portrait and close up of Two happy seniors buying a new house holding the key with his hand.

Tips for Better Senior Living Sales & Marketing Alignment Post-Deposit

The biggest myth in senior living sales and marketing is that marketing ends once someone signs on the dotted line and delivers their deposit.

Here’s the reality: Sales and marketing teams must remain aligned post-deposit. Why? Two reasons.

First, happy residents are your best form of advertisement. They write excellent, engaging reviews. They’re also much more likely to participate in your community’s friends/family referral program. (Family and friends referrals enjoy high conversion rates.) However, happy residents don’t just happen. Your community should have a process for ensuring a smooth, branded move-in experience so that all new residents are happy.

But this brings us to the second reason why sales and marketing teams must remain aligned post-deposit: You can’t count on sales counselors to consistently provide a smooth, branded move-in experience. That’s not in their wheelhouse. Plus, the sales counselors are already busy trying to close sales-qualified leads who haven’t reached the deposit point yet.

Luckily, this work doesn’t have to be a heavy lift for your marketing department thanks to the wonders of marketing automation. You can set up post-deposit nurturing campaigns to help create a red-carpet experience for each new resident every time. These campaigns would automatically trigger once the deposit is noted in the CRM.

So, what types of post-deposit nurturing campaigns should you develop? We recommend creating campaigns around these 3 topics:

    • Keeping track of all the paperwork
    • Relocation/moving tips
    • What residents can expect their first week/month

Campaign #1: Say hello to streamlined paperwork

We don’t have to tell you about all the paperwork involved with moving into your community. But the amount of paperwork might surprise the prospective resident—or the person handling it on their behalf, like an adult child.

Creating a post-deposit workflow that helps new residents keep track of and make sense of all the documents will reduce their stress and make it easier for them to access what they need when they need it.

Some tips to keep in mind:

    • If your community has an online resident portal, provide clear instructions on how to access and use it. Include not only written instructions, but also a video walk-through. Audit the instructions—review them yourself and ensure everything makes sense and works as expected. Get feedback from newer residents and their families about their experience with the portal.
    • Make sure you include the right people in this workflow. For example, if a couple is moving in, make sure they’re both included. If family members have been involved in the process, include them. (This goes for all the post-deposit nurturing campaigns, not just this one.)

Campaign #2: Countdown to move-in day

Moving is considered one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. The move can become exponentially harder when you add the emotions of leaving a home you’ve been in for decades.

One of the best post-deposit campaigns you can develop is a countdown to move-in day with practical, actionable steps people can follow. But don’t overwhelm people with too much information in each email.

Things to include:

Start with a welcome email. When we create this campaign for our clients, we immediately send an email from the executive director or CEO thanking the new resident for selecting the community and letting them know how excited they are to welcome them to the family.

    • Downsizing strategies
    • Tips for selling a home
    • What to donate, give to friends and family, sell, and take
    • How to digitize pictures
    • Packing checklists
    • Vetted vendors, like the moving companies you recommend
    • PRO TIP: Speaking of vetted vendors, if you REALLY want to help your new residents transition successfully into your community, connect them with a relocation specialist. Intrigued? Check out our podcast with Maureen Longoria, Co-Founder of LivNow Relocation, which assists older adults and their adult children during this emotionally charged transition.

Campaign #3: What to expect your first week/month

When you sign up for a free 30-day trial of something, you often receive a series of welcome emails that do just that—welcome you to the service, highlight valuable features, and share answers to FAQs.

Model your community’s “what you can expect” campaign accordingly. Send a welcome email that arrives in a new resident’s inbox within 24-48 hours of moving in.

Send follow-up emails over the next 30 days that share info about . . .

    • Dining services. How to order, hours, where to request special meals, etc.
    • Activities for the next month.
    • FAQs. Collect and answer the most common questions new residents have in this email. (Or link to a page on your site with all the answers.)
    • What to do if something’s amiss. Give people a direct line to someone who can help them ASAP if something isn’t right or to their liking. Complaints or minor irritations aren’t unusual during a move into senior living. The key is making sure the new resident feels heard AND that they feel the issue is being addressed.

Need help creating a post-deposit nurturing workflow?

This isn’t a typical workflow that senior living communities implement—or that most senior living marketing agencies offer their clients. But we do! Get in touch and let’s discuss how we can put these workflows to work for your community.

Marketing automation for senior living

Marketing Automation for Senior Living: Real Results

We spend a lot of time on the blog and with our clients discussing the value of marketing automation for senior living. But the proof is in the results. Below, we’re highlighting what two years’ worth of sound marketing strategy and automation achieved for Sinceri Senior Living, which is based out of Vancouver, Washington, and has over 70 communities across the U.S.

But first, let’s have a quick refresher on marketing automation.

Why does marketing automation for senior living matter?

Marketing automation enables you to send the right message to the right person at the right time. As its name suggests, everything happens automatically in the background. A website visitor’s actions enable marketing automation to glean the visitor’s intent and give them a lead score. The score helps determine the next steps.

For example, if someone downloads a guide about retirement planning and indicates they want to move to an independent living community within a couple of years, they would receive a different score than someone who requests a tour next week because their mom needs memory care ASAP.

The former would be considered a marketing-qualified lead (MQL). They’ve indicated intent and interest, but they’re not ready to buy now or any time soon. They’ll enter lead nurturing workflows designed to keep them engaged.

