Marketing Automation for Senior Living HubSpot vs ActiveDEMAND

Marketing Automation for Senior Living: HubSpot vs. ActiveDEMAND / Enquire MAP

To remain competitive in an increasingly crowded senior living landscape, you must rely on marketing automation platforms to handle numerous repetitive tasks and report reliable results. Many options exist, but two of the most popular are HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND / Enquire MAP.

At Senior Living SMART, we work with both, so we thought sharing our insights would be a good idea.

Below, we discuss the following:

  • What is marketing automation for senior living?
  • What is HubSpot? What is ActiveDEMAND / Enquire MAP?
  • How are HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND / Enquire MAP similar? How are they different?
  • Does the CRM you use matter?
  • What should you keep in mind when choosing between HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND / Enquire MAP?
  • What if you need help selecting and setting up marketing automation for senior living?

What is marketing automation for senior living?

Simply put, marketing automation delivers the right message to the right prospect at the right time. As its name suggests, marketing automation does everything automatically in the background, eliminating the need for someone on your marketing or sales staff to perform repetitive tasks, like segmenting leads and sending emails.

For example, suppose an adult daughter visits your website, downloads a free guide on financing senior living, and indicates she has a parent who must move within 90 days. In that case, the marketing automation can automatically enter her into an appropriate workflow of follow-up emails. On the other hand, an adult son who downloads the same guide but whose parents don’t have a timeline in mind will enter a different lead nurturing workflow—all thanks to marketing automation.

Again, the emails are automatically delivered. There’s no need for a marketing person to manually send them (or to remember who should get which emails).

Good marketing automation software will allow you to:

  • Score and segment leads according to the parameters you set.
  • Manage your marketing leads database.
  • Build personal email campaigns to support your lead nurturing efforts.
  • See easy-to-interpret analytics on all related activities.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What is HubSpot? What is ActiveDEMAND / Enquire MAP?

HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND are both marketing automation platforms.

  • HubSpot is “a CRM platform with all the software, integrations, and resources you need to connect marketing, sales, content management, and customer service.”
  • ActiveDEMAND / Enquire MAP “enables marketers, agencies and businesses to supercharge their marketing efforts through streamlined campaign management, campaign recipes and attribution reporting while integrating with many other business, sales and marketing applications.”

How are HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND / Enquire MAP similar? How are they different?

When it comes to global functionality, both products are similar.

Jeremiah Rankin, our director of client technology at Senior Living SMART, uses the analogy of car shopping when comparing HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND/Enquire MAP. All cars will get you from point A to point B. All cars can be driven on the highway. And all cars go through rigorous safety testing. But cars will have different features—maybe one has a sunroof while another boasts a roomy interior. As the consumer, you have to decide which features matter to you. Armed with this knowledge, you can test-drive different options.

Rankin says you can apply this analogy to marketing automation platforms. The core functionality of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time is consistent across ActiveDEMAND/Enquire MAP. Even their price points are comparable, according to Rankin.

To determine which marketing automation platform to choose, senior living marketers must dig deep and consider their pain points and what they’re trying to accomplish with marketing automation. Another item to consider is your senior living CRM (more on this in a moment) and how (and if) it will integrate with HubSpot or ActiveDEMAND/Enquire MAP.

From there, it’s a matter of test-driving the two systems and seeing how different features solve your pain points and help you achieve your goals. Rankin says this is where collaborating with Senior Living SMART can help because he and his team can demo the products with you, show you how things work, and ask you questions you might not have thought of—but that will help guide your decision.

He says, “This involves taking that step back and just looking at things holistically in terms of creating that priority list and having that conversation: What are the tools you’re looking to use? What’s most important to you? Is it email development? Is it list segmentation? Is it workflows and lead nurturing? What integrations do you need? Once we understand their priorities, we can walk them through the platforms and see which one makes the most sense.”

Rankin points out that Senior Living SMART remains agnostic regarding the platforms. HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND/Enquire MAP are excellent choices, and the SLS team has experience in both.

Does the senior living CRM you use matter?

The short answer is yes. Rankin says both HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND/Enquire MAP. integrate with popular senior living CRMs.

“We love the WelcomeHome CRM integration as it’s a bilateral integration, and that can happen whether it’s with ActiveDEMAND/Enquire MAP or whether it’s with HubSpot,” Rankin says. “Some clients only need integrations to go one way, but usually, that bilateral integration is important for data to feed between your marketing automation system and your CRM system.”

Rankin notes that Senior Living SMART has a highly collaborative relationship with WelcomeHome and that the two have worked closely on the HubSpot integration in particular. “We’ve had a lot of success with this bilateral integration—it’s seamless at this point.”

HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND/Enquire MAP also integrate well with Yardi, a popular property management software in the senior living space. However, Rankin offers this caveat: “Although the Yardi integration with HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND can be bilateral (with move-in data flowing back into your marketing automation software), it often depends on what version of Yardi you’re on. You’ll want to inquire about this with your Yardi customer success manager.”

ActiveDEMAND also has a solid relationship with Aline (formerly Enquire, Glennis, and Sherpa CRM). Rankin explains, “If Aline is your CRM, that strong relationship it has with ActiveDEMAND/Enquire MAP is something to consider when looking at marketing automation.”

What should you keep in mind when choosing between HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND/Enquire MAP?

Remember, global functionality is similar across both products. The differences are in certain features and customizations. As you test-drive both, review your specific needs in each area below and whether you feel the product meets those needs:

    • Automation
    • Email marketing
    • Forms
    • Landing pages
    • Social media
    • Appointment scheduling
    • Integrations
    • Reporting
    • Support
    • User-friendly layouts

When reviewing the above, ask about any limits related to the product tier you’re considering. (For example, differences exist between HubSpot Pro and HubSpot Enterprise.)

Both marketing automation solutions are solid options, so your decision will come down to personal preference and which one you feel best meets your needs.

What if you need help selecting and deploying marketing automation for senior living?

Marketing automation for senior living has gone from “nice to have” to “must have.” You can no longer put your head in the sand and hope the marketing automation problem will disappear.

Instead, reach out to us. We’ve held many marketers’ hands as they’ve gotten their communities up and running on marketing automation. (Check out one customer’s story.) We’ll also train you and your staff. Once you’re acclimated, you can manage things or have us continue managing and overseeing things—it’s up to you and your budget.

But the first step is getting in touch. Let’s have a conversation about marketing automation for your community.

Senior Living SEO Companies

Senior Living SEO Companies: Do You Need One?

Some readers might think they need a senior living SEO company in addition to (or instead of) a marketing agency. However, other readers might think having a separate SEO company is redundant if you already work with a marketing agency.

