Posts

Senior Living Referral Sources: Outreach & Engagement Strategies

While we spend a lot of time in our blog talking about digital marketing strategies for attracting quality prospects, we should never underestimate the power of loyal referral sources. Think of them as your “boots on the ground” who can help supplement your online efforts. Wondering how to reach and engage with senior living referral sources? We got you covered.

Types of senior living referral sources to go after:

1. Healthcare referrals.

Referrals that originate from healthcare providers offer a couple of key benefits. First, the sales cycle is usually much shorter since these tend to be needs-based referrals. And because a high level of trust usually exists between provider and patient, the sale is often much easier to make on your end. It’s not unlike asking a trusted friend for a referral for a general contractor—the same concept applies here. If a person’s doctor recommends your senior living community, that referral will hold a lot of sway.

Bottom line: Actively engaging with people in healthcare will be time well spent. Think beyond primary care physicians, too. Anyone who works with older adults (or adult children) can be a focus of your outreach: rehab providers, geriatric specialists, cardiac/pulmonary specialists, social workers, discharge planners/coordinators, and providers of home care services, just to name a few.

2. Friend and family referrals.

There’s nothing more compelling than a personal referral from a happy resident living in your community. If you don’t already offer an incentive, like a rent credit for referrals that result in a move-in, start one ASAP. “Make Your Friends Your Neighbors” campaigns work well, provided they are well executed. (We can help with that.)

3. Trusted advisors (non-healthcare).

Families often consult with financial advisors, elder-law attorneys, and/or private geriatric care managers (like a private college advisor to guide everyone through the decision process). These trusted relationships are highly valued.

4. Competitors. (Yes, really!)

Sometimes “competitors” can be “complements” as long as they offer a different niche. For example, active adult and independent living communities can refer to assisted living and memory care communities when residents need more support than they can provide (and vice versa!). Another example: a Kosher community will be able to refer prospects that are not aligned with that lifestyle/affiliation.

Even with direct competitors, situations exist where a prospect’s “non-negotiable” will be a barrier to moving in. In this case, it’s in everyone’s best interest to recommend the family to another community. (We’re firm believers in what goes around, comes around. So if your community refers prospects to other communities, eventually the favor will be returned.)

5. Grassroots groups.

Ultimately, senior living communities are very local, so building solid relationships with local organizations will always be a wise move. Think first responders, like EMTs (since they know who is unsafe at home), the Chamber of Commerce, houses of worship, and so forth.

Tips for engaging your senior living referral sources

Senior Living Referral Sources: Healthcare

Find ways to make their jobs easier. For example, create a “Rapid Referral” program to simplify steps. Clearly outline your admission criteria so they are not frustrated with denials, guarantee a response timeframe (e.g., “We will do an assessment within X hours of your referral”), make a decision quickly, and if you have to deny a move-in, explain why.

Recognize their contributions. Celebrate them on special healthcare-related days, like National Nurses Appreciation Day in May or Social Work Month in March. (And that’s just the beginning—check out this resource for other ideas.) Let them know that they make a difference.

Add value to their day-to-day lives and careers. Bring CEU programs/speakers to them (and pay for their credits) or offer space/use of your community for a team event.

Offer them something fun. Bring an ice cream truck around to referral sources on a hot summer’s day. Dress up on Halloween and hand out treats, bring chocolate-covered strawberries on Valentine’s Day, and if you can find out when their annual state survey is, bring a Stress Buster Basket with treats and a big bottle of Advil!

Say thank you on the regular. Get some branded latte cups with coffee samples and imprint them with your logo and “Thanks a Latte!” to acknowledge a referral. Also, provide a follow-up note to let them know how great a referred resident is doing—your referral sources care!

Senior Living Referral Sources: Friends & Family

Make it worth their while. Provide an exciting incentive for referring friends or family, like a rent credit for the loved one currently living in your community.

Make it easy for people to participate in your referral program. Offer a variety of ways for people to make the referral (e.g., phone, email, landing page on your website). Don’t make people jump through hoops—the only info you need is the current resident making the referral and the contact info for the person they’re referring to your community. Make sure you have a good backend system for keeping track of this info so that you can award rental credits in a timely manner.

Promote your referral program regularly. You always have new people moving in. Not to mention longer-term residents and their families need the occasional reminder. Go beyond the basic flyer. Instead, order door hangers and tent cards for the dining room and common areas. Have a vibrant pull-up banner in the lobby and create eye-catching inserts that can go into monthly billing statements. In addition, promote the program by email and link to a landing page that outlines the program basics and allows people to refer someone right then and there.

