Senior Living Social Media Trends

What’s Trending in Senior Living Social Media Marketing

What’s hot right now in senior living social media marketing? Below, we’re sharing three trends we’re excited about, along with some mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

Trend #1: More Interest in Pinterest

If someone were to ask you what platform you think of when you hear the words “social media,” Pinterest probably isn’t the one that comes to mind. After all, it’s not a platform that dominates news cycles. While you can probably identify bigwigs at Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg) and Twitter (Elon Musk?!), you’d probably be hard-pressed to name Pinterest’s CEO, right? (For the record, it’s Ben Silbermann.)

And yet, Pinterest keeps chugging along—and has enjoyed increasing use among older adults.

According to 2021 stats from Statista, 38% of U.S. adults aged 50 to 64 use Pinterest, and 18% of U.S. adults over 65 use the platform. Compare that to 73% to 50% respectively for the same age groups for Facebook. While Facebook remains the top social media platform for people over 65, Pinterest comes in at a strong third, according to this article (YouTube is second).

Happily, we’re seeing more and more senior living communities embrace Pinterest, which is SMART. Because why wouldn’t you develop content where your prospective buyers are hanging out?

Trend #2: Did Someone Say YouTube?

YouTube is HUGE for seniors. In fact, nearly 50% of adults over 65 use YouTube. And don’t forget this nugget: Google owns YouTube, which means you can get an even bigger bang for your social media buck. Optimized videos DO come up in search—and some searchers prefer videos to articles.

So investing in a strong senior living social media marketing plan for YouTube could have many benefits:

  • Increase engagement among target personas who enjoy using the platform
  • Increase visibility for your brand
  • Increase traffic from your YouTube videos to your site

Plus, you can use your YouTube videos in multiple ways. You can share them via other social media platforms, like Facebook, or use them in other media, like emails or embedded in your blog posts and other website pages.

We’re hoping more senior living communities jump on the YouTube bandwagon. While many have some video content on YouTube, communities need to be creating videos on a regular basis to get the biggest ROI. Luckily, this is easier today than ever before—armed with nothing more than a smartphone, ring light, lavalier mic, and a free editing app (like InShot), today’s marketing teams can create quick videos on the fly. (The challenge is getting over the fear of this DIY method!)

Check out what one of our awesome clients, Ingleside Senior Living, is doing with its YouTube channel. They post videos regularly. They post a variety of videos. They have separate playlists for each community (which is a smart way to approach this issue). And their videos are excellent.

We particularly love this “Meet Your Future Neighbors” video that’s racked up over 600 views. Notice how simple it is–no fancy production, no mics, everyday lighting.

Trend #3: Thinking Beyond Selling

At its simplest, marketing’s main job is to attract qualified leads and help turn those leads into move-ins. So it’s easy to think every marketing tactic has to be about selling, selling, selling. But social media is a different animal. It’s supposed to be social after all! If you’re constantly in sales mode, you’re going to turn people off.

The senior living communities that have the most success with social media are ones that think beyond selling. They relax and keep their feeds real. And here’s the thing: They’re reaping the benefits of this approach. Because oftentimes authentic, feel-good posts will provide lots of engagement and increased exposure for your brand. While harder to quantify, we’d argue that these things are just as important.

Luckily, more communities are taking this approach with their social media marketing. You might have heard about Wheatland Manor’s “Advice for the Younger Generations” campaign, where the community shares images of residents holding whiteboards with solid advice like “Get a job you enjoy” and “Play Uno with your grandma.” These images have gone viral and have racked up tons of likes.

One particular community of our client Senior Star, Senior Star at Wexford Place, has embraced the concept of “thinking beyond selling.” The community does an awesome job with its social media feeds by highlighting cool things residents do and by offering regular shout-outs to staff. Below is an example of a staff shout-out. Note the fabulous engagement!

Other smart ways to “think beyond selling”:

  • Share resident spotlights. For example, got veterans? Highlight them on Veterans Day. Got residents with green thumbs? Share pics of them tending to their gardens and flower boxes.
  • Share resident quotes/testimonials. These work great with the hashtag #TestimonialTuesday.
  • Share pics from all of your activities, large and small. Pictures and videos get tons of engagement.

Mistakes people are (still) making with their senior living social media marketing

Not all trends are good trends. Unfortunately, many senior living marketers are still making the following mistakes.

Mistake #1: Not having a sharp focus.

Trying to maintain a presence on every social media platform under the sun will never work. Why? Well, effectively managing multiple platforms is challenging unless you have a person on staff devoted entirely to this effort—and most communities don’t.

What happens next is predictable. The existing team will either end up diluting their efforts across the numerous platforms, or the team will give up altogether. And nothing is worse than a community’s social media channels going dark.

Thankfully, this trend is slowing down in favor of a NEW trend, which we refer to as “finding focus.” When you focus on two or three platforms that make the most sense for your personas, the better the results.

So how do you focus? Again, it goes back to knowing your community’s target personas and where they hang out online. And here’s the thing about social media—tastes will evolve. Ten years ago, it was all about Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest was just a baby, only a couple of years old.

The thing you need to remember: When it comes to social media, early adopters are usually younger people. While older people eventually follow, it takes time. Our point: Communities who try to maintain Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok probably won’t do as well as a community that focuses on two or three—say Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest.

We know what you’re thinking . . . WHAT ABOUT TIKTOK? While it’s tempting to get on board the TikTok train, keep in mind that only 3.4% of TikTok users are over 65. You might argue, “Well, we’ll have an awesome presence for when older adults DO flock to TikTok.” Maybe. But there’s no guarantee that will happen—and definitely no guarantee it will happen any time in the next 2-3 years. Why invest resources into TikTok when you could put those resources to better use—like on a platform where your personas are actually hanging out?

Mistake #2: Not paying attention to responses . . . and results.

With social media, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. You’re so busy coming up with compelling content that you’re not spending any time analyzing results. And by “results,” we mean engagement.

  • What types of posts get the most likes, shares, and comments?
  • Can you glean anything about the days you post—or the times of day?
  • Are you using hashtags appropriately? (Using too many can be a turn-off for followers.)

In our experience with clients, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays tend to garner more engagement than weekdays, but of course, your mileage might vary. Another mistake communities make: Not posting enough. We recommend posting three to five times a week to keep audiences engaged. Again, pay attention to what works, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Finally, make sure you respond to people’s comments! If they’ve taken the time to comment on your content, the least you can do is like (or heart) their comment. Some comments, particularly reviews, warrant actual responses from you. For positive reviews, thank the person for sharing their experience. For negative reviews, tread carefully, but you should still acknowledge the person’s concerns. (Check out this article with tips on how to respond to reviews.)

Mistake #3: Treating your social media marketing strategy like a static “thing.”

Senior living social media marketing is a moving target, which can be frustrating for many marketing and sales teams. It’s tempting to get into a rhythm—and to stick with that rhythm FOREVER. But that’s not a smart long-term strategy.

What worked a year or two ago might not work today. At the same time, you don’t want to jump on the hot new platform (or what seems hot, anyway) while abandoning an effective strategy.

It’s a tightrope, for sure, but one that all successful marketing teams must learn to walk. Our advice: Pay attention to so-called trends. But more importantly, pay attention to what’s currently working for your feeds. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but let the results guide where you invest money and resources.