The latter is a sales-qualified lead (SQL). They’ve indicated sales readiness through their actions and the info provided through the tour request.

The marketing automation can keep track of everyone—who they are, their lead score, and what should happen next. The automation also frees up the marketing and sales team from mundane, repetitive processes—and the automation can quickly scale to accommodate multiple communities.

So, instead of keeping track of who’s who and when to send emails, the marketing team can focus on developing engaging content that attracts more qualified traffic to the website—think blog posts, videos, and social media content. Meanwhile, the sales team can focus on high-intent leads instead of wasting time working “all leads,” which has traditionally been the approach in senior living.

OK, so all of this might sound well and good in theory. But how does marketing automation work in practice? Is everything as seamless as we described above? And what about the results?

Below, we’re sharing two years’ worth of results for Sinceri Senior Living: August 2021 to August 2022, and August 2022 to August 2023. Sinceri is a prime example of how automation can enhance marketing efforts, streamline processes, and, most importantly, drive tangible results.

Year one: Building a solid foundation

Sinceri Marketing Numbers

The stories behind the numbers

Sinceri’s blog enjoyed an impressive 20,007 views, a crucial indicator of increasing online engagement. The real success, however, was evident in the conversion rates. The MQLs stood at 6,923, a significant portion of which (3,694) came from guide downloads and 3,229 from brochure downloads.

The SQLs were even more telling of the strategy’s effectiveness, with 5,160 conversions comprising 3,229 tours and 1,931 requests to speak with sales representatives. This successful nurturing of MQLs to SQLs was marked by 3,406 advancements, a testament to the effective combination of email nurturing and lead scoring.

The move-ins may be the most compelling evidence of the automation strategy’s success. Out of 343 total move-ins, 232 were attributed to first-touch SQLs and 111 to first-touch MQLs, translating into a remarkable $24,696,000 in revenue, considering the average resident lifetime value.

Year two: Refining strategy and focusing on quality


The stories behind the numbers

The second year (August 2022 to August 2023) showed an interesting trend. Although blog views decreased to 14,400, this wasn’t necessarily a setback. In fact, it highlighted a more targeted and quality-driven approach to traffic acquisition. The MQLs slightly increased to 6,995, indicating more efficient conversions despite lower traffic. The brochure downloads significantly rose to 5,206, showing a shift in user preference and content effectiveness.

The SQLs saw a notable increase to 7,773, underscoring the efficiency of the nurturing process. The number of move-ins also rose to 392, with a higher proportion of first-touch SQLs (251) than first-touch MQLs (141). This translated into a staggering $28,224,000 in revenue, further cementing the effectiveness of marketing automation in driving real financial outcomes.

The value of marketing automation for senior living operators

The above results demonstrate the value of marketing automation for senior living communities. The results include:

  • Enhanced engagement: Automation tools help the right leads receive the right messages at the right time, boosting engagement and conversions to the next steps.
  • Improved conversion rates: The transition from MQLs to SQLs and then to actual move-ins highlights how automation streamlines the lead nurturing process and positively impacts conversions.
  • Increased revenue: The substantial rise in revenue over two years highlights the direct financial benefits of adopting a well-strategized marketing automation system.

Sinceri Senior Living’s experience with marketing automation offers invaluable insights for other senior living communities. It demonstrates that with the correct setup and strategy, marketing automation isn’t simply a tool for efficiency; it’s a pathway to meaningful engagement, better conversions, and significant revenue growth.

Want to turbocharge your community’s marketing? Let’s talk!

We can help you implement marketing automation so that it delivers the ROI you crave. Get in touch and let’s talk about marketing automation.

Senior woman outdoors hiking with backpack.

What Is a Solo Ager & How Do You Market to Them?

You’ve likely been hearing the term “solo ager” more and more. This is yet another demographic you must keep in mind as you market your senior living communities, especially if your levels of care focus on active adult living and independent living.

But what is a solo ager, exactly? Do you need a completely new marketing playbook for them? This article aims to answer those and other relevant questions.

What is a solo ager?

Solo agers are adults in their mid-50s and older who are aging “solo” since they don’t have children or current life partners. Some solo agers might be widowed or divorced—or they never married in the first place. Others might not have any children—or the children they had are deceased. Whatever their circumstances, what solo agers have in common is navigating their senior years on their own.

A synonym for solo agers includes “kinless seniors.” (The New York Times published “Who Will Care for Kinless Seniors” in June 2023, which is worth the read.)

Here are some interesting stats about this demographic:

12% of adults over 50 are aging solo. [Source: AARP]

27% of American adults aged 60 and older are aging solo, and older adults in the U.S. are more likely to live alone than anywhere else in the world. [Source: Pew Research Center]

The percentage of one-person households more than tripled in the U.S. between 1940 and 2020, going from 7.7% to 27.6%. [Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

In 2019, nearly one million older Americans had no spouse, partner, children, or siblings (approximately 370,000 were women over 75). [Source: The New York Times]

Solo agers aren’t necessarily sad about going it alone

Don’t let any negative connotations with the word “solo” fool you. Many solo agers have chosen this path. For example, some older adults might end a long-term marriage later in life to pursue happiness elsewhere, like Al and Tipper Gore famously did. This is known as “gray divorce,” and it’s been on the rise.

