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senior living marketing event ideas, food truck

Senior Living Marketing Event Ideas to Try

Need some fresh senior living marketing event ideas as we emerge from the pandemic? Here are some to consider. 

Senior Living Marketing Event Ideas to Boost General Awareness about Your Community

With these events, the goal is to create awareness about your community with the people who live in the surrounding area. These events cast a wider net—in fact, some of the events might skew younger—but the idea is everyone knows (or is connected to) someone who fits your ideal buyer persona

In other words, that twenty-five-year-old might have a grandparent in the area, or that forty-year-old might have a mother who’s been thinking of making the move to senior living.

Host a blood drive.

The American Red Cross has a turnkey system for hosting a blood drive. You provide the space, the volunteers, and the donors. The Red Cross takes care of everything else.

  • Who to invite: General population in the area, current leads, residents/families. The nice thing about this event idea is that you gain a lot of traction in one fell swoop. 
  • How to promote the event: Promote it to your lead database via email, promote it to residents and families, and promote it to people in the area through local advertising (such as Patch.com and the local paper—you can often submit event listings for free).
  • How to market your community at the event: After people donate blood, send them off with a goody bag with collateral about your community and a fun branded promotional item. Have sales reps on hand in case people have questions about the community. And make sure the reps are prepared to conduct impromptu tours if someone is interested.

Host “Food Truck Friday.”

Reach out to local food truck vendors in the area and designate a “Food Truck Friday” event. The trucks come from, say, 4-8 and park in your lot for residents/families and people from the larger community to enjoy.

  • Who to invite/how to promote the event: Same as above.
  • How to market your community at the event: You bring dessert! Set up a candy booth with your company’s signage. (Like the candy tables that are popular at weddings.) People can fill a bag of candy (for free). The bag will be branded with your community info and include collateral. Again, have sales staff available in case someone attending the event has questions about your community.

Senior Living Marketing Event Ideas to Woo Hot Prospects

When it comes to creating events to court prospects who’ve already expressed sincere interest in your community, you need to think strategically. These events will be “smaller” in terms of scale—and if any particular event proves successful, be prepared to start running it on a more regular basis.

Spaghetti Supper to Go

One of the most popular questions that prospects ask sales counselors is this: “How’s the food?” Show off your chef’s mad skills by offering spaghetti dinners to go—complete with garlic bread and cannolis. Serious prospects can finally taste food that they’d see on your menu if they lived in your community.

  • How it works: Prospects can reserve their order and drop by to pick it up between five and seven on the appointed day. With each order, make sure someone greets the prospect, helps them carry the dinner to their car, and offers a swag bag with some extras, like fun branded promo items. The next day, the sales rep can follow up and ask what the prospect thought of the meal.
  • Who to invite: Limit the initial send to hot sales-qualified leads (SQLs). And if this is your first time doing an event like this, limit the total number. Discuss with your chef about a reasonable number of spaghetti suppers they can prepare for one evening and start with that number as the upper limit. (So if the number is 10, send the offer to 10 prospects. There’s little chance that all 10 would say yes, but if by some chance they did, the chef could still accommodate all of them.)
  • How to promote it: Use a combo of email marketing and good old-fashioned phone calls. 
  • Bonus tip: The sales rep should follow up the next day with the prospect and ask what they thought of the food and to see if they’re any closer to making a decision. Plus, once you get in a rhythm, this can be an easy ongoing event—one you do every month for hot SQLs you’re trying to close.

Backstage Pass

You’re trying to sell how great your community is as a place to live, right? So give some of your hot prospects backstage passes to try out certain amenities.

For example, do you have a fabulous fitness center with lots of fun classes? Give the prospect a free pass to try it out for a week. Got an amazing restaurant on site? Give prospects a pass to enjoy a meal on the house. You get the idea. The goal is to give the prospect the opportunity to experience the community without a sales person hovering.