And know that things will change over time. Some platforms will fade in popularity while others will take their place. As Boomers age, your social media strategy will surely evolve since Boomers are much more active on social media than the 75+ crowd currently is. These are things to keep in mind as you strategize.

Want to rock your community’s social media channels, but you’re not sure what to do next?

You don’t need to go it alone. We help senior living communities develop engaging content that garners plenty of likes, shares, comments, and even leads. Let’s talk about your community’s social media needs.

Senior Living Content

Content Tips for Better Senior Living Advertising Campaigns

Advertising remains an important component of effective marketing plans—whether we’re talking print ads, direct mailers, highway billboards, or digital ads. But like any other marketing tactic, you need the right content. So let’s discuss senior living advertising campaigns, specifically the content that will (hopefully) inspire people to act.

Put extra effort into your headlines.

When it comes to advertising, headlines do the heavy lifting. According to Copyblogger, “On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.”

Headlines should be clear, concise, and compelling. Clear means easy to read and easy to understand. Concise means short, but what qualifies as short? It depends on the medium, and not everyone agrees on the right number of words. We usually recommend 5-10 words, but that doesn’t mean a three-word headline couldn’t pack a punch or that a 15-word headline wouldn’t work.

As for compelling . . . you want headlines that capture people’s attention. The headline should inspire the person to keep reading. Common strategies for creating a compelling headline include:

  • Asking relevant questions that your personas are already asking (or should be asking).
  • Being cute, coy, or playful (or some combination of the three).
  • Tapping into people’s pain points (for example, their fears and concerns).

Think through the call-to-action.

After your headline, your call-to-action (CTA) is probably the most important part of your ad. People commonly scan ads (and articles). Their eyes will focus on things that are prominently displayed, like headlines, sub-headlines, anything that’s bolded, and CTAs, provided your CTA jumps out at them. (And it should.)

So how do you develop a good CTA? Ask yourself what you want people to do next. Not all ads are asking people to buy something. Some ads are about brand-building. That said, most senior living advertising campaigns are likely focused on . . .

  • Getting qualified traffic to the website, where the person will be encouraged to take a specific action, like downloading a piece of content
  • Calling and booking a tour or requesting more info, like a brochure

If you send people to a website page, make sure the URL is short and easy to read and remember. Sending people to a unique landing page that’s only associated with that particular ad will help you track results. For example, consider these two URLs:


The first one is easier to read and remember—and much easier to type into a browser.

A word about QR codes: QR codes are those funky black and white squares that promise to send you to a website if you take a picture of them with your phone. They are trendy, so you might be tempted to use them in your senior living advertising campaigns. We recommend avoiding them, at least for now.

Why? Well, QR codes are more popular with younger demos.

According to an article titled “Are QR Codes Leaving Older Americans Behind” from YouGovAmerica, “More than half (54%) of consumers 18-29 have clicked on a marketing-related QR code, followed by 48% of consumers aged 30-44. This percentage declined to 44% among those 45-64 and 31% of consumers 65 and older.” The article goes on to note that 20% of people over 65 find QR codes cumbersome to use, and 18% of this demo say they’ve never even heard of QR codes.

If you do use them, just make sure they’re not your only CTA. You should also display the website address prominently. And like anything else, measure results over time. If you’re working for an active adult community that caters to 55+, QR codes might make more sense. But if your buyers are typically 75 on up, QR codes won’t be as effective. Over time, this reality will likely change. But we’re not there yet—and we probably won’t be any time soon.

Pay attention to your ad’s tone.

Should you go positive or negative? It’s a common question and a big source of debate. And like so many things in life, the answer is “it depends.” It depends on your goals and what the ad is talking about. For example, let’s pretend you run a non-profit life care community. If you’re highlighting all the unique amenities your community offers, a negative tone wouldn’t make sense.

But if you’re talking about financial worries—like the very real concern that people have about outliving their retirement savings—striking a more somber tone would be appropriate. In fact, you might even lead with a headline that sounds a little more negative or troubling: Are concerns about outliving your money stopping you from moving into a senior living community?

A headline like that would create discomfort in the reader. You’d want to quickly follow it up with a sub-headline that reads something along these lines: We’ve got a solution for that! Now, suddenly, you’ve turned that negative into a potential positive.

From there, the body copy could briefly discuss how your life care community guarantees a home and health care for the rest of a person’s life . . . even if their financial situation changes. The call-to-action would be to visit a specific landing page on your site where people could download a fact sheet or guide about life care communities.

Make sure your ad delivers on what it promises.

The last thing you want anyone to accuse your community of is a bait and switch, where your ad promises one thing, but your community doesn’t deliver. If your ad is inviting people to book a free lunch so they can experience the community, make sure your staff delivers on the promise. This includes not only providing an awesome lunch, but also making sure the staff is aware the ad is running in the first place. That way, when people call to book the lunch, the staff knows what’s going on and can take it from there.

The same is true with any landing pages that your advertising sends people to. The spirit of the landing page—both the look and feel and the content itself—should reflect the ad’s content. If not, the person will experience a disconnect, which isn’t the feeling you’re going for.

And, finally, make sure your senior living advertising campaigns reflect your community’s overall brand. Promising puppy dogs and rainbows in your ad—or using stock images that don’t represent what people can expect on your campus—will also create dissonance. The jump from your ad—whether it’s a print ad, direct mailer, or digital ad—to your website or to the community itself needs to be seamless.

Need help launching effective senior living advertising campaigns?

You’re in the right place! We know marketing and advertising. And we know senior living. Get in touch and let’s talk about how to advertise your community.

Senior Living Social Media Marketing

Senior Living Social Media Marketing: Mistakes to Avoid

We’ve written extensively about the many benefits of senior living social media marketing and why you should include it in your overall marketing plan.

Today, however, we’re going to focus on common mistakes that senior living communities often make with social media—and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1: You’re focusing on the wrong platforms for your personas.

Do you know what social media platforms your residents use? How about their family members? Never assume! While it’s true older adults do indeed use social media, the phrase “older adult” has a wide spectrum.

Are you catering mostly to seventy-year-olds in independent living? Or are you serving octogenarians who are straddling IL and AL? Or maybe you’re running an active adult community for people 62+? The social media experiences among these audiences will likely differ. But you won’t know for certain unless you regularly ask, survey, and keep track of people’s responses.

Once you start keeping track, it won’t take long before you see the clear platform “winners.” For example, you might learn that your personas spend most of their time on Facebook and YouTube, but hardly any time on Twitter. This is important intel. Because you’re missing your target if you waste time pouring money and resources into Twitter when the people you’re trying to reach aren’t using that platform.

Keep in mind that social media is also a moving target. Preferences will change over time as other platforms enter the playing field (or go in and out of favor) and as younger demographics come of age.

  • How to avoid this senior living social media marketing mistake: Keep track of the social media platforms your residents engage in. This can and should be part of your sales intake—and most definitely part of your new resident welcome campaign. Find out the social media platforms residents and their families frequent. Invite them to follow your community’s profiles on the corresponding platforms.

Mistake #2: You don’t have specific goals.

