senior living marketing

Senior Living Website Tips for Better Resident Photos

Your senior living website is your virtual storefront. Ideally, it should accurately reflect your community. This means using REAL photos, not stock images.

Here are seven tips for taking better resident photos.

Today, we have a guest post from Tom Sanders of Senior Living Visuals. Tom is going to provide seven tips for taking better photos. Follow these and you’ll soon have a distinctive senior living website that truly reflects your community.

1) You’re a Storyteller First and Foremost

You need to ask yourself, “What is the story I’m trying to tell in this portrait?” When I taught digital photography at San Jose State, I was always happier with the students who had a stronger story and technically weak photograph (rather than the other way around) because your goal is to emotionally touch your audience.

In my opinion, it is easier to pose people and have them not look at the camera than it is to “capture” a random moment. Why? When you pose people, you have total control and the viewer will not know you posed the photograph if you do a good job. For example, if you are asking two friends to raise their wine glasses, just ask them to look at each other and they can keep toasting their wine until you have the photo that expresses the candid feeling you want.

2) Less is More

You want to simplify your portraits and keep clear of distractions. If a resident couple is celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary in the dining area, place them at a table near a window or wall so when you take their photo there will be fewer distractions in the background. The benefit of being near a window is light. You can always shoot a low angle and isolate the subjects against the sky to have a natural backdrop.

3) Color vs. Black and White

In my ongoing series on WWII veterans and in my book, I have both color and black and white portraits. People often ask me, “How do you know when to make a photograph black and white or leave it in color?” The objects, expressions, and clothing in the portrait will determine changing a photograph to black and white.

For example, I photographed a portrait calendar on centenarians, and as a side project, I also photographed details of their wrinkled hands. Since it was only skin tone and a black backdrop with dramatic lighting, changing the centenarian hand portraits to black and white made the wrinkles dramatic and the hand iconic.

On the other hand…Just like babies, as we get older we become androgynous looking again, and so I tend to always leave my female portraits in color so the women are not mistaken as men (I’ve had this happen; the viewer has mistaken some of my black and white veteran female portraits as men). So if the viewer can see the pop of red lipstick, for example, the viewer knows that the subject is a woman.

4) Using a Prop

Have your residents hold a prop to help tell the story for your senior living website. So ask yourself the following: What scenario is the resident in and what prop would help tell the story? Having your subject hold an object gives them something to focus on and makes them feel more comfortable. Having the gentleman hold a simple cup of coffee conveys that he is having his daily cup while subtly highlighting the nice landscaping of the senior living community.

5) Lighting Outside

A good rule of thumb: Take portraits in the morning or at the end of the day because the lighting is more manageable. Many think that you want to have people face the sun. In some cases, this works, but it is usually better to have the sun behind the person. Photographing people with their back to the sun makes for more even and complementary lighting. The harsh sun can bring out wrinkles and blemishes.

But again, remember to ask yourself this: What is the story you’re trying to tell and how does the lighting play into your story? You typically want to stay away from noon lighting because it adds big dark shadows in the eyes, which look horrible on a person. Then again, depending on the story, you might want those big dark shadows in the eyes to add to the mood of your portrait (see the famous Depression-era portraits from Dorothea Lange).

6) Lighting Inside

Usually, the lighting in senior living communities is from overhead lights, which don’t tend to work well in portraits. Still, you do have a couple options for inside lighting. First, you can use the flash setting on your camera/smartphone to create a poppy energetic feeling. Second, or you can place the residents near a window that offers different lighting possibilities. In a room with many windows surrounding the subject, you can usually get a nice even lighting that will look good at most any angle.

7) Critique

Ask several of your fellow associates which photos they like best before posting your photos to your senior living website. Usually, you can get a consensus from people on what they like and you can narrow down the best photographs from there. If someone does not like your photos, do not take it personally. We all have our own unique upbringings and backgrounds; we are entitled to our opinions. Ask 5-10 people what their favorite photos are and you will figure out what photographs to use.

About Senior Living Visuals. Senior Living Visuals will create photography and films that will elevate your marketing and increases your online presence. Senior Living Visuals is based in the San Francisco Bay area and works with companies nationwide. They have been creating films, photography for advertising, and artistic portraits series for the aging industry for over thirteen years.

senior living marketing

Senior Living Websites: 6 Questions to Ask Digital Agencies

Almost anyone can “build” senior living websites, thanks to YouTube tutorials and free website templates. But that doesn’t mean the website will work from a sales and marketing perspective. Why? Because an effective website needs a strong strategy that shows an understanding of the senior living industry.

