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Marketing Solutions Must Haves

Senior Living Marketing Solutions: 5 Must-Haves

You don’t need every marketing solution under the sun for your senior living community to be successful. In fact, sometimes too many bells and whistles can dilute your efforts. That said, there are some must-haves that you shouldn’t skimp on. Below, we discuss five essential senior living marketing solutions that we recommend to all our clients.

1. Senior Living Marketing Solutions: Invest in a Strategy.

Somewhere along the way, the word “strategy” has gotten a bad rap. Probably because strategizing involves stepping back, identifying real objectives, and creating a marketing roadmap for achieving them.

Some might see strategizing as a synonym for slowing down, which is a challenge in our always-on, always-rushed world. And we can certainly appreciate why slowing down can be extremely hard for marketing and sales teams that have a long list of vacancies to fill.

But we’d argue that a sound marketing strategy is needed precisely because it’s so competitive out there. If you approach your marketing willy-nilly—without understanding your buyers or your current website conversions, for example—how can you successfully execute important marketing tasks, like creating content that converts? You can’t measure what you don’t know, right?

The very act of sitting down to create a marketing strategy forces everyone to take a hard look at things like . . .

And that’s just the beginning. No, it’s not “sexy” work. It’s not fast work, either. And it’s not the type of work that will produce results right away since the work itself involves reviewing, compiling, and planning.

But once the work is completed and a plan is in place based on real intelligence? Get ready for turbo-charged marketing that will deliver reliable results over the long haul.

Doesn’t that sound smarter than just winging it?

2. Senior Living Marketing Solutions: Treat Your Website Like the 24/7 Salesforce That It Is.

Sure, every serious business on the planet has a website nowadays. So setting one up might feel like another box you need to check off your endless to-do list. But your community’s website matters. Why? Because it serves as your 24/7 salesforce.

When people are on the hunt for something—new sneakers, a new car, a new home—their search begins online. This is true even among older adults. Consider the following stats:

    • Baby Boomers spend more time online than Millennials, and a staggering 92% of Boomers shop online. [Source: The Shelf]
    • 75% of all Boomers are on Facebook, and 35% use business-focused networking sites, such as LinkedIn. [Source: Kenshoo]
    • Boomers have great attention spans and will read your content! 60% of Boomers regularly read blogs, and 70% percent watch video content online. [Source: The Shelf]
    • Boomers are almost as likely as Millennials to own a tablet. [Source: Marketing Charts]
    • 68% of Boomers own a smartphone. [Source: Pew Research Center]

For most prospects interested in senior living, your website will serve as their first experience with your community. And like it or not, first impressions still matter. Yes, some folks might land on your Google My Business listing first. Or perhaps they’ll see an ad or a billboard or hear about your community from a friend or family member. But they will end up on your site at some point—and usually multiple times.

Bottom line: Don’t treat your senior living website as an afterthought. Don’t treat it like a box you need to check off. And don’t make it look like every other senior living community’s website.

Instead, approach its creation (and its subsequent iterations) with a sound strategy. Pay attention to analytics that give insights into traffic numbers and conversion rates. And if you outsource, choose an agency that knows what it’s doing when it comes to building senior living websites that get results.

3. Senior Living Marketing Solutions: Let Marketing Automation Do the Heavy Lifting

Your community can’t effectively compete if it doesn’t have a seamless method for nurturing marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) over the long haul. Because here’s the reality all communities are facing right now: Prospects require multiple “touches” before making a decision to move into a community. And when we say multiple touches, we’re talking upwards of 20+ for marketing-qualified leads.

Think about that for a second. Let’s use easy math to illustrate. If your site brings in 100 MQLs a month on average, and these MQLs require a minimum of 20 “touches” before making a decision . . . how on earth can your marketing team manually send that many unique emails to that many different people, month after month, year after year?

New MQLs Per MonthTouch Points to ConvertUnique Emails Sent
100202,000

They can’t. At least, they can’t do it efficiently. Things will fall through the cracks, meaning your community will lose great leads to competitors.

