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senior living marketing

Senior Living Websites: 6 Questions to Ask Digital Agencies

Almost anyone can “build” senior living websites, thanks to YouTube tutorials and free website templates. But that doesn’t mean the website will work from a sales and marketing perspective. Why? Because an effective website needs a strong strategy that shows an understanding of the senior living industry.

Here are six strategy questions to ask agencies before choosing one to build your senior living website.

1. How will you drive the right prospects to my website?

Not all traffic is good traffic. The right digital agency will ask YOU about your ideal prospect: who they are, what they care about, how they search. If the agency doesn’t demonstrate a keen interest in your senior living community’s buyer personas, walk away. Otherwise, you might end up with a generic “one size fits all” website that doesn’t attract targeted traffic.

2. How will you attract ideal prospects to my senior living website?

Your digital partner should conduct keyword research. In addition, the agency should have experience with search engine optimization (SEO) for senior living. This involves understanding…

  • The search terms that prospects use when looking for senior living options
  • How often each term is searched monthly
  • How difficult it is to rank for these prized terms
  • Where you and your competitors currently stack up

Note: Senior living SEO is also a skill. Don’t be shy about asking the agency to show results that they can quantify.

3. What is your strategy to turn anonymous website visitors into contacts and leads?

Driving qualified prospects to your senior living website is just the beginning. The website also has to convert visitors into tours and move-ins. Ask the agency how they plan to accomplish this.

4. How will you nurture the early stage leads to keep them engaged?

If you generate 100 form requests, you might have 10 that will make a decision in the next 30 to 60 days. The other 90% of these contacts are “not ready.” But if you put all 100 into your senior living sales CRM, your sales team will get frustrated. They will disqualify most of the leads and move them to cold since the leads are not ready. The chances of the sales team ever returning to those “not ready” leads are slim as well.

What a good agency partner will do is make sure you have a good lead scoring plan in place. The urgent leads will go to sales. The not-ready leads will be nurtured until they are ready.

5. How will you get the right information to the right prospect at the right time?

Prospects are in different stages within their journey. Again, your digital partner should be able to identify where each prospect is and provide relevant content for each stage. Having high quality blogs and premium content (e.g., guides, checklists, and e-books) aligned with your keyword strategy is incredibly important.

6. How well does your digital partner understand your sales process?

A strategic partner will be able to articulate your prospect’s journey from the point they begin their research online through their path to conversion and move-in. Marketing strategy must be aligned with sales strategy. Most digital agencies only understand marketing, but that is not enough. Understanding the discovery, advancing, and closing process is critical in designing the right experience for prospects and for the sales team.

Bottom line: Don’t hand over the keys to your senior living website to just any ol’ agency.

Remember, building a new senior living website is going to require an investment of scarce resources: time and marketing budget. Operators expect to see results, which is why you need to make a good decision when choosing the right strategic partner.

The Senior Living SMART team has years of experience on the operator side of the industry. We understand buyer personas. Not only that, we’re experts in digital marketing. Let’s chat about your website project.

FREE Website Assessment

Ready to find out how your senior living website matches up? See how your site is performing with our instant report that you may save and share.

 

content marketing

Using Content Marketing to Generate More Leads, Tours, & Move-Ins

Content marketing, when done correctly, can help you attract and convert website visitors into qualified leads, scheduled tours, and move-ins.

But what content should you create? Most people immediately say “blog posts.” While blogs are a great tool to improve SEO, increase traffic, and engage visitors, you need to do more than simply “blog” if you want to generate leads, tours, and move-ins.

1. Invest in Premium Content Marketing

Your site probably has lots of ungated content, meaning people can access it without giving you their info. Your blog posts are examples of ungated content.

But offering premium content—something people can’t get anywhere else that is “gated” behind a form—motivates visitors to give you their contact information in exchange for the valuable content. From there, you can continue to nurture the prospects along their sales journey. So what should the premium content be? Think guides, e-books, “how-to” articles, and checklists.

A good place to promote your premium content is through a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of a blog post (e.g., “Get our free guide on aging well!”). The blog posts are the bait, your prospects are the fish, and the premium content serves as the hook.