Here are six strategy questions to ask agencies before choosing one to build your senior living website.

1. How will you drive the right prospects to my website?

Not all traffic is good traffic. The right digital agency will ask YOU about your ideal prospect: who they are, what they care about, how they search. If the agency doesn’t demonstrate a keen interest in your senior living community’s buyer personas, walk away. Otherwise, you might end up with a generic “one size fits all” website that doesn’t attract targeted traffic.

2. How will you attract ideal prospects to my senior living website?

Your digital partner should conduct keyword research. In addition, the agency should have experience with search engine optimization (SEO) for senior living. This involves understanding…

  • The search terms that prospects use when looking for senior living options
  • How often each term is searched monthly
  • How difficult it is to rank for these prized terms
  • Where you and your competitors currently stack up

Note: Senior living SEO is also a skill. Don’t be shy about asking the agency to show results that they can quantify.

3. What is your strategy to turn anonymous website visitors into contacts and leads?

Driving qualified prospects to your senior living website is just the beginning. The website also has to convert visitors into tours and move-ins. Ask the agency how they plan to accomplish this.

4. How will you nurture the early stage leads to keep them engaged?

If you generate 100 form requests, you might have 10 that will make a decision in the next 30 to 60 days. The other 90% of these contacts are “not ready.” But if you put all 100 into your senior living sales CRM, your sales team will get frustrated. They will disqualify most of the leads and move them to cold since the leads are not ready. The chances of the sales team ever returning to those “not ready” leads are slim as well.

What a good agency partner will do is make sure you have a good lead scoring plan in place. The urgent leads will go to sales. The not-ready leads will be nurtured until they are ready.

5. How will you get the right information to the right prospect at the right time?

Prospects are in different stages within their journey. Again, your digital partner should be able to identify where each prospect is and provide relevant content for each stage. Having high quality blogs and premium content (e.g., guides, checklists, and e-books) aligned with your keyword strategy is incredibly important.

6. How well does your digital partner understand your sales process?

A strategic partner will be able to articulate your prospect’s journey from the point they begin their research online through their path to conversion and move-in. Marketing strategy must be aligned with sales strategy. Most digital agencies only understand marketing, but that is not enough. Understanding the discovery, advancing, and closing process is critical in designing the right experience for prospects and for the sales team.

Bottom line: Don’t hand over the keys to your senior living website to just any ol’ agency.

Remember, building a new senior living website is going to require an investment of scarce resources: time and marketing budget. Operators expect to see results, which is why you need to make a good decision when choosing the right strategic partner.

The Senior Living SMART team has years of experience on the operator side of the industry. We understand buyer personas. Not only that, we’re experts in digital marketing. Let’s chat about your website project.

FREE Website Assessment

Ready to find out how your senior living website matches up? See how your site is performing with our instant report that you may save and share.

 

Senior Living Marketing and Sales: CRM Search Made Easy

Senior Living CRM Search Made Easy

Choosing new senior living CRM software can be a daunting task. But it can also be an opportunity to discover new features that can enhance your sales culture. Below, you’ll find helpful tips for choosing a new CRM.

The Senior Living CRM Search: Make Your List and Dream Big

Before you schedule demos, make a list of what you like about your current CRM and everything that frustrates users. Create three lists: Must Haves, Would Be Nice to Have, and Non-Negotiables.

Here are some of the top considerations when researching senior living CRMs:

  1. Ease of Use: Like our prospects, we’re comfortable with the familiar. Change is difficult. We want our users to transition with ease.
  2. Better Reporting: With more robust reporting, you can increase transparency between marketing and sales teams. Look for a system that delivers what you want on all levels of reporting. Think basic user through leadership team.
  3. A Refined User Experience: Sales and marketing teams today don’t function on recording activity alone. There are many roles within the department. Look for a system that delivers an experience tailored to different roles.
  4. Simultaneous Support of Multiple Service Lines: Communities are no longer operating within the brick and mortar communities. Today, there are multiple lines of service, community outreach efforts, and census management functions. Each one has its own set of data fields, workflows, and supporting reports. Choose a CRM that can deliver on the expanding markets your community is either currently immersed in or considering for the future.
  5. Defined Sales Process: Senior living counselors are no longer order takers. Competition is fierce. Having a defined sales process that everyone follows is the key to success. Whether you want a pre-defined process or you want to build your own, make sure to implement a CRM that supports process. Bonus points if it can simultaneously support multiple processes or workflows that tailor the experience for your different service lines.
  6. Marketing Automation: Whether it’s simply having a more efficient way to send and track personal email or you’re seeking full-blown marketing automation, the future of senior living marketing and sales involves marketing automation. Select a tool that supports forward-thinking and emerging marketing trends.

