Senior man looking at a laptop wondering why he is losing senior living leads.

3 Reasons You’re Losing Senior Living Leads

Did you know you could be losing senior living leads—and you might not even be aware it’s happening? If the sales team is hitting its numbers, you might think everything is operating like a well-oiled machine. And yet your community could be losing out on GREAT senior living leads due to three big culprits: Your website, your conversion points, and your front desk.

Here’s what you need to know.

You might be losing senior living leads if your website is slow, outdated, or both

When was the last time you refreshed your site? Three years ago? Five? Can’t remember? Prospects don’t necessarily need a fancy-schmancy website with tons of bells and whistles. But they do want a modern website that’s easy to navigate, has current information, and renders fast across mobile devices.

If your website is outdated, good prospects might think (even subliminally) that this outdated feel will extend to your community. And people have zero patience for slow sites. Remember, to a new prospect, senior living communities essentially sell the same thing. So if your site doesn’t load quickly, the visitor won’t think twice about finding one that does.

What to do, how to fix:

  • Check the bounce rate for critical pages. If people enter the site but quickly leave, something is amiss. Marketing guru Neil Patel explains how to check bounce rate in Google Analytics 4.
  • Review content. Is any of your content obsolete or incorrect? For example, did you recently revamp your community’s foyer, but pictures of the “old” foyer remain on the site? The old pictures aren’t telling the true story. Not to mention, for folks who DO visit, it will be quite a disconnect from what they were expecting. Even small things, like a copyright notice in the footer that says “2019,” can affect trust.
  • Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights (PSI) to evaluate your site. As its name suggests, PageSpeed Insights will analyze how fast your site performs across desktops and mobile devices and suggest improvements. That’s the simple definition. Check out this article from Semrush for a deeper dive into how PSI works.
  • Have an objective third-party audit your site. Getting an independent audit, like our Total Online Presence Audit, is an excellent way to know if your site is helping to attract and convert leads.

You might be losing senior living leads if you haven’t thought through your conversion points

Debbie Howard, CEO of Senior Living SMART, was telling us about an experience she recently had on a prospect’s website. “I clicked on ‘Schedule a Tour’ and was redirected to a multi-page survey with a million questions. I thought, what? No. If I want to schedule a tour, I want to pick a date and time to schedule it. Don’t say I can schedule a tour and then bring me to a survey.”

This isn’t an isolated experience, either. Sadly, we see too many convoluted conversion points on senior living community websites. You must be thoughtful in how and where you ask people to act—and what that action is.

What to do, how to fix:

  • Simplify the conversion process. Ensure that actions like scheduling a tour are straightforward and require minimal steps.
  • Audit conversion paths. Regularly check all the conversion paths on your website. Ensure links and forms work correctly and the user is directed to the appropriate confirmation page or next step.
  • Test different approaches. Experiment with different types of conversion points, such as buttons, forms, or chatbots. Use A/B testing to determine which methods are most effective in engaging prospects.
  • Monitor conversion rates. A low conversion rate could indicate a problem with the design or functionality of that particular conversion point.
  • Regularly audit your calls-to-action (CTAs). CTAs must be clear and compelling and communicate precisely what will happen when a user clicks. Avoid misleading CTAs that don’t deliver on their promise.
  • Optimize for mobile devices. Many users will access your site via mobile devices. Ensure your conversion points are easy to use on smartphones and tablets, with responsive design and touch-friendly interfaces.
  • Offer multiple ways to connect. Some prospects might prefer different contact methods like phone calls over emails or texts. Provide various options to cater to different preferences.
  • Analyze user behavior. Use tools like Google Analytics to understand how users interact with your conversion points. Look for patterns like where they drop off or what actions they take before converting.

You might be losing senior living leads due to your front desk

In addition to solid conversion points, you must also ensure you’re scoring website leads correctly so that sales-ready leads receive speedy follow-up and marketing-qualified leads enter nurturing workflows. The communities that consistently win are the ones who follow up on sales-ready leads the fastest.