You need to know your goals so you can measure performance and ROI. Too often, communities “do social media” simply because everyone else is. That’s not a good enough reason!

Ask yourself this question: What’s the purpose of social media for your community? Are you trying to boost brand recognition? Are you mainly using it as a means to communicate with residents and their families? Are you trying to get more qualified traffic to your site?

You’ll likely have different goals for different social media platforms. For example, you might use LinkedIn as a way to connect with current employees and prospective employees. Or maybe you use Pinterest primarily as a way to share recipes from your executive chef.

  • How to avoid this senior living social media marketing mistake: Define your goals. Be specific. For example, your goal with Facebook might be to send a certain amount of traffic from the platform to your website and convert X percent into leads. Revisit your goals every quarter. Have you achieved your goals? If yes, define some new ones. If not, determine if you need to revise your goals or revise your strategy for achieving the goals.

Mistake #3: You don’t have a social media marketing strategy.

Once you know your goals for each platform you use, you can develop a strategy for each one as well. Read that sentence again! Yes, the best way to tackle senior living social media marketing is to have a specific strategy for each platform.

It makes sense when you think about it, right? For example, the way people engage with content on Facebook is quite different from the way folks play on Pinterest—or how they use Instagram or YouTube.

  • How to avoid this senior living social media marketing mistake: Having a content calendar and someone on your team who “owns social” can go a long way in making sure you post consistently—and according to the goals you have for each platform. And yes, we get it: Often the real “magic” of social media is when something is posted on the fly, like those random images or videos that are too good not to share. A social media coordinator can manage these last-minute requests while making sure your overall strategy remains intact.

Mistake #4: You don’t put the same effort into your social media content as you do with other marketing content.

Too often, we see communities get excited when they launch their social media presences, but over time, the content either gets stale, predictable, or worse—it becomes non-existent.

Creating great content for social media takes effort. Having a strong content calendar for each platform helps, but your social media team needs to always be thinking in terms of content creation—taking pics that will resonate with the audience, developing fun videos, coming up with meaningful surveys and contests—and that’s just the beginning.

Social media never takes a break—it’s always going, it’s always on. We’re not suggesting that you post 24/7, but your social media team has to have a 24/7 mentality, meaning that it needs to look for (and post!) awesome content outside of typical business hours. This might involve tasking someone with taking and posting pics from the Mother’s Day Tea that happens on a Sunday. Or capturing the gorgeous full moon as it rises above your property.

  • How to avoid this senior living social media marketing mistake: Make sure you’re not putting one person in charge of all things social media. Even if you have one social media coordinator, that person should have a team—or, at the very least, the freedom to tap helpers, as needed. For example, the social media coordinator can ask the activities assistant to take some pics during the Mother’s Day Tea and send them to the coordinator for posting.

Mistake #5: You don’t analyze the results.

Many communities ignore social media analytics beyond looking at “likes” or the follower count. But again, if you’re investing in senior living social media, you need to figure out if your investment is paying off.

  • How to avoid this senior living social media marketing mistake: Monitor traffic that comes from social media platforms—and determine what percentage of that traffic turns into leads and eventually move-ins. That’s the most important metric to pay attention to, but there are others. And good software like HubSpot can make it easy to see results via dashboards and reports that you set up once, but that continuously populate with info.

Need help avoiding the above mistakes? Let’s talk.

One of the best things you can do to enhance your social media efforts is work with an agency like ours. We can audit your current platforms, guide you on where you should be spending your time and budget, and work with your team on creating content and getting into a good rhythm. Then, your team can take it from there—or you can continue to have us manage your social media (or some combination). Interested? Let’s talk about your social media plans.

Hubspot for senior living

HubSpot for Senior Living: What Is It, Anyway?

One of the products we often recommend to clients is HubSpot, thanks to its strong marketing automation software. But that’s not all HubSpot can do. In this article, we’re going to provide an overview of HubSpot for senior living—and what you should do next if you’re interested in using it.

What is HubSpot?

HubSpot was founded in 2006 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by two MIT graduate students: Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. HubSpot helped develop and spread the concept of inbound marketing.

Over the years, HubSpot has gone through many iterations. In its earliest incarnation, it was a CMS (content management system). Simply put, a CMS allows people without technical experience to create and manage content on a website.

Today, HubSpot describes itself as an internet marketing company that’s in the “growth business.” It offers a powerful CRM platform that “makes it easy for your entire company to work together — from marketing, to sales, to customer service. Each hub is powerful alone, but they’re even better together.”

These “hubs” include the following:

  • Marketing Hub
  • Sales Hub
  • Service Hub
  • CMS Hub
  • Operations Hub

Numerous extensions and integrations are also available.

How should communities approach HubSpot for senior living?

We talk a lot about marketing automation when it comes to HubSpot, so here’s a quick refresher . . .

Marketing automation enables you to deliver the right message (think emails) to the right person at the right time. As its name suggests, with marketing automation, everything happens automatically once you set it up. You’ll also have access to real-time results: Which prospect opened the email, who is most engaged with your content, which content seems to convert best, and so forth.

While we often use the terms “HubSpot” and “marketing automation” interchangeably for simplicity’s sake, marketing automation is only one small piece of HubSpot. In fact, if you were to browse the various “hubs” on HubSpot’s website, it might take a while to find out which hub offers marketing automation (you’ll find it in the Professional and Enterprise levels of the Marketing Hub).

OK, so which “hubs” should a senior living community use?

Ah, this is where it gets complicated. Not every senior living community is going to have the same needs. A small, independent community might have one set of requirements while an operator with ten locations across the country will have another set.

For example, if you already have an effective website on WordPress, you won’t need the full suite of CMS capabilities. If you’re happy with your current senior living CRM, you won’t use HubSpot’s.

Bottom line: Not every senior living community needs HubSpot. We’re also fans of ActiveDEMAND, which has a specific senior living package that’s hyper-focused on marketing automation.

This is why it’s a smart idea to work with a consultant or agency that understands the senior living industry and what products are best suited for the industry. A good consultant/agency can guide you on what makes the most sense for your community and your budget. (That said, you can read more about why we’re such big fans of HubSpot.)

Are you leaning towards HubSpot for senior living? Let us help.

If you’re hot for HubSpot, we can help you figure out which level you need, how to implement it properly, and how to maximize HubSpot so that you get the biggest bang for your marketing buck.

It’s worth noting that Senior Living SMART has achieved the Platinum tier in HubSpot’s Solutions Partner Program. According to HubSpot’s website, the Partner Tier program is designed “to acknowledge those solutions partners who have not only brought the inbound message to the most clients, but also those who executed inbound marketing services to the highest standards.”

Get in touch and let’s discuss HubSpot!

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Senior Living Sales Strategies for High-Intent SQLs

Working with high-intent sales-qualified leads (SQLs) who are close to making a decision can be quite thrilling for a senior living sales director.

No wonder, too. This is the sales director’s job and their source of income. And with the finish line in sight for everyone, it’s natural to get excited. After all, what’s left to do?

Turns out quite a lot. Because at the end of the day, high-intent SQLs are still human, and humans are notoriously unpredictable. Which is why the way sales directors interact with high-intent SQLs will and should be different from the way they interact with other senior living leads.