Marketing automation solves this problem. Instead of manually sending lead nurturing emails, you’ll program the system to keep track of where the MQLs are in their journey. The automation’s main purpose is to deliver the right content to the right prospect at the right time.

Marketing automation is no longer a “luxury” of national chains, either. Even a small, independently-owned community must use some form of marketing automation to remain competitive.

Luckily, most reputable marketing automation software offers various tiers. So a larger chain might opt for an enterprise license while a smaller community might choose a nimble, budget-friendly option.

The key (beyond choosing the right marketing automation software) is setting it up properly. This takes work, including a deep understanding of your prospects and their buying journeys. But once set up, marketing automation does the heavy lifting so that your marketing team can focus on other things—like creating compelling content, analyzing results, and doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

4. Senior Living Marketing Solutions: Remember to Use Lead Scoring

This goes hand-in-hand with marketing automation. But we find that lots of communities either overlook this point or they don’t take full advantage of lead scoring.

When properly set up and executed, lead scoring provides several benefits:

    • A real-time view of where leads are in the sales funnel. At a glance, you’ll have a solid sense of your overall pipeline and which leads are nearing decision time. This will help improve sales forecasting.
    • Increased efficiency and sales productivity. Sales teams can focus their time on sales-qualified leads.
    • A key input to your marketing automation software. Lead scoring will automatically indicate which lead needs to go where. SQLs will be served up to the sales team. MQLs will enter appropriate nurturing campaigns.

In order to work, however, lead scoring requires . . .

    • Sound strategy. What makes a lead sales-qualified vs. marketing qualified? Do you want to go deeper than simply scoring a lead as an MQL or SQL?
    • Smart implementation. You need to make sure lead scoring is set up properly on the backend. Our biggest tip: This requires more than one set of eyes. And you absolutely must test to ensure the leads are being scored as you envisioned they would be.
    • Revisiting over time. Marketing automation’s biggest advantage—the automation part—can sometimes be its biggest curse. Too often, marketing and sales teams will “set it and forget it”—for good. You do need to occasionally revisit your lead scoring strategy: Has it changed? Have you learned anything new that could affect how you score leads? And you need to occasionally revisit the actual setup to see if anything has broken along the way.

Again, don’t skimp on this process. Lead scoring is a critical component in successful marketing automation.

5. Senior Living Marketing Solutions: Think Analytics.

Practically everything we do as marketers is measurable. While the number that matters most is move-ins, that’s the finish line. Many milestones exist along the way—important milestones that will help deliver leads to the finish line. And all of those milestones have analytics attached to them.

Think about things like . . .

    • Website analytics (traffic, landing pages, calls-to-action, etc.)
    • Google Analytics
    • Social media analytics (specific to each platform)
    • Advertising analytics (print, digital, radio, TV)
    • Lead analytics (such as MQL-to-SQL conversions and SQL-to-move-in conversions)
    • Email marketing analytics (opens, click-through-rates, conversions)
    • Call center analytics
    • Live chat analytics

And the above isn’t an exhaustive list, either.

Some marketers love numbers. Others hate them. If you fall in the latter group, don’t ignore the analytics because you don’t like them. Instead, consider outsourcing the analysis. A good consultant or marketing agency can help you understand what the numbers are telling you so that you can make informed decisions.

Bonus Solution: Work with a Reputable Senior Living Marketing Agency

Because marketing is SO involved, it can be challenging for marketing and sales teams to manage everything on their own. Luckily, there’s a solution for that: outsourcing some of the work to an agency like ours. We know senior living. We know marketing. Let’s talk about your community’s specific marketing needs.




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.

How to Increase Sales in Senior Living Schedule a 30 minute brainstorming session
hubspot for senior living

7 Reasons Why We Love HubSpot for Senior Living

We think HubSpot for senior living is the bees knees. And no, we’re not saying that because we’re a HubSpot Solutions Partner. We became fans of HubSpot long before we entered their Partners Program, and the main reason is simple. (Cue Tina Turner, please.) HubSpot is simply the best. Better than all the rest! Here are seven reasons why.