Host monthly/quarterly family nights and talk up the program and the incentive. Some communities make a presentation of a giant check for referrals. Take pictures of your senior living events and share them on social media and in newsletters to reach a larger audience.

Senior Living Referral Sources: Trusted Advisors

Build a referral network. Elder law attorneys, real estate professionals, downsizing experts, geriatric care managers, life insurance agents, accountants/CPAs, financial planners, and the like work directly with your target audience and their families. All of these service providers can be excellent sources of referrals. And remember, the best way to get referrals is to give referrals. This is exactly what networking groups like Business Networking International (BNI) promote with their “givers gain” philosophy.

Offer opportunities for trusted advisors to speak, educate, participate on a panel in your community. Cross-promoting your services is an excellent way to support trusted advisors and for them to support you.If you help them grow their business, they will return the favor. This strategy is also a smart and easy way to find topics for your monthly in-person or virtual events, newsletter, guest blog posts, podcasts—you get the idea.

Senior Living Referral Sources: Competitors

Foster trust and build relationships with competitors. This can be tricky since not everyone plays well together, but you should still make the attempt. Tour their communities and invite them to tour yours. Talk about your differentiators, your ideal prospects, and those you can’t accommodate. Regarding the latter, this could be based on services offered, price point, religious affiliation, and/or special needs, such as special diets.

Senior Living Referral Sources: Grassroots Groups

Get out and attend all community events. This is a great activity for sales teams. Attend health fairs, fundraisers, and school booster programs. Sponsor a local sports team—and bring residents with you! Have your community’s bus in the parade and at outdoor concerts. Become part of the community and have the community see that your residents are out and about and having fun! Participate in back-to-school backpack drives, food drives, clothing drives, and the like. And, of course, make sure you have plenty of branded material at the ready.

Offer community spaces for meetings, clubs, groups, piano recitals, art shows. This can be another great way to support local organizations and give locals a bird’s-eye view of your community.

Bottom line: Treat potential referral sources as people first, sources second.

Get out there and talk to them in person (again and again) and make it about them. Don’t feel like you’re being a pest. Remember, you’re a professional resource for them, too. Demonstrate this through goodwill gestures, like referrals, and thank-yous like a coffee gift card. And, of course, get in touch with us if you need any help engaging with senior living referral sources.
Senior living lead eggs hatching with footprints towards sale sign

5 Things You Shouldn’t Do with Your Senior Living Leads

If we could share one article with every senior living marketing and sales team, this would be it. Why? Because it has to do with everyone’s favorite topic: senior living leads. Specifically, mistakes to avoid. Let’s get to it.

1. Don’t treat all senior living leads the same.

If you’re a Senior Living SMART client and/or a regular reader of our blog, you’ve likely heard us say that not all leads are created equal. Some leads are ready to buy now. Others might be ready two years from now.

How should you handle the very different needs of various leads? To start, you should divide your leads into two buckets—sales-qualified leads (SQLs) and marketing-qualified leads (MQLs). SQLs want to buy sooner rather than later, so they will be served up to the sales team. MQLs aren’t ready yet, so they will enter longer-term nurturing campaigns.

For all of this to happen efficiently, you’ll need marketing automation software and website forms that capture meaningful info to help segment and score your leads. You can choose to get more granular with your lead segmentation if you wish. For example, within your MQLs, you might segment leads according to buyer persona (e.g., senior vs. adult child).

Bottom line: Meet your leads according to where they are on their journey. Don’t treat them all as if they’re ready to buy today or tomorrow.

2. Don’t ignore leads just because they’re in the very early stages.

This goes along with the previous point, but it’s worth repeating. Too often, we see marketing and sales teams ignore leads that are in the earliest stages of their journey (think leads that don’t plan to buy for at least a year). This is short-sighted. Remember, today’s researchers are tomorrow’s buyers—even if that “tomorrow” is eighteen months from now.

While you might not market as aggressively to early-stage leads, you should still provide regular, helpful communications. The goal? For the lead to think well of your community so that when they are ready to buy, your community will be top of mind.

3. Don’t bombard your leads with the same marketing messages.

Since you have a variety of leads coming in, you need to have a variety of marketing messages at the ready as you nurture MQLs to SQLs. Because that’s precisely what good nurturing is—delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.

Getting to know your leads is an excellent way to develop engaging content for them. But how do you get to “know” your leads? Simple. Through your website forms.

Earlier, we mentioned having website forms that capture meaningful info. But if you want to take it to the next level, consider implementing progressive profiling. With progressive form fields, you can control which questions appear on which website forms. Not only that, but once a person has filled out one set of questions, they’ll be asked a different set the next time they fill out a form on your site. The answers will give you valuable insights into your prospects. As a result, you can serve up nurturing campaigns that make sense to them.