Which is it? Who’s right?

Like so many things in life, it depends.

Below, we get into the nitty-gritty by answering the following questions:

  • What is a senior living SEO company?
  • Do senior living SEO companies typically offer marketing services?
  • Why would a community opt to work with a senior living SEO company instead of (or in addition to) a marketing agency?
  • Are there drawbacks to using two agencies—an SEO company and a marketing firm?
  • What are the hallmarks of a good senior living SEO company?
  • Do you need an SEO company if you work with Senior Living SMART?
  • Will Senior Living SMART work with your community if you already have an SEO company?

What is a senior living SEO company?

First, a refresher: SEO stands for search engine optimization. In a nutshell, SEO involves improving your website so that it has greater visibility in Google search results.

You can improve your site for search in various ways, like making sure it renders well across mobile devices and that it’s full of helpful content built around relevant keywords.

As its name suggests, an SEO company delivers services to help your website pages rank higher in Google. A senior living SEO company focuses on a specific niche: senior living.

Do senior living SEO companies typically offer marketing services?

While exceptions certainly exist, any business labeling itself as an SEO company likely focuses only on SEO-related services. Otherwise, it would describe itself as something else, like a marketing or web development agency.

Remember, SEO is a sub-set of digital marketing services. For example, one of the many services we offer at Senior Living SMART is SEO—and we cover it from every conceivable angle: keyword research, optimized content, technical SEO, and on-page/off-page SEO.

Why would a community opt to work with a senior living SEO company instead of (or in addition to) a marketing agency?

Not all marketing agencies offer SEO services. And even those that do might have different levels of expertise. For example, a marketing firm with deep content marketing expertise might be adept at optimizing content for search, but it might come up short regarding technical SEO. In this case, it might make sense for the community to contract a senior living SEO company for all things SEO.

Are there drawbacks to using two agencies—an SEO company and a marketing firm?

The most significant drawbacks of working with an SEO and marketing agency are silo mentalities and overlapping costs.

  • Silo mentalities. It’s easy for silo mentalities to set in if the two agencies don’t communicate or share insights. If you work with two firms, you’ll want to encourage collaboration.
  • Overlapping costs. When you work with one agency that handles everything in-house, you’ll get a comprehensive services package instead of paying two separate fees that are bound to have some overlap.

What are the hallmarks of a good senior living SEO company?

Anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves an SEO company. Unfortunately, plenty of shady characters occupy the space. Always conduct due diligence before signing contracts.

Things to look for in a quality SEO company:

  • Great reviews on Google and positive testimonials from real customers
  • A professional website that highlights team members’ credentials
  • Relevant certifications (such as Google Analytics)
  • Case studies that demonstrate expertise
  • A robust client portfolio (ideally with clients in the senior living space)
  • The ability to provide a clear strategy for achieving your goals, including a local search strategy
  • A clear policy regarding AI (like ChatGPT) and SEO

PRO TIP: Avoid anyone who guarantees high rankings.

Do you need an SEO company if you work with Senior Living SMART?

For over a decade, we’ve been assembling a talented team of SEO specialists—from writers to technical gurus to everything in between. So the short answer is no—you don’t need a separate SEO company if you work with us. We’re truly a one-stop senior living marketing agency.

Will Senior Living SMART work with your community if you already have an SEO company?

Good marketing agencies are flexible. We understand that communities might contact us for marketing help after signing with an SEO company. We’re happy to collaborate with your vendors (and not just SEO specialists, either). We work hard to make sure we’re not duplicating efforts because we don’t want you to pay for things twice.

Get in touch and let’s chat about your senior living SEO and marketing needs.

8 Signs You Should Fire Your Senior Living Marketing Agency

8 Signs You Should Fire Your Senior Living Marketing Agency

Anyone can hang out a virtual shingle and call themselves a senior living marketing agency. In reality, not all agencies are created equal.

The worst part? Sometimes you won’t recognize the warning signs simply because you don’t know what you don’t know.

Let’s remedy this, OK?

Below, we discuss eight signs that your senior living marketing agency isn’t passing muster. Any one issue alone is worth having a conversation with the agency. Two or more signs, and you’ll likely want to begin looking elsewhere for marketing support… Here are the eight indicators:

  • Your account team has never discussed its strategy with you.
  • You don’t have visibility into your marketing.
  • You don’t receive comprehensive reporting that you understand.
  • You’re spending money on things you don’t understand (like PPC).
  • Your agency treats marketing as a “set it and forget it” task.
  • You only occasionally hear from your account team.
  • You don’t own your marketing assets.
  • Your account team keeps changing.

1. Your account team has never discussed its strategy with you.

Not all senior living marketing agencies take a strategic approach to marketing, which is a huge red flag. A sound strategy drives successful marketing, period. Too often, agencies will apply a one-size-fits-all template to your marketing.

How can you recognize when this happens? The “plan” will often sound like a pre-set formula: four blog posts a month, three Facebook posts a week, one Google Ads campaign, and one new ebook a quarter.

On the surface, the plan might sound reasonable. And yet, it’s the equivalent of throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Your strategy should always dictate the campaigns, tactics, and content that you create. Maybe your strategy doesn’t require four blogs per month because you already have an excellent library of blog content. But maybe you do need better landing pages for your pay-per-click ads to increase your ROI.

We’re riffing here, but you likely get the gist. Beware of an agency that slaps together a 90-day plan within hours of a kick-off call with you. This indicates a formula or templated approach rather than a thoughtful strategy.

A thoughtful marketing strategy requires a careful analysis of your online presence, goals, competitors, and many other things before the account team can devise a plan to maximize your marketing budget while achieving your objectives.

2. You don’t have visibility into your marketing.

Marketing should never feel like this loosey-goosey intangible thing that’s impossible to quantify. Effective marketing produces measurable results like marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), sales-qualified leads (SQLs), tours, and move-ins.

It’s possible your marketing team assumes you understand all the various dashboards and charts in your marketing automation and CRM platforms. That’s an unfair assumption—and laziness on the account team’s part.

Yes, it’s good for you to dig into dashboards and review analytics, but it’s the marketing agency’s job to ensure you’re interpreting data correctly and you understand the changes the agency is making based on the data. And they should be making adjustments and tweaks.

3. You don’t receive comprehensive reporting that you understand.

This point aligns with the previous one. In a nutshell, good agencies avoid “dashboard dazzle,” where they deliver impressive-looking marketing dashboards filled with charts, graphs, and senior living marketing analytics that you can’t make heads or tails of—no matter how hard you try.