Head spinning yet? Don’t worry. We’ve got you. Below, we discuss several senior living sales strategies for high-intent SQLs.

1. Senior living sales strategies: Stop selling

OK, we know what you’re thinking: Say what? But here’s the thing: You no longer need to sell to your high-intent SQLs, at least not in the traditional sense. They’re about as “in” as they’re going to get since your community is on their shortlist.

Instead of selling to them, you need to find out if anything’s giving them pause. To do that, ask a version of the following question: “In your mind, what are some of the community’s drawbacks? I can’t promise that I’ll be able to fix or change any of them, but maybe there’s something I forgot to mention that might help alleviate any concerns.”

We can almost guarantee there will be at least one drawback that you can address and genuinely turn into a positive, which might help tip the scale in your community’s favor.

Bottom line: With high-intent SQLs, you don’t need to sell to them anymore . . . you simply need to enable them to buy from you.

2. Senior living sales strategies: If things have stalled, find out if there’s an external factor going on in the SQL’s life.

Sometimes you’re working with a prospect and you’re convinced they’re going to sign papers when—BAM! Everything comes to a screeching halt.

In this scenario, an external factor is often at work.

Some common ones include:

    • Finalizing financial details (for example, the Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefit)
    • Dealing with an unexpected medical issue
    • Stalled by an unrelated family matter (death, wedding, family trip)
    • Selling/downsizing a home

Our point: You need to know what your high-intent SQL is facing in their lives and adjust your conversations and follow-up accordingly.

For example, if your prospect is suddenly in the hospital due to a broken hip, send the person flowers. Don’t do so as a selling tactic, but as a caring tactic. Once they’re back home, stop by for a visit to see how they’re doing. (Call first!) Again, not to push the sales narrative, but to simply demonstrate your humanity.

Once they’re truly back on their feet, then you can ask if recent events have changed their decision or timeline. Some will be ready to move forward. But sometimes external factors might force a downgrade from high-intent SQL to regular SQL or even back to marketing-qualified lead (MQL). This happens. Knowing where your prospect is in their journey, even if there’s been a setback, is important since it will inform how you engage with them going forward.

3. Senior living sales strategies: Think beyond lunch.

More than likely, your high-intent prospect has already vetted the food situation in your community. As food services company Unidine notes in this article, “It is widely acknowledged that food and dining are key aspects of residents’ satisfaction and influence the decision-making of prospective residents.”

If they’ve already done lunch in your community, it’s time to think BEYOND lunch. Hopefully, you took good notes when you chatted with the prospect. (If not, get in the habit of finding out their likes and dislikes when it comes to food—breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, drinks.)

Get creative—here are some ideas:

    • For a prospect with a sweet tooth, have your chef prepare a box of yummy treats that you deliver to the prospect with a note: Sweet times await you in our community. Here’s a sample of what you can expect.
    • Invite the prospect and a few members of their family to a special home-cooked meal in your community’s function/event room. The goal is to show how the room can be used precisely for these family gatherings—and to demonstrate how fabulous the food is.
    • Invite the prospect to a special event that includes refreshments, like wine and appetizers. Maybe it’s an author reading or a musical guest.

The goal is to highlight various types of foods—appetizers, family meals, desserts—along with different activities that involve food and camaraderie. The more you can make your community truly feel like home, the more it will help the prospect “see” themselves living there.

4. Senior living sales strategies: Find out who the competition is.

This strategy is a delicate dance. The goal isn’t to bash another community, and doing so is bad form in our tight-knit industry. But if your prospect is vacillating between your community and a competitor’s community, you need to have a plan for how to approach the conversation.

Our recommendation? Arm yourself with a small asset library on each competitor. We’re talking about a folder that you keep on your PC for each main competitor that your community typically finds itself up against.

In each competitor’s folder, you’ll want to have the following:

A comparison chart. Think of a simple, nicely designed “dot chart” that compares your community to the competitor’s community. Honesty is essential. Your community isn’t perfect for everyone. The fact your community has a yoga studio might not matter to your prospect while the fact the competitor’s community has a dog park does matter.

The goal is to simply have a comprehensive, objective-as-possible chart that prospects can glance at. Sometimes seeing everything laid out side-by-side can be just what someone needs to make a decision.

    • Tips for how to share the chart: Be direct. “I know you’re considering our community and ABC Senior Living. I thought you might find this chart helpful.”

A list of current residents who also considered the competitor’s community. In a perfect world, you’d have a collection of short videos from these residents where they talk about why they chose your community instead of the competitor. These videos don’t have to be professionally shot, either, since you’ll only use them for this purpose. (An iPhone video is fine.)

Note: If the current resident is willing to talk to prospects, you can also offer that option. But simply sharing two or three videos of real residents talking about why they decided to move into your community might be all the prospect needs to hear.

    • Tips for how to share the video: Send an email (or if you’re with the prospect in person, you can pull up the video on your phone or tablet) and say something like, “Gloria, one of our residents, also seriously considered ABC Senior Living as well. I thought you’d find it interesting and potentially helpful to hear why she finally decided on us.”

Earned media that features your community. You might not have info like this for every competitor and that’s OK. But you should absolutely collect any positive media coverage about your community—especially if it also mentions the competitor—and share that with your prospect.

For example, if the town/city your community is in has a “Best of” list and your community comes in first for senior living (but your competitor comes in second or third—or doesn’t place at all), this can be something to share.

    • Tips for how to share this info: This sort of info could be good reading to send along with something else. Like, if you send a box of tasty desserts to your prospect, you could include a couple of articles that talk up your community. (And, of course, this sort of info is stuff you’d want to share on the website, social media, and in lead nurturing emails for marketing-qualified leads.)

5. Senior living sales strategies: Appeal to all influencers.

It’s rare to have only one person involved in the decision-making process. Senior living sales directors should get in the habit of asking who’s involved in the discussions. And frame it exactly like that: Tell me more about the discussions you’ve been having about this decision. Who’s involved? Would it be OK if I get their email addresses?

For example, if an adult daughter and her mother are looking for a local community, but you’ve gotten wind about an adult brother who lives in Florida who’s been participating in the discussions . . . it makes sense to get his email address. You could send him a quick, personal email: “I just had a great visit with your mom and sister and want to introduce myself . . .”

From there, if your prospect evolves into a high-intent SQL, you’ll have easy access to the contact information for all the people who are influencing the decision. So, using the above example, you could suggest a Zoom call with mom, daughter, and son to discuss where things stand, next steps, and so forth.

Bonus: Free eBook!

You likely noticed a theme in our suggested senior living sales strategies above—care more, sell less. One of our fabulous colleagues, Mike Miller for Primo Solutions, has a fabulous ebook called Stop Selling and Start Caring. He wrote it specifically for sales and marketing folks in the senior living industry. You can download it for free here.

Marketing Solutions Must Haves

Senior Living Marketing Solutions: 5 Must-Haves

You don’t need every marketing solution under the sun for your senior living community to be successful. In fact, sometimes too many bells and whistles can dilute your efforts. That said, there are some must-haves that you shouldn’t skimp on. Below, we discuss five essential senior living marketing solutions that we recommend to all our clients.