For example, maybe your website forms capture people’s favorite hobbies. For those who love food and cooking, you can serve up emails that discuss all the fabulous activities in your community centered around cooking: breadmaking class, sushi night, wine-tasting every Thursday afternoon, pot-luck dinner parties, etc. For those who cited sports as a favorite hobby, you can serve up a similar set of emails that talk about your fitness center, tennis and pickleball courts, golf league, football get-togethers, and the like.

The basic email campaign can be the same, but you will customize the messaging so that it speaks directly to your leads. Custom messaging is the secret sauce to effective lead nurturing.

4. Don’t “set and forget” your marketing automation.

With marketing automation, it’s easy to set up email nurturing campaigns and forget all about them. While automation is supposed to make your life easier, you still need to monitor results—and make adjustments based on what the numbers tell you.

What you should pay attention to:

  • Engagement. Are people opening the emails? Are they clicking through to your offers? Are they converting on those offers? Don’t send emails just to say you’ve sent them. You want your emails to work, meaning they should motivate the recipient to take a specific action—even if that action is something as simple as reading a blog post.
  • Conversions. Over time, provided your email nurturing is effective, you should see increased conversions: MQLs to SQLs and SQLs to customers.
  • Messaging. Even if engagement/conversions look good, revisit messaging to make sure everything you say is accurate. For example, you might have promoted virtual tours due to COVID. Now, you might have options for both in-person and virtual tours. We recommend looking at all messaging at least twice a year.

Don’t be afraid to adjust messaging that isn’t working. Trust what the numbers are telling you. You could throw a whole campaign out the window and start over. Or you can A/B test smaller changes. For example, if people aren’t opening your emails, test different subject lines. Haven’t tried personalization yet? Maybe you experiment with that and see how the results look.

Effective marketing automation is part science, part art—and it absolutely requires the human touch.

5. Don’t assume you’re in control. (Because you’re not.)

This is the hardest pill for sales and marketing teams to swallow. Twenty years ago, before everyone was online and before every senior living community had its own website, each community’s sales and marketing team was very much in control of the sales process. If someone was interested in learning about your community, they had no choice but to call or come in for a tour, which put them (the buyer) at the mercy of the sales team.

Things have changed. Thanks to senior living websites, review sites, and social media, buyers can now research to their heart’s content before ever talking to a salesperson. And they’ll only do the latter on their terms when they’re ready for a sales interaction.

If senior living sales and marketing teams want to succeed today, they must embrace this shift and focus on enabling buyers to get the info they need, when they need it. This means marketing and sales must remove any friction from the process and make it as easy and straightforward as possible for the buyer to purchase from you. Say hello to your new top priority!

Want more helpful strategies for increasing senior living leads? Download our guide.

Even though we bill ourselves as a marketing agency, we also have expertise in the senior living sales process, as this free guide demonstrates. Enjoy it with our compliments!

And, of course, if you need assistance, get in touch and let’s chat about your senior living sales challenges.

senior living leads, MQL SQL Blocks

Senior Living Leads: Why You Should Think Beyond 60 Days

Our industry has gotten into a bad habit. Too many marketers and sales folks neglect senior living leads that haven’t signaled a need to move within 30 to 60 days. In addition, many communities purchase marketing software like HubSpot thinking they’ll suddenly have an influx of sales-qualified leads (SQLs) for sales reps to work their magic on. 

What most of these sales reps and marketing folks don’t seem to understand is that the majority of senior living leads come in as marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), not sales qualified.

Ignoring MQLs isn’t the answer. Learning how to nurture MQLs to sales-qualified status is. Follow the best practices below for doing exactly that.

Create different paths for different buyers.

We’re famous for saying that not all senior living leads are created equal. Now, let’s take it a step further: Not all MQLs are created equal, either. 

Some MQLs will be older adults looking for a place to move in 6 to 12 months. Others will be adult children looking on behalf of their parents. The older adults might be married, divorced, or widowed. Some might be in excellent shape and others might have health challenges. In the older children camp, some might be searching for a loved one who’s resisting the move. Others might be dealing with complex family dynamics (sibling against sibling).

  • Your Task: Create plenty of marketing paths on your website to satisfy many different types of MQLs. For example, the content an adult child needs will be different from the needs of an older adult who’s buying for herself. The first step in this process involves doing buyer persona work.

Create compelling lead nurturing campaigns.

The keyword is “compelling.” The biggest mistake communities make is treating lead nurturing like a box they need to check off, meaning not much thought is given to the emails in each campaign.