But here’s the thing that many communities overlook. What happens when a sales-ready lead picks up the phone and calls your community’s main number? Your front desk person is likely warm and friendly, but they are not sales-oriented. They don’t have a sales mentality. They’re also juggling plenty of non-sales calls (e.g., family members trying to reach a resident or a nurse). Sales calls don’t receive priority or any sort of white-glove treatment. The front desk person might place the prospect on hold, dump them into voicemail, or give incorrect or incomplete info.

What to do, how to fix:

We don’t have a bulleted list of suggestions, like training your front desk staff better.

Sure, you could train your front desk team to recognize sales inquiries from general inquiries. But what happens when they transfer the sales inquiries to a salesperson within the community? Unless the sales rep is sitting at their desk and they’re available to answer the call, the prospect will likely go to voicemail.

This is an ongoing problem plaguing senior living communities. Sales reps are busy giving tours, networking, and working closely with prospects preparing to sign a lease. They’re not sitting idly by their phones. Not to mention, sales reps don’t work 24/7.

Recognizing this, our team created a true senior living lead management solution. It’s called LeadGenie. LeadGenie offers virtual sales support to ensure every prospect is responded to, increasing conversions to tours and move-ins. Learn more about LeadGenie here.

Stop losing valuable senior living leads

If you have questions or need help with any of the above, get in touch. We’re passionate about helping our clients attract the right prospects and close more of them. Let’s talk soon.

Senior Living Leads-5 of the Biggest Lead Scoring Mistakes

Senior Living Leads: 5 of the Biggest Lead Scoring Mistakes to Avoid

Some visitors to your senior living community website will be in the early stages of their buying journey. Others will be much farther down the sales funnel, giving indications of being “sales qualified,” even though they haven’t reached out to schedule a tour yet.

So, how can you tell the difference? How can you know who’s a marketing-qualified lead vs. a sales-qualified lead? That’s precisely where lead scoring comes into play.

We asked Paul Trusik, our Director of Operational Technology, to share his insights about lead scoring, including how to avoid five of the biggest mistakes he consistently sees communities making.

What is lead scoring, and why should senior living communities implement it?

The goal of lead scoring is simple: to help marketing and sales teams prioritize their website leads by creating a straightforward way to identify which leads are “high intent” and ready for a sales follow-up and which ones need more nurturing.

Even if a site visitor hasn’t directly requested a tour or a sales interaction, their actions might suggest they are sales-ready. For example, maybe the lead is opening every email you send them. Maybe they’re consuming multiple blog posts at once. Maybe they’re interacting with social media posts or clicking on paid ad campaigns. Maybe they indicated on a form that they want to move into senior living within 90 days.

Unlike the websites of two decades ago, we now have tools that provide this level of intelligence on the people who visit your site. With platforms like HubSpot and ActiveDEMAND, we can see exactly where a site visitor is in their journey. We can follow a person as they navigate through your site. We know which calls-to-action they click on. We can see which blog posts they’re reading. We can ask them specific questions on the forms they fill out.

Armed with this intel, we can apply points to different actions and answers. Over time, the numbers accumulate into a score. Once the score passes a specific threshold indicating sales readiness, we can send that lead to the sales team for follow-up.

And by “we,” we mean the marketing automation that is seamlessly doing the work in the background.

If you want to dive deeper, HubSpot has this tutorial on lead scoring. Plus, check out this explainer video, which also provides an excellent visual explanation of how lead scoring works—and how it keeps improving thanks to AI and machine learning.



How does Senior Living SMART develop lead-scoring parameters for its clients?

Our tech team has developed baseline lead-scoring parameters to use as a starting point. From there, we review the parameters with the client so they can provide feedback. We then customize the lead scoring parameters based on this feedback.