And even if becoming a solo ager wasn’t intentional, that doesn’t mean solo agers are necessarily sad about their position (though some are). As AARP notes in a recent survey, even though solo agers might face challenges, most feel “optimistic about their quality of life as they age,” with only 12% of those surveyed saying they feel pessimistic.

Still, it’s also worth noting that the same AARP article revealed that solo agers haven’t planned for their future living arrangements, even though statistically 70% of people over 65 will need long-term care at some point.

This suggests an opportunity for senior living marketers. The question becomes how to effectively reach this demographic.

How is marketing to solo agers different from marketing to other demographics?

Senior living communities are used to interacting with adult children just as much as older adults. With solo agers, the concept of an adult child (or other family member) is no longer in play. This could make the sales process easier since you won’t have multiple influencers, just the solo ager. The challenge will be piquing the solo ager’s interest to begin with.

The AARP survey revealed that most solo agers haven’t given thought to what’s next: “Among those still living in their own home, the survey shows 95% have not made a reservation at a community for older adults, looked for a cheaper or easier place to live (82%), or modified their home to make it easier to live in as they age (78%).”

This suggests the solo ager sales cycle might be longer than for independent living, which is already long and requires at least 22 touch points.

Developing marketing campaigns for solo agers—starting with educating them on what senior living is and how they can finance it as a single person—is a smart first step communities can take now. You should also produce content about related issues that solo agers are researching and reading online. For example, many solo agers subscribe to AARP publications. Running ads or advertorials with AARP could be a way to begin planting the seed with solo agers that there’s a place for them in senior living.

  • PRO TIP: A great time to engage solo agers is around the holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. You could do a targeted campaign for solo agers in your area, inviting them to a festive event in your community. The fourth quarter is historically slow for senior living sales because potential residents want to spend one last holiday with their families. But most solo agers won’t have this objection. Your marketing and sales teams could create a compelling offer that entices solo agers to move in November or December.

Do you need a new marketing playbook for solo agers?

Good news! Your marketing playbook doesn’t need to change, but the messaging does. You’ll still want to use marketing automation and compelling content, just like you do for other demos. But you’ll need to begin with more education and help solo agers feel like there’s a true place for them in your community and that you’re not simply swapping the words “solo agers” into all of your existing messaging geared toward other personas, like older couples or people with adult children.

Instead, you must offer messaging that will resonate with this demo and reinforce their independence and desire for choice while empowering them to see the value in—and ultimately make the move to—senior living.

  • Develop a solo ager persona. This is an entirely new persona, one that will evolve as everyone begins to better understand the solo ager’s specific wants and needs.
  • Create educational content that will resonate with them. This persona needs educational content that demonstrates you understand who they are.
  • Follow solo-aging trends. Because this persona is so new, no one has it figured out. We’re in unchartered territory. (The name “solo ager” might change, too.) Set up relevant Google Alerts on solo aging and any synonyms that develop. Follow brands that successfully cater to this demo and study their messaging. Experiment with different messaging, see what works, and fine-tune from there.

From a broader organizational perspective, senior living communities might need to rethink what senior living looks like for this demo. (This is true for Boomers, too.) These are incredibly independent personas. Apartments with shared walls won’t be as attractive as stand-alone homes. This shift could impact your existing campus—or plans for new construction. But it’s not an unheard-of idea. (This senior living community in Massachusetts offers spacious two-bedroom standalone cottages with garages on its campus—and all the typical amenities, like dining and housekeeping.)

Bottom line: Start focusing on solo agers NOW

This is a long-term play. Solo agers in their mid-60s won’t be signing leases with your assisted living or independent living community tomorrow—or next year. However, if you prime this persona’s pump now, especially through education and by demonstrating you understand their unique needs, your community will stand a better chance of engaging with them when they are ready.

If you need help with any of this, work with us. We’ve created a bunch of solo aging-specific content, including a guide designed specifically for solo agers, that our clients can customize and use to target this demo. Reach out to learn more.

Animation of physic with crystal ball predicting the future

Senior Living Marketing Predictions for 2024

It’s that time of year when we ask our team members to gaze into their crystal balls and make senior living marketing predictions for 2024.

Here’s what everyone had to say…

Deborah Howard, CEO

“I think we’re going to see more movement towards emotionally resonant messaging. We’ve got to get away from “just the facts” messages of ’here’s another blog,’ ‘here’s another guide,’ or ‘here’s another ten reasons you should move into senior living.’

People buy emotionally, and then they support that decision intellectually. If all we’re doing is feeding prospects intellectual stuff, they’ll get stuck.

If senior living communities want to compete successfully in 2024 and beyond, they must include emotional messages in their content—and not just words, but in visuals, too.”

Andréa Catizone, President & COO

“Here are my 2024 marketing predictions for senior living:

  • Increased Emphasis on Personalization: Tailoring content and advertising to individual preferences and behaviors can enhance user experiences and drive better engagement. By the way, that’s something AI doesn’t always do well.
  • Rise of Video Content: Video continues to be an engaging channel. We hope to see more senior living communities do more to capture video reviews, “A Day in the Life,” etc.
  • Voice Search Optimization: My 93-year-old mother’s best friend is her Amazon Echo. Seniors are using their virtual assistants more than ever. Senior living providers, especially larger organizations with established web presences, should start thinking about optimizing for voice search in 2024 to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Privacy Concerns and Regulatory Compliance: Privacy policies and adherence to website regulatory requirements will be a top priority for website owners.
  • Personalized and Targeted Campaigns: Long gone are the days of “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to marketing campaigns. But too many communities still have that mindset. I think we’ll see a (mostly) complete shift away from that thinking. If we want to engage prospects, especially younger Boomers, we must engage them through highly personal content tailor-made for them.
  • Online Reviews and Reputation Management: Not only do good reviews improve your trust rating for the Google bots, but more and more prospects are looking at reviews as part of their research. Communities that understand this and spend time (and budget) maintaining their reputation will compete well in 2024.”

