creating a winning senior living strategy

Creating a Winning Senior Living Marketing Strategy: 5 Tips

We spend a lot of time talking with our clients about marketing strategy—and why creating a winning strategy is an essential first step. But what does a “winning” senior living marketing strategy even mean, or look like? Keep reading . .  

1. Define what “winning” looks like at various points during the marketing and sales process.

In senior living, the ultimate conversion point is move-ins. Everyone wants to see more move-ins and better move-ins. But words like “more” and “better” are incredibly vague. Marketing and sales teams need specific (and realistic) numbers to aim for—and not just in terms of move-ins, either.  

Think of all the conversion points that can influence move-ins. For example, increasing quality website traffic by 10 percent next quarter is an example of a clearly defined goal that can influence move-ins. No, not right away, but eventually. 

The clearer your definition of winning is and the clearer your goals are, the easier it will be for marketing and sales teams to develop a strategy for achieving those goals—and for measuring progress.  

2. Develop a strong resident retention program.

If you have excellent move-in conversions, but lousy resident retention, this will affect your bottom line.  

Remember, it costs more to replace a resident than it does to attract a new one. When a disgruntled resident leaves, you lose precious acquisition (aka marketing) dollars. But other costs come into play, such as direct costs, operational costs, and social costs. (Hint: Make sure you understand the lifetime value of each resident.) 

Bottom line: A winning senior living marketing strategy today must include a specific strategy for retaining residents and keeping them happy. 

3. Don’t skimp on the essentials, like buyer persona development.

We understand that persona development can be hard for some people to appreciate (especially those in the C-suite who are monitoring spending). After all, the results don’t yield something truly tangible, like a piece of marketing collateral. Personas aren’t customer-facing, either.  

But here’s the thing: You can’t develop a winning senior living marketing strategy if you don’t understand who you’re marketing to. Taking the time to understand the ideal residents for your community will inform your overall strategy. Generic personas will produce a generic strategy—one that won’t deliver the ROI you’re looking for. Instead, invest in senior living persona development. 

4. Be prepared to pivot—a lot.

Long gone are the days when you could create a 12-month marketing strategy for the year ahead. Too many things are in flux now in our world, forcing marketing strategies to change on a dime. Case in point: the pandemic, the current rise in inflation, and even climate change.  

Marketing strategies—and those responsible for developing and managing them—must remain nimble. You need to adjust quickly as things change on the ground.  

For example, if you were managing any communities in Florida in September of 2022, you likely had to change your short-term campaigns quickly, thanks to Hurricane Ian. And if any of your properties were affected by Ian, well . . . obviously that’s what we call a game-changer—something that can upend a marketing strategy in a matter of hours. 

This leads us to our next point . . . 

5. Work with a marketing agency for additional expertise and ongoing support.

A good senior living marketing agency can serve as an extension of your own marketing team within your community. Plus, an agency has a 30,000-foot view. They can help pick up the slack, monitor analytics, and often save you money since everything can flow through them (ad buys, paid digital ads, writing, etc.). 

Interested in learning how we can help your team create a winning marketing strategy? 

Set up a complimentary brainstorming session with us and let’s talk through your goals and how we can help you achieve them.