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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!

Mystery Shopping as a Coaching Tool Webinar

Mystery Shopping as a Coaching Tool

This webinar will provide best practices on how to use your mystery shopping as a coaching tool, and take your sales skills to the next level.

Break Out Of The Sales Quota Trap To Create A Winning Compensation Plan

Break Out Of The Sales Quota Trap To Create A Winning Compensation Plan

Over the years, I have seen many sales compensation plans – the good, the bad, and the downright puzzling. Some are based on a flat bonus per move-in model, others are based on a percentage of revenue, some speed up the per move-in bonus amount as the number of move-ins rises, some pay nothing until the salesperson hits a threshold – it is all over the map.

I just read a fantastic article by Lee B. Salz, a sales management strategist at Sales Architects in Minneapolis outlining five ways to break out of the “quota” trap and develop a comprehensive sales compensation plan that benefits the salesperson, the company, and its customers. “While earnings are an important and relevant point, they aren’t the only consideration when designing an effective sales compensation plan,” says Salz. Focused on tying compensation to special quotas, companies wind up with unproductive, unmotivated sales teams that produce only when they have to.

5 Ways to Break Out of the Quota Trap

  1. Kick it off with a solid sales process

For a compensation plan to be effective, start by developing and documenting a sales process. Most companies ignore this step and instead jump right into writing commission checks as sales are closed. “You can’t reward for behavior if you don’t even know what the desired behaviors are,” says Salz. A better approach is to take a step back and figure out which results deserve those rewards (Prospecting? Closing sales? Collecting deposits? Professional referrals? Selling at market rate? All of the above?), and then wrap the sales compensation plan around those key goals.

  1. Make your sales process clear-cut and transparent

Consider, for example, exactly what it takes to close a deal from concept to completion. In most cases it starts with an initial contact, then tours, home visits, creative follow up, collecting a deposit, and ultimately signing a lease. Only by looking at the sales process from start to finish can managers identify the important links in the chain and come up with effective ways to compensate reps for their progress.

  1. Match desired activities up with actual results

Sales Managers are often frustrated with the focus of their salespeople, says Salz, and it is the sales compensation plan that causes this frustration. For example, asking salespeople to focus on selling at full market rate without using incentives or paid move-in sources, but then compensating them with a flat dollar amount per move-in, is a sure-fire way to cause the disconnect between desired activity and actual results. “Figure out what behaviors deserve the incentives,” Salz suggests, “and then come up with a sales compensation plan that positively reinforces those behaviors.”

  1. Work backwards from the company’s larger goals

If the expectation is that the salesperson moves in 6 new residents per month in order to grow census or maintain high occupancy, then historical conversion averages will help create the behaviors needed to produce the desired result. If the salesperson has a 25% tour: move-in average, they will need to generate 24 tours and if they typically convert 75% of their inquiries to tours, they will need to generate 32 new leads. Next, look at how many sales calls, events and prospecting activities will have to take place to generate the required qualified leads and tours. Once those parameters are in place, be sure to include decelerators for poor performance and accelerators for the salesperson who exceeds the goal. “Drive your salespeople to meet and exceed the plan that’s in place,” says Salz, “or you’ll wind up back at square one, with sales reports full of peaks and valleys.”

  1. Smile when you sign that commission check…or go back to square one

“If there isn’t a smile on the executive’s face when he or she signs that commission check, then there’s something wrong with the plan,” says Salz. Likewise, “If your compensation plan is structured properly, it should tickle you pink to write out that check,” Salz says. “If you are resentful or remorseful in any way, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Don’t Forget To Ask These Five Financial Discovery Questions!

Senior Living Sales Tips: 5 Essential Financial Discovery Questions

Many seniors and their families are unprepared for the costs associated with senior care.  The good news is that there are companies coming into the industry to help families fund private pay senior living. But senior living sales people have to ask the right questions to uncover needs.

Senior Living Sales Tips: Ask These 5 Financial Questions

1. Are you a veteran or a surviving spouse of a veteran?

Over 80% of senior living prospects are veterans or a surviving spouse of a veteran. They need to understand the Aid & Attendance benefit and their qualification status, so they can incorporate the benefit into their financial planning.  Keep in mind that the benefit is not a “yes” or “no” qualification. It is an “if” and “when.”

