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Promoting Connectivity and Purpose in Senior Living

A panel of senior living marketing professionals will share strategies and tactics for lead generation, nurturing and conversions given current restrictions regarding tours, events and community visits.

Senior Living Marketing Perspectives: Evaluating your Digital Presence with Andy Crestodina


Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • How the senior care space has transformed in 2020
  • Managing your online reputation
  • When and how to update your website
  • Differentiating yourself with intentional copy
  • Pushing sales messaging into the marketing funnel
  • Creating content in 2021
  • Maximizing the conversion experience by incorporating flow
  • When to automate your processes
  • What tools operators should consider for their 2021 marketing budget 

Episode Summary:

In today’s episode, Debbie speaks with Andy Crestodina, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Orbit Media, an award-winning 38-person digital agency in Chicago.

The challenges we have seen in 2020 accelerated the trend toward the empowered prospect. There is more content than ever before for potential clients or customers to go through, which allows them to make a decision on a product or service even before meeting a representative of the company. Before, to learn what a business offered, you had to talk to people. Today, for many businesses that is no longer the case. The responsibility of a marketer, therefore, is to help prospects make a great decision by considering their product as an option.

The foundation of your marketing efforts is evaluating your digital presence (and those of your competitors). From being present on most of the major social channels (depending on your demographic) to making sure you show up at the top of Google results, having both quality and quantity in your content marketing efforts should be one of the first major goals of your business.

When it comes to designing and updating your website, always think about the perspective of the visitor. The site does not have to sell; but it has to give sufficient information to the visitor. The job of the website is to answer questions. What are their questions? What are their concerns? Which of those questions and concerns are among their top priorities? What are our best answers for those questions, and what evidence can we add to support those answers? When you know these things, you are ready to build a high-converting website. The job of the website is to give visitors sufficient clarity and trust (i.e. answers and evidence) to get them just over the psychological threshold toward contacting you.

Asked about producing the right kind of content in 2021, particularly for the senior living space, Andy encourages operators to focus on the bottom of the funnel. Take care of your current prospects first: those who are already brand-aware. Many cold prospects may continue to have low intent going into the new year and might not be ready for anything—not even the initial call.

Bottom-of-funnel content that answers sales questions should be prioritized; but also use this strategy to grow your email list. Work hard on the call to action to subscribe to your newsletter, because growing your email list puts you in control of your marketing destiny, unlike your social media platforms. Keep your subscribers in flow by keeping them engaged with a tailored content experience that regularly gives them value while keeping you top-of-mind until they are ready to take the next step.

Links:

Orbit Media

Orbit Media Studios on YouTube

Andy Crestodina on LinkedIn

Senior Living Marketing Perspectives: Uncovering New Insights in the Senior Living Industry with Alex Fisher from Sherpa

Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • Insights uncovered about the senior living industry in March, April, and May
  • Making the best out of fewer leads
  • Adapting sales training and hiring practices to the new normal
  • Confronting fears by tapping into your motivations

 Episode Summary:

In today’s episode, Debbie speaks with Alex Fisher, Co-Founder of Sherpa CRM. As the impact of COVID-19 continues to influence all major business decisions, Debbie and Alex discuss data insights for March, April, and May, released recently by Sherpa.

This data provides a qualitative indication of the sales and outcomes of a sample size of about 82,000 units of independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities. In making sense of the information, Alex stresses that “the sales process should not be predicated on the level of care, but on the person.”

While leads have been down across the board, Alex says that sales and marketing professionals have always tended to “underwork” prospective buyers anyway. With the pandemic causing everybody to pay better attention to the leads that they do continue to generate, there is now an opportunity to put more focus and care into each individual prospect. Says Alex, “Our philosophy is that the new lead is not necessarily going to be better than the old lead. As a matter of fact, there is gold in your existing leads. Some of them may have been resistant to your efforts for a while, but they still exist.”

With fewer leads to work with, Alex emphasizes the importance of really getting inside the heads and the hearts of both the potential residents and their families. Specifically, what is going on in their world as they prepare to make the life-altering decision of whether or not to move into a new community, especially in the face of these challenging times? Making the effort to be truly empathetic to your potential customers’ desires always leads to more sales. As Alex eloquently puts it, “Shallow engagement leads to lower conversions.”