1. HubSpot remains the leader in inbound marketing.

While there are many inbound marketing pioneers to thank, from Seth Godin to Meerman Scott, the founders of HubSpot are the ones who made the concept stick. Today, businesses around the globe embrace the inbound methodology. And even though many competitors have popped up, HubSpot remains the leader.

2. HubSpot believes in continuous innovation — and practices what it preaches.

One of the reasons HubSpot holds onto its leadership position is because it refuses to rest on its laurels. (Doing so is the fastest route to obsolescence.) Since its founding, HubSpot has constantly innovated and reimagined the marketing software that made it famous. 

From developing a CRM that can hold its own against all the big guys (like Salesforce) to developing marketing automation that’s equal parts robust and intuitive, HubSpot continuously impresses.

Best of all? It listens to its customers and community. HubSpot bases updates and product improvements on community feedback.

3. HubSpot for senior living is more than just marketing automation software.

When we talk up HubSpot for senior living with our clients, we often lead with marketing automation, since that’s the foundation upon which effective inbound marketing is built.

But HubSpot offers senior living marketers and sales reps so much more: an excellent CRM (or the ability to integrate with popular CRM brands), powerful analytics, and easy-to-use content management tools (just to name a few impressive product features).

Different levels of HubSpot make it easy to find the right package for your community’s size and its goals. And if you’re not sure which level is right for you, don’t worry: HubSpot works with partners (like us!) who can help. Which brings us to our next point.

4. HubSpot values partnership.

HubSpot values creating strong relationships with its customers and its formal partners (like us). HubSpot’s Solutions Partner Program enables us to deliver the best experience to our clients. So when you choose us and HubSpot, you get the support and backing of the entire HubSpot ecosystem. (Read more about the platinum tier that we achieved in 2021.)

5. HubSpot practices what it preaches and makes it easy to learn how to do inbound marketing right.

Visit the HubSpot website, download a piece of content, follow HubSpot on social media, and/or interact with HubSpot sales folks, and you’ll quickly get a lesson in effective inbound marketing tactics.

And when you need a tutorial for how to do something within HubSpot, you don’t need to look any further than HubSpot itself. It has an impressive HubSpot Academy where you can earn accreditations that’ll transform you into an inbound marketing rockstar. (And many of the certifications are free and clear, meaning you don’t even have to be a paying customer.)

6. HubSpot has great reviews and stacks up well against popular competitors.

Don’t take our word for it; read independent reviews on meaningful places like Capterra and G2. Capterra breaks down reviews on different HubSpot products (for example, CRM, CMS, HubSpot Sales), but that doesn’t make a difference: HubSpot always has at least 4 out of 5 stars (and regularly shows 4.5 stars).

Reviews on other reputable sites, like G2, are equally impressive.

7. HubSpot for senior living works, and our clients are proof.

Remember, we’re not just HubSpot promoters—we’re also a HubSpot customer. We wouldn’t recommend something that we didn’t believe in or use ourselves. Our clients are proof that HubSpot for senior living works. Check out our case studies. Then, get in touch and let’s discuss how we can help your community rock HubSpot.

senior living marketing strategy, hands with gears

7 Mistakes to Avoid with Your Senior Living Marketing Strategy

As we wrap up third quarter, now’s a good time to think about your senior living marketing strategy for the fourth quarter (as well as next year). Below, you’ll find seven mistakes to avoid as you develop your strategy.

Mistake #1. Thinking you don’t need a senior living marketing strategy in the first place.

For some things in life, you can fly by the seat of your pants. But marketing your senior living community isn’t one of them. The benefits of having a formal marketing strategy are many:

  • It provides clear goals.
  • It keeps everyone accountable (marketing and sales).
  • It provides important insights to the C-suite.
  • It will help inform future strategies based on real intelligence.

Mistake #2. Simply going through the motions of creating a strategy.

Don’t treat your marketing strategy as one more thing you need to cross off your to-do list. Your strategy should be your team’s constant companion, the blueprint everyone refers to week in and week out. 

Mistake #3. Treating your strategy as if it’s set in stone.

