only 20% of their time to work with leads generated from high conversion lead sources, such as friend and family referrals (35% conversion), professional referrals (40% conversion rate), and organic digital lead sources.
Second, these are shared leads – probably with five to seven of your nearest and dearest competitors. So in measuring actual lead volume, third party leads should only count as 1/5th or 1/7th of a lead. Counting third party leads as a unique lead will skew your actual lead volume and lull sales teams into a false sense of security that they have “plenty of leads” in the pipeline.
Question to bring up during your next meeting with marketing and sales: “What’s the lead percentage from each referral source category?”
At the end of the day, it is all about ROI. That is the difference between a marketing expense and an investment. You should be able to measure through every marketing channel—digital, paid AdWords and social campaigns, events, and traditional print, radio and TV advertising—the dollars invested and the leads generated in return.
Ideally, you should have a way to follow every lead through their journey and measure the cost per lead, cost per qualified lead, cost per tour, and cost per move-in. At Senior Living SMART, we help our clients go even further by calculating the resident lifetime value. Our clients provide the average length of stay and average rate by lifestyle for each community so we can accurately calculate the ROI of all marketing efforts.
Question to bring up during your next meeting with senior living marketing and sales: “What is the ROI of each marketing campaign?”
As a senior living marketing agency, we can help you understand the metrics that matter most. Get in touch!
How to Boost Occupancy & Lead Generation Through Inbound Marketing. Learn how we helped one client experience over 1200% ROI across 10 communities in fewer than four months! In this case study, track the growth of 10 communities using marketing automation, and view measurable results with reported ROI.
Not too long ago, the first conversation with senior living sales prospects happened either over the phone with the initial discovery call or in person during an event or tour. Today, the first conversation with prospects is digital in nature. Eighty-seven percent of senior living sales start online, and providers have only seven seconds to engage prospects.
Here are five senior living sales tips to increase engagement and conversions.
Your prospects don’t come to your senior living website because they have nothing better to do. They come because they have a compelling need or concern, many questions, and a desire to connect with helpful resources to guide their decision-making journey.
Remember, you only have seven seconds. So ask yourself how you’re going to connect, engage, and convert them to a lead. Prospects today are much more experiential in their research style. If you have relevant information, they will stay on your site. If not, they will bounce off to a competitor or third-party lead aggregator site.
So make sure you put the most relevant and helpful info front and center on your most trafficked pages, particularly the home page. Include calls-to-action that will lead people to helpful resources they can download. Make sure FAQs are easily accessible in the navigation (better yet, include a Live Chat feature so you can address their questions in real-time).
Ninety percent of website visitors are not sales qualified. Prospects in the Awareness Stage are looking for basic information (e.g., What are the options? What’s included? Can I afford it?).
When they move into the Consideration Stage, they are weighing pros and cons and transitional issues (e.g., Is home or community the best setting? What will we do with all the stuff? Is the family on board? How do we broach the subject with Mom/ Dad?).
By the time prospects move into the Decision Stage, urgency replaces ambivalence and the conversation shifts to timing and location (e.g., Which community is going to be the best fit? what funding sources can we tap into? How do we make a smooth transition?).
To meet prospects where they are, your website must offer a range of content types to consume throughout the journey and multiple CTAs (calls to action) to advance leads. You’ll want to gate some content, but you should also “un-gate” some content as well. Blogs make great un-gated content (we recommend two to four original educational blog posts per month). Offering downloadable activity calendars, menus, and newsletters works well, too.
Guides, e-books, and tool kits work best for gated content (the prospect must exchange limited contact information in exchange for the valuable resource). Offering digital brochures and pricing resources are very popular with prospects and have high engagement and conversion metrics. We have found that e-newsletters are the number one tool to re-engage website visitors.
Websites today have to be more than online brochures. Less copy and more interactive experiences will make the website “sticky” so prospects stay longer and come back often.
Need some ideas? Live chat (not self-managed, not bots, and not foreign-based) produces high conversion rates with 40% of chats turning into leads and 20% converting to a scheduled tour. Interactive surveys (such as financial calculators) and self-guided decision tools (such as Roobrik) engage and convert anonymous website visitors into marketing- and sales-qualified leads. Interactive site maps, virtual tours, and room planners allow prospects to explore from their couch, without the drive time or sales pitch.
Prospects at each stage will respond to different CTAs, so offer them a menu of choices. Create a “pick list” with options such as the following:
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) who opt in to face-to-face or voice-to-voice interaction should immediately go to the community sales team. We recommend marketing automation to nurture early stage leads with personalized workflows. This allows sales teams to stay focused on high-conversion opportunities without the distraction of following up with leads that are not ready.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite resources. But you can find others in our Senior Living Marketplace.
We love working with marketing and sales teams. Our approach helps make everyone’s jobs easier. Let’s chat about your needs!
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