For example, the client might say, “You know what? It’s great that people are opening our newsletters, but let’s not put that high on the priority list. Let’s score that a little bit lower, because, from our experience, these people are still at the top of the sales funnel. They won’t decide any time soon, but it’s good that they’re engaged. Over time, we can nurture them.”

Or, they might point out to us a piece of content that tends to result in people booking tours—so we’d score that higher.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that communities make with their senior living lead scoring?

We regularly encounter the following mistakes:

Mistake #1: Not having enough good content and lead magnets.

You need great content on your website for people to interact with—and a variety of content that satisfies people at every stage of their journey. You must put out fresh content regularly as well. The more content you offer, the more reasons people have to return to your website.

You also need good third-party lead magnets, like live chat, surveys, call tracking, or other interactive elements that help engage people and create a “sticky” site. We can grade those pieces as part of the lead-scoring attributes we compile.

So, the more content and lead magnets you have, the more powerful your lead scoring will be.

Mistake #2: Not having enough referral sources contributing traffic to your site.

People land on websites via multiple ways, such as organic search and referral traffic from third parties, like social media sites or directory listings. All of those pieces are trackable. For example, if someone clicks on a pay-per-click (PPC) ad, we can include the action in lead scoring.

Here’s where the magic comes into play.

Let’s say you’re running a PPC campaign. People click the ad, but when they visit your site, they’re not converting into tour requests as you had hoped. This is often the biggest gripe from marketing and sales teams about PPC campaigns: “We’re running PPC, but we’re not getting any leads! What gives?”

Here’s the thing: Some people who click on the PPC ad might still be at the top of the funnel. But others might indeed be “high intent,” even though they haven’t requested a tour yet. Through lead scoring, we can identify the high-intent leads and serve them to the sales team for follow-up.

Bottom line: If your site doesn’t receive enough organic traffic, running paid campaigns can be a great way to get people to your site so that we can learn about them, score them, and send the high-intent leads to sales while we continue nurturing the ones that aren’t quite ready yet.

We can even score people who come in from more traditional marketing campaigns like direct mailers or print ads, thanks to QR codes which is a trackable element.

Mistake #3: Setting it and forgetting it.

We all love it when something is “set it and forget it.” But lead scoring isn’t one of those things. You must regularly revisit your lead scoring and refine it as needed.

This isn’t just a problem plaguing senior living marketing and sales teams, either. Some agencies can fall victim to the “set it and forget it” mentality. (We know because we’ve inherited some big messes over the years!)

Pro tip: Revisit your lead scoring quarterly, because here’s the thing: Campaigns change. Or new paid ads come into play. Or fresh content is published on the site. It makes sense to revisit your lead scoring and say, “Okay, we set this up three months ago. What’s changed? Maybe there are additions to the website we didn’t consider the first time around.”

You should also seek feedback from your sales team—they’re the boots on the ground and can provide valuable insights on lead quality.

Mistake #4: Yielding to sales pressure.

Sales teams are famous for complaining that they don’t have enough leads, but marketing teams should resist lowering lead scoring thresholds simply to shut them up.

Lowering the lead scoring threshold means you’ll be serving up more leads, not better leads. Many of the leads won’t be ready for a sales call. The sales team will end up spinning its wheels (and possibly alienating prospects turned off by the intrusion).

You must strive to maintain a balance between quantity and quality. While it’s important to keep the sales team happy and well-fed with leads, it’s equally crucial to ensure that the leads you do serve up have indicated their sales readiness based on their actions.

We spend a lot of time educating clients about this—and empowering marketing teams to withstand pressures from sales.

Mistake #5: Ignoring “negative” actions that can influence lead scores.

Just as there can be positive lead scoring, you can also include negative scores. For example, a salesperson could say, “Hey, we’ve talked to this lead before. They are financially or medically unqualified.” We can use that information as negative scoring and include that in the algorithm so the sales team doesn’t see that lead come through again.

The same goes for other actions on the website. Not everyone visiting your site is looking for a senior living community. Vendors and prospective employees will be looking as well. We can include these “negatives” in the lead scoring.