Your team should deliver regular updates and reports, but they should do so in a way that’s easy for you and other key stakeholders to understand. If you can’t quickly recap what the latest reporting or dashboard is telling you, consider that a troubling sign.

Request that they deliver more user-friendly reports. If they can’t or don’t, that is a sign you should look elsewhere.

4. You’re spending money on things you don’t understand (like PPC).

A good agency will walk you through complex marketing topics and make sure you understand what’s happening—and why. A good agency can also easily justify why it’s taking specific actions (or requesting a certain budget) so that you don’t have to wonder where your marketing dollars are going.

For example, you don’t need to become a PPC expert, but you should understand the basics—particularly the expected and actual ROI. This is true for all marketing campaigns, especially ones that might be out of your wheelhouse, like Google Ad campaigns.

5. Your agency treats marketing as a “set it and forget it” task.

Marketing is dynamic. What worked last quarter might not work next quarter. The social media platform that was hot might be cooling down. Bidding costs for paid ads will fluctuate and affect your budget. Situations out of your control (like a pandemic or natural disaster) might mean you need to rethink your marketing quickly.

Our point: Your senior living marketing agency must be able to pivot, which isn’t easy if the agency is beholden to a formula or is used to setting and forgetting things (like PPC campaigns).

6. You only occasionally hear from your account team (and never with fresh marketing strategies or ideas).

How often do you hear from your account team? Do they check in with you regularly? Or do they only respond when you email or call them?

The best senior living marketing agencies take a proactive rather than reactive approach. The agency stays on top of what’s working (and what isn’t) for your community, and they come to you with recommendations. They also regularly bring you creative marketing ideas and fresh strategies—and not simply when they’re trying to renew their contract.

7. You don’t own your marketing assets.

Your senior living marketing agency should never hold your marketing assets hostage. Your community should own its website, hosting, relevant Google accounts (like Google Business Profile, Google AdSense, Google Analytics), directory listings, collateral materials, etc.

Reputable agencies clarify in their contracts that you retain ownership of everything developed and created during your engagement.

Yes, members of your account team will need access to specific software (like Google products), but these products make it easy to add marketing partners (for this very reason—so that you don’t lose ownership of your assets).

8. Your account team keeps changing.

It’s normal for an occasional change on your account, but if your account team experiences regular turnover, consider it a warning sign.

Your marketing agency’s team is one that you can rely on. Constantly getting new team members up to speed is exhausting and disruptive. Plus, this merry-go-round behavior likely indicates a more significant problem within the agency.

Time to make a switch? Contact our senior living marketing agency.

For over a decade, we’ve helped senior living communities of all sizes rock their marketing. You won’t have to worry about any of the above issues when you choose us. Contact us today and experience the difference.

Assisted Living PPC Management

Assisted Living PPC Management: 3 Reasons You Should Work with an Agency

You might think, “Assisted living PPC management—how hard can it be?” Below, we provide three compelling reasons why working with an experienced agency like Senior Living SMART makes sense for all your paid advertising needs.

1. We do ppc management every day.

You could try managing your assisted living PPC campaigns on your own. The challenge, of course, is that it’s not the only thing you’re managing, right? If you’re part of your community’s marketing or sales team, you’re already juggling many other things. So PPC would be one more item added to your endless to-do list.

At Senior Living SMART, we have a team devoted to nothing but paid advertising campaigns. That’s the only work they do, day in and day out. This allows them to dive deep into each client’s needs, maximize budgets, and optimize results.

At SLS, our team focuses on all the information that Google is telling them so they can deliver the best results for clients. He and his team also stay current with all things Google and PPC.

This means we can come in with solid recommendations and ideas that are otherwise not considered by people who may be unfamiliar with Google Ads or people who are trying to do it themselves or—in the worst case scenario—people who are doing the “set it and forget it” method of just creating an account, paying for clicks, and moving onto their next checklist item instead of checking ad results.

2. We monitor PPC campaigns every day.

Speaking of setting and forgetting it: That’s NOT a good strategy for assisted living PPC management.

Why? Because pay-per-click advertising is dynamic—and even more so now in the era of Google’s new Search Generative Experience.

If you set up your PPC ads, enter your credit card, and “forget it,” you won’t get insights into . . .

  • Which keywords are bringing in traffic that converts into quality leads
  • Which keywords are bringing in low-quality leads (Hint: You can remove these
    “bad” keywords from your targeting)
  • What changes can you make to landing pages to boost conversions
  • Which leads ultimately become residents

This is because PPC (and Google Ads in particular) requires active maintenance in order to navigate changing market conditions. New competitors can enter your geography, others can leave, and sometimes things can seem to change for no good reason.

Regular, routine maintenance helps ensure a campaign has minimal issues throughout its life, assisting it in earning high-quality leads that make the most of a senior living company’s dollar.

3. We know how much PPC leads should cost.

You don’t have to spend the most to get meaningful results with PPC. When we work with senior living communities, we maximize your budget so you get the biggest bang for your advertising dollar. We’ll undoubtedly make recommendations—but we make these recommendations based on actual data. And we set expectations based on your available budget.

If you tell us you need ten quality leads a month from PPC campaigns with X budget, we might do research that reveals you don’t have enough budget to get those ten leads, but you do have enough to get seven. You can decide whether to increase your budget or work with your intended budget.

Our point: We base everything we recommend on actual data, not pie-in-the-sky dreams.

Here’s a recent example: A senior living community with 15 communities nationwide came to us and asked if we could review their PPC campaigns. They were new to PPC and wondering if they were paying too much per lead.

We audited their data and discovered they were paying thousands of dollars per individual lead, which is extraordinarily high for Google Ads. We came up with recommendations and took over the account.

Since then, we’ve increased their conversions by over a hundred and reduced their cost per lead by 20%.

Would you like to discuss outsourcing your assisted living PPC management?

Get in touch, and let’s discuss how our paid advertising team can help.

How We Saved Our Clients 26000

How We Saved Our Clients $26,000 in 10 Weeks by Focusing on Ad Fraud

In May 2023, the paid media team at Senior Living SMART first began to hear that a few clients were getting unqualified leads from Google Ads.

This isn’t completely unusual – any marketing strategy will always bring in unqualified leads to some extent, and marketing in the senior living industry is no exception.

But these complaints were different. They were specific. They were unsettling. They told us that something else was happening that we weren’t seeing in our regular work.

By the beginning of June, nearly every client who ran a paid ad campaign with SLS was telling us the same thing – they were getting a huge influx of bizarre leads who didn’t even come close to meeting qualification requirements.