1. Senior Living Marketing Solutions: Invest in a Strategy.

Somewhere along the way, the word “strategy” has gotten a bad rap. Probably because strategizing involves stepping back, identifying real objectives, and creating a marketing roadmap for achieving them.

Some might see strategizing as a synonym for slowing down, which is a challenge in our always-on, always-rushed world. And we can certainly appreciate why slowing down can be extremely hard for marketing and sales teams that have a long list of vacancies to fill.

But we’d argue that a sound marketing strategy is needed precisely because it’s so competitive out there. If you approach your marketing willy-nilly—without understanding your buyers or your current website conversions, for example—how can you successfully execute important marketing tasks, like creating content that converts? You can’t measure what you don’t know, right?

The very act of sitting down to create a marketing strategy forces everyone to take a hard look at things like . . .

And that’s just the beginning. No, it’s not “sexy” work. It’s not fast work, either. And it’s not the type of work that will produce results right away since the work itself involves reviewing, compiling, and planning.

But once the work is completed and a plan is in place based on real intelligence? Get ready for turbo-charged marketing that will deliver reliable results over the long haul.

Doesn’t that sound smarter than just winging it?

2. Senior Living Marketing Solutions: Treat Your Website Like the 24/7 Salesforce That It Is.

Sure, every serious business on the planet has a website nowadays. So setting one up might feel like another box you need to check off your endless to-do list. But your community’s website matters. Why? Because it serves as your 24/7 salesforce.

When people are on the hunt for something—new sneakers, a new car, a new home—their search begins online. This is true even among older adults. Consider the following stats:

    • Baby Boomers spend more time online than Millennials, and a staggering 92% of Boomers shop online. [Source: The Shelf]
    • 75% of all Boomers are on Facebook, and 35% use business-focused networking sites, such as LinkedIn. [Source: Kenshoo]
    • 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]

For most prospects interested in senior living, your website will serve as their first experience with your community. And like it or not, first impressions still matter. Yes, some folks might land on your Google My Business listing first. Or perhaps they’ll see an ad or a billboard or hear about your community from a friend or family member. But they will end up on your site at some point—and usually multiple times.

Bottom line: Don’t treat your senior living website as an afterthought. Don’t treat it like a box you need to check off. And don’t make it look like every other senior living community’s website.

Instead, approach its creation (and its subsequent iterations) with a sound strategy. Pay attention to analytics that give insights into traffic numbers and conversion rates. And if you outsource, choose an agency that knows what it’s doing when it comes to building senior living websites that get results.

3. Senior Living Marketing Solutions: Let Marketing Automation Do the Heavy Lifting

Your community can’t effectively compete if it doesn’t have a seamless method for nurturing marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) over the long haul. Because here’s the reality all communities are facing right now: Prospects require multiple “touches” before making a decision to move into a community. And when we say multiple touches, we’re talking upwards of 20+ for marketing-qualified leads.

Think about that for a second. Let’s use easy math to illustrate. If your site brings in 100 MQLs a month on average, and these MQLs require a minimum of 20 “touches” before making a decision . . . how on earth can your marketing team manually send that many unique emails to that many different people, month after month, year after year?

New MQLs Per MonthTouch Points to ConvertUnique Emails Sent

They can’t. At least, they can’t do it efficiently. Things will fall through the cracks, meaning your community will lose great leads to competitors.

Marketing automation solves this problem. Instead of manually sending lead nurturing emails, you’ll program the system to keep track of where the MQLs are in their journey. The automation’s main purpose is to deliver the right content to the right prospect at the right time.

Marketing automation is no longer a “luxury” of national chains, either. Even a small, independently-owned community must use some form of marketing automation to remain competitive.

Luckily, most reputable marketing automation software offers various tiers. So a larger chain might opt for an enterprise license while a smaller community might choose a nimble, budget-friendly option.

The key (beyond choosing the right marketing automation software) is setting it up properly. This takes work, including a deep understanding of your prospects and their buying journeys. But once set up, marketing automation does the heavy lifting so that your marketing team can focus on other things—like creating compelling content, analyzing results, and doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

4. Senior Living Marketing Solutions: Remember to Use Lead Scoring

This goes hand-in-hand with marketing automation. But we find that lots of communities either overlook this point or they don’t take full advantage of lead scoring.

When properly set up and executed, lead scoring provides several benefits:

    • A real-time view of where leads are in the sales funnel. At a glance, you’ll have a solid sense of your overall pipeline and which leads are nearing decision time. This will help improve sales forecasting.
    • Increased efficiency and sales productivity. Sales teams can focus their time on sales-qualified leads.
    • A key input to your marketing automation software. Lead scoring will automatically indicate which lead needs to go where. SQLs will be served up to the sales team. MQLs will enter appropriate nurturing campaigns.

In order to work, however, lead scoring requires . . .

    • Sound strategy. What makes a lead sales-qualified vs. marketing qualified? Do you want to go deeper than simply scoring a lead as an MQL or SQL?
    • Smart implementation. You need to make sure lead scoring is set up properly on the backend. Our biggest tip: This requires more than one set of eyes. And you absolutely must test to ensure the leads are being scored as you envisioned they would be.
    • Revisiting over time. Marketing automation’s biggest advantage—the automation part—can sometimes be its biggest curse. Too often, marketing and sales teams will “set it and forget it”—for good. You do need to occasionally revisit your lead scoring strategy: Has it changed? Have you learned anything new that could affect how you score leads? And you need to occasionally revisit the actual setup to see if anything has broken along the way.

Again, don’t skimp on this process. Lead scoring is a critical component in successful marketing automation.

5. Senior Living Marketing Solutions: Think Analytics.

Practically everything we do as marketers is measurable. While the number that matters most is move-ins, that’s the finish line. Many milestones exist along the way—important milestones that will help deliver leads to the finish line. And all of those milestones have analytics attached to them.

Think about things like . . .

    • Website analytics (traffic, landing pages, calls-to-action, etc.)
    • Google Analytics
    • Social media analytics (specific to each platform)
    • Advertising analytics (print, digital, radio, TV)
    • Lead analytics (such as MQL-to-SQL conversions and SQL-to-move-in conversions)
    • Email marketing analytics (opens, click-through-rates, conversions)
    • Call center analytics
    • Live chat analytics

And the above isn’t an exhaustive list, either.

Some marketers love numbers. Others hate them. If you fall in the latter group, don’t ignore the analytics because you don’t like them. Instead, consider outsourcing the analysis. A good consultant or marketing agency can help you understand what the numbers are telling you so that you can make informed decisions.

Bonus Solution: Work with a Reputable Senior Living Marketing Agency

Because marketing is SO involved, it can be challenging for marketing and sales teams to manage everything on their own. Luckily, there’s a solution for that: outsourcing some of the work to an agency like ours. We know senior living. We know marketing. Let’s talk about your community’s specific marketing needs.

Let's chat!


Why Senior Living Leads Require MANY More Touches Than Others

How many touch points does it take to get a senior living lead to move in? While this number will vary from one community to the next, generally speaking, senior living leads require many touches—likely more than your marketing and sales teams even realize.

In the Enquire Solutions white paper, Marketing Automation Templates for Senior Living, they share a chart about the number of touch points a prospect requires, on average, before becoming a resident.