Keep in mind that it’s important to have a variety of premium content because prospects will “bite” on different content based on their stage of readiness and interests.

2. Create Stellar Landing Pages

Your landing page is where the premium content “lives.” This the “gate” part in gated content. The landing page should include:

  • An image of the premium content – so work with a graphic designer on a beautiful cover!
  • A compelling description of what the prospect will learn – so work with a copywriter!
  • A form to gather contact information in exchange for receiving the content. If you want to be sure to gather real emails, distribute the content to prospects via email rather than direct download.

Don’t overwhelm prospects with too many required fields! This is a first date, so simply ask for first and last name and email address. In terms of how to create and host landing pages, we recommend HubSpot because they offer progressive profiling so you can ask additional questions with every opt-in form. As prospects take more premium content, you get more information such as preferred location, their role, and desired lifestyle.

Remember, marketing’s job is to “plate up” sales-qualified leads (SQLs) to the sales team. Each landing page represents a piece of content related to the sales funnel. Your sales team will be especially interested in prospects who opt into content that indicates they’re sales-ready. And by knowing what content the SQL has downloaded, your sales team can have a more productive conversation when they talk to the prospect on the phone or meet face-to-face.

3. Set Up Effective Senior Living Marketing Automation to Nurture Leads

Congratulations, you took an anonymous website visitor and converted them to a lead – great! Now, it’s time to nurture these leads to create face-to-face or voice-to-voice interactions with the sales team.

However, if you reel in the fish too quickly, it will get spooked and drop off the line. That is what happens when you send every lead directly into your CRM. Instead, use a marketing automation platform that will create automated workflows to provide additional content and offers (e.g., tours, lunches, home visits, events) that are relevant to the lead based on the “bait” that reeled them in.

For example, if someone downloads a piece of educational content on tips for aging well, this suggests they are at the top of the sales funnel and perhaps just beginning to learn about senior living options. How you nurture them will be a lot different from the way you nurture someone who’s downloaded a guide on how to finance different senior living arrangements.

If you follow these three steps, you will establish your brand as a thought leader and you’ll continue to bring prospects back to your website throughout their journey. Best of all? You’ll be serving up SQLs that your sales team can take across the finish line.

If you need assistance setting up these systems, please contact us or call 888.620.9832.

Using Data to Uncover New Possibilities in Senior Living

Using Data to Uncover New Possibilities in Senior Living Webinar

Using Incidence Analytics to Identify Market Need

Improving Senior Housing Performance with Precision Market Analytics

We are a data driven world. It can be good or it can be overwhelming. This webinar will highlight three scenarios where data is used to make intelligent business decisions, improve current assets and increase referrals to your communities. Learn how to use incidence data and medication data to improve your business results.

What to schedule a demo or learn more? Click here for more information on VisionLTC services →

senior living marketing

[WEBINAR] Senior Living Websites: Attract, Engage & Nurture Prospects

Senior Living Websites Should Attract, Engage, and Nurture Prospects

Lead nurturing is the purposeful process of engaging prospects by providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey. You want to actively move the prospects through your marketing and lead generation efforts, to the point where they become leads. In this webinar, we discuss how to nurture leads. Strategies include targeted content, multi-channel nurturing,  timely follow-ups, and personalization.

Interested in learning more strategies for exceeding prospects’ expectations?

Let’s chat! We’ll spend 30 minutes brainstorming with you.

INBOUND MARKETING

What is Inbound Marketing? And Do I Need It? [Webinar]

Inbound marketing is the tool used to meet today’s customer where they spend most of their time – on the internet. Inbound marketing is all about attracting prospects through relevant and helpful content. It allows senior living communities to add value at every stage in your prospective resident’s journey. It pulls together content marketing, blogs, events, SEO, social media and more to attract prospects to your website.

 

Fresh Ideas For Planning Events That Drive Traffic & Generate Leads

Senior Living Marketing Events: Fresh Ideas That Drive Leads

Editor’s note: We updated this article on 9/15/20 in an effort to talk about senior living marketing events in the time of COVID-19.