Paul Trusik, Director of Operational Technology

“Gazing into 2024, I expect to see more marketing integrations using AI features, whether it’s to aid in content generation for email marketing or landing page copy or to help sales teams quickly formulate replies to prospects from their respective CRMs. Many of our chat partners are also harnessing AI features to help arm their chatbots with enhanced sentiment alongside informational community scripts.

Also, I expect a rise in SMS (text) campaigns to complement what we’re already doing with email campaigns in our marketing automation platforms.

Some ten years ago, we patiently waited for adult children to start researching online as the senior living industry started ramping up digital marketing efforts. Now, we expect that same demographic will start getting just as comfortable communicating via text vs. email and phone.”

Doug Demaio, Director of Client Success

“My prediction is that senior living marketing becomes more integrated with each aspect of the community experience—and that the marketing itself becomes more experiential.

As the Me generation ages into senior living, they’re wanting more choices, more amenities, and more activities. Senior living providers who lean into this by making things like health, wellness, workout spaces, dining, and outdoor activities part of their marketing materials (making them marketing assets rather than liabilities) will be able to connect with more of these folks.

Marketing overall will also lean into digital tools that allow for a more experiential effect: Being there virtually for tours, chatting with leads in real-time on your website, hosting digital and in-person events — really bringing the lead into the community for an authentic experience, in person, or virtually.”

Jim Podewitz, Director of Content Strategy

“Generative AI burst onto the marketing scene in 2023. I see 2024 as a year of taking a closer look at the quality and accuracy of AI-generated content and reassessing AI’s place in content creation. Ultimately, I think we’ll see AI as a tool for creating better content more efficiently vs. a machine that generates greater volumes of vanilla content.

Another prediction: Prospects want to be contacted by senior living communities the way they contacted the community in the first place. The next generation of marketing automation will embrace a broader spectrum of channels to reach and nurture prospects and use the ones preferred by the prospect.”

Kerri-Anne Pendergast, Director of Social Marketing

“Here are a few things I predict for 2024: Both X and Threads will continue to decline while Instagram (Meta) increases. We’ve continuously seen users take part in image- or video-based scrolling versus something like Threads/X, which are text-based.

More social media platforms will hop on the AI train. Snapchat was an early adapter. Now, Meta is using celebs to help with their AI movement. X, LinkedIn, and Threads will likely follow suit, allowing you to write AI-generated posts.

Another prediction: Think more click-to-buys. TikTok Shop makes it easy for creators to make money on the platform by selling their products directly on their profiles, and users don’t have to leave the app to complete their purchases. Augmented reality also plays a role in this. You can see what something looks like on you, or in your house (furniture), or a 3D version of that item without being in person to make your purchase. (Editor’s note: Read Kerri-Anne’s take on TikTok for senior living.)

Senior living communities will use more video! At least, that’s my hope! 😊”

Christopher Zook, Director of Paid Media & Strategy

“By far the biggest event of the year will be the near-universal deprecation of cookie tracking. All major browsers, including Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, will prohibit cookie tracking to protect user privacy.

Because of this, the most significant transition next year—and probably the largest source of chaos in senior living digital marketing—will be the confusion that arises from not updating conversion tracking correctly. Incorrect installation means sudden drop-offs in reporting numbers, which will make marketing teams think an emergency is happening while sales teams continue to earn the same volume of leads.

Adapting to cookieless tracking is easy, particularly with Google Ads, and massively important as this giant shift takes place across the whole Internet.” (Editor’s note: If you’re a Senior Living SMART client, don’t worry: Our team is WAY ahead of the curve.)

Got questions? Need help with your senior living marketing next year? Get in touch.

We love helping communities increase occupancy through strategic and proven-to-work marketing initiatives. Reach out and let’s talk.

Senior Living Traditional Marketing in 2023 – My Favorite Things

Even in 2023, traditional marketing plays an important role in senior living sales by building brand awareness, nurturing prospects, educating to overcome objections and reducing friction during the move-in process. At Senior Living SMART, we deal with a lot of third-party vendors of traditional marketing services, and we have our favorites! Find out below who my favorites are, and why!

Here are some of my favorite things for senior living traditional marketing in 2023:


Fischer Group. Why? They build custom marketing portals to organize all your brand content including stationery, collaterals, signage, direct mail and branded templates to create event flyers, floor plans, price lists and dining programs – it’s your own company store. Plus, they offer personalized URL-based direct mail that tracks offline marketing to online engagement and takes qualified prospects to their own micro-sites to increase conversions.

Overcoming financial barriers

Second Act Financial. Why? You can’t rely on your sales teams to be proficient in explaining bridge loans, the VA Aid & Attendance benefit, long-term care insurance reimbursements, and life insurance conversions. You can offer financial concierge services at reasonable rates for prospects and at no cost to your communities. Shorten sales cycles by helping families access financial solutions.

Quicker move-ins and raving fans!