Turns out, leads need a minimum of 22 touches for independent living, assisted living, and memory care and 28 touches for life plan communities. The sales cycle can range from 107 days (for memory care) to a whopping 400 days (for life plan communities). Assisted living and independent living fall in the middle at 145 days and 203 days, respectively.

The question, of course, is why. Why do senior living leads require so many touch points? And what do your marketing and sales teams need to do as a result?

Why Senior Living Leads Require More Touch Points

Moving, in general, is stressful.

A recent OnePoll survey reported that Americans say moving is the most stressful life event (followed by divorce and marriage). While older adults might recognize that it’s time to move into senior living, the act of moving (and all it entails, like selling their current home) might cause them to stall and stutter along the way.

This is why sales and marketing teams need to be patient and provide those regular touch points. You want your community to be top of mind when the person is finally ready.

Moving into a senior living community is a big monetary investment.

The bigger the price tag on a purchase, the more time people need to evaluate their options and crunch numbers. This is true for any pricey purchase, not just senior living.

Even older adults who have financial stability—for example, they own their own home and have retirement savings—might be skittish about moving into senior living. After all, what if their money runs out?

This is a very real concern. In fact, New Retirement cites a study that claims “60% of baby boomers are more afraid of running out of money than dying.” But here’s the rub—older adults should be worried. The same article shares the following:

    • 83 percent of baby boomers in the lowest income quartile will run out of money in retirement
    • 47 percent of boomers in the second lowest quartile will run out
    • 28 percent of boomers in the second highest quartile will run out
    • 13 percent of boomers in the highest income quartile will run out

Providing extra touch points—and including ones that directly address money worries—is a smart way to reassure prospects and move them down the funnel.

Choosing a senior living community is one of the most emotional purchases a person (or family) will ever make.

When a person buys their first home, emotions can run the gamut, but excitement and pride tend to top the list. When a person is shopping around for senior living, the emotions they experience are understandably different. While some people might feel excited about the next chapter, especially if they’re recently retired and entering into independent living, others might have mixed feelings:

    • A sense of loss about leaving their home (often the one where they raised their family)
    • Monetary concerns (will they outlive their funds?)
    • Fears around declining health
    • Existential angst (facing their own mortality)

Given what so many senior living leads are dealing with, it’s no wonder they need time to process, consider their options, and engage numerous times with communities before making a decision.

Our job as senior living marketers is to patiently accompany them on this journey of contemplation and discovery. The goal of ongoing communications shouldn’t be to sell, sell, sell, but rather to give, give, give. Give prospects information that will truly help them.

Strategies for Creating a Multi-Touch Lead Nurturing Campaign

Here’s what you need to keep in mind as you nurture your leads over the long haul.

If you haven’t already, invest in marketing automation. You can’t do effective lead nurturing without quality marketing automation. Full stop. It’s important to choose the right marketing automation for your community’s specific needs and budgets. If you need help selecting software, call us.

Make sure you set up lead scoring. Not all leads are created equal. Some leads will be more sales-qualified than others. The sales-qualified leads (SQLs) will be served up to the sales team for follow-up. The marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) will enter your long-term lead nurturing programs.

Understand your prospective buyers. In addition to the pain points outlined above, your prospects might have other pain points as well. Remember, you’re selling to various people, including older adults, spouses, adult children, and so forth. You need to create lead nurturing for each persona.

Map out different journeys and create content that will be helpful throughout each journey. For example, if your prospects are getting “stuck” because of concerns over money, develop content that acknowledges their fears and that offers potential solutions. Some examples . . .

    • Provide a short guide on the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit and a checklist that helps the person self-qualify.
    • Create and share short videos from current residents who had similar money concerns—and what helped them feel good about choosing your community.
    • Give authentic answers to tough questions. You could create a guide called “Retirement Worries: What Happens if Your Money Runs Out?”
    • Offer a complimentary lunch & learn with your community’s financial counselor.

You get the idea. When you approach your lead nurturing from a problem/solution perspective (rather than a sell, sell, sell perspective), developing helpful content for 22+ emails isn’t as challenging as you might think.

That said, if you get stuck with all the touch points, let us help.

Too often, communities simply go through the motions when it comes to creating and sending automated emails. That approach won’t get you the results you want. Reach out and let’s discuss a sound strategy for creating a multi-touch nurturing campaign that turns prospects into move-ins over the long haul.

Let's chat!

Content Offer Ideas

Content Offer Ideas for Senior Living Marketing

Struggling to come up with compelling content offers for your community’s website? Listen, we get it: Creative ruts happen. But providing engaging content offers is super important, so don’t allow yourself and your team to wallow in that rut for too long. After all, awesome content can help convert anonymous web traffic into leads—and leads into move-ins. 

Here’s a quick-hitting list of content offer ideas to jumpstart your senior living marketing.

Content Offer Ideas That Educate

The all-important top of the funnel (TOFU) is the awareness stage, which is where many prospects begin their journey. It’s all about educating people and answering their questions (which can range from basic to more complex). Here are some content offer ideas that can satisfy both needs.

Consider developing an “All About” series for people to download.

You can create an ongoing feature that focuses “all about” the various aspects of your community. For example . . .

  • All About Our Senior Living Dining Room
  • All About Our Senior Living Dining Menus
  • All About Our Senior Living Amenities

By the way: All of those titles include competitive keyword phrases. Each article can be its own download, and content lengths can vary. Some might be only a couple of pages. Others (especially those requiring lots of visuals) might be longer and more brochure-like. You can promote them on appropriate pages of your website and your blog via enticing CTAs. You can also promote them on social media.

Create content offers around RELATED longtail keyword phrases. 

Communities tend to focus content around all aspects of “senior living.” But why not expand into other relevant terms that people search on, like retirement? 

For example, simply go to your favorite keyword tool and type in “What is it like to retire in . . .” (Florida, Texas, Massachusetts—you get the idea.) Or “Is [this state] a good place to retire.” See our screenshot below from SEMrush for an example of phrases that came up when we made Florida the focus of our search.

You can create a compelling download that answers the main question about whether Florida is a good place to retire. In it, you can highlight all the fun things that your residents do in and around your community, which can be a great way to introduce people to your community and your brand. 

(Remember, this is the education stage—the goal is to get your community on people’s radar. When they download, you’ll have their email so that you can continue to nurture them on their journey.)

Offer interactive surveys

Surveys can help people self-qualify. Our recommended go-to is Roobrik, which describes itself as a way to help older adults and their families make informed decisions about the future.

Create educational checklists

People love checklists because they are easy to skim and they can help people digest info. Some checklist ideas:

  • A Checklist for the Adult Daughter Helping Mom to Move
  • 10 Signs It’s Time to Move Into a Senior Living Community
  • A Checklist for Adult Children Researching Memory Care
  • Do You Qualify for the Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefit: A Handy Checklist
  • A Checklist to Follow When Downsizing Your Home

Create a series of “what to look for” guides.

Here are some examples to get your juices flowing.

  • What to Look For in Senior Living Dining Programs 
  • What to Look For in Senior Living Amenities
  • What to Look For When Comparing Senior Living in Florida (or whatever your region/state)

Again, you’ll want to make sure you have a strong keyword focus for each guide.