Your senior living marketing strategy must remain fluid. The best example we could possibly offer: Consider the strategy you had going into 2020. Given the pandemic, if you had “stayed the course” with your original strategy, that would have been a big mistake. Strategies will and should change based on things like analytics and conditions on the ground. 

Mistake #4. Making your strategy too vague.

On the flip side of #3, you still need to have a concrete marketing strategy—one with clear goals and specific initiatives to support those goals. If it’s too loosey goosey, it won’t serve anyone. A good way to approach developing your strategy: Focus on key areas. Think website/SEO, paid advertising, content marketing, email marketing/automation, social media marketing, and print/traditional marketing (like direct mail). Define what you’ll be doing under each, as needed.

Mistake #5. Making your strategy too long.

Planning too far out can result in unwieldy and unrealistic initiatives. Better to focus on shorter time frames. Consider creating quarterly marketing strategies or even month-to-month marketing plans, if that makes following them easier.

Mistake #6. Not revisiting the results of previous strategies before developing this one.

Think of strategies as chapters in a novel — they should all flow together, rather than function as separate books. You should always review past strategies and develop new strategies based on measurable results. 

For example, is your paid advertising delivering excellent ROI? Great! You might decide to reserve more budget for pay-per-click campaigns. Are you finding you’re not gaining any traction on Twitter, but Facebook is lively? Wonderful. You might decide to downgrade (or eliminate) Twitter initiatives and make Facebook the focus of your social media strategy.

Mistake #7. Developing your strategy in a silo and/or forging ahead on your own, even if you don’t know what you’re doing.

There’s no shame in saying you’ve never created a formal senior living marketing strategy before. And there’s no shame in saying you’d like some guidance (even if you have created strategies in the past). In fact, though it might sound self-serving, we do believe working with an objective third-party on your strategy can be extremely beneficial — precisely because it will be objective. You and your team might be too close to things. Or you might not have the experience in developing a sound strategy. 

Whatever you do, don’t develop the strategy by yourself. Work with team members in marketing and sales at the very least. Or do yourself a favor and reach out to us about developing a strategic marketing roadmap for your community.

how to increase sales in senior living, man at whiteboard

How to Increase Sales in Senior Living

Maybe you’re a senior living sales counselor and you’ve been wondering how to increase sales in your community. Maybe you did a search in Google on that precise term—how to increase sales in senior living — and you landed on this blog post. You’re probably holding your breath, hoping this article will have the answer. Good news, folks! It does. And the answer is surprisingly straightforward.

Here’s what you need to do if you want to increase your senior living sales.

You need to work closely with marketing.

Long gone are the days where senior living marketing and sales worked separately. Any businesses that still maintain this separation and silo mentality are doomed for failure. Or, at the very least, they’re certainly not doing as well as they could be.

The line between sales and marketing has blurred. Why? For the simple reason that sales folks no longer drive sales. Buyers drive sales. Marketing’s job is to help enable today’s buyers to buy from you. Which means marketing often needs to think more like sales, and sales folks need to be ready to lend a hand to marketing.

You need to accept that not all leads are created equal.

Sure, some leads will be ready to have a conversation with you today or tomorrow. Those are sales-qualified leads. But most leads are not ready to buy right now. They’re interested in your community, and in senior living in general. But there’s a long way between “interested” and “ready to buy.”

Your job is to focus on the sales-qualified leads while the marketing-qualified leads continue to learn and explore your brand on their own through marketing automation (More on this in a moment.). This can be a tough pill for sales folks to swallow because if you follow this approach, you’ll be working fewer leads, which we know can feel scary.

But the good news is this: You’ll be working better leads, as a result.

You need to use marketing automation.

There’s no sense in bothering with our first two points if you’re going to skimp on the technology. Now, we get it: You’re a sales counselor in an incredibly personal, “high touch” industry. But no amount of charm is going to get you anywhere if you’re not already leaning heavily on marketing automation.