LivNow Relocation. Why? Waiting for a home to sell before moving into a senior living community delays the transition, and that is not good for the prospect, their family or the operator. Livnow takes care of everything to accelerate the timeline. Their nation-wide network of fully vetted real estate agents, moving companies, downsizing services, discard/donate services and cleanout services take the stress out of moving to your community. They deliver happy residents and families to your doorstep!

Digitize the move-In process

August Health. Why? Because they go way beyond offering a digital lease agreements. They create a collaborative family portal, creating a modern move-in experience where families can complete all necessary paperwork in just a few clicks. Sales teams spend more time selling and less time chasing signatures and making copies. Reduce move-in delays through a frictionless digital workflow, with clear steps for families and simple e-signatures. Delightful move-ins are the first step to positive reviews, testimonials and referrals.

Third party leads

Seniorly. Why? I know, I know – you don’t like lead aggregators like “you know who”. But families do like them so they will continue to play a role in lead generation. Seniorly offers greater transparency to prospects and does not force them into a conversion before providing information such as pricing. Prospects can choose to engage with an advisor when they are ready and can explore communities anonymously for as long as they want.

Call center

LeadGenie. Why? It’s so much more than a call center! Of course, they do inbound and outbound calls, and manage third-party and website leads. They also do pipeline work to reach out to older/ colder leads sitting in your CRM (any CRM), and they can fill in for vacant sales positions. Join the waiting list for February of 2024!

Mystery shopping

Primo Solutions. Why? They have completed over 150,000 mystery shops for senior living operators, making them the largest mystery shopping company in the industry. Services include phone and in-person shops, competitor and website shops. Sales training and coaching is available to improve sales skills – and there is a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I love guarantees!

Need help implementing any of the above?

Get in touch and let’s discuss your senior living traditional marketing needs for 2024—and beyond!

Senior Living Digital Marketing: Our Favorite Tech

One of the most interesting things about owning a senior living digital marketing agency is that we get to play with all the marketing technology our clients use to increase lead generation and conversions.

As a holiday gift to you, here are some of our favorites—and there are some lumps of coal at the end!

Senior Living Digital Marketing: Here Are a Few of Our Favorite Things

Website: WordPress. Why? Because your website is your most important marketing asset, you must own it, not rent it. You should be able to access simple updates without getting in line and taking a number. WordPress is affordable, accessible, and intuitive. Plus, integrations are a breeze.

CRM: WelcomeHome. Why? Oh, where do I start? WelcomeHome is a senior living CRM designed to help sales teams succeed thanks to intuitive navigation aligned with the prospect journey, straightforward customization, amazing customer service and training, stress-free data migration, robust reporting, and every integration you could possibly want. WelcomeHome wants to be the best CRM; it doesn’t force you to buy other proprietary add-ons. Instead, it allows for integration of choice.

Marketing Automation: HubSpot. Why? This all-in-one marketing suite is the simplest solution for measuring the ROI of every marketing channel. You can consolidate all your marketing channels in one place, including website performance, local search, organic search, Google Analytics, social media, content marketing, paid ads, email marketing, live chat, and prospect engagement tools. The reporting dashboards are elegant and allow users to create custom views by region or portfolio/ownership group.

  • PRO TIP: The technology solutions described above are your best foundation for successful senior living digital marketing. Combining these three tools will eliminate blind spots between marketing and sales.

Prospect Engagement Tool: Roobrik. Why? This is the best tool to help operators find early-stage prospects to fill the sales pipeline with future opportunities. Remember, your website has a significant audience of “not yet ready” prospects. They won’t click to call or schedule a tour, but they will engage in Roobrik’s educational surveys to help with their independent research. You’ll learn so much about who is visiting your website, including their motivation, objections, and qualifications, all of which is valuable marketing intelligence.

Chat: SiteStaff Chat. Why? Their recent updates combine what all our clients need: AI capabilities when acting as a self-serve chatbot combined with live human chat for more in-depth conversations. It’s HIPAA compliant, and all chat hosts are US-based and hired for empathy. Use the bot function on mobile and for after-hours inquiries. Offer the live human chat on desktops where typing is more intuitive.

Local Search Tool: BrightLocal. Why? This platform manages Google Business Profile updates, directory listings, and reviews. They also offer an extremely helpful local search grid that shows how every community ranks for local search results by keyword. You will know in five-mile increments which competitors are beating you in local search.

Senior Living Digital Marketing: Lumps of Coal to Avoid!

Any website content management system (CMS) that is proprietary. Don’t get fooled by the “easy button” of templated rental websites. If you don’t own your hosting license (as low as $250 a year), your website development vendor owns your content. They also own your analytics and your reporting (and they decide what to report on!). And good luck trying to move your website elsewhere.

Integrated CRMs that don’t allow integration of choice. Guess what? You should be able to choose your best-in-class suite of integrations, not be forced into a bundle. You should be able to choose your CRM, marketing automation platform, call tracking solution, EHR/clinical suite, and financial/billing system. If a CRM company only supports its own products, that means it’s more interested in generating revenue than helping you find the best solutions.

Need help implementing any of the above?

Get in touch and let’s discuss your senior living digital marketing needs for 2024—and beyond!

Senior couple sitting on sofa reviewing a websiteon computer

Senior Living Website Design: Does Yours Build Trust?

Your senior living website is your most important marketing asset, one that must build trust with prospects no matter where they are in their journey.