Content Offer Ideas that Engage

While all of your content should be engaging, when it comes to the middle of the funnel (MOFU), people have either done their basic research or they’re coming to the table with existing knowledge. People in this stage are now considering their options. (This is also known as the “consideration” stage.)

Create easy-to-read comparison charts.

Create a comparison chart with your top five competitors. Make it super easy for people to skim and get the gist: That your community outranks your competitors in the areas that matter most.

Create case studies—lots of case studies. 

You can never have too many case studies. When building out a case study library, think of all the various scenarios you’ve heard about from residents. 

  • Maybe it’s the adult child who had a hard time convincing her parents to move in, but once they did, they were so happy. Write a story about it. 
  • Maybe it’s the veteran’s widow who never realized she qualified for the Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefit, but after guidance from one of your wonderful sales reps, she discovered this source of tax-free income and was able to join your community. Write her story.
  • Maybe it’s a story about two widowed people who found love in your community. Share their story.

You get the idea. There are SO many stories—and we’re not simply talking about the more generic “here’s what it was like to make the move” stories. Focus on specifics. Even if that story only applies to a very small segment of qualified prospects, it could truly ENGAGE that prospect and help move them to the bottom of the funnel. Which is the whole point, right?

Content Offer Ideas That Motivate

Ah, we’ve reached the bottom of the funnel (BOFU). People are poised to make a decision (which is why this is also referred to as the “decision” stage.) The content you create for this stage should help motivate folks to choose your community.

Invite them to lunch.

Send an engaging invitation (via email or snail mail) and invite them to lunch. Entice them further by highlighting the menu and including a recipe card with the most popular dessert your chef makes. 

You could even make this offer last longer by sending them home with a branded doggie bag filled with leftovers or lunch/supper for the next day. 

Ask them to spend a weekend. 

Remember the days of touring colleges and how you could sometimes spend a whole weekend to get a feel for the school, its community, and all of its offerings? The same concept can work for senior living. 

If you host people for an entire weekend (and do everything that goes along with that—assign them a tour guide, make them feel welcome by including a packet of activities, etc.), it can give them a true sense of what it might be like to live in your community.

Give away a free month if people move in by a certain date. 

We see this offer with rentals outside of senior living. But the thing is: Everyone loves free stuff. And if someone signs by a certain date and they get their first month free—that can be a very enticing content offer. 

And to make this a tangible content offer . . . you could create a special mailer or email that you send to those folks who are truly in this stage. For example, you make this offer to folks who’ve toured your community more than once and have indicated it’s between you and another community. With the offer, you could include a branded promotional item, like a keychain.

Bonus Tip: Outsource for Added Oomph

The above list is a starting point. You and your team can come up with other ideas—or you can outsource the content development to a senior living agency like ours that specializes in all things content marketing. Get in touch and let’s chat about your marketing.

Effective Inbound Marketing

Effective Inbound Marketing Tips for Senior Living

Looking for effective inbound marketing tips to attract more traffic to your website, increase conversions, and close qualified leads into happy move-ins? Keep reading.

Inbound Marketing Tips: Tend to Your Website

One of the biggest mistakes communities make with their senior living website is that they treat it like this once-and-done static thing. But an effective website—meaning one that attracts the right traffic and converts the traffic into leads—needs to be dynamic. 

Which is why you need to . . .

  • Monitor search performance. Is your site ranking for the right keyword phrases? Are there any gaps? Have new phrases entered the mix since you conducted a deep dive? Note: The answers to those questions will likely be “yes,” and that’s OK (and kind of our point). Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t a once-and-done thing, either.
  • Pay attention to underperforming pages. Are people going to the page, but bouncing off quickly? Or maybe they spend time on the page, but they don’t click the call-to-action (CTA)? You might need to adjust the offer, layout, overall content, keyword focus, or all of the above.
  • Add fresh custom content. We’re not talking about more stock images or “fluff” content. We’re talking about custom content that reflects the unique experience that your community offers. Think resident photos, stories, videos, seasonal recipes from the chef, the views of the grounds from different vantage points and at various times of the year. You get the idea.

Want an objective opinion about how your site is performing—and what you could do better? Get our website audit.

Inbound Marketing Tips: Get Blogging

Blogging offers so many benefits. As HubSpot notes, blogging can help:

  • Drive traffic to your website, especially through long-tail keywords (relevant phrases with less overall search volume, but that still offer solid ranking opportunities)
  • Educate people who are in that all-important awareness stage
  • Convert anonymous website traffic into leads
  • Improve link building, both internally and via backlinks (a must for healthy SEO)

The key with blogging is having a smart strategy that guides your efforts. You also want to blog consistently, create content that people can’t find anywhere else, and promote and repurpose your content across other channels.

Inbound Marketing Tips: Think Beyond Your Website

Sure, your senior living website serves as your digital marketing hub. But it’s not the only player in town. When it comes to inbound marketing, you must consider your entire online presence. And at the top of that list is your community’s Google My Business listing. Note: We did an in-depth post on everything you need to know about GMB

From there, you should pay attention to your overall senior living reputation management—think of all the various review sites and directories (like and A Place for Mom). Your listings need to be accurate, current, and compelling (just like your website). 

Inbound Marketing Tips: Don’t Treat All Leads the Same Way

We know how tempting it is to get a “lead” and for sales to take over and work that lead. But guess what? That’s the old way of doing sales. (Circa 2000.) The digital landscape has changed how people buy—and, as a result, how businesses should sell.

Prospective buyers have access to all the information they need to inform their purchases, thanks to websites, blogs, and, most importantly, other people. (Think friends, family, and review sites.) 

So that anonymous website traffic that comes to your site and converts into leads? Those folks are savvy. They don’t want to be sold to—at least, not until they’re ready. And some most certainly aren’t ready. They might just be getting started and doing their research. They might not be prepared to make a decision for a year or two—and no amount of haranguing from your sales reps is going to change that.

Why would you waste your time calling these people and trying to engage them in a sales discussion? Because that’s exactly what it would be: A waste of everyone’s time.

Instead, doesn’t it make more sense to focus on people who are further along in the sales funnel, like the ones who are truly sales-qualified and a good fit for your community? Of course it does.

And that’s precisely why you shouldn’t treat all leads the same way. What this means is that your sales folks will be working with fewer leads (rather than every lead that comes in). But they’ll be working with better leads while the other leads—the ones who have potential, but who aren’t ready for a sales call—continue to get nurtured over time through email lead nurturing.

Inbound Marketing Tips: Have a Social Media STRATEGY

Facebook will be turning 20 in 2024. LinkedIn, believe it or not, is even older. Social media is no longer this new-fangled thing that people casually play with. Social media has grown up and evolved over the last two decades. As such, you can’t be casual in your approach to social media. 

Like everything else, you need an overall senior living social media strategy, one that . . .

  • Defines your goals for each platform (because your objectives for, say, LinkedIn will be different from Facebook)
  • Determines who will be in charge of creating content
  • Has a plan for deploying content organically and via paid means
  • Puts processes in place for monitoring results
  • Makes sure the social media plan works in harmony with other content initiatives

Bonus Tip: Take Advantage of Outsourced Marketing Support

Given inbound marketing’s complexity, it can be extremely challenging for senior living marketing and sales teams to manage everything on their own. Outsourcing some of the work to a reputable agency (like ours!) can be an excellent way to make sure that your senior living community is following all the tips we outlined above. 