Senior living marketing events can typically go one of two ways. First, well-planned and executed events can generate qualified leads, re-engage existing leads, and create opportunities to develop new professional contacts and nurture existing relationships.

On the other hand, poorly executed events can be a big waste of time and money. Add in a pandemic, and event marketing becomes even more complex!

Don’t worry. We got you covered. Here are some fresh event ideas, most of which you can adapt in a “virtual” way. Popular options include Zoom and Facebook Live. In fact, we’ve written an in-depth post on how to effectively use Facebook Live during COVID-19…and beyond.

Senior Living Marketing Events: Show That You Are An Expert & a Resource

Educational senior living marketing events will help position you as a trusted advisor and valued resource. Below are some topics and themes to consider.

  • Author Visit. Many authors are doing virtual book tours right now. You can either host or simply promote a popular author’s upcoming virtual book tour. For in-person events, the author can speak and bring books for purchase and signing.
  • Downsizing/ Transitions. Invite real estate pros and downsizing experts. Hold a panel discussion in person or via Zoom/Facebook Live.
  • Financial Solutions Same idea as above. Your community hosts the experts in person or virtually. Think VA benefits, life insurance conversion, and long term care.
  • Legal Issues/ Financial Planning Topics. Ditto.
  • Memory Care Topics. Ditto. Think brain fitness, education, research, driving, and dementia.
  • Support Groups. Ideas include: caregiver support groups, Alzheimer’s, men’s groups, bereavement groups, etc.
  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Do this at your community, or bring your program to a local hospital or skilled nursing facility.

Senior Living Marketing Events: Be Social & Show Your Fun Side

Some of the senior living events below work better “in person.” But many can be adapted to a virtual environment. We’ve marked those with asterisks.

  • Art classes. *This can be a GREAT thing to do virtually. The teacher demonstrates via ZOOM, and people follow along/participate at home.
  • Fitness classes. *Same idea. The teacher conducts the fitness class via Zoom, and people can take part from home.
  • Networking. Think breakfasts, lunch, cocktail receptions, martini mixer etc.
  • Dash & Dine. Stop by for a tour or event, and take home dinner on us!
  • Spa Night. *For a virtual component, perhaps offer a virtual “series” on nail care or how to trim your own hair.
  • Brunch. Ideas include champagne, jazz, holiday, Mother/Father’s Day.
  • Senior/Senior Prom with local high school (Star Dust Prom).
  • Holiday/ Special Day Socials / BBQs. Think of all the possibilities: Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Mother/ Father’s/ Grandparent’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving.
  • Chef demonstrations & duels and contests.  *Another great option for Facebook Live. Think of how many people love watching reality cooking shows!
  • Fashion Show. Collaborate with a local store and use staff, residents, family, or professionals as models. *Again, a version of this could be transitioned online.
  • Comedienne. Professionals need to have fun after work. *So many comics are sharing free clips right now on YouTube. Compile a bunch and share with your contacts.
  • Reading or one act play by local theater group 

Senior Living Marketing Events: Grass Roots & Community

  • Host spiritual groups. Think Parish Nurses, Stephens Ministry, Non Denominational meeting of Rabbi’s, Pastors, Priests etc.
  • Host seniors groups. Think Red Hat Society, Senior Centers & Groups.
  • Host art shows for local schools/ artists or resident art
  • Host piano recitals for local teachers if you have a piano
  • Dinner & a movie if you have a theater
  • Sponsor a community yard sale
  • Host fundraisers. More and more of these are happening online, such as virtual walks/races.
  • Sponsor a community health fair with free screenings
  • Host community group car wash
  • Host a variety/ talent show
  • Wreath/ Miniature Tree decorating – referral sources & families buy a wreath or tree and decorate it (usually with a theme) and raffle them off for charity at a social event.

Reminder, we’ve helped our clients successfully “pivot” during the pandemic.

In fact, we never missed a beat since we’re a virtual marketing agency. As a result, most of our clients didn’t either. WE CAN HELP YOU. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and take advantage of our free 30-minute brainstorming session. We can help you come up with effective senior living marketing events that will work now.