This goes back to our point about buyers being in charge of the sales process. Not marketing. Not sales. Today’s buyers want to interact with your brand (meaning your website, your social media, your emails) anywhere from 5-10 times before talking to anyone in sales. And the only way you can give them the brand experience that they crave is by having powerful marketing automation in place to help them explore your brand in the way they desire.

Why? Because that’s what marketing automation is—it’s a tool that helps deliver the right content to the right prospect at the right time. And guess what? It makes your job easier.

You need to pay attention to results over time.

Sales folks are famous for living in the moment. We get that. But one great week of sales isn’t necessarily an indicator that you’ve landed on the formula for boosting senior living sales in general. Which is precisely why you (and your marketing cohorts) need to embrace analytics.

You need to monitor what’s working and what isn’t. And before you even get to the monitoring part, your team needs to define what they mean by “what’s working.” Definitions will vary for different buyers based on where they are in their journey.

Sure, the ultimate indicator is move-ins, but for buyers who are just starting to research senior living, they’ll need to hit a bunch of milestones along the way before they buy and sign on the dotted line. The marketing and sales teams need to agree on which data and analytics matter.

And here’s the thing: THESE DEFINITIONS WILL CHANGE. What you used as a measuring stick two years ago might not work today. Being flexible is a trait all senior living sales and marketers must embody.

Bonus advice: Use an objective third party to help align your senior living sales and marketing.

The truth is that even the most well-intentioned sales and marketing teams don’t always align goals initially. So if this is the first time your senior living community is talking about things like marketing automation and buyer enablement, consider reaching out to an agency like ours that knows how to bring everyone together.

Get in touch and let’s chat.

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 digital marketing man-struggling with bullseye graphic

Senior Living Digital Marketing: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

What are some of the biggest senior living digital marketing mistakes that we see day in and day out? Keep reading!

Mistake #1: Not having a plan or strategy.

It’s OK to wing some things in life, like creating a soup using whatever is in your fridge. But marketing is not one of those things. Well, we suppose you could try to wing it. But we guarantee you won’t be happy with the results.

Why is this the case? Well, marketing has gotten a lot more complex in the last two decades thanks to search, social media, and smartphones. In the “old days” of marketing, you could get by with an ad in the Yellow Pages (remember those?) and direct mail. That’s not the case now. You need to think about organic search, paid search, your website and blog, social media, and yes—some of those traditional marketing methods, like direct mail and print ads.

Because marketing is so complex, you need to have a senior living digital marketing plan in place. A good plan will make sure you’re implementing tasks that will achieve your goals. It will also keep everyone “honest” in that everyone knows what needs to happen day to day, week to week, and month to month.

Bottom line: Sure, you might be able to get by for a little while if you opt for a haphazard seat-of-your-pants approach. But it will catch up with you. Why wait to fail? Focus on developing a strong senior living marketing strategy now so your community (and marketing and sales teams) can reap the rewards.

Mistake #2: Not being consistent.

Too often we see senior living marketing teams getting psyched once they have a plan, but then the reality of work life interferes, and that awesome plan falls by the wayside or fizzles out over time.

Here’s the thing: effective senior living digital marketing is all about consistency. Lather, rinse, repeat—that’s the name of the game. Marketing guru Seth Godin refers to this as the “Drip, drip, drip” of marketing. You need to show up every day and engage prospects and delight them before you can turn them into residents and—hopefully—raving fans.

Bottom line: If you fall off your marketing horse, be kind to yourself. It happens. And before you get back on, ask yourself and your team a few questions: Was the plan realistic? Do you need to delegate more? Do you need outside help from a digital marketing agency?

Mistake #3: Not paying attention to results.

Why do all the work if it doesn’t deliver the results you’re looking for (i.e., move-ins)? We hate busy work just for the sake of looking busy. That’s where strategy comes into play. But not all strategies are going to be winners, which is why you need to monitor and measure the results.

Bottom line: If one particular marketing activity isn’t generating any leads—or it isn’t moving the marketing-qualified leads to sales-qualified leads—then you need to reconsider and recalibrate. You might want to tweak the activity in question and see if you get better results. Or you might want to put more time and money into the task that is working.