Content matters. Don’t send emails simply for the sake of sending them out. Think about what the campaign is trying to accomplish. Are you trying to get someone to download another piece of content? To view a video? To schedule a tour? While it’s easy to think “Yes! I want everyone to schedule a tour,” keep in mind that not all MQLs are ready for tours just yet. Nurture, don’t rush.

Monitor your lead nurturing campaigns.

The next big mistake that communities make with their lead nurturing is setting up and forgetting about it. Marketing automation is the culprit here. Don’t get us wrong: Automation is great! It was designed to eliminate manual, rote processes, after all. But setting up something to automatically go out and never following up to see if what you’re sending out is actually working isn’t a smart strategy.

  • Your Task: Look at overall conversions for each campaign. Is the lead nurturing campaign accomplishing what you set it up to do? If the goal of the campaign was to get someone to download the next piece of content that makes sense for them in their journey, how many folks in the campaign did exactly that? A dismal 1%? Or an impressive 20%?

For the campaigns that aren’t delivering impressive conversions, take a deeper dive.

  • Look at the analytics for each individual email. Look at open rates. Yes, open rates can be misleading/deceiving, but you need to start somewhere. Study the subject lines in the winning emails from your successful lead nurturing campaign. Can you draw any conclusions on why they’re so effective? (Such as length or use of personalization.) Tweak the subject lines in the emails that aren’t enjoying high open rates and see if things improve.
  • Look at the content in the emails that have high open rates, but low conversions. Try changing one thing—perhaps the call to action or the length of the email—to see if it improves conversions.

While analytics are based in real numbers, how you respond to the analytics and what you decide to fix/change to get more senior living leads will be less scientific. 

The numbers might be telling you that email #1 has a 42% open rate but 1% conversions on the offer. You know something isn’t working. But now you have to experiment to see if you can figure out why it isn’t converting—and if you can come up with a solution. This part is more art than science. Once you make your adjustment, you’ll then return to the analytics in a few weeks or months to see if your adjustment changed things for the better.

Track what successfully moves an MQL to an SQL to an actual customer.

As you nurture more MQLs to SQLs, and convert SQLs to residents, pay attention to where the lead conversions happened. Is there a certain piece of content that’s doing the trick? You might want to spend more time promoting that content (and not just on your site, but through other means, like paid search). Is there a specific call-to-action that gets people to schedule a tour? Use that CTA in other emails and on your site.

  • Your Task: Do more of what gets you the results you crave and less of what doesn’t.

Work with a senior living marketing agency that can help you maximize your MQLs.

Even with automation, you still need to keep track of a lot in order to get the amount of senior living leads you’re looking for. And you’re already juggling ten million other things. That’s where we come in. We can help you maximize your MQLs. Reach out and let’s chat →

 

senior living sales consultant, two women talking

Hiring a Senior Living Sales Consultant? Read This First

If you’re thinking about hiring a senior living sales consultant because something isn’t working with your sales team, read this first. Not all issues require an outside consultant. In fact, many issues are fixable within the team itself, especially if yours is grappling with one of the very common issues below.

Are the marketing and sales teams working in silos?

Departmental silos are so last century—and for good reason. Collaborative efforts between sales and marketing teams reduce friction and unnecessary redundancies. When marketing and sales teams work in harmony, the results can be powerful. (HubSpot refers to this alignment as “smarketing.”)

How can you tell if an alignment issue exists? Well, do your sales and marketing teams meet regularly to discuss goals and results? If the answer is no, that’s usually the first (and biggest) clue that your sales and marketing alignment is out of whack.

Is the sales team attempting to work all leads?

It doesn’t make sense for sales departments to work all the leads that come in. Why? Because most leads aren’t ready for a sales interaction. The lead wants time to engage with your site and content (often upwards of eight times!) before talking to anyone in sales. Here’s the good news, though: When a lead is ready to talk to sales, they’re going to be much easier to close.

How is the overall lead quality?

Maybe the problem isn’t the sales process, but the lead quality itself. We often remind clients that more website traffic isn’t always better—sometimes it’s just more. Don’t get taken in by vanity metrics. Instead, focus on quality. Attracting a smaller volume of highly quality website traffic is much better than a high volume of low quality traffic.

  • SOLUTION: Revisit your buyer personas and audit your website’s messaging and keyword strategy. What messages and keywords brought in the types of leads that have converted in the past—and that you’d like to see more of? Again, making this adjustment might cause you to see a dip in overall website traffic. Don’t panic! If lead quality and conversions increase, even if traffic has decreased, you know you’re on the right track. (And, of course, you’ll follow the above tip about scoring leads appropriately!)

Has a lead nurturing program been developed and properly executed?