Senior Living CRM: Fear of Data Migration:

Make sure the vendor you select can seamlessly move your data, including your waiting lists and prospect activity history. Ask potential vendors the following:

  • Do you have a reliable process covering all data migration facets of extraction, translation, cleansing, and validation?
  • Will you perform analysis and inspection of the information to validate data quality? Will you pinpoint required data and highlight gaps in the data from the current system?
  • Are you well versed in detailed mapping and transformation exercises to define migration rules, cleansing routines, and final execution plans?

Senior Living CRM Training, User Support, and Flexibility

Learning a new system requires training, reinforcement, and on-going support. Here are some questions to ask before you sign a contract with a new CRM provider:

  • How do you train people on the new CRM?
  • What kind of ongoing support do you offer? Do we have to pay extra for it? (Think online learning center, live support, built-in knowledge base.)
  • Is the CRM flexible enough to support future changes users may want to make in data fields, workflows, and reporting? Can we make these changes ourselves, or will we have to pay you (the CRM vendor) for any changes?

Senior Living CRM Implementation: Embrace the Change

Regardless of which CRM you choose, you will experience a learning curve. Embrace this fact and go with it. Fear of change can be paralyzing and inhibit the ability to accept and retain new information. Remember, the impact of learning a new system will be far less scary if each member of your team is open to change.

Finally, don’t let the fear of change keep you from diving into the search. The process of vetting, selecting, and implementing a new CRM may take longer than anticipated. Budget at least 90-120 days for the process.

Guest author Kristin Hambleton is the VP of Business Development at Continuum CRM. Let their experienced team help guide you on this journey.

Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Creating lead generation transparency is unique in senior living yet critical to each community’s efficiency and productivity. We will pull back the curtain with statistics on lead management, lead validation and conversion rates.

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What to schedule a demo or learn more? Click here for more information on SeniorVu services

content marketing

Using Content Marketing to Generate More Leads, Tours, & Move-Ins

Content marketing, when done correctly, can help you attract and convert website visitors into qualified leads, scheduled tours, and move-ins.

But what content should you create? Most people immediately say “blog posts.” While blogs are a great tool to improve SEO, increase traffic, and engage visitors, you need to do more than simply “blog” if you want to generate leads, tours, and move-ins.

1. Invest in Premium Content Marketing

Your site probably has lots of ungated content, meaning people can access it without giving you their info. Your blog posts are examples of ungated content.

But offering premium content—something people can’t get anywhere else that is “gated” behind a form—motivates visitors to give you their contact information in exchange for the valuable content. From there, you can continue to nurture the prospects along their sales journey. So what should the premium content be? Think guides, e-books, “how-to” articles, and checklists.

A good place to promote your premium content is through a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of a blog post (e.g., “Get our free guide on aging well!”). The blog posts are the bait, your prospects are the fish, and the premium content serves as the hook.

Keep in mind that it’s important to have a variety of premium content because prospects will “bite” on different content based on their stage of readiness and interests.

2. Create Stellar Landing Pages

Your landing page is where the premium content “lives.” This the “gate” part in gated content. The landing page should include:

  • An image of the premium content – so work with a graphic designer on a beautiful cover!
  • A compelling description of what the prospect will learn – so work with a copywriter!
  • A form to gather contact information in exchange for receiving the content. If you want to be sure to gather real emails, distribute the content to prospects via email rather than direct download.

Don’t overwhelm prospects with too many required fields! This is a first date, so simply ask for first and last name and email address. In terms of how to create and host landing pages, we recommend HubSpot because they offer progressive profiling so you can ask additional questions with every opt-in form. As prospects take more premium content, you get more information such as preferred location, their role, and desired lifestyle.

Remember, marketing’s job is to “plate up” sales-qualified leads (SQLs) to the sales team. Each landing page represents a piece of content related to the sales funnel. Your sales team will be especially interested in prospects who opt into content that indicates they’re sales-ready. And by knowing what content the SQL has downloaded, your sales team can have a more productive conversation when they talk to the prospect on the phone or meet face-to-face.