Even before COVID-19, Alex says that much can be done to improve sales training and what to look for when hiring salespeople. For one, there tends to be an overreliance on product. In an industry full of “glorified tour givers”, she calls for refocusing the focus of sales training onto the prospect by letting go of the outcome. This requires emotional intelligence through self-awareness and embracing the fact that salespeople are “facilitators of change” who help break down emotional barriers so that prospects can have the confidence to make adjustments in their lives.

Links:

Sherpa CRM

Email: [email protected]

Senior Living Marketing Perspectives: Talking Elder Resource Benefits Consulting with Patty Servaes

Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • A primer on the VA’s Pension Benefit
  • Potential amounts that veterans and/or their spouses can avail of with the VA Benefit
  • Assets and other factors that count toward eligibility for the VA Benefit
  • The time it takes to receive the VA Benefit
  • The role of annuities
  • How senior living operators are leveraging the Benefit and where they can improve

Episode Summary:

In today’s episode, Debbie speaks with Patty Servaes, a VA accredited agent and the founder of Elder Resource Benefits Consulting. ERBC was founded in 2005 to help seniors navigate different benefits that are available to them. Their specialty is the VA’s Basic Pension with Aid and Attendance Benefits. The company focuses on veterans getting the VA’s Pension Benefit as quickly as possible as soon as they are eligible for it.

“This is not a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ Benefit,” says Patty. “It’s ‘if’ and ‘when’.” She explains the VA Benefit through the image of a staircase, having three main criteria that build on each other: “Did you serve in a period of war?”; “Do you meet the medical criteria?”; and “Do you meet the financial criteria?

It is critical for a U.S. veteran—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard—to know the “if” and the “when” so that they do not miss even a month’s worth of the Benefit. In 2020, a surviving spouse can get up to $1228 per month, tax free. A single veteran can get up to $1911 per month. A well veteran with an ill spouse can get up to $1500 per month. A married veteran where the veteran himself needs care can get up to $2266 per month. Patty goes into detail about which assets and other factors count toward eligibility for the Benefit.

In evaluating a veteran’s eligibility for the VA Benefit, ERBC looks at their income and assets to be able to tell exactly when they would be able to qualify. They also give advice on what they can legally do with the money, such as paying down a car loan or prepaying their funeral. Patty, however, does not recommend the latter. Rather, she suggests having the VA reimburse the funeral costs after the funeral itself. “I really like holding the VA’s feet to the fire and making sure that, if at all possible, we get that VA money to the claimant or, in the event of their death, to the assisted living or to the family.”

Links:

Elder Resource Benefits Consulting

Phone: (508) 485-0039

Senior Living Marketing Perspectives: Welcome Home- A CRM Platform Designed Specifically for Senior Housing and Care

Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • How John came to develop a CRM platform specifically for the senior living space
  • Welcome Home’s five, non-negotiable pillars for an industry-friendly CRM
  • Giving operators greater freedom of choice through integration
  • The impact of Welcome Home’s CRM on a community’s bottom-line

Episode Summary:

In today’s episode, Debbie speaks with John Lariccia, founder of Welcome Home, which provides a CRM platform designed specifically for senior housing and care.

John identified the gap in the market upon understanding that the sales process is particularly difficult within the senior living space. He points to the fact that “there are so many constituencies that you have to interact with”. The emotional layer of the process is also particularly unique due to the nature of the industry. John realized that traditional CRM technologies did not adequately account for the complexities of the human element of closing sales that is especially important in senior living.

John had to solve for a solution that covered all the considerations of an operator in the senior living space. Being a newcomer to the industry, John took the time to dissect traditional CRM platforms to identify missing features which can be highly useful to a senior living operator. He spent over a year speaking to experts in the industry and honed in on five, non-negotiable pillars for their technology: automation, customization, reporting, mobility, and simplicity.

Asked how adopting Welcome Home’s CRM makes sense from a business standpoint, John says that his team tracks engagement and adoption, time savings, time allocation, results from that allocated time, and other expenses. 93% of users, his team found, are using the entire functionality of the CRM within the first month, and this jumps to over 99% by the second month. Operators are also saving thousands of dollars in training budgets due to the CRM’s simple and intuitive interface. Finally, rote tasks are being successfully automated, allowing sales directors to reinvest that saved time into outreach. All of these factors, among others, are resulting in better conversion ratios. “The CRM is working for them,” says John. “They are not working for the CRM.”