In fact, these leads weren’t even close to what any client was targeting. But they all shared similar criteria. These leads:

  • Wanted senior housing for $300 per month
  • Spoke with accents of different languages
  • Sought employment (even though we weren’t running recruitment ads)
  • Used fake names
  • Didn’t respond to sales follow ups

Who were these leads? How did they find our clients? Most importantly, how were we going to make it stop?

The paid media team at SLS spent months trying to answer these questions, among others. It took over our daily work, and we spent meeting after meeting brainstorming, theory-crafting, implementing, and going back to the drawing board.

But one day, we got it, and once we did, it saved our clients $26,000 in 10 weeks.

Further Reading: “Deceptive ad practices frustrate providers by generating excessive, financially unqualified leads, firm says” – McKnights Senior Living

Here are the steps we took to figure it out.

How we saved our clients $26,000 in 10 weeks by focusing on ad fraud

Step 1. We identified the source of the problem

The first step to stopping any new problem is understanding it. For us, that meant we had to make sure that these leads were, in fact, coming from Google Ads.

We used two main tools for this: Google Ads and HubSpot.

The clients of ours who used HubSpot had access to its treasure drove of data on each and every lead that came through. This meant documenting the lead’s origin from paid search, the name of the search campaign, and the keyword they used to trigger the ads.

Having this data ready for hundreds of leads, we then drilled deeper into keywords, specifically.

Strangely, the keywords credited with earning these leads in HubSpot seemed normal: “assisted living near me,” “find senior living,” and so on. Prior to May, these keywords were powerful drivers of high-quality leads that had strong potential to become move-ins for our clients over time.

But things didn’t get really strange until we compared HubSpot’s data to Google Ads.

“Assisted living near me” and the other keywords in HubSpot didn’t line up with what Google Ads showed us. HubSpot might show that a keyword brought in eight leads last week, but Google Ads would show that it only earned two – or maybe even zero.

Because we use conversion tracking for all of our clients’ paid campaigns, this keyword data – and the number of conversions they drive – should be the same, but this wasn’t the case. In fact, it wasn’t even close.

Even so, it’s not common for Google and HubSpot to simply “not work,” so we double- and triple-checked all of our tracking parameters for both Google and HubSpot. They both passed perfectly.

Something was clearly wrong – and it wasn’t us. That’s a good-news-bad-news situation.

If it were an error we made, we could fix it, but it’d also be a terrible error on our part. Because it’s an external issue, we can’t fix it right away.

We knew our keyword data couldn’t point us in the right direction. Next, we turned to demographic information of the leads themselves.

They shared some elements in common that I already mentioned, the strangest of which were those who came from Google Ads campaigns but told clients they heard about them through TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram — none of which were currently in use for clients experiencing this problem. This was helpful information, nonetheless.

If these leads were credited to Google Ads but said they heard of a community from social media, it meant a person or robot was manually presenting information about a community in one of two ways:

  1. Copying and pasting the link directly from our ad
  2. Linking to a Google Search Partner that presented our ad

Why is that the case? Because those are the only ways that someone could hear about a community on a social platform and have their conversion attributed to paid search.

With that in mind, we formed two hypotheses:

First, someone could be using a robot to swipe our links and re-paste them on a social network. There’s no real reason to do this though, and there’s no well-documented case of ad fraud including copied links.

Second, it could be a search partner. Search partners are third-party companies that white-label Google’s search engine as their own product. Sometimes, that company may present the product as a search engine. Other times, it may appear like a series of buttons or ads.

More importantly, there was a financial incentive for search partners. If they earned clicks for Google Ads, they got a share of the revenue, so in theory, a search partner could create a website, white-label Google Search, use social media (or ads) to send people to their website, and get clicks on ads for a payout.

Is this the most reputable way to make a buck? No, but we couldn’t deny it – all of the pieces in this theory made sense.

We then chose to test this one first by mapping out the flow of how someone went from never hearing about our client to somehow thinking they offered $300 / month senior living.

Step 2. We sought to understand the flow of unqualified leads

Fortunately for us, this process didn’t take long to complete. Almost all of our clients use search campaigns since that’s statistically the strongest method of earning leads through paid media for senior living. One of the reasons this is so strong is the Search Partner Network.

Historically, we used this when our clients were going up against competitors with deep pockets that made competing on paid ads out of the question. The high rollers would buy up the real estate in Google Search, and our clients would pick up leads from the search partner network. They’d even hit lead goals using this strategy, so we made it a part of our strategy for most clients.

There’s a catch, though: Google doesn’t publish the names of its search partners. Unless they’re really big names – like Yahoo! — Google doesn’t tell you who shows your ads. They also don’t tell you how those search partners may get the traffic to engage with your ads.

For SLS, that meant we had to find a search partner in the wild. Fortunately, we knew exactly where to start.

We searched for keywords like “$300 senior living near me” several times, changing our location with VPNs and cookie-blocker options as we worked. Sure enough, we got a few hits every time we tried.

On every website we landed, we learned a few interesting things:

  • The website itself was not a search partner; it was a website serving Google display ads
  • The search partner took out display ads on the host website
  • When someone clicked the ad, they went to the search partner site
  • The search partner then used buttons to navigate users to a new set of ads
  • The new set of ads did not have anything to do with the original ad
  • The user would click an ad and end up on our clients’ websites, still searching for $300 / month senior living because of how the search partner presented their ads

This answered a few questions for us:

First, it proved that search partners were at least part of the problem – if not the entire problem.

Second, it showed how a lead could be credited as coming from paid search and a bizarre keyword to find one of our clients. It wasn’t their fault – they were clicking options that were presented to them.

Third, it explained the disconnect in the keyword data between HubSpot and Google Ads. They were tracking different clicks.

To make matters more complicated, the URL of each search partner had hardcoded UTM parameters in them. These UTM parameters are how Google and HubSpot sort data about where a lead originated. You’ll see them in a webpage’s URL after the domain information after a question mark: “UTM_source” is how they know someone came from paid search, “UTM_campaign” is how they knew the campaign name, etc.

Here’s an example of UTM parameters in action:

In this example, “” is the domain and “/landing-page” is the specific page. This is the required portion of the URL so that your browser knows where to take you. The rest of it – after the question mark – is exclusively used for tracking.

In this example, the “source” is Google Ads, the “medium” is paid search, the “campaign” is called Independent Living, and the “term” that drove traffic is independent living near me.

In Google Ads, this information is automatically plugged into a URL after someone clicks to assist in proper attribution. If those parameters change, then the URL sends false information to the CRM, and that causes a discrepancy in the reporting between a CRM and Google Ads.

Because the UTM parameters were being changed on the search partner site, HubSpot & Google Ads had a hard time parsing what went where.