If your sales team has been treating all leads the same way, then the answer to this question is “probably not.” Remember, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) aren’t ready to talk to a sales person just yet. That’s OK. Your job is to provide helpful info that will empower them during this journey. A good lead-nurturing workflow will do all of that in the low-pressure way today’s buyers crave.

Has the team given up too quickly on leads?

If your sales team has been working all leads, no doubt you have a high number of leads in your senior living CRM that are labeled cold or dead. The problem? Many of those leads were likely only marketing-qualified, not sales-qualified. So of course a high number of them didn’t answer the phone or return your sales reps’ calls.

Implementing lead-scoring and lead nurturing workflows for MQLs is a great solution for moving forward. But what about all those so-called cold or dead leads already sitting in your CRM? Aren’t at least some of them still viable? 

Still not sure what you need? Give us a shout.

We work closely with marketing and sales teams and can help identify ways to shore up your processes without dumping valuable dollars into a senior living sales consultant. (But if we think a sales consultant is the answer, we’ll tell you that, too!) Reach out and let’s chat →

 

lead generation ideas for senior living people infographic

Lead Generation Ideas for Senior Living: Revisit Cold Prospects

When it comes to lead generation ideas for senior living, everyone is always shouting, “We want MORE leads.”

But as we discussed in a previous article about lead quality vs. quantity, more isn’t always better. That’s why we’re big fans of getting our clients to embrace the following strategy:

Clients who follow this proven formula will see the overall quality of leads improve and conversion rates (i.e., lead to MQL, MQL to SQL, SQL to move-in) increase as well. But keep in mind that this is a strategy to implement on a go-forward basis.

What about the existing database we inherit when we start an engagement with a client? The one that’s often filled with thousands of cold prospects? Should we dump them and move on? Or is there any gold in those cold leads? One of the most overlooked lead generation ideas for senior living lies in cold leads.

Some folks might be surprised to learn that we don’t recommend dumping a cold database. Revisiting it can be fruitful, provided you have a smart strategy to re-engage these leads.

How re-engaging your cold database serves two purposes:

  • It will allow you to continue the conversation with prospects who weren’t ready to act previously but are in a better place to do so now.
  • It will help you clean out your senior living CRM of truly “dead” prospects, meaning those who will never become customers. Having a clean and accurate database will also offer a more realistic view of your overall sales pipeline.

Remember, most old/cold leads haven’t received any substantive follow-up. Prospects inquire at various stages of readiness, but salespeople can only work 10 – 12 active leads at a time. Because of this, the reps tend to focus on leads closest to making a decision. All the other leads tend to receive minimal follow-up. If the lead doesn’t advance at that point, it’s labeled cold or dead (when in reality, the lead simply isn’t ready and needs more nurturing).

How does a re-engagement campaign for cold leads work?

  • To start, you’ll send a series of short surveys to gauge interest. For example, if after receiving three surveys, a particular lead does not participate in a survey or even open your emails, you can safely assume the lead is indeed cold. The automation will determine this automatically, removing the lead from your senior living CRM.
  • If a lead does respond to one of the surveys, they will enter an appropriate workflow based on their answers. The workflow will continue to serve them relevant content based on survey answers and/or additional actions they take throughout the campaign.
  • What people download—and when—will determine what communications they receive next. Again, this happens automatically behind the scenes, thanks to marketing automation.

Essentially, re-engaging a cold database works like any other good lead nurturing campaign. Instead of nurturing marketing-qualified leads, you’re marketing to leads that are several steps behind MQLs. The goal is to re-engage those leads and get them back on track to becoming bona fide MQLs.

At the end of the campaign, you’ll have lists with the following:

  • Re-engaged leads ready for sales outreach
  • Re-engaged leads ready for continued nurturing
  • Truly cold leads to remove from the CRM
  • “No action” prospects who can be enrolled in a monthly e-newsletter to continue re-engagement (if you so choose)

Interested in a solution that does everything we describe above?
Use our “Stay in Touch” program.

One of the best lead generation ideas for senior living, our Stay in Touch program, includes a library of ready-to-go emails, downloadable offers (complete with content for the landing pages), and email workflows associated with each offer. These will be templated so you can easily customize and add your community’s branding. You’ll also have a dedicated smart list to track conversions.

Once set up (using marketing automation, like HubSpot), everything will happen automatically. You and your team will simply monitor the activity and follow up with engaged prospects accordingly.

As for whether this program works? It sure does! Read how our Stay in Touch program turned thousands of cold leads into 2.6 million dollars in revenue for LCB Senior Living.

senior living leads business infographic

Senior Living Leads: Think Quality vs. Quantity

Whenever we deploy lead scoring and marketing automation for a client, we always receive the inevitable panicked call from someone on the sales team: Where did all the leads go?

