How to Keep Prospective Residents Connected & Engaged Virtually

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Like everyone else around the globe, we’re struggling with this new reality due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Heartbreaking stories of loss and grief and a world economy inching towards recession are just some of the things keeping us up at night.

As a marketing agency focused solely on the senior living industry, we’ve been thinking about all our clients as they face these unprecedented times. It’s hard to see past this pandemic since we’re only in the early stages, but at some point, we know we’ll begin to adjust to this “new normal.” The articles we’ll be providing during this time are designed to help senior living sales and marketing teams when they’re ready to move forward.

Keeping Prospective Residents & Their Families Engaged

While some people can delay their decisions to move into a senior living community, plenty of others need to make the move sooner rather than later, even with COVID-19 happening. You need strategies for engaging both types of prospects.

Messages for prospects who are delaying their decisions:

  • Continue to share educational information that’s relevant to them and where they are in their journey (e.g. “Protecting Financial Assets during Times of Uncertainty”).
  • Demonstrate how you communicate during a crisis. This can be an opportunity to highlight your community’s approach to tough times, a topic that’s front and center in everyone’s minds right now.
  • Provide fun distractions! Many of your prospects will be self-isolating/staying inside. If your community provides a daily diet of laughter—think funny clips, heartwarming stories, and online activities—to these prospects, they’ll remember your community fondly when they are ready to resume their search. (See our list of additional “daily distraction” ideas at the end of this blog post.)

Messages for prospects who need to make decisions sooner rather than later:

  • Always provide multiple ways for people to reach a member of your sales team—phone numbers (direct lines, when possible) and virtual meeting options, like Skype or video conferencing.
  • Provide easy ways for people to experience your community, even if they can’t visit in person. Think virtual tours, virtual floorplans, interactive surveys, and the like. We’ve provided tips here for creating a rich virtual experience.
  • Develop content that will be helpful to them, NOW. Topics like “How to move safely during a global pandemic” would make for a timely blog post or checklist that these prospects would find valuable.

How should you get these messages “out there”?

Use marketing automation thoughtfully to ensure consistent communication. Marketing automation is exactly as it sounds: your marketing messages go out automatically, often via email. It’s an efficient, turnkey solution.

That said, during this crisis, you need to be mindful of your messaging. You can’t NOT address COVID-19, at least right now.

  • Audit existing emails that are already set up. Make sure you go through all existing emails and add in necessary language and relevant info about COVID-19. Every email that goes out should speak about COVID-19, if only a bolded headline at the top that says something to the effect “Learn more about our community’s response to COVID-19” (and the link should go to a thorough, well-designed page on your site).
  • Segment your audiences. If you already use marketing automation, you’re already doing this. If you’re new to it, you’ll need to identify who falls into which categories (those who need to make decisions sooner vs. those who will likely be postponing their decision). But good marketing automation software, like HubSpot, helps make this process fairly straightforward (and we can help!). 

More Fun Ideas for “Daily Distraction” Emails

  • Videos with chair yoga exercises and/or online fitness classes led by your activities director
  • Links to previous Facebook Live events
  • Virtual field trips to museums or other cultural events
  • Funny YouTube videos
  • TED Talks
  • Aquarium/zoo cams
  • Stream your community’s events

BONUS: Be a conduit for helpful information at the local level as well:

People crave reliable information during times of crisis. This is more good info to share via email automation to prospects (and it’s also good info to have on the COVID-19 section of your website):

  • Provide a list of local grocery stores and their “Elderly Shopping Hours.”
  • Provide info on pick-up/delivery services (e.g., pharmacies, restaurants doing take-out)
  • Provide listings regarding TV/radio stations streaming religious services.
  • Provide a list of important “hotline” numbers (local emergency management shelters etc.)

As always, we're here to help.

If you need assistance making any of the above happen during this chaotic time, don't hesitate to reach out to us.

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