What’s the number one reason most people mistrust a website? Poor site design.

Luckily, your senior living website design is something within your control. A good design does cost money, but it’s a worthy investment.

Here’s the secret sauce to a senior living website that builds trust:

  • Designed with the user in mind: Think simple navigation, highly intuitive feel, and accessible.
  • Worthwhile content: Think engaging stories through words, visuals, and overall design and layout.
  • Technically sound: Think mobile-friendly, fast, and secure.

Below, we take a deeper dive into each bullet point.

Senior living websites that build trust are designed with the user in mind.

Think accessible.

You want to create a senior living website that’s aesthetically pleasing and accessible. Making a website accessible isn’t simply the right thing to do. For some businesses, it’s also required.

Private businesses and nonprofits with 15 or more employees are subject to the website compliance guidelines defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This act likely covers most—if not all—senior living communities.

At a minimum, you must consider things like . . .

  • Font size and color contrasts (e.g., can people distinguish what’s a link vs. regular text?)
  • Whether all photos have appropriate alt text
  • Whether the site is easy to navigate with adaptive technologies (like screen readers)

And that’s just the beginning.

Learn how we help our clients make accessible websites with UserWay.

Think custom.

We always urge our clients to avoid stock images. We can’t tell you how often we see the same images of older adults across different community websites.

You’ll have difficulty differentiating your site if you’re using the same canned images. Someone might even think they’re on your site because they recognize an image when, in reality, they’re on a competitor’s site that uses the same photos. Custom photography allows you to differentiate, enhance your brand, and better tell your community’s story.

You’ll also want to avoid website templates for various reasons, but the main one is it’s hard to create a custom experience from a template. (Here’s a longer list of why you should avoid templated websites.)

Think fresh.

Websites can grow stale and stagnant, especially in the senior living space. You’ll want to refresh your senior living website every two to three years (or even redesign it).

Senior living websites that build trust offer worthwhile content.

Content and design go hand-in-hand. You could have the best content in the world, but a poorly designed site will cause people to bounce before they fully experience it. On the flip side, a beautiful site will be nothing more than an empty shell if the content doesn’t pass muster.

So, let’s talk about content. The content on your senior living website should provide facts and connect with your audience’s emotions. The best way to accomplish the latter is through storytelling. Stories can attract, engage, and persuade your audience by showing them through words and visuals how your community can solve their problems and improve their lives.

To create compelling stories, you should follow some best practices. Use real photos and videos, a clear and conversational tone, emotional words and sensory details, and a simple, logical structure.

You can also use storytelling techniques to craft riveting narratives that resonate with your audience. Examples include the hero’s journey, the before-and-after, or the problem-solution.

With storytelling, you can create great content for your senior living website that sets it apart from the competition and helps convert anonymous traffic into tours.

Senior living websites that build trust are technically sound.

Your senior living website design must also consider technical aspects in addition to the overall look and feel. If you have one without the other, you won’t be able to deliver a great user experience.

Stuck on how to evaluate your site from a technical perspective? Begin by asking the following questions:

How speedy is your site?

Site speed is a crucial factor for user experience and SEO. A slow-loading site can frustrate your visitors and make them bounce. It can also affect your Google ranking, especially on mobile devices.

According to Think with Google, the probability of bounce increases by 32% as page load time goes from one second to three seconds. Get in the habit of checking your site speed and performance regularly. Optimize it by using tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix.

Here are some other ways to improve site speed:

  • Compressing and resizing your images
  • Minifying and combining your CSS and JavaScript files
  • Enabling caching and GZIP compression
  • Using a content delivery network (CDN)
  • Removing unnecessary plugins or scripts

How does your site render across mobile devices?

You must optimize your senior living website for mobile devices. A mobile-friendly site is important to Google and to prospects, many of whom will be viewing your site on something other than a desktop.

Note: An independent website audit will give you and your team an overview of what’s working and what’s not, especially from a technical standpoint, including how well the site renders across mobile devices.

How’s your site’s security and privacy?

Site security and privacy are essential for building trust and credibility with visitors, residents, and their families. A secure site can protect your data and users’ data from hackers, malware, and phishing.

Some of the ways to improve your site security and privacy are:

Some items are invisible to site visitors or aren’t front and center (for example, privacy policies are usually linked in the footer). Although subtle, all are essential trust signals. Consider the privacy policy. When someone wants to read your privacy policy, your site will build trust when it’s super easy to find it.

We can help you develop a senior living website design that builds trust.

Your website is your community’s online hub. You can’t successfully compete if it’s not in top shape. Let us help. Start with our Total Online Presence Audit. Or get in touch and let’s chat about your website’s specific needs.

Image of SEO for search engine optimization

Senior Living Search Engine Optimization: What to Expect in 2024

Much has happened in the last 12 months thanks to AI and its impact on search. Below, we’re offering a reality check regarding senior living search engine optimization (SEO) for 2024, including what to expect and why you don’t need to panic.

Search Generative Experience (SGE) isn’t likely to disrupt your organic search results any time soon.

Google unveiled its Search Generative Experience (SGE) back in May to much fanfare and speculation that the end of search (as we know it) was near. But to say things have fizzled since then would be an understatement.

Search Engine Journal reports the reduced frequency of SGE components in search results. It also cites possible reasons, including the problem with accuracy. So far, AI isn’t hugely reliable and is famous for its “hallucinations.” Another reason could be the public’s hesitation to trust AI.