Mistake #4: Not embracing automation.

This one goes hand-in-hand with #2. The biggest reason that communities become inconsistent with their marketing is because they haven’t implemented tools that’ll help them be successful. And the tool we’re talking about here is marketing automation.

It would be impossible for one person or even one team to be responsible for manually doing things like analyzing and scoring leads, serving up and assigning the sales-qualified leads to the sales reps, and sending specific emails with specific content on a specific day and time to the marketing-qualified leads.

The only way to make it all work is through some sort of marketing automation. Any senior living community that shuns the idea is only hurting itself—and its marketing and sales teams. Don’t be this community!

Bottom line: Marketing automation makes life easier for marketing and sales teams while also delivering excellent results. (Provided it’s implemented correctly!) Psst: Need help sourcing and setting up the right marketing automation for your community? We can help!

Mistake #5: Not seeking expert help when you need it.

There’s no shame in outsourcing some of your digital marketing work. Even the most competent teams could use support—or even some strategy guidance from an objective third party. The key is making sure you use a senior living digital marketing agency, one that has experience in both digital marketing and senior living.

Bottom line: Senior Living SMART is the only agency whose team members have experience in digital marketing and senior living. We can help you avoid the big mistakes and get the results you crave. Get in touch!

Marketing Automation graphic, HubSpot for senior living

Got HubSpot for Senior Living. Now What?

We’ve had several senior living communities contact us because they recently purchased a license for marketing automation technology, like HubSpot for senior living, only to realize they had no idea what to do next.

We liken this experience to the holiday season when you’ve scored the one thing your child desperately wants, only to discover there are a thousand pieces you need to put together before your kid can play with the thing. And, come to find out, the special little magic wrench that screws everything together is missing.

That’s exactly how it can feel after you’ve signed a license for marketing automation like HubSpot. As you enter your shiny new online portal, you suddenly realize how many moving parts are involved—and how much work it’s going to take to get campaigns and workflows up and running. Not to mention, where the heck is that special little magic wrench anyway?

Our biggest piece of advice to senior living marketing teams is this: First, take a deep breath. Second, ask yourself the following questions. Because the truth is you might need to outsource the onboarding work to an agency partner that has experience in HubSpot for senior living.

1. Do you have existing staff to power your HubSpot for senior living?

Think in terms of immediate onboarding (the first 90 days are important). But consider the long haul as well. Is your marketing department one person? Or do you have a larger department where you can assign someone ownership of HubSpot? Is anyone on your team HubSpot certified? Or do you have someone in-house who’s ready to become a HubSpot master?

What to look for in the answer: First, there’s no right or wrong answer here. People bring different skill sets to their senior living marketing roles, and that’s OK. You might get lucky and have someone who is fluent in HubSpot—or who is a quick learner and willing to put in the time to get there.

If you don’t currently have a HubSpot person on staff—and no one has the bandwidth to take it on—then that’s a good sign it’s time to work with a HubSpot agency partner, like us.

2. Do you know what info you need from prospects—and how to use this info to inform your lead-nurturing workflows?

Good marketing automation helps you give the right person the right piece of content at the right time. But this process doesn’t magically happen on its own. You need to understand your prospective buyers—and their journeys. And you need to configure HubSpot so that you’re asking site visitors for the right info when they fill out a form. And by “right,” we mean information that’s relevant to your prospective buyers, such as their role in the decision, the decision stage, and their motivation.

What to look for in an answer: We love the adage, “You don’t need to know how to build a watch in order to tell time.” The same is true for marketing automation like HubSpot for senior living. It’s OK if you don’t know how to configure it. What’s essential is that you understand what you want it to do—and that you can articulate this to a HubSpot agency partner who can set it up properly for you.

3. Do you have multiple properties that are on your HubSpot portal?

Onboarding one property can be hard enough for a senior living marketing department to do on its own. But when multiple properties are involved? That’s when things can get super complicated super quick.

