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.
A few years ago, Eat This, Not That! was published to provide advice on how to replace unhealthy food choices with better alternatives.
We recommend focusing on five critical metrics:
1. Digital Marketing for Senior Living: Conversions, Not Traffic
Don’t be distracted by website traffic. Instead, focus on what matters: conversions. As in traffic that actually converts into customers.
Invest your budget in creating more website conversion points rather than simply increasing traffic. Here are some ideas for doing exactly that:
- Blog more. Websites that publish new blog posts every week get 3.5 times more leads per month.
- Create premium content such as guides, e-books, tool kits, and infographics. Gate them (put them behind a form) to increase conversions of anonymous visitors to leads.
- Add live chat (like SiteStaff) to respond to prospects’ questions and convert chats to leads and tours.
- Make your website experiential with interactive surveys (Roobrik), room planners (Design Floor Plans), and financial calculators.
Note: Marketing teams should be able to quantify how many leads have converted to inquiry calls (using call tracking, such as Marchex), scheduled tours, and brochure/ pricing requests.
Question to bring up during your next meeting with marketing and sales: “What are the conversion rates for each marketing channel?”
2. Digital Marketing for Senior Living: Not All Leads Are Created Equal
Asking how many leads are generated is the wrong question. A better question to ask is this: How many leads are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) vs. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)? You should have a way of measuring both.
- MQLs are early stage leads in research mode. They engage by reading blogs, downloading guides and brochures, and checking out pricing. Or maybe they are trying to self-qualify, but they’re not ready for a sales pitch. They want to be left alone until they are ready!
- SQLs, on the other hand, are in the consideration and decision stages. These leads will opt into calls-to-action, such as “schedule a tour” and “speak with an advisor.” As such, it’s imperative that the sales team has immediate access to these leads.
Having technology that can apply lead scoring to quickly sort leads into MQLs and SQLs is critical in today’s competitive “speed to the lead” environment. And your marketing team should be able to provide the number of MQLs and SQLs in the pipeline.
Question to bring up during your next meeting with marketing and sales: “How do we identify MQLs vs SQLs so the sales team is working with the prospects most likely to convert?”
3. Digital Marketing for Senior Living: Nurturing the “Not Ready” Leads
Pressure on getting move-ins TODAY has created dangerous behaviors of focusing exclusively on urgent (high acuity) leads rather than building a healthy pipeline.
Each sales team member can realistically manage only about 10 active leads. So what do you think is happening with the other 200+ leads languishing in the CRM? Not much beyond maybe a few perfunctory “just checking in” follow-up calls to make an activity quota.
Marketing teams should have a strategy to keep the “not ready” leads engaged. Marketing automation (we use HubSpot) takes rote and repetitive tasks off the sales team’s plates and uses automated workflows to ensure that “not ready” leads are given resources while being exposed to your brand. Over time, this fosters trust and encourages the lead to advance to an SQL as they continue on their decision-making journey.
The best part? You can customize these strategic “drip campaigns” to each prospect based on their expressed interests and website behaviors. Links to blogs, premium content, newsletters, and event invitations keep prospects engaged until they are “ready.”
Question to bring up during your next meeting with marketing and sales: “What is our strategy to engage, nurture, and convert ‘not ready’ leads?”
4. Digital Marketing for Senior Living: Impact of Third Party Leads
The question most executives ask is “how many leads are in the CRM?” But a better question is this: “How many unique leads are in the database?”
A VP of Sales & Marketing recently told me that 80% of the leads in their CRM were generated from third party lead sources. This is important for two reasons. First, these leads averaged a 3% conversion rate. This means the sales team spends 80% of their time with low conversion opportunities. That leaves them only 20% of their time to work with leads generated from high conversion lead sources, such as friend and family referrals (35% conversion), professional referrals (40% conversion rate), and organic digital lead sources.
Second, these are shared leads – probably with five to seven of your nearest and dearest competitors. So in measuring actual lead volume, third party leads should only count as 1/5th or 1/7th of a lead. Counting third party leads as a unique lead will skew your actual lead volume and lull sales teams into a false sense of security that they have “plenty of leads” in the pipeline.
Question to bring up during your next meeting with marketing and sales: “What’s the lead percentage from each referral source category?”