Marketers would be remiss, however, to dismiss SGE altogether. SGE is still in its infancy, and Google has invested significantly in its development. (In November, Google announced it would roll out SGE worldwide.) Besides, the spirit of what SGE is trying to accomplish—providing robust conversational results on the search engine results page (SERP)—is something to embrace, not shy away from.

Search Engine Land says the best way to prepare for SGE is to continue using SEO best practices. This means producing compelling, authoritative content people can trust: “Generic answers and traditional search tactics aren’t enough anymore,” Search Engine Land reports. “The focus has moved towards creating content that offers a unique experience and reflects real human perspectives. Your content should also be personality-driven and thought-provoking to set it apart from the generic content most publishers are churning out, thanks to the proliferation of AI tools.”

You should also continue to optimize your site for long-tail keywords with the goal that SGE could link to your blog post or website page about that particular long-tail topic, which would help boost your site’s visibility.

Bottom line: Stay aware, but don’t panic.

Large-language models like ChatGPT shouldn’t disrupt your SEO or replace your content marketing strategy.

In the spring of 2023, people were braced for large-language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT to take over content marketing. Many writers were worried about losing their jobs.

But the death of content writers has been greatly exaggerated.

So, what happened?

Well, people got taken in by how fast ChatGPT was. However, upon closer inspection of ChatGPT’s output, it quickly became apparent that the content was merely adequate (at best).

Remember, the most effective content is authentic, reflects the brand voice, and has personality. So far, AI tools like ChatGPT (yes, even the paid version), Bing, and Bard can’t produce brand-rich content that doesn’t sound wooden and generic. At some point, AI will improve in these areas. But we’re not there yet.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore ChatGPT. Large-language models are suitable for many tasks, such as the following:

  • Brainstorming. Give the AI tool a headline and ask it to brainstorm five alternatives. Choose the one you like best and tweak it. Do the same for email subject lines, CTAs, and other short-form content.
  • Outlining. Need a 1,500-word blog post written on a specific topic? Share the details with the AI tool and ask it to create an outline. For some tools (like Bing), you can ask it to develop some copy points and sources. (But you must remember to triple-check any sources it provides. You’ll likely need to find your own.)
  • Reviewing. Give your blog post (or other content) to the AI tool and ask it to give you feedback. You’ll have your own on-demand editor.

Bottom line: Use AI to support your content marketing strategy, not replace it.

Local SEO will continue to play a pivotal role in 2024. (This shouldn’t be a surprise.)

Local SEO involves optimizing your website and online presence for a specific geographic area, such as a city, state, or region. Local SEO can help you improve your site’s ranking, visibility, and trustworthiness on search engines like Google, especially for users searching for senior living options near them.

Optimizing for local search is something you should already be doing, but if you haven’t focused on it, now is the time to step it up. Here’s how.

  • Create a robust Google Business Profile. Ensure you have the correct info (address, phone number, website URL, hours of operation) and use all the features (like photos).
  • Use location-based keywords on your site. Weave location-based keywords into your content and meta data, like title tags and meta descriptions.
  • Monitor and manage conversations about your brand, especially at the local level. In addition to paying attention to review sites, follow conversations in local online groups. For example, join your area’s local Facebook community group and participate in conversations around senior care, aging in place, and senior living.

Want to dive deeper into this topic? Check out our podcast where we discuss local search marketing.

What works for senior living SEO in 2024 will look a lot like what has always worked.

SEO best practices rarely change dramatically. We might need to tweak our approach whenever Google tweaks its algorithm or introduces initiatives like SGE, but the overall best practices will likely remain the same since the goal is to provide quality content that helps satisfy a person’s search query.

We’re talking about content that . . .

  • Speaks to people on a real, human level
  • Answers questions and solves problems
  • Is honest and authentic
  • Demonstrates expertise and authority
  • Uses keywords in a thoughtful way
  • Always considers humans first, search engines second

If you do the above regularly, you’re “doing” senior living SEO right.

Of course, if you need help overhauling your senior living search engine optimization, give us a shout.

We have a team of SEO specialists who can help your team navigate the ins and outs of search engine optimization for senior living. Get in touch and let’s chat.

Senior woman on couch with headphones creating a TikTok

Senior Living Social Media Marketing: Is It Time for TikTok?

Last month, we talked with Kerri-Anne Pendergast, our Director of Social Media Marketing, to discuss her approach when she works with our clients here at Senior Living SMART.

Today, we invited her back to address a burning question so many senior living communities have: Is it time to get on the TikTok bandwagon?

It’s an understandable question given how the platform exploded onto the scene in the U.S. in 2018 and rose to the be the most downloaded app in 2022, according to Statista. Further, TikTok boasted 755 million users in 2022 worldwide, 6.4% of which are 55 and older.

So, is TikTok worth all the hype? Like so many things in life, it depends. In this case, it depends on the audience you’re trying to reach. TikTok has made everything from beauty brands to authors “TikTok famous.” But what about senior living?

Let’s get Kerri-Anne’s take.

If you had to describe TikTok in a nutshell, what would you say?

TikTok is a fun social media platform that’s all about short-form videos. The audience is huge, but there are many niches, like BookTok, GamerTok, BusinessTok, etc.

What are some reasons why communities should consider TikTok?

It’s engaging, fun, and easy to go viral, thanks to TikTok’s algorithm (you don’t necessarily need to have a ton of followers or be a big brand to have a video take off).