 

Links:

WelcomeHomeSoftware.com

Four Strategies to Optimize Websites for Improved Conversions

A panel of senior living marketing professionals will share strategies and tactics for lead generation, nurturing and conversions given current restrictions regarding tours, events and community visits.

Senior Living Marketing Perspectives: Learn About Senior Living Growth Advisors with Scott McCorvie- How the Pandemic has affected the Senior Living Industry


Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • How Scott’s passion for senior living led to the founding of Senior Living Growth Advisors and his podcast
  • The impact of COVID-19 on Senior Living Growth Advisors
  • How the pandemic affected design in the senior living communities, both existing and in development
  • Adapting to restrictions and other lifestyle changes brought about by social distancing measures
  • Emerging technologies operators are using to redefine the senior living experience

Episode Summary:

In today’s episode, Debbie speaks with Scott McCorvie, President of Senior Living Growth Advisors, and host of The Inner Circle of Senior Living podcast. With 15 years of experience in the senior care space under their belt, Senior Living Growth Advisors assists everyone from owners to developers to investors to operators in optimizing their platform and achieving their desired growth success. Scott’s podcast is dedicated to providing value to the senior living investment industry by hosting discussions and interviews with experts and thought leaders in the field.

Scott believes that the senior living industry has remained resilient in the face of the pandemic and the impact it has had to the economy for the past several months. Investment and development projects have been put on hold and due diligence for acquisitions are delayed. On the other hand, Scott has seen more action in the asset management department as organizations adapt and even innovate amid the various challenges.

To remain competitive, independent living facilities had to have over 50% of their space dedicated to common usage or amenities. This can include anything from movie theaters, libraries, exercise rooms and yoga studies, to even woodworking. But it is those communities whose facilities are expertly designed who have the greatest edge over others who have activity rooms in place but receive little engagement from residents.

Scott recommends, particularly for those communities still in development, to establish centrally located, multipurpose common areas that, on the same day, can be reorganized from a lecture hall into an exercise studio. Marketing a senior living community, after all, is showing off a potential “lifestyle upgrade”, and that impression is sold if prospects can see a thriving, activity-filled space.

In addition to adding infrastructure to bolster the health and safety of residents, especially during the pandemic, Scott says that Innovating the senior living experience also relies on improving engagements between caregivers and residents. This can be accomplished through such implementations as voice-activated technologies which make communication more efficient, or TV screens which display the day’s activities or messages from staff and fellow residents. There are many ways to improve the senior living experience, but Scott encourages operators to be particularly bullish on leveraging as much technology as possible to increase resident engagement.

Links:

Email: [email protected]

www.srgrowth.com

Senior Living Marketing Perspectives: Mom’s House- Connecting Families Selling their Senior Parent’s Homes with Buyers


Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • The motivation to create Mom’s House
  • How Mom’s House’s certified home buyers save families’ time and money
  • Growing the Mom’s House network of home buyers and senior living communities

Episode Summary:

In today’s episode, Debbie speaks with Ben Rao, Co-Founder of Mom’s House, a platform which connects certified home buyers with families who are in the process of selling their senior parent’s house. Mom’s House is known today as “the nation’s largest senior home buyer network”.

At some point during Ben’s career as a real estate investor, he got connected to the founders of Family Solutions for Care, which “indoctrinated” him into the senior space. He realized through this partnership that it is a common problem among families to not have the support of an insurance company as they look to enter a care community. It so happened that Ben was also connected with a real estate investor focused on the senior space, who did over 50 transactions a year through referrals alone. The two teamed up to discuss how to fill this gap in the market, leading to the founding of Mom’s House.

Many families lack the resources and knowledge to get a house listed when it is time for their senior members to move into a care community. Hiring a real estate agent is often their only option, and even in this case it takes around four to six months to finally sell the house. That is, if the family is able to shoulder unexpected expenses and prepare for potential delays throughout those months. Mom’s House changes the game by connecting home buyers certified by the company around the country to these families. Buyers then make an offer to buy the house for cash and close the deal in less than 30 days.