5. Digital Marketing for Senior Living: It’s All About the ROI
At the end of the day, it is all about ROI. That is the difference between a marketing expense and an investment. You should be able to measure through every marketing channel—digital, paid AdWords and social campaigns, events, and traditional print, radio and TV advertising—the dollars invested and the leads generated in return.
Ideally, you should have a way to follow every lead through their journey and measure the cost per lead, cost per qualified lead, cost per tour, and cost per move-in. At Senior Living SMART, we help our clients go even further by calculating the resident lifetime value. Our clients provide the average length of stay and average rate by lifestyle for each community so we can accurately calculate the ROI of all marketing efforts.
Question to bring up during your next meeting with senior living marketing and sales: “What is the ROI of each marketing campaign?”
Need help analyzing your analytics?
As a senior living marketing agency, we can help you understand the metrics that matter most. Get in touch!
How to Boost Occupancy & Lead Generation Through Inbound Marketing. Learn how we helped one client experience over 1200% ROI across 10 communities in fewer than four months! In this case study, track the growth of 10 communities using marketing automation, and view measurable results with reported ROI.
Not too long ago, the first conversation with senior living sales prospects happened either over the phone with the initial discovery call or in person during an event or tour. Today, the first conversation with prospects is digital in nature. Eighty-seven percent of senior living sales start online, and providers have only seven seconds to engage prospects.
Here are five senior living sales tips to increase engagement and conversions.
Senior Living Sales Tip #1: It’s Not About You.
Your prospects don’t come to your senior living website because they have nothing better to do. They come because they have a compelling need or concern, many questions, and a desire to connect with helpful resources to guide their decision-making journey.
Remember, you only have seven seconds. So ask yourself how you’re going to connect, engage, and convert them to a lead. Prospects today are much more experiential in their research style. If you have relevant information, they will stay on your site. If not, they will bounce off to a competitor or third-party lead aggregator site.
So make sure you put the most relevant and helpful info front and center on your most trafficked pages, particularly the home page. Include calls-to-action that will lead people to helpful resources they can download. Make sure FAQs are easily accessible in the navigation (better yet, include a Live Chat feature so you can address their questions in real-time).
Senior Living Sales Tip #2: Create Content for All Stages in The Buyer’s Journey.
Ninety percent of website visitors are not sales qualified. Prospects in the Awareness Stage are looking for basic information (e.g., What are the options? What’s included? Can I afford it?).
When they move into the Consideration Stage, they are weighing pros and cons and transitional issues (e.g., Is home or community the best setting? What will we do with all the stuff? Is the family on board? How do we broach the subject with Mom/ Dad?).
By the time prospects move into the Decision Stage, urgency replaces ambivalence and the conversation shifts to timing and location (e.g., Which community is going to be the best fit? what funding sources can we tap into? How do we make a smooth transition?).
To meet prospects where they are, your website must offer a range of content types to consume throughout the journey and multiple CTAs (calls to action) to advance leads. You’ll want to gate some content, but you should also “un-gate” some content as well. Blogs make great un-gated content (we recommend two to four original educational blog posts per month). Offering downloadable activity calendars, menus, and newsletters works well, too.
Guides, e-books, and tool kits work best for gated content (the prospect must exchange limited contact information in exchange for the valuable resource). Offering digital brochures and pricing resources are very popular with prospects and have high engagement and conversion metrics. We have found that e-newsletters are the number one tool to re-engage website visitors.
Senior Living Sales Tip #3: Make Your Website Interactive.
Websites today have to be more than online brochures. Less copy and more interactive experiences will make the website “sticky” so prospects stay longer and come back often.
Need some ideas? Live chat (not self-managed, not bots, and not foreign-based) produces high conversion rates with 40% of chats turning into leads and 20% converting to a scheduled tour. Interactive surveys (such as financial calculators) and self-guided decision tools (such as Roobrik) engage and convert anonymous website visitors into marketing- and sales-qualified leads. Interactive site maps, virtual tours, and room planners allow prospects to explore from their couch, without the drive time or sales pitch.
Senior Living Sales Tip #4 Optimize the Contact Us Form.
Prospects at each stage will respond to different CTAs, so offer them a menu of choices. Create a “pick list” with options such as the following:
- Download a brochure
- Check pricing
- Join us for lunch
- Schedule a home visit
- Schedule a tour
- Attend an upcoming event
- Speak with an advisor
- Subscribe to our newsletter and/or blog
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) who opt in to face-to-face or voice-to-voice interaction should immediately go to the community sales team. We recommend marketing automation to nurture early stage leads with personalized workflows. This allows sales teams to stay focused on high-conversion opportunities without the distraction of following up with leads that are not ready.