Even better? This article from Insider discusses how participating in social media trends on TikTok might be good for seniors’ mental health. The same article points out that the reaction to TikToks featuring seniors has been overwhelmingly positive, too.

Over the last year or so, we’ve seen more senior living communities dipping their toes into TikTok. Here are some examples of popular TikToks featuring senior living residents.



Our halftime show > Rihanna’s halftime show 💃🪩🏈🤍🎶🎤 #seniorlivingcommunity #halftimeshow #SuperBowl #rihanna #fyp

♬ original sound – Brian Esperon


Pew Pew 😂😂❤️ #seniors #seniorliving #seniorcommunity #foryou #fypシ #nerf #rivergrove #nursinghome #residentsoftiktok #rehabfacility #activitiesdepartment #activitydirector #lovemyjob

♬ Mission Impossible Theme (Movie Trailer Mix) – Dominik Hauser


Our visit with @ourseniormoments was so much fun. What is your favorite age so far? | #age #aging #seniorliving #grandmasoftiktok #interview

♬ See You Again (Piano Arrangement) – Alexandre Pachabezian

Why should communities hold off on TikTok, at least for now?

The two main reasons to hold off on TikTok:

  • Your residents don’t want to participate. (Remember, you should always get explicit consent from the people appearing in your videos.)
  • You don’t have someone in the community to create the videos. (There’s not much your marketing company can do to help with this. You need boots on the ground.)

In your opinion, what needs to happen for a community to develop a successful TikTok presence?

The recipe for success isn’t much different than it is for other social media platforms, with one exception—as we mentioned, TikTok is all about video, particularly short-form video. Only recently has TikTok allowed videos up to 10 minutes in length. Before, it was all about quick, entertaining vids in under 60 seconds (and these short videos are still hugely popular).

But getting back to best practices. If you want to create a successful TikTok presence for your senior living community, you must:

  • Get consent and buy-in from residents appearing in your videos.
  • Post regularly.
  • Let the audience get to know your residents.
  • Engage with the audience, answer their questions, and respond to their comments.
  • Use trending music.
  • Keep up with other popular trends.
  • Have fun with it. (Because this WILL show in the final product.)

Do you think TikTok will become a must-have platform for senior living communities in the next five years?

In the near future, TikTok will continue to skew young. But that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain a presence for your senior living community, provided you have the interest and bandwidth.

TikTok will continue to be a great place for showing off your community’s lifestyle. But it won’t be the platform that helps you promote content or converts people into tours and move-ins. At least, not yet.

Facebook will likely remain the key social media platform for most senior living communities. Facebook is currently the number one social media platform in the U.S. and by a comfortable margin (74.2% of adults use it; the next platform after that is Instagram at 60.5%)

Of course, things will likely evolve over the next five to ten years, especially as younger Baby Boomers and Gen X near retirement age. So, like everything else, stay tuned.

If a senior living community had to focus on one or two social media platforms (TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook), which ones do you recommend?

Focus on Facebook. It’s very well-rounded and fits the demographics better.

And here’s what you need to remember: TikTok isn’t the only place to consume short-form content. When TikTok took off, the other platforms took note. So today, Facebook and Instagram have Reels, and YouTube recently launched YouTube Shorts (videos that are sixty seconds or less).

In other words, people now have more options for consuming short-form content—they don’t need to go to TikTok. If you’ve already built a strong presence on Facebook and YouTube, try adding short videos to those platforms before starting a TikTok account.

Pro tip: If you create one short video, you can republish it in multiple places for expanded reach.

Is there anything else you want to ensure we convey about TikTok for senior living?

If you use it, post fun videos regularly and let the audience get to know your residents. Engage with the audience. If they have questions, do a TikTok that answers those questions. Respond to comments. And most importantly, have fun with it.

Go in with reasonable expectations. Remember, you won’t use it to promote content or schedule tours. Instead, you’ll use it to capture your community’s unique vibe. Keep it fun, light, and engaging.

Need fresh eyes on your social media marketing strategy?

We can help! Get in touch, and let’s discuss social media.


PODCAST | How the Duct Tape Marketing System Helped Senior Living SMART Differentiate and Scale

Senior Living SMART CEO Debbie Howard was recently the guest of John Jantsch, Founder of Duct Tape Marketing, on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast.  

In the podcast episode titled, “Effective Ways To Differentiate And Scale Your Business”, Howard and Jantsch talked about one of the major challenges marketing agencies face: trying to find ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and how to successfully scale as they grow. 

As a major player in the senior living marketing and sales industry, Senior Living SMART has been able to achieve both differentiation and scaling with the help of the Duct Tape Marketing system, of which Senior Living SMART is a licensee.  

In an industry that is often considered to be “old school” in marketing itself – still relying on direct mail and print ads to promote senior living communities – Senior Living SMART has taken a hybrid approach of integrating the old ways with digital marketing. Explained Howard: “The fact that (senior living) is so relational and it’s so emotional means that you have to be on all channels all the time, but with different messages.” Over the past several years, Senior Living SMART has looked to Duct Tape Marketing to provide the digital marketing expertise it needed to build that hybrid approach to marketing.  

“The Duct Tape Marketing system has given us the runway and framework to grow, scale, and thrive in the senior living industry,” Howard shared with Jantsch. 

Listen to the full podcast here, or watch the episode on YouTube.