2. Do you have a life insurance policy?

Seniors abandon millions of dollars of life insurance assets every year by surrendering their policies for pennies on the dollar or by non payment of premiums – because they do not know there are other options.

Seniors have the option to sell their policies today to supplement the cost of home care, assisted living, or skilled nursing care.  Cashing out the policy today will provide much more revenue to fund care than abandoning or surrendering the policy.  Life insurance policies are assets that seniors own and have the right to sell.  Once the policy is sold, the asset is held in an irrevocable trust that pays directly for care.  The senior can determine how much of the asset is to be set aside for inheritance, and how much to allocate for care.  There is no cost to either the senior living community, the family, or the resident.

3. Do you have a long-term care insurance policy?

We are seeing an increased number of long-term care insurance policies presented as payment vehicles for care.  The problem is that after paying premiums for decades, insurance companies often issue denials when it comes time to activate the policy as reimbursements for care, and it is very confusing for families to try to work through the bureaucracy on their own.

Typically, community teams try to make calls on behalf of the families. This is time consuming and often unsuccessful. Very few people seem to know that there are professionals who specialize in advocating for seniors and can work through the insurance process to validate claims.

4. Do you know how to establish a realistic budget?

Families need to feel comfortable with how much they can afford and how long the funds will last. Adult children responsible for figuring out a funding strategy for their parents are often stumped about where to begin. Most are unaware of companies and consultants that can help families with a cash-flow analysis quickly and comprehensively.  The two most common mistakes made by adult children is determining their affordability range and leaving out income and only taking into account assets.

5. Do you have a home to sell and do you need to sell it before moving into a community?

For many seniors who do not have other funding vehicles, their home becomes their financial resource.  It is important to understand the plan and create a timeframe to rent or sell the asset and have resources available to support their goals.  Companies exist that will coordinate the sale of the home and unpack/ settle the resident into their new living situation.  There are even companies that will purchase the home!

It’s never comfortable to ask about money. But it’s better to stretch your comfort zone than leave families in the dark about all the options available to to them.  Please reach out to Senior Living SMART to be introduced to any of these resources!

website review

Turn Your Website Into a Lead Generation Machine [Webinar]

87% of all senior housing sales begin online, making websites the #1 sales tool for lead generation. Prospects visit a community website an average of 7.8 times during their buying journey. This webinar will demonstrate how to convert anonymous website visitors into exclusive and unshared qualified leads.

Free Website Audit

What’s your website already doing well? What can it do better? We start where you are so we can develop a plan to optimize the good while nixing the bad and the ugly.

Sell to the Ballerina, Not the Wheelchair

Sell to the Ballerina, Not the Wheelchair

In Senior Living Sales

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend David Smith’s One On One Sales Training and he showed us this picture to illustrate his prospect-centered approach. It brought me back many years when I was a sales counselor and a new resident named Bea scooted herself down to my office in her wheelchair to tell me that she was bored. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked why she was not enjoying any of the day’s activities. She just sighed and said “the problem is that everyone here is so old”. “But Bea”, I replied, “you are 99 years old and almost every resident here is younger than you!” Her response stayed with me; “when I look in the mirror, I see a young and vibrant woman”.

I now realize that I was seeing the woman in the wheelchair but Bea was seeing “ballerina self“.

So, are we selling to the woman in the wheelchair or the ballerina?

There are two different sales philosophies in the senior living industry today – transactional and relational.

Philosophy

Transactional

Relational

Target Demographic Need based & urgent prospects The “Not Ready” prospects
Available Market 10% of the qualified market 90% of the qualified market
How To Measure Effectiveness More Activities – More Leads, More Calls & Tours, Less Time from Inquiry: Move-in (shorten the sales cycle), Do More & Be Quicker Spend More Time in The Selling Zone – Face-to-face/ voice to voice/ planning/ creative, personalized & proactive follow up.
What Are We Selling Features, Benefits of Real Estate, Lifestyle & Experience Change
How We Are Selling Get all the qualifying information including wants, needs, finances, time frame and then match information to community solutions and sell “better & difference story”. Focus on readiness to change, stage of change – denial, thinking, planning or action. Build a relationship, help guide prospect to the best decision for them and learn life stories.

The transactional approach sells to the woman in the wheelchair and the relational approach sells to the ballerina.

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.