  • How it works: Determine ahead of time 3-4 amenities that you’ll allow free passes to (and any rules/conditions). Create a nicely designed oversized “backstage pass”—something that reflects your community’s branding. Give it to the prospect and explain how it works. Even if they don’t use the pass, the offer itself will likely have a powerful—and memorable—effect.
  • Caveat: Make sure relevant team members are aware of the backstage pass. So, for example, if the pass is for the fitness center, everyone who works in the fitness center should A) be aware of this promotion and B) be alerted when someone is given a pass to the fitness center. This way, the fitness center employees can greet/help the prospect accordingly.
  • Who to invite/how to promote it: Determine on a case-by-case basis. If the hot prospect seems really interested in your community, this might be the offer to help seal the deal. Or if the prospect is wavering between your community and another one, this offer might help them decide.
  • Bonus tip: The sales rep should follow up with the prospect after the person has “used” the backstage pass. Again, inquire about the person’s experience and see if they’re any closer to a decision.

Senior Living Marketing Event Ideas for Thanking Referral Sources

Coffee and Donuts On Us

Don’t underestimate the value of your existing referral sources. It’s always good to thank them and remind them you’re there. Invite them to a quarterly “drive through breakfast” at your community. The goal is to reconnect with those you know and to show your gratitude for their referrals.

  • How it works: Buy boxes of coffee and donuts/bagels ahead of time. (It’s always good to order them ahead.) Have a team managing a booth at your entrance with all the goodies between, say, 6 and 9. Invite your referral sources to stop by and pick up breakfast—on you. Offer a little swag bag with a gift card to Starbucks and some collateral that they can use to promote your community (like a stack of postcards or brochures).
  • Who to invite: Referral sources—active ones and ones who’ve gone quiet.
  • How to promote the event: Create an ongoing email list of your referral sources and do a three-prong email blast. Send the first a week out. Send the second a few days before. Send the final one either the night before or early AM on the day of. The gist is simple: Go for a “thank you for your referrals. Enjoy donuts and coffee on us” message.
  • Bonus tips: Record who shows up! Get names. Then, follow up with the person individually via email saying you hoped they enjoyed the coffee/donuts, and you’d love to have them over to the community for lunch sometime. Again, you’re trying to stay top of mind in these folks’ heads while also giving them reasons to promote your community (by experiencing the great food, seeing the gorgeous grounds, and so forth).

After-hours Networking

Hosting an after-hours networking event is always a great way to mingle with referral sources—and possibly meet new ones! In terms of how to set it up . . . you can be in charge of doing everything—securing the location, food, etc. Or if your community is a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, they often have sponsorship opportunities for after-hours networking events.

  • How it works: Host a cocktail hour at your community or a nearby restaurant. Invite referral sources and prospective referral sources for an evening of cocktails and networking. Make sure everyone leaves with a swag bag (filled with a promo item, something special like a gift card, and collateral about your community that they can hand out on your behalf).
  • Who to invite: Your current referral sources and a list of referral sources you’d like to get.
  • How to promote it: Follow the same steps as above for your current referral sources. For your prospective referral sources, create a separate email list. You’ll use similar messaging—”Join us for a night of networking. Sponsored by Awesome Senior Living Community.”
  • Bonus tips: Have several team members at the event and make sure they mingle. They should pass out business cards and get cards from whoever is there. Then, the next day, they should send a personal email to each person they met (new referral sources and existing ones) and ask to set up a one-to-one coffee chat to foster the relationship further.

Senior Living Marketing Event Ideas: Don’t Underestimate the Value of Virtual Events

As we emerge from the pandemic, we’re all itching for more in-person events, which is why we focused on those sorts of ideas above. But if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s this: Virtual events can be effective—and can sometimes even work better for certain personalities (like introverts) or for people who want to explore your community from afar.

So don’t stop hosting virtual events. Your best bet moving forward is to offer a combo of in-person events and virtual events—and to monitor the results.

Check out these helpful articles for more info:

Remember, the Key to a Successful Event is Starting with a SMART strategy.
Be strategic in your planning—from the purpose of the event, to how you’ll market it, to how you’ll follow up. Need help along the way? Reach out. We love helping our clients develop and execute effective senior living marketing events.

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 →

Why All Senior Living Websites Need To Have a Blog & Premium Content

The Benefits of a Senior Living Blog & Premium Content

Even as we sit here in 2020, it still amazes us the resistance we occasionally encounter when we tell people they should have a senior living blog and offer premium content (e.g., free guides, infographics, checklists, ebooks, etc.).

So let’s explain our rationale once and for all.

1. Senior living blog posts and premium content provide additional opportunities to attract people to your site and engage them with helpful info.

The more paths you can give people to enter and explore your website, the better. And that’s precisely what premium content and senior living blog posts do.