3. Set Up Effective Senior Living Marketing Automation to Nurture Leads

Congratulations, you took an anonymous website visitor and converted them to a lead – great! Now, it’s time to nurture these leads to create face-to-face or voice-to-voice interactions with the sales team.

However, if you reel in the fish too quickly, it will get spooked and drop off the line. That is what happens when you send every lead directly into your CRM. Instead, use a marketing automation platform that will create automated workflows to provide additional content and offers (e.g., tours, lunches, home visits, events) that are relevant to the lead based on the “bait” that reeled them in.

For example, if someone downloads a piece of educational content on tips for aging well, this suggests they are at the top of the sales funnel and perhaps just beginning to learn about senior living options. How you nurture them will be a lot different from the way you nurture someone who’s downloaded a guide on how to finance different senior living arrangements.

If you follow these three steps, you will establish your brand as a thought leader and you’ll continue to bring prospects back to your website throughout their journey. Best of all? You’ll be serving up SQLs that your sales team can take across the finish line.

If you need assistance setting up these systems, please contact us or call 888.620.9832.

Using Data to Uncover New Possibilities in Senior Living

Using Data to Uncover New Possibilities in Senior Living Webinar

Using Incidence Analytics to Identify Market Need

Improving Senior Housing Performance with Precision Market Analytics

We are a data driven world. It can be good or it can be overwhelming. This webinar will highlight three scenarios where data is used to make intelligent business decisions, improve current assets and increase referrals to your communities. Learn how to use incidence data and medication data to improve your business results.

What to schedule a demo or learn more? Click here for more information on VisionLTC services →

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customer journey

Senior Living Sales: Mapping The Customer Journey After They Say Yes

Senior living sales and marketing departments spend a lot of time developing prospect personas and mapping out their journey. But what happens once a prospect becomes a bona fide customer? Their journey doesn’t end once they move in.

As a resident, they begin a new journey, one that can be happy, sad, or meh (depending on many factors). Senior living sales and marketing departments MUST pay attention. If you don’t, you could be losing out on a great referral source. (Happy residents talk up their experience and refer others.)

Take some time understanding the customer’s journey AFTER they say yes. Look for ways to build on what’s working. And address any issues, even if they fall outside senior living sales and marketing.

First, keep these things in mind:

  • There’s a lot going on. There’s a move that has to be coordinated, downsizing that needs to happen, financial matters to figure out, and paperwork to sign—lots of paperwork with lots of legalese.
  • It’s a significant change. The decision to move to a senior living residence is right up there with saying yes to a marriage proposal, choosing a college, and getting a new job. There’s stress and uncertainty. It’s a reminder that they are aging and need more help. They are giving up their home and familiar routines. Perhaps they’re afraid of losing personal control. Plus, they might be sad to leave their friends and community and become a stranger in their new environment.
  • They may be moving in after a crisis. Some residents are facing challenging situations, such as the following:
    • Severe health issue
    • Loss of spouse or caregiver
    • A decline in physical or mental health
  • It’s exhausting. Going through the decision process, planning the move, and then doing the actual move-in can be physically and emotionally exhausting for both the resident and family.

Second, figure out how senior living sales and marketing can you create a customer journey that supports residents and their families?

You want to create a journey that provides an empathetic, positive experience. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Do your research! Talk with residents and families and learn from their move-in experience. Did you provide a move-in gift or welcome package? If yes, did they find it helpful? If not, what was lacking? Can the senior living sales and marketing teams work on a better welcome package?
  • Look at your touchpoints and channels. What interactions do you have with residents and families during the move-in process? What are the methods by which these touchpoints happen: in-person, emails, phone conversations? Bottom line: the senior living sales rep shouldn’t disappear once the customer has signed. Remember, YOU are the person they know best. Greet them and their family the day they move in. Make a point of checking in on them over the next thirty days. Ditto with their family. If they bring up any issues, don’t say “Oh, I’ll look into that” and then forget. FOLLOW UP.
  • Think about how the customer feels during each touchpoint. Go through each touchpoint and think about how the customer may feel. Are they scared? Emotional? Confused? Disappointed? What are ways for everyone to come together to address these things?
  • How can you make that experience better? Look at opportunities to make the process easier. How can you reduce some of the stress and uncertainty? How can you make the process consistent and scalable? Are there best practices in your organization?
  • Get ongoing feedback and commit to ongoing improvement! There’s always room for improvement. Build on what’s working and fix what’s broken.