Market Better During COVID-19!

Access our free resources! Includes tips on senior living events and more. Get started here.

5 Marketing Trends That Can Generate 5-7 New Move-Ins

5 Marketing Trends That Can Generate 5-7 New Move-Ins! Webinar

This webinar will provide best practices on how to use your event marketing to increase your lead generation and move-ins!

Website Pet Peeves

Website Pet Peeves

87% of those looking into senior living options start their search by visiting community websites and 37% of those prospects will eliminate a community from consideration purely based on the quality of the website. When prospects visit your website, they are looking for answer to four key questions:

Price – “Can I Afford It?”

According to a “Social Silver Surfers” report by Creating Results, the #1 pet peeve of our prospects (The Silent Generation & The Older Boomer) is the lack of pricing transparency. They want to know how much it will cost, what’s included, and how senior living is funded. The problem is that most providers do not provide any pricing information on their website because they want to establish value before quoting price and they do not want their competitors to have that information. The reality is that competitors can get pricing with mystery shopping. The lack of transparency on pricing drives prospects off of your website and over to a paid referral agency/ lead generator online sources who will provide your pricing and the pricing of your competitors (who they may not have even been exploring) and your lead is now shared with 4 -6 competitors. Here are three solutions to keep your website visitors on your site:

  • Offer your starting at pricing for each apartment style as a downloadable pdf so you collect contact information needed to follow up and establish value.
  • Offer a downloadable cost comparison worksheet with everything included in your community completed and the same expenses for staying at home for the prospect to complete to establish value & collect contact information.
  • Offer a downloadable guide to funding solutions as an opt-in with information that provides an overview to the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance benefit, Life Insurance conversion, Long Term Care Insurance, Medicare & Medicaid. You provide a valuable guide and in exchange, collect contact information to convert a website visitor into a lead.

Housing – “Where Will I Live?”

According to the same study by Creating Results, the #2 pet peeve about senior living websites is that floor plans are either not available, are illegible or incomplete. According to Jayne Sallerson, COO of Sherpa, the majority of website visitors are in the “planning” or “thinking” stages and are not yet ready to take an action such as calling, completing an online form or scheduling a tour – but they do want a sneak peak before they are ready to tour. Here are three solutions to consider:

  • Create a gallery of images that are easy for prospects to sort through and explore on the website. Be sure to represent common areas and a variety of apartment styles.
  • Create a library of clear, legible floor plans and make them available to download.
  • My favorite solution is to create a virtual video tour that allows prospects to explore your community while collecting data and analytics and turning website visitors into prospects. (link to SMARTTour video on the SLS website)

Amenities – “What Will I Do?”

The “Social, Silver Surfers” survey reveals that the third pet peeve of senior living prospects is that the information on the website is outdated. Providing information about the community lifestyle is important but must be monitored, maintained and stay current. Posting pictures of residents and families enjoying special events, providing menu and activity calendar samples and posting upcoming events adds value to your website, keeps prospects on your site, reduces “bounce rate” and brings them back to the site as they move through their decision process.

Care – “Will I Be Cared For?”

For 18% of website visitors, care considerations are the primary interest. Any reassurance that you can provide about the quality of care, survey results, testimonials, staff training, security & safety specifics and any niche programs offered should be included in your website. One of our Senior Living SMART Members started using a hiring tool that measured job applicants against the attributes of their best performers in each department and scored them according to their “cultural fit” reducing turnover from 70% to 17%. This type of information is compelling and reassuring to families and prospects and should be included on the website!

Free Download

Members can access the ‘Website Pet Peeves’ survey report, or non-members may download the resource by filling out form below:


 

 

Network Resource Download

opt-in download access for white papers, ebooks, case studies, and more.
7 Methods to Change Sales & Marketing Strategies to Engage Today’s Prospects

Senior Living Marketing Tactics That Will Engage Today’s Prospects

In my constant quest to keep up with all things senior living marketing, I recently read an article published by Senior Housing News called “The Secrets To Growing Senior Living Sales & Occupancy.