Get in touch and let’s chat about your digital marketing needs.

gated vs ungated content

Senior Living Marketing Strategy: Gated Vs. Ungated Content

When it comes to developing a SMART senior living marketing strategy, one of the biggest decisions you must make is whether to gate your content. Here’s what to keep in mind.

What is gated content?

As its name suggests, gated content requires formal access. Most often, the content resides behind a website form. To access the content, a person needs to supply specific info, like their name, email address, and phone number.

Why would businesses gate content anyway?

The main reason businesses gate content is so that they can continue marketing to the people who download the content. For example, if someone downloads a piece of content from your senior living website—maybe it’s a floor plan, brochure, pricing info—they’re signaling that they’re interested in what you’re selling. No, they might not be ready to move in tomorrow—or even a year from now. Or they might be looking on behalf of someone else, like a parent. 

Here’s the thing, though: If someone takes the time to download your content, that action suggests a certain level of interest in what you’re selling. 

Businesses capitalize on this interest by staying in front of these people and continuing to market to them. The “gate” enables businesses to do exactly that since the gate is a website form that captures a person’s email address. With the email address, the business can stay in touch with prospects by sending them more info that will (hopefully) keep the prospects engaged with the brand. (This is known as email lead nurturing.)

OK, given all that, why would a business ever offer ungated content?

Ah, this is where it gets interesting. If the goal is to continue to market to people who’ve shown interest in your senior living community, why would you ever offer content “in the clear”—meaning without requiring the person to fill out a form?

Not all content deserves to be put behind forms. Take a blog, for example. If you have a blog on your senior living website, you’re offering compelling content (we hope!), but you’re giving it away in the clear. Why? Because you trust that the person who’s reading the content is capable of taking the next best step for them, whatever that is. 

Another good example is case studies. If someone is interested in reading a case study—what you might call “resident stories”—about your community, why on earth would you put that content behind a form? 

If someone wants to read a case study about your community, that suggests a high level of interest. If the case study does its job well and satisfies the questions/concerns the person has about your community, chances are good the person will contact you for a tour or to speak to a sales counselor. 

Keep in mind, too, that the way people buy things today is much different from the way they shopped even ten years ago. Buyers are now in control of the sales process, not the other way around. In fact, buyers will often engage with a company’s website and other online assets (like social media or review sites) multiple times before showing any interest in talking to a salesperson. 

If someone has no interest in being “marketed to,” they’ll ignore any methods you use to try to reach them. (And they might possibly think less of your brand as a result of all the pushiness.) If you “require” their info on a form and they don’t want to give it, they might supply a dummy name and phone number—and a “junk” email address that they only use to download stuff. They might back away from your site altogether and see if they can find the information they’re looking for in some other way—or from someone else (like a competitor), which kind of defeats the purpose, right?

So when it comes to the best senior living marketing strategy for my community, what should we offer: gated or ungated content?

We typically recommend a mix of gated and ungated content. Why a mix? Well, we do believe certain content, like a 5-page guide on understanding how to finance senior living, offers excellent value. So it’s understandable that someone would have to surrender something—like their name and email—to access the premium content. In other words, it’s a fair “ask.” 

Certain pieces of content, like pricing requests, suggest someone might be farther down the sales funnel and closer to making a decision. Having their info makes sense because they might be more inclined to talk to a salesperson. 

But other content, like case studies and blog posts, work well as ungated content. This type of content enables the buyer to self-identify if your community is right for them or their loved one. At which point, they can then raise their hand if they want a sales counselor to contact them.

What are some of the biggest mistakes communities make with ungated and gated content?

The biggest mistake people make isn’t whether to gate a piece of content. The biggest mistake involves the website forms (if the content is gated) and the resulting follow-up process. Here’s what you should keep in mind.

For first-time downloads, keep forms short. 

When we say “first-time” downloads, we mean exactly that: The person is downloading content for the first time on your website. (Good marketing automation software will know if someone is a first-time downloader.) 

On the forms, ask only the essential info: first name, email address, and a question with multiple choice options: Are you searching for a senior living community for yourself or a loved one? (The multiple choices would be: Myself, Loved One, Neither.) 

Notice that we don’t recommend asking for phone numbers for first-time downloaders. This is deliberate. Most people do NOT want a phone call the minute they submit a form. (Something that happens WAY too often in our industry.)

Implement progressive fields on forms for subsequent downloads. 

Often, website visitors who are in the education stage will download multiple pieces of content at once or over a period of time, like days or weeks. When you use progressive fields in forms, you can “program” the form to serve up new fields to the person—meaning required info they haven’t filled out before. So each time they download a piece of content, they will have a new item or two to fill out on the form. 

Why use progressive fields on forms? It’s less overwhelming for people to provide additional information over time rather than up front on one lengthy form (or worse: over and over again on various forms). You can ask different questions with each form they fill out—and the answers will provide further insight into who they are, where they are in their buying journey, and whether they are a marketing-qualified lead or sales-qualified lead for your community

Because let’s face it: Not everyone who fills out a form on your site is going to be a good senior living lead.

If you do ask for phone numbers, don’t bombard people with phone calls the minute they submit a form. 

We know that we’ll probably lose the “don’t ask for phone numbers” debate. OK. But if you ask for phone numbers, make sure your sales team or call center doesn’t dial up people the minute they download a piece of content. The sales team should have a strategy for identifying who might be a suitable candidate for a phone call (this involves segmenting leads into two main buckets: marketing-qualified vs. sales-qualified).

Enter people into appropriate lead nurturing email campaigns.

We’re big fans of thoughtful email lead nurturing. The keyword, however, is thoughtful. You need to have a sound senior living marketing strategy behind each lead nurturing campaign you create. 

Put some thought into the various workflows and journeys people are on along with the type of content people are downloading. All of those things will help determine the various email lead nurturing campaigns you need to create—and how you’ll decide which prospects should go where. (This is why strong marketing automation software, like HubSpot, is critical.)

Don’t overwhelm people with multiple email workflows, either. This goes hand-in-hand with the above. If someone downloads a bunch of stuff at once (a common experience), then you need an overarching strategy for the logic behind the workflows. This can all be done within your marketing automation, but humans still need to think through and supply the logic to the software.

So, for example, if someone downloads your pricing comparison guide, your floorplans, and the seasonal dining room menu—and each download has its own email lead nurturing workflow—you shouldn’t allow that person to be in all THREE email workflows at the same time. Talk about overwhelming! 

Instead, there should be logic for these situations. Perhaps the pricing guide trumps the other items since it suggests that someone is comparing prices/options between your community and your competitors. So the lead nurturing workflow for the pricing guide might be the most sensible one for the person to enter. You’d have the automation logic set up in such a way that it funnels the person into that workflow and not the other ones. 

Need help thinking through your senior living marketing strategy?

We love working with senior living communities and helping them develop buyer personas and smart content strategies. Get in touch and let’s chat about your content marketing needs.