Interested in learning more strategies for exceeding prospects’ expectations?

Let’s chat! We’ll spend 30 minutes brainstorming with you.

senior living marketing

[WEBINAR] Senior Living Websites: Attract, Engage & Nurture Prospects

Senior Living Websites Should Attract, Engage, and Nurture Prospects

Lead nurturing is the purposeful process of engaging prospects by providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey. You want to actively move the prospects through your marketing and lead generation efforts, to the point where they become leads. In this webinar, we discuss how to nurture leads. Strategies include targeted content, multi-channel nurturing,  timely follow-ups, and personalization.

Interested in learning more strategies for exceeding prospects’ expectations?

Let’s chat! We’ll spend 30 minutes brainstorming with you.

INBOUND MARKETING

What is Inbound Marketing? And Do I Need It? [Webinar]

Inbound marketing is the tool used to meet today’s customer where they spend most of their time – on the internet. Inbound marketing is all about attracting prospects through relevant and helpful content. It allows senior living communities to add value at every stage in your prospective resident’s journey. It pulls together content marketing, blogs, events, SEO, social media and more to attract prospects to your website.

 

Senior Living Marketing Tips: What is Your Special Sauce?

Marketing Strategies for Senior Living: What’s Your Special Sauce?

Let’s talk awesome marketing strategies for senior living. To start, who remembers that great jingle from the 1970’s: “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun”?

For all of us who grew up with that catchy song, we knew it was about the McDonald’s Big Mac. The special sauce was the magic. It was the distinction between a plain old hamburger and a Big Mac.

OK, so what’s this got to do with your senior living community?

Keep reading…

When it comes to marketing strategies for senior living, you must know your community’s special sauce.

Special sauce is a good way to explain how you’re different from your competitors. In other words, your special sauce is what sets you apart.

For example, consider Walmart. Its special sauce is simple: pricing. Everything that Walmart does is specifically about keeping their prices low. Apple’s special sauce is innovation. Nike focuses on their product line. They are the gold standard in athletic wear.

What’s the special sauce in your senior living community? Do you have something that makes your community stand out?

Not sure? Not to worry. The following marketing strategies for senior living will help you create the perfect special sauce recipe for your community.

1. Operational Excellence

Offering quality services at an affordable price—that’s what everyone wants, right? A great example is our friend McDonald’s. It offers a simple, budget-friendly menu. It also maintains consistency in taste, swift service, and efficiency.

2. Product Leadership

This competitive strategy focuses on bringing superior products to the market. Also, the products should ultimately create great experiences for customers. Consider this from a senior living marketing perspective. For example, is your wellness program outstanding? Do you offer a unique dining experience? Talk about them!

3. Service Quality

Delivering consistently superior customer service is the recipe for this special sauce. The secret ingredient? Service resolution. After all, nobody’s perfect. But being able to listen to the customers’ problems so you can work toward a positive resolution is key. Virgin Airlines is a great example of a company that offers full service flights and outstanding customer service.

4. Relationship Differentiation

This special sauce is all about your associates and team members. Their interactions with the customer demonstrate competence, courtesy, credibility, reliability, and responsiveness. This avenue is closely related to service quality. But where service quality mostly focuses on processes and systems, relationship differentiation is all about the people.

The hiring process at Zappos is a great example of how they maintain their relationship differentiation. The recruitment process is like a courtship. They woo people who fit into their culture and who are good people.

5. Reputation Differentiation

Some companies set themselves apart by their reputation. This can be difficult for newer senior living communities, but even they can succeed in establishing a quality reputation through strategic partnerships. In other words, alliances with hospitals, medical staff, and industry thought leaders can establish a company as an expert.

DuPont, for example, has a strong reputation, employing engineers, scientists, and sales reps with solid technical or educational backgrounds.

To help you define your special sauce, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why do your customers choose you rather than your competitors?
  2. What emotional need does your service fulfill?
  3. What aspects of your business can your competitors not imitate?

Once you’ve determined your special sauce, make sure that you do the following.

  • First, your special sauce isn’t something you simply throw around in senior living marketing copy. Your company should be walking the talk when it comes to fulfillment.
  • Second, employees should be able to articulate your special sauce.
  • Third, make sure your special sauce is part of your culture at all levels.
  • Finally, make sure you promote how great your special sauce is across all marketing channels!

Need help defining your community’s special sauce! Our senior living marketing agency can help!

We have decades of industry experience, so we know how to create a special sauce that will be unique to your community. Let us help!