In a nutshell, here are the so-called secrets:

  • Do deep discovery.
  • Ask the right questions to get the right information.
  • Understand the difference between senior living marketing and sales.
  • View marketing as an investment, not a cost center.
  • Get the executive director involved in the sales process and train employees to understand the sales process.

Really? These are “secrets”? This same article could have been written 10 years ago!

Here’s the REAL secret: the way prospects engage with senior living communities has dramatically changed.

As such, our senior living marketing and sales tactics need to evolve, too.

We can’t keep recycling old “insights,” like the ones outlined above from that article, because our prospects expect more today than they did 10 years ago – or even three years ago.

So, what can your teams do to better engage with today’s prospects?

Keep reading…

1. Remember that your senior living website is your #1 sales tool.

According to the Senior Living Research Study, online research is the preferred method for gathering information about senior living options. It even ranked 35% higher than the second ranking method: recommendations/ word of mouth.

Other industry studies report that 87% of your prospects will visit your website before initiating any contact, like calling or walking into the community. And 37% of prospects will eliminate communities based solely on the quality of the website.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: It’s time to change the website experience from focusing on community features and benefits (in other words, the “let me tell you about me” model). Instead, re-position your site so that it becomes a valuable resource that seniors, caregivers, and professionals will visit often as they research options. Need ideas for improving your site? Choose our affordable senior living website audit, which will deliver clear action items.

2. Live chat can turn websites into lead generators.

Organic leads are great, but unless you quickly engage them, they will bounce over to a competitor’s site or a paid referral site. (The latter means providers will be buying back move-ins who had initially visited their website!)

Live chat, on the other hand, can quickly engage website visitor by demonstrating empathy and helping visitors access the info they’re looking for. An effective live chat host can generate qualified leads that can be transferred directly from the chat host to a community representative or turned into a scheduled tour. Chat can also provide evening and weekend coverage at a very low cost.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: There are many chat options available, but we typically recommend SiteStaff, because the chat hosts are US-based with specialized training in healthcare settings, like senior living.

3. Videos can help convert prospects into sales.

Here’s a stat for you: 80% of website visitors will stop and watch a video. Talk about engagement! There are many ways to use video, too, from background b-roll to video testimonials from happy residents to virtual tours.

And here’s the even better news: not all video has to be professionally shot. Smartphone videos can work well, especially on social media channels, like Facebook.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Pick up your phones and start shooting! Yes, you need to keep privacy laws in mind, but start shooting video. Short and sweet (think 30 seconds to a minute) can work well. Online editing software can allow you to add in calls-to-action, but you don’t even need to go to that far when sharing on social: just post with a brief intro.

And don’t underestimate using video for more formal things, like tours or room planners. One product we particularly like: DesignFloorPlan.com.

4. Transparent pricing matters.

“By far the most important senior living concern is cost” states the Senior Living Research Study.

However, most communities make it impossible to find pricing info on the website, leaving prospects to bounce over to a paid referral site who will not only provide your pricing information, but also your competitors’ info.

We understand that you want to sell your value first before providing prices, because you’re concerned prospects will experience sticker shock, particularly if they don’t have the full context. But the lack of pricing transparency is not helpful to prospects or professionals looking for information.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Consider making your pricing available through a short opt-in form with basic contact information. This scratches two itches: visitors get the info they want, and the sales team has the ability to follow up to establish value and offer resources to help fund senior living.

5. A better “template strategy” can reduce senior living marketing and sales costs.

One of the biggest marketing spends in senior living today is print. Think event flyers, invitations, incentives, direct mail, and postcards, just to name a few items. The problem is that the cost of graphic design, printing, and mailing continues to climb. Not to mention that the shelf life for these items is days or a few weeks TOPS.

The good news? A smarter “template strategy” can reduce these costs. Imagine having all the print items you regularly use at your fingertips as templates that are already outfitted with your logo and brand colors. All you have to do is customize them with the relevant details for that particular marketing campaign. Goodbye, design costs! Goodbye unnecessary printing!

