Here’s a true story regarding one community’s senior living marketing strategy. (Or lack thereof.)
Debbie Howard (our CEO and co-founder) was on a call with a prospective client: the COO of a senior living community. They were discussing the community’s website, and the COO said they had no idea what happened when someone filled out a form on the site. So Debbie went ahead and filled one out. She specifically requested pricing and floor plans.
Instead of receiving what she asked for, she got an immediate call from a salesperson saying, “I got your phone number, but I can’t make out what you’re looking for.”
UGH! Talk about a poor website experience.
Sadly, this is not an isolated case. Whenever we perform a website audit for clients or prospects, we always test the website forms and opt-ins. And too often, they result in an annoying sales call rather than the info we requested. Sometimes after filling out a form, nothing happens at all—no thank-you page saying our info was successfully submitted. No follow-up email. Nothing. It’s as if our request got sucked into a black hole. That’s NOT the first impression you want to give prospects.
Your senior living marketing strategy should include a thoughtful approach to website forms.
Don’t treat your website forms as an afterthought. Your forms serve as the connection between anonymity and bona fide leads. Treat website forms with the respect and reverence they deserve.
Are you asking for the right information?
Mileage will vary, but you want to ask for just enough information to get the ball rolling. Having too many fields on your forms could discourage people from filling them out. Pay attention to conversion rates on landing pages. If it’s lower than you’d like, experimenting with the form length is a good thing to test.
Do you use progressive profiling?
Good marketing automation software will offer progressive profiling. This means after someone fills out one set of fields on a form, they’ll be offered up a new set of fields on subsequent forms. You can get more information about a prospect as they explore your site and engage with more content. From there, you can serve up custom content designed for their particular needs and pain points.
Do you have a SMART senior living marketing strategy in place for what happens AFTER someone submits a form?
This is often where the trouble starts. In a perfect world, here’s what would happen after someone fills out a form on your senior living website . . .
The prospect would be redirected to a thank-you page. The page would indicate that their info was successfully submitted. If the person requested a specific piece of content—like a guide or floor plans—this content would be served on the thank-you page (usually via a link).
The prospect would also receive an email autoresponder. The email would include the same info as the thank-you page. This way, if someone navigates away from the thank-you page, they can still access the info within the email.
The email and thank-you page would include relevant calls-to-action (CTAs). The goal is to enable the buyer by providing helpful content that speaks to where they are in their journey. If they just requested a guide on financing senior living, you could serve up other content related to financing, such as a blog post on the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit.
Lead scoring would automatically kick in. Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) would enter a relevant email nurturing campaign. Sales-qualified leads (SQLs) would go to the sales team. Only SQLs would receive a follow-up call or email from a sales rep. (Read more about the difference between MQLs and SQLs.)
The last bit is usually the hardest pill for senior living sales teams to swallow. The temptation is to contact every single lead that comes through the site, no matter what. Remember: The buyer controls the sales process, not the sales team.
Buyers want to engage with content on their own. And they want to self-identify when they’re ready to talk to sales. Your sales team will be wasting its time calling people who are not ready to buy. Or worse: They’ll annoy prospects with the intrusion. (Which is how Debbie felt after she filled out the form on the client’s website.)
Bottom line: A submitted website form is NOT an automatic invitation for a phone call.
Yet too many senior living communities default to that line of thinking. Instead, they should focus on a SMART senior living marketing strategy when it comes to website forms.
- Make sure your form fields are the right length. Monitor results. If your landing pages aren’t converting, your forms might be the culprit.
- Make sure you ask for the right info at the right time. Start with the most important info—name, email, location, where they are in their journey. Then, build from there by using progressive form fields.
- Remove friction and respect boundaries. Give people what they ask for when they ask for it. If they don’t want a sales call, DON’T CALL.
- Spot-check forms. Things can break on the back end. It happens. Get in the habit of spot-checking forms every quarter.
- Make sure everyone’s on the same page. Your marketing and sales teams need to agree on what happens after someone submits a form. MQLs should be nurtured with compelling campaigns designed for where they are in their journey. Sales reps should only reach out to SQLs (prospective buyers in the bottom of the funnel who’ve requested a sales interaction).
Need help with your senior living marketing strategy?
We can take an objective look at your website’s forms and get them in tip-top shape. Let’s chat about your senior living website.