Here’s the thing: The leads are still there. What’s changed is the way the leads are being handled. And that’s a good thing. Sales-qualified leads (SQLs) move onto the sales team, while the marketing automation nurtures the not-ready-yet leads. (Also known as marketing-qualified leads or MQLs.)

Why do we follow this strategy instead of the old “move all leads to sales no matter what” approach? Simple. Most senior living leads aren’t ready to buy.

Consider the following:

  • 80% of new leads never translate into sales. [Small Biz Genius]
  • 96% of visitors who come to your website aren’t ready to buy. [Small Biz Genius]
  • 50% of the leads you generate are qualified, but not ready to buy right now. [Business.com]
  • 25% of the leads you generate are totally unqualified; they won’t ever buy. [Business.com]
  • 19% of buyers want to connect with a salesperson during the awareness stage. 60% want to connect during the consideration stage. 20% want to talk during the decision stage. [HubSpot]
  • At least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell. [HubSpot]

Obviously, mileage will vary depending on a variety of factors, but the overarching theme to keep in mind is this: Since most leads aren’t ready to buy, most won’t be interested in a sales interaction. So why serve up not-ready leads to the sales team?

Doesn’t it make more sense for your sales team to work the leads that have the highest potential of converting while your marketing team nurtures the cooler and warmer leads to turn red-hot? Of course it does!

Still, this can be a hard sell to a sales team that’s used to seeing a big bucket of all leads. So, what can you do to help your sales team embrace the idea that lead quality trumps quantity? Get them to focus on other things.

Instead of fixating on the number of senior living leads, sales reps should focus on the following:

1. Give sales-qualified leads the VIP treatment.

Sales-qualified leads are gold! Treat them as such. In other words, don’t give up on your SQLs after only one or two attempts.

Here’s more compelling stats from our friends at HubSpot:

  • 60% of customers say no four times before saying yes. And yet 48% of salespeople never even make a single follow-up attempt.
  • 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls. And yet 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up call.
  • 70% of salespeople stop at one email. Yet if you send more emails, you’ve got a 25% chance to hear back.

2. Revisit buyer personas to ensure a solid understanding of prospects’ pain points.

Revisiting your buyer personas will help ensure the sales reps are familiar with all the relevant details—details that will help the reps ultimately sell better.

Reminder, personas are fictional representations of your ideal prospect. These personas provide important insights into things like challenges the prospect is facing, their financial health, and what they’re looking for in senior living.

Why is persona work so critical? If sales reps are only focusing on sales-qualified leads, the leads will probably closely match a corresponding persona. Now, instead of the sales rep having to rely on a broad one-size-fits-all sales pitch, they can customize their presentations to solve for the lead’s specific challenges, thanks to the intelligence provided by the persona.

Isn’t that a much smarter sales strategy?

3. Audit sales collateral used in follow-up communications with SQLs.

Sales reps might be working fewer leads, but they’ll be working better leads. Once again, you need to consider these your VIP leads and give them the VIP treatment. This most certainly includes how you follow up with them—including the words you use in your emails and the content you provide in brochures and guides.

Audit your existing follow-up materials, especially all emails. Create email templates that cover most scenarios you encounter. For example, create a set of emails for that awesome lead who is on the fence between your community and one of your competitors. Another set of emails for the hot lead who is leaning your way, but just needs a nudge. And so forth.

Doing this legwork now will make it easier to quickly customize when you need to send something out.

4. Offer an array of options for interacting with senior living leads.

If the pandemic taught us anything it’s this: It is possible to sell senior living via virtual methods like Zoom and online tours. And just because the pandemic is winding down doesn’t mean you need to abandon these methods, either.

Providing VIP prospects with multiple ways for them to interact with you will help make it easier for them to do exactly that.

5. Provide input to marketing teams regarding ideas for emails that nurture marketing-qualified leads (MQLs).

The marketing team usually manages the lead nurturing campaigns, but sales should provide input. After all, everyone’s goals are aligned—to convert MQLs to SQLs to move-ins. Sales reps often hear feedback from prospects regarding info that the prospects sought during the buying process but couldn’t find. Share these learnings with your marketing counterparts.

Remember: When it comes to senior living leads, quality beats quantity. Every. Single. Time.

We can help get your marketing and sales teams up to speed with lead scoring, marketing automation, and effective lead nurturing. Get in touch and let’s chat.

senior-living-sales-office-workers-collaborating-graphic

Senior Living Sales Tips: The Problem with Third-Party Leads

Many senior living sales teams have become dependent on third-party lead aggregators to generate leads, tours, and move-ins. On the surface, a lead-gen aggregator sounds super appealing. You get more leads without lifting a finger, right? But as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

In today’s edition of senior living sales tips, we’re going to discuss the many problems with third-party leads (including how you should approach them if you’ve decided you simply can’t give them up).