Our clients were feeling confused. If we wanted to help them stop feeling that way, we knew we had to take our fight to the search partner network. But here’s the thing – we couldn’t just turn it off.

Search partner ads still accounted for 90%+ of some of our clients’ leads. They may have been unqualified, but some were also very qualified, so killing the Search Partner extension was out of the question. Instead, we needed a more surgical solution.

Step 3. We took preventative action

At this point, we had spent a few weeks working out exactly what was happening so we could address it. While it took some time, we were happy to have some level of a solution to roll out. Our first step was to make several Google Ads lists for negative keywords. Negative keywords are used to specify who you don’t want to see your ads, just as regular keywords are used to identify who should see your ads.

Our regular keyword suite includes terms like “senior living near me.” We then updated our negative keyword list with terms like “$300” so that we wouldn’t show for “$300 senior living near me.”

Even though these search network partners are using some sketchy tactics to earn clicks, they still have to abide by the rules that Google Ads sets out for them. One of those rules is that they must respect negative keywords. All of those keywords we identified at the start of this investigation went right onto our negative keyword list.

Then, we went back to the search partner websites and looked for other terms they allowed someone to click. If we found one, we added it to the negative keyword list. The only exception to this work was if we found a keyword that simply said “assisted living” or “independent living” or something to that effect. We didn’t want to block those terms because they still drove qualified traffic to clients – even if a few unqualified leads got through every now and again, but for all of the other strange ones – like “seniors independent living facilities usa 2023 best” – they went onto the list.

Then, we waited.

Step 4. We looked for results to validate our methods

It didn’t take long to see results. The very next day showed a drop in conversions across the board, but we don’t take action on a single day of data – it could be an anomaly, and the conditions that caused the drop could change the next day, but the results were consistent for the next several days.

To know whether our changes really worked as intended, we had to talk to our clients’ sales team. It can take weeks for a lead to go from their first conversion to their first conversation with a salesperson in the senior living industry, so we asked our clients to let us know if anything changed with sales team feedback. Most clients were quiet that first week. But by the second week, we started hearing some good results.

In fact, three weeks after we rolled out the changes, one client told us that we eliminated as much as 85% of the unqualified leads they were seeing a month earlier.

We didn’t want to rest on our laurels, so we reviewed the data 10 weeks after we implemented our changes. We learned definitively that we’re going in the right direction. Here’s what we found when we looked at our clients:

  • Cost: -$25,800
  • Impressions: -31.53%
  • Clicks: -16.71%
  • Click-Through Rate: +21.65%
  • Conversions: +8.80%
  • Conversion Rate: +30.63%
  • Cost per Lead: +1.98%

Here’s why we were excited:

First, the cost went down, and we were saving our clients money. This isn’t a great indicator to see long-term because you ideally want to spend all of your Google Ads budget every day, but for a sharp and sudden change, we were happy to see that costs decreased overall.

Next, impressions went down. Because we knew that we were blocking keywords that corresponded to low-quality leads, we wanted to see impressions decrease. This meant fewer people were seeing the ads, and that’s exactly what we set out to do.

Third, clicks decreased. This makes sense – we had fewer impressions, so we were most likely going to have fewer clicks as well.

Despite the fact that we had fewer clicks and impressions, the click-through rate – or the percentage of people who saw an ad and engaged with it – went up by 21.65%. We weren’t reaching as many people, but we were reaching a much more interested audience.

On top of that, overall conversion increased by 8.80%. This was the primary proof that we were engaging a better audience as we shifted the priority to lead quality. We were engaging fewer people, but they were so interested that our conversions actually increased!

We also found that the conversion rate went up by more than 30%, once again proving that we were engaging a highly qualified, highly interested audience even as we intentionally blocked people from seeing ads.

Finally, the cost per lead remained stable, increasing less than 2%.

Our solution worked, but there was still work to do.

Step 5. We continued the work of keeping on top of unqualified leads

We discovered pretty quickly that the search partners sending unqualified leads to our clients have a vested interest in continuing their practice. We now review our clients’ conversion sources (including keywords) on a daily basis. We started blocking new terms like “seniors living” and “senior aprs” (which is almost certainly an intentional misspelling of “senior apts.”) As we continue to block these unqualified leads, we continue to drive stronger results for clients.

Want to learn more about Google Ads and possible fraud?

Download our free guide! In this guide, we dive into the details about different types of fraud and the steps you can take to fight back.

The Non-Linear Customer Journey in Senior Living Marketing

The Non-Linear Customer Journey in Senior Living Marketing

When marketers discuss the prospect’s journey, they often talk about three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. In senior living, you must also consider three other stages: whether, where, and when.

Below, we dive deeper into each stage, including how they should influence your senior living marketing efforts.

The “whether” stage

In the “whether” stage, prospects are thinking about things like whether they should consider using home care instead of moving into a community, whether they can afford senior living, whether they have to sell their home before moving in, whether they can get the family on board, and so forth.

They’ll often turn to the internet to research these questions. If they land on your website and download a resource, like a ‘home care vs. assisted living’ guide, they might gain a general awareness of your community. But awareness isn’t their goal—at least, not yet. They’re looking for answers to questions.

How the “whether” stage should influence your senior living marketing efforts:

  • Develop a solid strategy for scoring and segmenting leads. Most people in this stage are not ready for a sales interaction. Instead, they should be entered into an appropriate long-term lead nurturing workflow.
  • Create a deep library of engaging content. The sales cycles for independent living and assisted living are long. Prospects might require upwards of thirty “touches.” The content you offer on touch #22 must be as engaging and helpful as the content you offer on touch #1.
  • Use marketing automation. Marketing automation sends the right message to the right person at the right time—an essential tool when dealing with sales cycles that last months or even years.

The “where” stage

The “where” stage coincides with the consideration stage. People in this stage are looking at senior living options. They’ve accepted—or come around to the idea, at least—that senior living is the best option for their situation.

They’re still researching—but now they’re doing it with a singular focus. Where is the best place for them to move into? They’ll have a much more critical eye when reviewing senior living websites. They’ll check out reviews, pay attention to what people say on social media, and click on targeted paid advertising.