Remember, most people begin their shopping online these days. A basic 10-page or 20-page senior living website isn’t enough to cover all the information people are searching for. But every blog post you write is considered a website page. Every landing page you have for a free download, like a guide or infographic, is considered a page. And ALL of these pages are excellent ways to help attract site visitors and convert them into leads.

Google also likes a deeper website with lots of helpful info: “If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site.”

2. Blog posts and premium content provide a great opportunity for long-tail keyword optimization.

A long-tail keyword is one that’s hyper specific, but doesn’t have a ton of monthly searches. That’s OK, because the specificity of the search term often indicates someone’s eagerness to buy sooner rather than later. For example, someone searching on “yellow sneakers women wide width size 8” indicates a certain level of interest beyond someone who simply googles “women’s sneakers.”

Armed with a solid list of long-tail keywords relevant to senior living, you can optimize your blog and premium content so that it helps capture the people conducting these long-tail searches.

3. Blog posts and premium content can speak to a specific point in the buyer’s journey—and to different buyers.

Some of your core pages—like your home page—need to speak to everyone. It’s the home page, after all. It needs to be welcoming to everyone who lands on it, regardless of who they are or where they are in their journey.

But a guide that that discusses the differences between independent living and assisted living is speaking to someone earlier in their journey. The one-sheet on your community’s pricing is speaking to buyer who is in the decision making stage.

Having different types of content that speak to different types of buyers at different points in their journey is not only helpful to your prospects, but also your marketing and sales teams. How? Well, marketing and sales will be able to score the leads appropriately based on the types of blog posts and premium content the prospects read and download.

In the example we used earlier, the person learning about independent living and memory care would be a marketing-qualified lead (MQL) since they’re still in the educational stages, while the person who requested pricing would be a sales-qualified lead (SQL).

4. Blogs and premium content allow you the space to dive deep into complex questions.

Think of the most common questions people ask about senior living. Do a quick answer on your FAQs page. But go into a deeper explanation in a blog post or guide.

5. Blogs and premium content give you a great place to show your community’s personality and unique point of view.

In a previous article, we mentioned that one of the challenges facing senior living communities is that most (if not all) are essentially selling the same thing—and your core web pages won’t differ too much from competitors’ web pages.

But with a blog and other premium content, you can begin to differentiate yourself simply by how you talk and the approach you take to common questions (or objections/challenges).

In fact, we’d argue that more and more senior living communities need to get into this “personality-driven” content. Write a blog post on a day in the life of your…activities director, nurse practitioner, head of dining, you get the idea. Include candid photos and real quotes. Or create a guide on “How 3 Real Families Helped Ease Their Parents’ Angst About Moving into Our Community.”

THAT’S the type of content people won’t see anywhere else because it’s unique to your community. It’s honest, and it tackles the stuff that’s in the back of so many people’s heads.

The communities that start producing truly original, heartfelt, honest content are the communities that will succeed the most this decade—and a blog and premium content are a great way to disseminate this sort of material.

Need fresh ideas for your blog or premium content?

Let’s brainstorm together for 30 minutes!

Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Understanding Sales and Marketing Transparency in Senior Living

Creating lead generation transparency is unique in senior living yet critical to each community’s efficiency and productivity. We will pull back the curtain with statistics on lead management, lead validation and conversion rates.

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

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.

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.

How Senior Living Can Build Better Referral Pipelines

Full story from Senior Housing News →

Excerpt:

Senior living providers tend to have complicated relationships with third-party referral agents. Some providers may see the choice as avoiding them altogether and running the risk of losing leads, or employing their services and incurring sometimes hefty referral fees. But the smartest approach may be a middle ground, in which third-party agents are one part of a more varied referral pipeline.

Other industry leaders have voiced similar sentiments, and they have been heard by companies such as Senior Living Smart, which is framing a new pay-per-tour offering as an alternative to third-party referrals.

As a solutions network aimed at curating resources to help operators improve occupancy, revenue and service delivery, Senior Living Smart has provided its approximately 400 members access to a free 24/7 live chat service on their websites as a means of generating more exclusive leads.

“People are looking to reduce reliance on third-party lead aggregators,” Senior Living Smart CEO Debbie Howard tells Senior Housing News. “Our members are interested in the model because it’s no risk. It doesn’t cost them anything unless we produce results.”

Full story from Senior Housing News →