You need to build templates, create nurturing workflows with branching logic, create a strategy for lead scoring, develop lead distribution lists, and understand how to use personalization tokens so all communities can share the same email, landing page, and newsletter templates. When you successfully do the latter, you won’t have to copy these items over and over again for each property.

What to look for in an answer: Honestly, if multiple properties are involved, you should definitely work with a marketing automation expert. Even if it’s simply to spot check and test the setup your own team did. The only thing worse than no marketing automation is broken automation that sends the wrong piece of info to the wrong person. (Or does silly things like getting the name field wrong, so the email says, “Dear Fred” instead of “Dear Mary.”)

4. Do you have the right content to keep the right prospects engaged?

When we say the “right” content, we mean content that will move marketing-qualified leads to sales-qualified leads. Think relevant blogs, e-books, videos, infographics, and the like. You’ll be serving up this content to prospects based on their lead score and the email nurturing cadence you assign.

What to look for in an answer: If your content is lacking, it makes sense to work with a digital agency that can provide guidance on HubSpot and produce strong content. Remember, HubSpot can only do so much on its own. HubSpot is powerful, but if your current content offerings are weak, the results will be mediocre at best.

5. Is your HubSpot for senior living aligned with your sales process?

When communities start using marketing automation, the sales teams often panic due to what they perceive as a sudden drop in leads. Sales teams are used to working “all” leads. Yet this approach is inefficient because the majority of leads aren’t ready for a sales interaction.

Marketing automation helps segment leads into marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and sales-qualified leads (SQLs). Sales teams only need to follow up on the SQLs. The marketing automation will continue to nurture MQLs.

What to look for in the answer: The best way to avoid the panic is to educate the sales teams about this shift before you implement the software. This way you can address concerns. However, it can be hard to educate sales folks on this concept if it’s still a new concept to marketing teams as well. A good HubSpot agency partner can often provide training for both teams and ensure everyone’s goals are aligned.

How’d you do on our little “quiz”?

Did your answers surprise you? Did they make you realize that yes, your community needs assistance with configuring HubSpot? Let us help. We recently achieved the Platinum Tier in HubSpot’s Solutions Partners Program. This tier recognizes our expertise with all things HubSpot. We can help your community get yours up and running in no time. Get in touch and let’s talk HubSpot for senior living.

Senior Living marketing automation best practices - the do's and don'ts

4 Email Marketing Automation Best Practices

Email marketing automation might seem like a magic wand. But you have to set it up correctly to get the biggest benefits.

Below, you’ll find four email marketing automation best practices that’ll help your senior living community experience the magic.


1. Email marketing automation best practices: Don’t buy lists.

Recently, we’ve had several clients interested in purchasing email lists. We advised them against it. (And we told them we wouldn’t upload the lists to HubSpot or Active Campaign.) Why are we anti purchased lists? For several reasons.

  • First, purchased lists are truly COLD lists. List vendors can only deliver on demographics, such as location, age, sex. They can’t deliver on need or intent. Meaning, they have no way of knowing whether someone on their list needs a senior living community or currently has any intention of moving to one.
  • Second, purchased lists violate the terms of most (if not all) quality marketing automation software, like HubSpot or Active Campaign. (That’s one of the reasons we refuse to upload these lists.)
  • Third, a better way exists. Why not create keyword-rich content that your prospective buyers are already searching for in Google and use this content to attract them to your site? Doesn’t that make more sense? It’s not rocket science either. Inbound marketing, when done right, will produce more qualified leads than a purchased list—every single time.

2. Email marketing automation best practices: When it comes to messaging, one size doesn’t fit all.

The most effective email marketing automation is custom. We realize that might sound like an oxymoron. How can something be “custom” and “automated” at the same time? Simple. You start by knowing the personas for your senior living community.

Let’s say you have five key personas. You should focus on writing custom content for each persona. Why? Think about it. An email to the adult daughter of an eighty-year-old woman with memory issues should be different from the email you send to a seventy-year-old couple looking to start the next chapter of their lives.

Once you have your custom content for each persona, THEN you can automate the delivery via email.