Links:

Mom’s House

 

 

 

Senior Living Marketing Perspectives: Re-imagining Marketing Strategies in Senior Living with Jeannette McClennan Following COVID-19

 

Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • How senior living providers can change their marketing strategy following the impact of COVID-19
  • Reframing the message of an industry under fire by mainstream media during the pandemic
  • Why websites should not limit their assurances regarding COVID-19 to a single page
  • Tips on using visual materials such as infographics to improve a brand’s messaging
  • Differentiating your assisted living facility from a nursing home

 

Episode Summary:

In today’s episode, Debbie speaks with Jeannette McClennan, Co-Founder and President of McClennan Masson and co-author of the book Innovators Anonymous (2018).

Asked how senior living providers can change their marketing strategy in the wake of COVID-19, Jeannette notes that universities are facing deep occupancy issues not unlike those of the senior housing industry.

There are five factors that universities are focusing on which senior living providers can adopt in order to “reimagine” the industry during these turbulent times: occupancy strategy, testing, temp checks, scientific counsel, and communications strategy. The goal is to raise the comfort level of parents as they look to bring their children onto campus, just as adult children who are finding a home for their aging parents need assurance.

Another observable connection between universities and the senior housing industry is the need to shift marketing strategies and budgets to digital. It is “an opportunity to reinvent your brand and switch up your messaging” to adapt to current challenges.

The senior living industry has gotten a bad rap lately in the media. It is important to reframe the message in a way that is authentic yet direct; comforting yet truthful. Jeannette recommends “overcommunicating in advance” to nip fear and doubt in the bud as opposed to doing damage control after the fact.

Style of communication is also key. It is important to “personalize the message down to the individual”, which is best accomplished via a storytelling format using video featuring authority figures. Jeanette recommends providing a personalized, gamified experience for them on your website to bolster familiarity and trust.

Finally, communities should involve the adult children in their messaging, not just the potential residents, in order to get everyone comfortably on board in making this critical decision.

Addressing COVID-19 should go beyond a single webpage. It requires a complete rethinking of the business’s message. “How do you express safety unique to your brand? Demonstrate it throughout your experience, including through your social presence.”

Links:

McClennan Masson

Innovators Anonymous

 

 

 

Senior Living Marketing Perspectives: Learn about SMASH- The Senior Marketing and Sales Summit

Topics Discussed and Key Points:

  • The origin of the SMASH conference
  • How SMASH has evolved over the years
  • Topics to expect at SMASH 2020
  • Lead generation, conversion, and management during and after COVID-19
  • Reimagining sales and marketing in the new normal
  • Interacting with prospects with virtual tools

 

Episode Summary:

In today’s episode, Debbie speaks with Bailey Beeken, President of Senior Care Events and the Founder of SMASH—the Senior Care Marketing and Sales Summit.

Bailey discusses the concept behind SMASH, which was established in 2013. This series of conferences brings together C-level executives in the senior living industry, “curat[ing] the best of the best in leading edge marketing and sales.”

In its first year, the conversation was around social media and other branding platforms such as websites and how they can be used to market the company. In the following year, the focus shifted towards content creation and digital advertising for driving leads to these platforms. A couple of years ago, the primary topic became data management and how to create budgets and strategies around it. This year’s conference set for October 19-21 will go into considerations and best practices in a post-COVID-19 world.

With fewer leads coming in and heavy criticism from the media during these uncertain times, Bailey acknowledges that it is time for the senior living industry to “throw out the old playbook” and lead with purpose by “spending 80% of the time nurturing the 20%”. Communities must tailor their messaging around concerns regarding health, safety, and family by producing content at a cadence that is appropriate to the current climate. “We really have to reimagine the entire prospect journey and recreate all of those in-person activities [online],” agrees Debbie.

It is important for organizations to take advantage of virtual tools to connect and strengthen their relationships with families. “People are going to have to act with urgency. It is not just about getting revenue. The first movers will win here. They will not have all the answers, but they are willing to experiment. […] We have a lot of work to do to counter the message that has been told this past year and everybody has to get onboard with that.”

 

Links:

SMASH 2020

Phone: (917) 572-1118

Email: [email protected]