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Check out our SMARTbrand and SMARTbrand+ options. We have a free version and an affordable subscription service that allows you to easily create the materials you need. Or if you like the idea of creating a full-blown template strategy, check out our SMARTstores.

6. Senior living events still work!

“The majority of people who know someone in senior housing have been influenced by this experience (73.0%), most often in a positive way (57.0%)” finds Imagination in their research study. Bottom line: senior living events still work!

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Make sure you include the following in your senior living marketing plan:

  • Friend & family referral programs
  • New resident welcome events for friends
  • Address change cards for new residents to send to friends and neighbors
  • Coupons for meals, salon services, weekend stays, and community events

Need help? Check out our senior living event management solutions.

Senior living marketing has changed. Work with an agency that’s evolved, too.

We’re not just any agency. We’re a senior living marketing agency. Our staff has industry experience, which sets us apart from other agencies (even the ones who also “specialize” in senior living marketing). Get in touch today and request your complimentary 30-minute brainstorming session.

7 Keys to Successful External Business Development

Senior Living Sales Tips: 7 Networking Strategies That Work

An important component of every successful sales plan involves generating referrals from professional sources. Of course, balancing internal and external sales responsibilities can be challenging for even the most talented senior living sales reps.

Here are some best practices and other senior living sales tips to get the greatest results from your efforts.

1. Have Designated Days Established for Senior Living Sales Networking

Tuesday – Thursday are usually the best days to meet with referral sources. To ensure that you create more referral opportunities with healthcare sources, find out what day they hold their care planning/discharge planning meetings and schedule a visit right after.

2. When Possible, Start Your Day with Sales Calls

Once you set foot in the community, it is very difficult to get out! Going directly from home to networking events, scheduled sales calls, and cold calls will reduce the opportunity for other sales activities to distract you from prospecting. 

3. Know the Difference Between a Sales Call and a Cold Call

A senior living sales call is a scheduled appointment with purpose. It is face to face and it serves to move your relationship with the referral source forward. To be effective, 50% of your sales calls should be scheduled in advance to ensure that you have a face-to-face appointment with a decision maker who influences referrals.

A cold call is an unscheduled face-to-face meeting with a decision maker who influences referrals. It involves having a conversation that moves the relationship forward.

Dropping off brochures, flyers, invitations, cookies, etc., does not qualify as a sales call or a cold call. You must have a face-to-face meeting/conversation with a decision maker or an influencer who can help you get to the decision maker.

4. Senior Living Sales – Understand Hunting and Farming

There are two ways to increase your business. You either have to get more business from your existing referral sources by going deeper in your accounts. Or you should find new pockets of untapped business. Finding new sources is hunting. Getting more business from established accounts is farming. Your week should be a combination of both hunting and farming.

The best way to hunt for more business is to ask every contact at every sales call who they know that you should be talking to. Statistically, every referral source you interact with has a network of 250 contacts. Ask them, “If you were me, who would you be talking to, or who would you want to meet?”

The best way to farm for more business is to ask your existing contacts who else you should introduce yourself to in their organization.

5. Don’t Spill All of Your Candy in the Lobby!!!!

Once you get the appointment, stick with your plan and time frame. It is very tempting to “dump” all of your information in the first visit and then have nothing to tell them in the next visit. On average, people only remember 7% of verbal communication.

6. Common Courtesy Goes a Long Way

  1. Call to confirm the appointment.
  2. Be on time.
  3. Come with a purpose that is meaningful to them.
  4. Stick with the agreed upon timeframe—they are busy!

7. It’s not about You!

The main goal for senior living sales calls is to learn about them—their role, their goals, their challenges, their business, who they would like to meet, how you can help them, what success looks like, how you can refer to them, and what resources would be valuable.  Take an interest in them and they will take an interest in you.

As you nurture the relationship, you’ll learn about their interests outside of work, which will provide an opportunity to do something memorable that sets you apart. If a referral source brings their dog to work, bring biscuits or treats for your next meeting. If they love to eat out, bring a clipping of a new restaurant about to open. People like to do business with people they connect with. Be creative!

How does your community’s sales team farm for new business? Please share!