Leveraging Traditional Marketing Methods in Senior Living
Ever since the concept of inbound marketing took off in the late 2000s, people have been wondering if “traditional” marketing methods still have a place in a modern marketing environment.
Like so many things in life, the answer is “it depends.” It depends on the brand, the audience, and the goals. Sure, print ads in physical newspapers won’t reach Gen Z or younger Millennials, but that doesn’t mean those same ads won’t reach other audiences—like Baby Boomers.
In fact, traditional marketing methods—think direct mailers, print ads, and radio/TV—can be very effective with the Silent Generation, Boomers, and even Gen X. The challenge is getting your traditional marketing methods in senior living to play nice with your inbound methods. And that’s precisely what this blog post is all about.
Make sure your inbound and traditional marketing methods are part of a larger plan.
Slapping together a print ad here or a direct mailer there along with an ebook and social media posts is an example of how NOT to approach your senior living marketing. To be successful, you need a plan—a marketing strategy—for meeting your goals.
In senior living, the ultimate goal is move-ins. But you need to meet many goals along the way to achieve that ultimate goal. You need to understand who your ideal buyer is. You need to attract more of these folks to your website, invite these folks to attend meaningful events in your community, run advertising that will reach them (online and off), and maintain an active presence in the virtual spaces where they hang out.
There are many moving parts, which is why you need a plan for managing everything—and for successfully aligning your inbound and traditional marketing methods.
Think in terms of different marketing channels—and how they can work together to serve a specific campaign.
Don’t turn marketing channels, like your website or social media, into marketing silos. Silo mentalities never work—especially within marketing. Instead, your various marketing channels need to work in harmony toward whatever goal you’ve set.
For example, let’s say you’re inviting people to “have lunch on us.” The goal is to get people to the community to experience the delicious food and the wonderful community.
This is a perfect example of a goal that would benefit from both inbound and traditional marketing methods. You’ll likely use a combination of digital marketing channels—email, website, social media posts, maybe even pay-per-click ads—to promote the event. But you might also use direct mailers to invite people to attend as well.
If this “lunch on us” becomes a regular monthly event, you might even invest in other traditional methods, such as radio or TV, especially if you discover the conversion rate among attendees is excellent and a good return on your investment.
But this brings us to an important caveat about traditional marketing methods . . .
Keep in mind that traditional marketing methods can be pricy and that not all campaigns will benefit from these methods.
Let’s demonstrate with another example. Instead of an in-person event, maybe you create a free guide on this topic: “Is senior living right for you?” You want to promote this guide so that people will come to your website and download it. When they fill out the website form, they will provide enough info to indicate whether they match your buyer persona—and, if yes, where they are in their journey. From there, you can nurture them through an email workflow.
To promote the guide, you’ll use similar digital marketing methods that you used for the lunch & learn: email, website, social media, and PPC ads. But it wouldn’t make sense to run direct mailers to promote the guide. That would be cost-prohibitive.
Why? Well, a guide on whether senior living is a suitable lifestyle is most definitely a top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) offer. Meaning someone who downloads it is likely in the early stages of their research. They’re not poised for a sales pitch like someone who shows up for a free lunch so that they can check out your community first-hand.
Keep in mind that traditional marketing methods can be quite pricy—anyone who’s gotten quotes for print ads or radio spots can attest to that! So running a print ad or sending direct mailers about a TOFU offer wouldn’t necessarily deliver the best ROI.
That’s why we’re always clear when it comes to marketing that it’s never a one-size-fits-all scenario. Sure, there’s still a place for traditional marketing methods, but you need to be thoughtful in your approach.
This leads us to yet another caveat.
Conduct regular audience research and surveys to see if people are still responding to traditional marketing methods.
Here’s the thing: we’re not suggesting all traditional marketing methods will continue to work—even for older audiences—forever. If the last two decades have taught us anything, it’s how quickly things can change, especially in marketing land. At some point, we do predict that traditional marketing methods, like running ads in newspapers and magazines, will no longer be effective.
Your job as a senior living marketer is to keep tabs on your prospective buyers, including where they hang out (both online and off) and how they consume media—and how this can and will change. Remember, the buyer controls the sales process now, not the other way around. Your job is to enable them to easily buy from you by removing any friction between them and the information they need to make their decision.
Need help? Work with a marketing agency that understands how to align inbound and traditional marketing methods.
Our talented team knows the ins and outs of inbound and outbound marketing—including how to make both work for senior living communities. Get in touch and let’s chat.