If you’re wondering how to create great content for your senior living website—meaning content that truly sets it apart from the competition and helps convert anonymous traffic into tours—then keep on reading.
Last fall, at SMASH 2022, I attended a great session called Consumer Neuroscience Insights: How Your Customers Make Their Purchasing Decisions Matters More than Ever. The session was presented by Peggy Scoggins, the founder of Adept Selling. Peggy did a phenomenal job. I found myself nodding throughout the entire 45 minutes.
Here’s the basic gist: When making a purchasing decision, consumers have to connect their “thinking” brain (the neocortex) with their emotional brain (the limbic system).
Peggy explained that decision-making is emotion validated by reason. In other words, prospects cannot make a decision based only on facts, reason, and intellectual validation. If they try, they’ll get stuck in the “not ready” stage because they haven’t connected emotionally with their decision yet.
And this is PRECISELY the problem we see with so many senior living websites. The copy is all about “just the facts, ma’am”—apartment layouts, lists of amenities, dinner menus. And, no—adding a cute pic of older people laughing on a garden bench won’t be enough to get that emotional brain going, either. The content needs to work MUCH harder at making the connection between facts and emotions.
So how do you accomplish this? Keep reading.
Think more heart, fewer facts.
On the surface, most senior living communities are selling the same thing: a place for an older adult to live a low-maintenance lifestyle with various levels of amenities and care baked in.
Apartment layouts, food options, types of activities—all senior living communities have those things. Those are the facts. You need to relate those facts to your ideal persona’s emotions.
This, of course, brings up some questions . . .
- How do you turn facts into emotions?
- How do you demonstrate what the facts can do for your prospect—make their life better, easier, happier, safer?
- How do you get prospects to feel something on every page of your site?
Simple. Through storytelling.
People LOVE good stories. They RESPOND to good stories. They REMEMBER good stories.
So the more compelling stories you can share, the better chance you’ll have at connecting the facts with the prospect’s emotions.
For example, let’s talk about the page on your website that talks about the activities your community offers. Giving a laundry list of activities—even if your list is three times longer than your nearest competitor’s—isn’t going to stand out. Yet that’s exactly what most senior living community websites do, more or less.
Sure, some sites will go the extra mile and make the page layout pretty in two or three columns. But a list is still a list whether it’s in one column or two or three.
Instead of a list, what if you led with three videos that tell engaging stories about the activities in your community?
- The first one could feature residents who participate in the weekly oil painting class.
- Another one could feature the community’s current pickleball champions.
- A third one could show a timelapse of a group outing to a local casino. You could intersperse mini-interviews from residents.
You get the idea. We’re talking videos of real residents doing real activities—and putting these videos front and center on the page on your site that talks about activities.
Yes, you can still have your list of activities on this page if you want.
But here’s a better idea…
In addition to the videos, maybe you create a nicely designed community activities guide that doesn’t just list the activities (the facts), but rather it brings emotion into the mix by interspersing short vignettes on various instructors, activity founders (like the book club, the garden club), and how often the activities take place. Maybe you include a feature on a resident who recently started a new activity (training to run their very first 5K, anyone?) and what the reaction has been like.
Imagine the prospect who visits that web page and downloads that guide.
Yes, they’ll see that see your community offers plenty of activities (the facts) just like every other community. But they’ll also experience some of the activities through storytelling. (Hello, emotions!)
Don’t shy away from tough topics.
Don’t get us wrong—we’re not suggesting you create a whole site (or even a section of your site) that’s all doom and gloom.
But sometimes creating a bit of cognitive dissonance in the reader is exactly how you can stir their emotions.
For example, make them a little uncomfortable about things that are likely already going through their heads, like the possible need for more care as they age. But then immediately reduce their discomfort by showing them that your community has a plan if they need more care. That’s the type of content that’s going to encourage the prospect reading the copy to let out a long overdue exhale.
And suddenly their emotional brain (“Ugh, I’ve been dreading making a decision because I was so worried about needing extra care someday; I’m relieved that this community has a plan”) aligns with the facts bubbling around in their thinking brain (“The location is close to my kids, the price is right, the reviews are good”).
Which, in turn, will help move them closer to a decision in your favor.
So, for example, let’s say a couple is looking to move into your continuing care retirement community (CCRC). But they wonder what will happen if one partner suddenly needs a lot more care. Would they be separated? Would the healthier partner have to upgrade to a level of care that he or she doesn’t need?
Your CCRC could discuss how it approaches these situations and it could share stories from people who’ve been in the same situation.
So what sort of “tough topics” should your community address on its website? That’s where knowing your personas inside and out will really make a difference.
Because topics will vary. What’s on the mind of folks entering an active adult community for people over 60 will be different from those who are shopping around for assisted living for themselves . . . or memory care for a parent.
Find out what those tough topics are. When addressing those topics on your site, includes facts, but also include plenty of warm and reassuring stories that demonstrate your community’s approach.
Remember that perfection is the enemy of good.
Since the dawn of the web, most businesses have approached a website launch or redesign as a standalone task, meaning once it’s done, they treat it as done forever.
But the reality is we need to think of websites like building a home. You don’t simply build it, move in, decorate it once, and that’s it. In a house, you make seasonal changes. You might buy some new pillows, simply because you love the color. You might bring in a vase filled with flowers to one room, rearrange the layout of another, and renovate the basement into a home theater.
The work in the home is ongoing.
The same is true for a senior living website. It should never be treated as done (even after a relaunch) because it never is done. And this is precisely why striving for perfection is a fool’s errand.
It’s OK if the copy, the videos, and the images aren’t perfect. (We’re not talking about the navigation, logo, and overall branding—those things must be polished and consistent.) But with storytelling, no one is expecting perfection. In fact, many of us are becoming skeptical of websites, marketing copy, and videos that are too slick, too polished, and too good to be true.
But a quick-hitting video of a yoga class where the instructor decided to bring in goats for a session is too good to pass up. Grab your phone and record. Even if it’s not perfect, THAT’S the sort of story that’s going to get reactions and stir people’s emotions.
I’d rather see a slightly shaky video of residents laughing their butts off during goat yoga than a highly-produced video showing off the gleaming hardwoods in the yoga studio. The former involves emotions. The latter involves facts. You need both, but you need emotions more.
Need help creating compelling website content that resonates with readers on an emotional level?
We take immense pride in our stable of talented content creators who know how to insert a good dose of heart into their copy (without sounding too sweet or sentimental). Get in touch and let’s talk about how we can elevate your website.