1. All third-party leads are SHARED leads.

Unfortunately, it’s easy for senior living sales teams to buy into the illusion that they have plenty of leads if they’re only looking at the total number rather than the quality or the lead source itself.

Keep in mind, however, that lead aggregators aren’t sharing leads with just your community. They’re sharing the leads with five to seven other communities as well. Not to mention, a shared lead actually represents only 1/5 or 1/7 of an organic or exclusive lead. So you can’t consider any shared leads as “full” leads since doing so will artificially inflate your lead database or senior living CRM.

2. Third-party lead generators might provide a high volume of leads, but these leads typically have extremely low conversions.

It is not unusual for communities to attribute 80% of their total leads to third-party sources but only convert three to six percent of those leads to residents.

Think about that for a moment.

Your senior living sales team is spending eighty percent of its time working on leads that convert only three to six percent of the time! Organic leads, professional referrals, and friend and family referral sources all have significantly higher conversions.

3. Being first is the only one way to improve conversions (and that isn’t as easy as it sounds).

By “first,” we mean contacting the lead within 10 minutes of receiving it—and doing this on a regular basis day in and day out with all leads that come in. Talk about adding stress to your sales team!

And even if you are first, that might not get you very far since most marketing leads aren’t sales-ready until after six to eight marketing interactions.

4. You might already have the same lead in your CRM.

The lead the third-party aggregator provided might already exist in your senior living CRM because it came in another way, such as organic search or paid advertising.

And yet if you don’t promptly notify the third-party provider about the duplicate lead, you’ll end up “buying” a lead for a prospect you already have. Talk about a waste of valuable marketing dollars for your senior living sales team.

5. Third-party leads are expensive.

Most communities are paying the equivalent of one full month’s rent and care for third-party leads. Couldn’t you put that money to better use with marketing initiatives that bring in organic leads who are genuinely interested in your community? (Short answer: YES!)

Not ready to give up third-party lead aggregators just yet? At least be SMART about it.

If you’re going to continue with third-party lead aggregators, you need a smart strategy to convert leads faster using marketing automation technology. Luckily for you, we’ve created a solution that can help.

We call it “Speed to The Lead.” This solution will help your community respond quickly to third-party leads, deliver brochures immediately, and follow-up using an automated five-step lead nurturing workflow that nudges people along the sales funnel and encourages them to request a tour. Interested in hearing more about it? Get in touch and let’s chat!

Clicking a mouse with a hundred dollar bill graphic, representing pay per click advertising in Senior Living

Senior Living Advertising: The Formula for Pay-Per-Click Success

Senior living advertising, particularly pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, can be a great strategy to generate leads. Or it can be a complete waste of money.

The success of your PPC senior living advertising hinges on three things:

1. Developing a sound strategy

You need to target the right audience with a compelling message and/or offer. This involves understanding your ideal prospect. It also involves developing engaging content that appeals to your ideal prospect. Finally, it involves knowing the keywords your prospect is searching on.

Bottom line: Don’t bother with any sort of paid advertising until you’ve done your persona work. You need to know your ideal prospects inside and out before you can advertise to them online.

2. Having a senior living website optimized for conversions

You can spend a lot of money driving traffic to your website. But if your site isn’t built to convert visitors into leads, what’s the point?

An optimized senior living website will have the following:

Bottom line: Don’t bother with pay-per-click advertising of any kind until you’ve done all of the above. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting money.

3. Being realistic about your online advertising budget

Effective online advertising is marathon, not a sprint. Unlike a print ad that you run once a week or once a quarter, your online ads are something that will likely run daily for the long haul with a specific daily spend limit.

The dollars can add up quickly, too. For more competitive regions in the country, you’ll spend more. This is why it’s critical to have a sound strategy and a senior living website that’s poised to convert the leads that come in from paid ads. As noted earlier, this often involves creating special landing pages and content specifically for the prospects who come in from the pay-per-click advertising. (And this additional work will increase your advertising budget even more.)

Bottom line: When figuring out your budget, consider the lifetime value of a resident and work backwards on what you should target for a daily spend that will deliver the best ROI.

Should you work with a PPC firm on your senior living advertising?

It does make sense to work with a firm that has experience in developing, setting up, and monitoring online advertising for senior living communities. Pay attention to that last part. Having a firm with PPC expertise isn’t enough these days. Choose a firm that also understands senior living.