How the “where” stage should influence your senior living marketing efforts:

  • Provide compelling specifics about life in your community. The “general” content got them to your website in the first place, like the ‘assisted living vs. home care’ guide we mentioned earlier. Now, they’re eager to learn the specifics about your community, including what makes it unique. Real photos of the spaces, residents and staff, plentiful videos, and transparent pricing are all excellent ways to show your community’s unique attributes.
  • Pay attention to your community’s reviews. People read reviews, full stop. Make sure you claim your profile on popular review sites for senior living. Keep your Google Business Profile updated as well. (Overwhelmed? Hint: We can manage all of this for you.)
  • Embrace paid digital advertising. Pay-per-click advertising can be highly effective for senior living communities—and cost-effective to boot since you only pay when someone clicks on the ad. In particular, remarketing (those ads that follow people around online after they visit your website) can help keep your community top of mind. Native advertising on social media can also be an effective way to encourage people to return to your site.
  • Invite people into your community. Ultimately, you want to get people off their computers and into your community so they can experience it first-hand. Inviting people for a complimentary lunch, a resident backyard BBQ, and other events is a great way to help people in the “where” stage envision themselves in your community.

The “when” stage

The “when” stage happens alongside the decision stage. Prospects have narrowed their choices, zeroed in on the “winner,” and are deciding when to move.

Sometimes, people are contemplating two contenders who are neck and neck—this is where your teams (marketing and sales) might need to develop other programs/collateral to help people get off the fence.

How the “when” stage should influence your senior living marketing and sales efforts:

  • Offer incentives. This is the best stage to offer an incentive to create urgency—to move sooner rather than later (and to choose your community over another).
  • Provide a visual. You already know who your competitors are in the area. Create a nicely designed comparison chart that highlights your community’s offerings. Your sales team could deliver it to the prospect with baked goods from the kitchen.

Bonus: Events for each stage

Check out our article about senior living marketing events for each stage. And, of course, if you need help scoring and segmenting leads—or implementing marketing automation—get in touch.

What the Best Senior Living Websites Do

What the Best Senior Living Websites Do

People who manage the best senior living websites don’t get hung up on overall website traffic. Instead, they make sure they have the right balance of first-time visitors vs. returning visitors.

Why? Keep on reading.

Below, we discuss the following:

  • Why returning visitors are crucial to the senior living sales cycle
  • What percentage of your traffic should be returning visits
  • Which areas to review (and fix) to improve returning visits
  • What to do if you need help

Why returning website visitors are crucial to the senior living sales cycle

People visiting your senior living website for the first time aren’t going to convert into move-ins on the spot. That’s not how the industry works—not even close.

The senior living sales cycle is LONG and can stretch from months to years. It can take anywhere between 20 and 30 touchpoints to get people through their journey from start to finish. That’s A LOT of touchpoints, each one needing to be just as engaging as the last.

Don’t get us wrong: We’re not trying to downplay the importance of initial website visits. You must get the right people to your website in the first place. But you also need to give them a reason to return repeatedly. If you spend time and money getting people to your site, but your site is simply a glorified brochure that people can consume in one sitting, you’ll have difficulty staying on their radar during their journey.

  • What the best senior living websites get right: The best sites deliver an engaging experience. “Engaging” can mean different things to different people. But straightforward navigation, accessibility, custom design, helpful information, and interactive options like live chat, quizzes/self-assessments, 3D tours of apartments, and videos can hold people’s interest while they’re on the site—and entice them to come back for more.

What percentage of your traffic should be returning visits

A healthy senior living website will have around 70 to 75 percent new visitors and 25 to 30 percent returning visitors.

How people return:

  • Some will return thanks to your nurturing efforts. They converted on something during their first visit, like a download, and you can nurture them through email marketing moving forward.
  • Some will go to your site directly. They’re familiar enough with your name—maybe you impressed them so much on your first visit, or all those remarketing ads have paid off and they know your brand. And they type it directly into their browser.
  • Some will return from your Google Business Profile, social media sites, or directory listings. So make sure your info is up-to-date on those places as well.

As mentioned earlier, many prospects require 20 to 30 touchpoints during their journey. If most of your traffic is new, you’re not giving people the necessary touchpoints. You’re NOT going to close someone on their first visit. But someone who’s visited your site multiple times and consumed the content along the way will be much easier to nudge into a tour or participation in some other sort of event, like a webinar.

  • What the best senior living websites get right: The best sites are a component of a robust marketing automation strategy that get leads to return to the site. At its simplest, marketing automation delivers the right message to the right person at the right time, and often that message is a piece of content on your website. If you attempted to do this manually, it would be a nightmare!

Which areas to review (and fix) to improve returning visits

Perform an overall website audit

A website audit will give you and your team an overview of what’s working and what’s not, especially from a technical standpoint. For example, it’s loading slowly, or it isn’t rendering well across mobile devices.

Once you have the audit results, you can tackle what to fix. Hint: We offer a thorough, cost-effective total online presence audit of your website. Your team can run with the results—or have us make the fixes.

Perform a content audit (website and emails)

Great content answers people’s questions, gives them important points to consider, and allows them to interact with your community online (for example, through interactive assessments or floor plans). You need a good mix of content types to keep people’s attention and inspire them to return. Think short articles, longer articles, guides, charts, videos, and visuals that tell stories.

Perform an audit of your Google Business Profile—and other review sites

Is your Google Business Profile fully optimized? Before saying yes, ensure you understand everything you can do with your Profile. Here are some tips for optimizing your Google Business Profile. Or ping us if you need help optimizing your GBP.

As for reviews, monitor, monitor, monitor! Reputation management is critical. No one is expecting a perfect 5-star record. A 3.8-star average record WILL be a problem, though. Another issue? Prospects want to see recent reviews, not ones from three years ago. Get in the habit of regularly soliciting reviews from happy residents and their families.

  • What the best senior living websites do: The best sites don’t operate in a silo. Sure, your site serves as the primary hub. But plenty of other sites—Google Business Profile in particular—can serve as secondary websites and encourage people to visit your site, provided those secondary sites are also engaging.

What to do if you need help?

We can help you get your website performing as it should be. Get in touch and let’s do this!

Senior Living PPC Why You Must Think Beyond Clicks Elder Woman searching on her mobile phone

Senior Living PPC: Why You Must Think Beyond Clicks

It’s easy to think that effective senior living PPC campaigns are all about clicks. But what happens after people click? You still need to convert people into leads, right? And you must have a way to nurture leads over the long term since the senior living sales cycle is long.

While clicks are important, the most effective senior living PPC campaigns also pay attention to landing page optimization and marketing automation.

Below, we discuss each from a paid advertising standpoint.

Effective senior living PPC campaigns need good landing pages

A landing page is a web page on your site designed for one specific purpose, like having someone fill out a form or book a tour. When it comes to senior living PPC, we want to keep the landing page for the ad as narrowly focused as possible.

For example, let’s say someone types in “assisted living near me” into Google, and your Google Ad pops up. In the ad copy, you include the starting rates per month and mention a free brochure. The person looking at the ad says, “Yep, that rate sounds good,” and is interested in getting more info. They click on the ad and end up on your landing page.