Senior Living Sales Tip #5: Attract and Convert More Leads, Tours, & Move-Ins with Essential Resources.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite resources. But you can find others in our Senior Living Marketplace.
- Senior Living SMART – website design, marketing automation, content development
- SiteStaff – live chat staffed by college-educated Americans trained for senior living
- Roobrik – self-guided decision tools with low lead-acquisition costs and high conversions
- Marchex – call tracking to measure conversion points for digital, social, and traditional channels
- Design Floor Plans – interactive sitemaps, room planners, 2- and 3-D floor plans
Need help getting your sales team to embrace this online environment?
We love working with marketing and sales teams. Our approach helps make everyone’s jobs easier. Let’s chat about your needs!
So, you’ve got your content teed up, whether it’s a guest post, a hot take, or a summary of a survey you conducted. You’re done, right? Not so fast!
Producing quality content is the first step. But now it’s time to share your content and to understand which pieces help bring leads—and ultimately customers—to your senior living community.
Here are 11 strategies that will help you promote and measure your content like a pro.
1. Write irresistible headlines.
Your content could be the best in the world, but it’s worthless unless you’re grabbing people’s attention and getting them to read it. Headlines are crucial for this very reason, and there are several rules for creating good ones:
- Make them explicit and concise.
- Don’t give away the whole article, but don’t hide what it’s about, either.
- Trigger curiosity. Appeal to emotions.
- Use numbers or percentages when possible.
2. Put your content in front of targeted eyeballs.
Share your content in an email to targeted prospects(hint:segment your database according to buyer personas, and only share content that will interest that particular persona). Share your content on social media as well. Putting your content directly in someone’s inbox is a simple way to reach them, while posting content on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn makes it easy for people to share.
3. Add tools to your promotions arsenal.
Use tools like Buffer to share content efficiently. Buffer allows you to queue up content you want to share on social media and then spaces out when that content is released throughout the day.
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4. Embrace being a big fish in a small pond.
Don’t view the fractionalized senior living market as a threat. View it as a marketing opportunity to specialize in a niche.
5. Don’t date yourself.
When publishing articles that aren’t news-oriented,don’t include the date. With information that’s useful no matter when it’s posted, including the date may discourage someone from reading it as time passes.
6. Connect with everyone on social media.
Create a separate account if necessary on Facebook or Instagram for consumer-facing marketing and make sure to do the same on LinkedIn for referral contacts. It’s a content sharing platform—treat it as such. Content marketers benefit from connecting with each other.
7. Be a fount of information.
Content marketing is a test of generosity. It costs nothing to give away your best advice and knowledge, and that’s how you’ll win the relationships that give you the links, the authority, the rank—all leading to getting qualified visitors on your website.
8. Use data to your advantage.
How much authority does your page have? Find out with tools like Google Analytics. Make use of available data and adjust your content accordingly.
9. Focus on what matters.
There’s a very long road between getting a “like” and making money. A very low number of social media interactions convert into leads. Your website is much more likely to get a visit from a Google search, so put the bulk of your energy into where you get the best results.
10. Share content that people want to see.
Look at what’s getting shared and clicked the most. Use Google Analytics to find the articles that will get people to subscribe to your newsletter. Put these items on your sharing list.
11. Know when to share.
Track your web traffic and email click-through performance to find out when people click on your content. So if you find your Facebook audience engages around noon on Fridays, but LinkedIn folks seem to get into your stuff on Wednesdays between one and four, schedule your posts accordingly. For further insights, check out this industry research regarding the best times to post on social media.
What tips do you have for promoting content and measuring results? Share in the comments!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andy Crestodina
Andy Crestodina is the author of Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing. Andy will be sharing his wisdom in two presentations at the 2018 Senior Care Marketing Sales(SMASH)Summit taking place Oct 1 – 3 in Chicago: Content Marketing Micro-moments: Turning Traffic into Leads and Leads into Conversions and Content Marketing 2.0. Drive your Content Engine in 2019.
Sign up for our free webinar “Content, Conversions and Lead Generation” on Thursday September 6th at 1:30PM EST.
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