Exterior Rendering of Traditions of Mill Creek by Vitality Senior Living

Senior Living Marketing Leaps Into Digital Age With Innovations, Investments

Excerpt:

Before Covid-19, providers commonly treated their digital presences and social media channels almost as afterthoughts. Over the past six months, however, these platforms have become essential to operations. Much like demand for telehealth services has exploded during the Covid-19 outbreak and could have long-lasting effects on how clinical services are delivered in senior living, the pandemic may have finally ushered in the digital age of senior living sales and marketing.

Tours have gone virtual as providers restricted access to communities to non-essential personnel. Marketing campaigns are increasingly balancing selling the lifestyle that senior living offers with transparency regarding resident safety. Digital campaign spending is growing, and providers are using websites and social media channels to interact more with resident families and prospective residents, and capture information to generate new leads.

With that comes new challenges. The growing importance of digital marketing is resulting in higher provider spends, and digital advertising companies are beginning to charge higher rates for ad placements.

Some providers are now seeking a new balance between increasing digital spending and updating websites to capture visitor information, generate leads and convert those into move-ins.

“We’ve probably seen more innovation in the last six months than we have in the last 10 years of senior living marketing,” Senior Living SMART CEO Deborah Howard told SHN.

Full story from Senior Housing News →

arrows pointing at center of target that represents senior living websites, research, social, newletters, affiliates, referral, marketing campaign

How to Get More Repeat Visitors to Your Senior Living Website

Most prospects visit a senior living website an average of seven to eight times before contacting someone from sales. So getting prospects to come back often throughout their journey is important.

How do you do this?

By giving them a reason to come back.

Here are five strategies for doing exactly that.

1. Lure them through compelling subscription-based content (like a blog or newsletter).

If you have a senior living blog, encourage people to subscribe so that they automatically get notified when a new post goes live. When it comes to newsletters, make sure the sign-up for your prospect-facing newsletter is available on every page of your site. The footer is a great location for this. Fill each newsletter with content that gets prospects to click back to the site—it could be a link to a blog post or piece of premium content or an alert about an event, like an open house.

2. Charm them on social media.

As senior living website visitors travel through your site, make it easy for them to follow your senior living community on social media. Include social media icons on every page of the site, ideally in the header and footer. Then, make sure you have a good social media strategy in place where you regularly post helpful, interesting, engaging content that inspires people to click through and/or to go back to your site on their own.

3. Convey targeted messages with lead nurturing campaigns.

Different from newsletters, lead nurturing emails are just that—a series of simple, short, text-based emails that speak to the prospect and where they are on their journey.

So an adult daughter searching various options for her aging mom might be in one series of lead nurturing emails. And the links in these emails will point to pages on the senior living site that will be most beneficial to her. Another set of emails might be for a husband looking for options for his spouse who needs memory care. You get the idea.

Each email should have a specific message based on where the person is in their buying journey. Someone in the research phase might be sent to blog posts to deepen their knowledge base, while someone who is farther down the so-called sales funnel might receive an email about floor plans.

Again, the goal is to get people to click back to the site and engage with your content even more.

4. Make them never lose sight of you, thanks to retargeting ads.

Have you ever been looking at a product online, and the next thing you know, you start seeing ads EVERYWHERE for the product? All over Facebook and other websites you visit, such as media sites?

This is by design, not chance. Known as retargeting, this type of advertising allows you to “follow” someone as they leave your site so that you can serve up ads enticing these folks to return to your site—or at the very least, these ads will hopefully keep your senior living community top of mind.

Note: retargeting ads are a great way to focus on anonymous senior living website visitors. So if someone comes to your site, but they don’t download any content, you might think you have no way of staying in front of them because you don’t have any info on them, like a name or email. Retargeting helps bridge this gap.

5. Surprise senior living website visitors with unexpected “old school” methods of engagement.

Radio or TV spots with big companies aren’t always within budget, but for smaller, local stations, you might get a budget-friendly ad buy and the target audience you’re looking for since many seniors still listen to the radio and watch TV. Same goes with print ads, since older demographics are big readers of physical publications like daily and weekly newspapers.

But how does this get people to come back to your website? Simple: Because you’ve included the website URL in all print and radio ads. You could even create special web pages so you can track activity from each promotion: www.YourCommunityName.com/radio.

We talk a lot about digital marketing and inbound marketing, and plenty of marketers will tell you to only focus on those methods. But we think there’s still a place for some old school methods (also known as outbound marketing).

Get Started NOW!

You can use a variety of ways to re-engage people and entice them back to your senior living community’s website. Getting started can be the toughest part, however.  WE CAN HELP.

Take advantage of our experience in the senior living trenches.