That landing page has to deliver on what the ad promised. In this case, the landing page should reinforce the starting rates and make it easy for someone to get the brochure.

This is often where many advertisers stumble. They spend so much time focusing on the keywords and ad strategy that they overlook the landing page, or it becomes an afterthought.

Here are some PPC landing page best practices:

Use a separate landing page for each PPC ad

This is necessary to measure conversions and ROI. If you have three ads pointing to the same landing page, you won’t know which ad + landing page combo produces the best conversions.

Optimize each landing page for mobile devices

How a landing page renders on a smartphone will differ from how it renders on a desktop. We find that most PPC website traffic for senior living is mobile now. If someone is on their phone and clicks on your ad but ends up on a landing page for a desktop, you’ll likely lose that person. That’s unfortunate because you just paid to have that person come to your site.

Put the most crucial info at the top of your landing page

If your ad promised a brochure, consider putting the form front and center at the top—make it easy for the person to get what they’re looking for. Reinforce what they’ll be getting, and the benefits of it, through your copy.

Use A/B testing to refine your landing pages

Making small changes to a landing page can improve conversion rates. For example, changing the color of a button from red to blue (or vice versa) or changing the words on the button from “Submit” to “Get the Brochure” might boost conversions. With A/B testing, you can try different strategies, and the data will reveal which version works best.

Effective senior living PPC campaigns need good marketing automation

Many businesses focus only on the conversion rate when it comes to paid advertising. For some businesses, this makes sense. Companies that sell consumer products, for example—sneakers, bikes, or makeup—are looking to move products quickly. If someone clicks on an ad and buys directly from that ad, that’s a great conversion since it’s an actual sale.

Senior living sales don’t work like that, though. People don’t click on an ad for senior living and convert into a resident on the spot. There’s a process for how selling works in senior living. Even someone with an urgent need—getting mom into memory care ASAP—still has to go through a process that might take days or weeks.

Our goal in senior living PPC is to convert people into leads with the understanding that leads can turn into move-ins over time.

While we still pay attention to conversion rates (for senior living PPC, a reasonable conversion rate is between eight and 15 percent), the work doesn’t end once you convert someone into a lead.

Senior living sales cycles have gotten longer for most levels of care (memory care is the exception). Independent living leads can take two or more years before moving in.

This means that most senior living leads need numerous touchpoints throughout their journeys—some as many as 20 or more. The only way to efficiently manage so many touchpoints among your leads is with robust marketing automation. Otherwise, you’ve wasted your ad budget if you don’t have a plan for nurturing those clicks that convert into leads.

To avoid this fate, do the following:

Score and segment leads appropriately

Not all leads are ready to buy. Some are—and those sales-qualified leads (SQLs) can be sent to the sales team for follow-up. But the not-ready-to-buy leads should be entered into lead nurturing campaigns.

Use marketing automation

When set up correctly, marketing automation sends the right message to the right prospect at the right time. This frees up your team to focus on other things, like reviewing analytics, making necessary tweaks, and doing other marketing tasks.

Monitor results

The word “automation” can sometimes fool people into thinking they can “set it and forget it.” Don’t fall into this trap. You must review analytics and let the data guide you on changes and how to improve.

Do you need help managing your senior living PPC?

At Senior Living SMART, our paid advertising team only works on paid advertising, so you’ll get a much bigger bang for your advertising dollars. Get in touch and let’s discuss your senior living PPC campaigns.

Senior Living Marketing Budgets Brainstorming around the table

Senior Living Marketing Budgets: 4 Key Steps

Budget season is here! As you develop your senior living marketing budget for 2024, make sure you’re asking the right questions and looking at the most relevant data.

Struggling with where to begin? This article will help.

Below, we discuss the following:

  • The four main steps to developing a senior living marketing budget
  • The biggest challenge marketers face when developing their budgets (and how to overcome it)
  • Budget presentation tips
  • What to do if you need help

The four main steps to developing your senior living marketing budget

Marketing isn’t a static exercise. So many things can affect what works and what doesn’t in any given year, many of which are beyond your control. (Pandemics, anyone?) As a result, marketers must be equal parts proactive and responsive, which isn’t easy.

This reality could leave even the most optimistic marketer or COO feeling hopeless when developing a marketing budget that makes sense.

The best way to do it is to let the data guide you.

But which “data” exactly?

We recommend following this four-step process:

  1. Consider your current budget for each channel (e.g., organic, paid, social, etc.). Remember, the best way to inform future strategy is through current performance.
  2. Review each channel’s results. And not just contacts and leads—you must know which channels are producing tours, deposits, and move-ins.
  3. Identify any gaps. What don’t you have in your marketing stack? For example, if you haven’t launched a new version of your website in three years, you probably need a new one or a significant refresh at the very least.
  4. From there, reallocate your budget accordingly. Put more dollars toward what’s delivering the most tours, deposits, and move-ins.

Four steps might sound too good to be true, but remember what marketing is all about. It’s supposed to bring in leads with the best probability of turning into sales. Or, in our industry jargon, senior living marketing should deliver the leads that have the best chance of turning into move-ins.

You use various marketing channels—and campaigns within those channels—to attract those leads. Some channels and campaigns inevitably work better than others (and this can and will change over time). Your job is to know what’s working best year-to-year and to put more of your marketing budget toward those channels and campaigns.

It’s not rocket science, but that doesn’t mean this four-step process doesn’t have challenges, which brings us to our next point.

The biggest challenge marketers face when developing a budget (and how to overcome it)

The most challenging part usually involves the collection and interpretation of data. You must have accurate data to make an informed decision.

The issue: Too often, a lack of bidirectional visibility exists between sales and marketing regarding data and analytics.

If your martech platform isn’t connected bilaterally to your senior living CRM, you’ll end up with two systems that are blind to each other. One system will house initial source attribution (and possibly prospect behavior before people convert, depending on how sophisticated your system is). But once the leads are handed over to the sales team, the marketing team will be out of the loop because all data collected moving forward will be housed within the CRM.

Suppose you’re struggling with these marketing vulnerabilities. In that case, the best thing you can do for yourself, your team, and your overall marketing efforts is to choose a CRM with a related marketing automation platform that’s capturing social, paid, organic, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), event registrations, and so forth. This centralized marketing portal should allow you to create custom dashboard reports that you can easily filter by location, portfolio, region, and investor group.

If you don’t have this ability and you’re simply rolling up everything into global numbers, you’ll lack the business intelligence to make informed decisions. You’ll also need to go to each channel individually and manually export data. For example, you’ll need to go into GA4 to get organic data. Then, you must go into your Google Ads account to get details about spend, clicks, conversion rates, and cost per lead. From there, you go into each social media platform—and so on and so on.