3. Email marketing automation best practices: Revisit copy regularly.

Messages will change over time. The year 2020 served as a great example. Most (if not all) messages in your emails should have referenced COVID-19, even if it was only a link in your signature. (Something like, “Visit our COVID-19 resource center for current information on how we’re navigating the pandemic.”)

Auditing email copy should be a regular part of your marketing plan. You don’t need to audit everything at once. But every quarter, make sure you’re reviewing some email campaigns. Lather, rinse, repeat.

4. Email marketing automation best practices: Review analytics and make adjustments accordingly.

Marketing automation doesn’t simply exist to make life easier in terms of sending out emails. Yes, that’s a benefit. But marketing automation’s main purpose is to help increase conversions by moving marketing-qualified leads down the sale funnel.

The only way you’ll know if it’s working is by monitoring the results. Marketing automation software like HubSpot provides excellent analytics that’ll show you things like open rate, click-through-rate (on links and offers you include in your emails), and conversion rates. Depending on how sophisticated your marketing automation is, you can even A/B test the all-important email subject lines so you can identify a clear winner.

The biggest mistake we see senior living communities make is they’ll give the analytics a cursory glance every month or quarter. That’s not enough. You need to make decisions based on what the data is telling you.

For example, do you have an email marketing campaign where one email isn’t getting many clicks? Change the offer and/or revise the copy and see if that helps boost clicks.

Or maybe you’re getting clicks, but once people get to the landing page with the offer, they bounce away. Make some tweaks to the landing page (or adjust the email copy’s messaging so it better reflects what people can expect once they get to the landing page).

Analytics offer a treasure trove of intel that you can use to get your email marketing automation working better for you. Take advantage of these insights.

Senior Living SMART Achieves Platinum Tier in HubSpot Solutions Partner Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Paul Trusik, Director of Digital & Inbound Marketing
Senior Living SMART
888.620.9832 | [email protected]

PLYMOUTH, MA, March 12, 2021 – Today, Senior Living SMART announced that it has achieved the Platinum tier in HubSpot’s Solutions Partner Program.HubSpot, a leading growth platform, works hand-in-hand with partner experts to grow their businesses through inbound software, services, and support.

The Solutions Partner Program is an ecosystem of experts who offer marketing, sales, customer service, web design, CRM, and IT services. It’s a global community that believes putting customers first is the key to growth. It also enables its members to offer a wide breadth of more sophisticated solutions across the entire customer experience.

According to HubSpot’s website, the Partner Tier program is designed “to acknowledge those solutions partners who have not only brought the inbound message to the most clients, but also those who executed inbound marketing services to the highest standards.” Solution Partner tiers include Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Elite.

Senior Living SMART CEO and co-founder Deborah Howard says,

“Over the last several years, we’ve worked tirelessly to educate marketing and sales teams in senior living communities about the value of the inbound marketing methodology, particularly the role of automation—and how HubSpot’s solution streamlines processes and gets results. Our clients are now seeing these results firsthand—yes, even during a pandemic—and we couldn’t be more thrilled for them.”

Andréa Catizone, COO and co-founder, adds,

“We’re incredibly proud to be a Platinum Solutions Partner. We love the relationship we’ve built with HubSpot, especially our Channel Account Manager, Kathleen Rush. We look forward to more great years ahead.”

Regarding Senior Living SMART’s elevation to Platinum, Rush says,

“This is an incredible achievement during any year, but it’s absolutely astounding during a pandemic. Senior Living SMART’s commitment to customer success has always impressed me. This commitment—along with their effective solutions and personal and professional integrity—sets them apart from other agencies. They’re the perfect example of what happens when a great team uses the best tools available: success for all involved.”

About Senior Living SMART

Founded in 2012, Senior Living SMART is a digital marketing agency powered by people with deep experience in—and a passion for—senior living. This industry expertise helps the Senior Living SMART team serve up effective marketing and sales strategies that get real results like boosting occupancy. By focusing on attracting the right prospects and nurturing them through the various stages of an often emotional journey, SLS teaches senior living community marketing and sales teams a better way to turn leads into move-ins. Learn more at SeniorLivingSmart.com →

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