This can take a lot of time, depending on the number of channels you use, the number of campaigns you run in any given year, and the number of properties in your portfolio. You’re bound to miss critical data points somewhere along the way simply because there’s too much data for one person to reasonably monitor and manage on their own.

Another issue marketers can face is this: They might have a martech platform bilaterally connected to the CRM, but one or both systems haven’t been set up correctly. Hint: We can help you determine the systems and integrations you need. We can also help you set them up to capture the right data at the right time and produce dynamic custom dashboards with real-time insights.

Budget presentation tips

Keep it simple with PowerPoint. Create slides that walk stakeholders and decision-makers through the key points:

  • This was last year’s budget.
  • These are the channels we invested in.
  • Here’s the number of contacts, tours, and move-ins each channel generated.
  • Here’s the recommended budget for next year—and how we’ll allocate it. (You could break it down into what you’d do if you use the same budget numbers vs. what you’d do if you had more budget.)

Be prepared to justify your recommendations. The slides themselves can present the visuals.

Remember, at the end of the day, budget time is all about negotiations. If you go in with your must-haves vs. your nice-to-haves, you’ll know what you must fight for… and what you can walk away from if necessary.

Is budget season giving you a headache? Get in touch

If you want to discuss how to approach your senior living marketing budget, schedule a complimentary 30-minute session with our CEO, Debbie Howard. She’ll be happy to review your data and help interpret it.

3 Senior Living Marketing Analytics Every COO Should Know

3 Senior Living Marketing Analytics Every COO Should Know

As a senior living COO, you’ve been tasked with overseeing the daily operations of your communities. You work closely with leadership at all levels, capital partners, vendors and suppliers. You are responsible for developing and executing a clear operational plan that often includes a multi-year vision for your organization.

You likely have a keen financial intellect and a strong understanding of analytics in general. But you’re also acutely aware that you can’t always know what you don’t know, especially when it comes to digital marketing analytics.

Don’t worry—we got you!

3 senior living marketing analytics every COO should know

1. Google Analytics: Traffic and Traffic Sources

You don’t need to get into the weeds since you’re paying your marketing team to manage your Google Analytics account, but smart senior living COOs should still have a working knowledge of website traffic and traffic sources (and how not to get fooled by the “more is always better” trap).

Website traffic: focus on quality over quantity

It’s certainly good news to see website traffic increasing, provided the lead quality and conversions correspond accordingly.

Remember, the ultimate measure of quality website traffic is conversions, so if your site is bringing in a lot of traffic but it isn’t converting, this indicates a disconnect. Maybe the site isn’t optimized for the right search terms and is bringing in visitors who are not looking for senior living at all. Maybe the site doesn’t have compelling content that entices people to act. Or maybe the site performs so poorly technically that visitors leave before engaging in any way.

When we optimize our clients’ sites for the first time, we explain that it’s OK if overall traffic goes down as long as quality lead conversions increase. (Then, from there, we focus on attracting more of the right traffic. Which means traffic should trend up from that point.)

Traffic sources: which ones convert best?

As for traffic sources, you’ll want to know which sources—organic, paid, social, direct—yield the best leads since this will guide your budget. For example, why spend valuable dollars on a social media platform like TikTok if it doesn’t move the needle?

  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Asking your team to provide regular updates about website traffic, sources, and lead conversions will give you a solid snapshot of the site’s overall health and ability to generate quality leads.

2. Paid Advertising: Conversion Rate and Cost Per Lead

Paid advertising, especially Google Ads, can be an excellent way for senior living communities to compete—provided the ad strategy is sound.

We’ve written an article that takes a deep dive into Google Ads, but here are the highlights you need to know:

What’s a good conversion rate for senior living PPC ads?

A conversion rate for pay-per-click (PPC) ads is the percentage of people who convert after clicking your ad.

The definition of “convert” will vary depending on the advertiser. An e-commerce store running ads for sneakers will consider a sale to be a conversion. In senior living though, there’s a much longer sales cycle. We don’t expect someone to click on an ad and convert into a resident. Instead, our goal is to convert the person into a lead.

For example, if someone clicks on a senior living PPC ad, they might go to a landing page to download an educational guide in exchange for their name and email address. That’s the conversion point.

Senior living PPC conversion rates can vary depending on geographies and a community’s budget. Generally, we like to see conversion rates between 8 to 15%.

What are some benchmarks for costs per lead?

Reminder, we’re publishing this post in July 2023. Numbers will fluctuate.

Independent living

  • Low end: $18
  • Upper end: $45 to $50

Assisted living

  • Low end: $38 to $40.
  • High end: $80 to $100

Memory care

  • Low end: $100 to $120
  • High end: $400+

Memory care is the most expensive because it’s the most competitive. People searching for memory care are often ready to convert due to an urgent need.

  • KEY TAKEAWAY: When it comes to paid advertising, ask your paid ads team about conversion rates and lead costs to ensure they align with current benchmarks in senior living.

3. Customer Lifetime Value (aka Resident Lifetime Value)

The resident lifetime value is the revenue you can expect the average resident to generate throughout their stay.

You will have different resident lifetime values for different levels of care. For example, maybe your memory care resident stays 14 months on average, while the average resident in your CCRC community stays eight years (96 months).

The way you calculate the average resident lifetime value is straightforward: Length of stay (in months) multiplied by the monthly rent (plus the entrance fee, if applicable).

  • EXAMPLE: Going back to our memory care example above. Let’s say the monthly rent is $6,000. The resident lifetime value for MC, in this case, would be $84,000 (14 months x $6000/month).

Knowing the average length of stay is incredibly helpful for forecasting occupancy. And knowing the resident lifetime value can help predict your return on investment (ROI), potential lost revenue, and return on marketing investment (ROMI).

For example, let’s say the average length of stay for assisted living in one of your communities is 24 months. Now, let’s pretend you have six AL residents who move in the same month. In 24 months, you could face six vacancies on top of your “normal” vacancies.

Knowing this, you can reverse-engineer your marketing budget and marketing tactics in anticipation. For example, let’s say you know that you successfully convert AL leads from Google Ads. You could budget for an increase in paid advertising in the month or two before the six apartments are due to open up. And you can justify why when reporting to leadership/capital partners.

  • KEY TAKEAWAY: You can’t create accurate marketing budgets if you don’t have a handle on the lifetime value of a resident or the average length of stay. Remember, you must calculate these numbers for every level of care across every community in your portfolio.

Ready to look like a marketing rock star in front of the leadership team?

We love working with senior living COOs and making them look smart in front of leadership and capital partners. Let’s explore how we might work together.