For example, we could assign negative point values if the person inquires about careers or is already in the senior living CRM and has been marked as unqualified. (Note: The latter requires bilateral integration between your marketing automation and CRM. We’re big fans of WelcomeHome CRM because of its ability to do this.)

Including negatives in the overall lead score is a powerful way to ensure that your sales team isn’t wasting valuable time on leads that aren’t going to convert. You create a more nuanced and accurate lead-scoring process by factoring in positive and negative indicators.

How do you know if your senior living lead scoring is effective?

Remember, the key to knowing if your lead scoring is hitting the mark lies in feedback from your sales team. They can share insights regarding lead quality. We can also set up reports to track leads from scoring to contact, pre-tour to post-tour, and deposit to move-in. This can provide tangible evidence of lead-scoring success.

Need help with your lead scoring?

Our marketing agency focuses only on senior living. We know how to help communities attract and convert better senior living leads. Get in touch with our teams, and let’s talk.

Senior Living Leads: How Much Should Google Ad Conversions Cost You?

Senior Living Leads: How Much Should Google Ad Conversions Cost You?

We asked Chris Zook, Director of Paid Media & Strategy at Senior Living SMART, to sit down for a Q&A on all things Google Ads. Chris also did a podcast on this topic with our CEO, Debbie Howard. If you’d rather listen than read, here’s their conversation about Google Ads.

Otherwise, keep on scrolling for the text. Or click on the links below to jump to a specific section:

What are Google Ads, and how do they work?

Google Ads are pay-per-click (PPC) ads. With PPC ads, advertisers only pay for an ad if someone clicks on it.

Here’s some context on how this works: Google runs an auction that allows advertisers, like senior living communities, to bid on specific keyword phrases. For example, phrases like “assisted living,” “memory care,” or “dementia care.”

When someone searches on one of those phrases in Google, the auction determines who the top bidders are. Google will then list the PPC ads of the winning advertiser bidders on the search engine results page (SERP), starting with the highest bidder.

Again, advertisers don’t get charged unless someone clicks on their ad, so there’s value in having your PPC ad display even if no one clicks it. Someone might still glance at it and see your community’s name, which can help with name recognition down the line.

Google isn’t the only PPC option in town, either. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer PPC options, as do competing search engines like Bing.

It’s also worth noting that we’re discussing this in July 2023. Google recently announced its Search Generative Experience (SGE), which reimagines search and search results. Google makes money from advertisers, so it remains committed to showing ads. However, stay tuned since this is a fluid situation.

How can a senior living community just starting with PPC see meaningful results? Aren’t Google Ads highly competitive?

Here’s why PPC advertising is so effective for myriad businesses, large and small: You can bid on all kinds of keywords with whatever budget you have, and there’s almost always going to be an opening for you.

It’s not simply the tyranny of the big guy, although that can happen for certain industries. Even with modest budgets, we still see plenty of PPC opportunities for senior living communities.

Keep in mind that if a community finds that they’re not getting any clicks, at least they’re not dumping a ton of money into ads, because again, Google only charges you if people click on your ads.

How does Senior Living SMART optimize Google Ads to get clicks?

We follow PPC best practices and combine them with our knowledge of senior living in general and our understanding of a community’s brand, including the types of prospects they want to attract. (Learn more about prospect personas.)

We maintain a list of keywords that people search throughout the United States when researching independent living, assisted living, and memory care. We have an excellent grasp of these phrases because they’re fairly universal. It’s how everyone everywhere talks about senior living. Think of phrases such as “senior living near me” or “assisted living near me.”

From there, we get to know the client’s community, particularly the location and region. Every time we research a different region, we discover nuances and quirks of how people research assisted living, independent living, and memory care that we hadn’t seen before. This enables us to further refine the keyword list.

For example, we don’t use only “memory care” in our targeting because not everyone looking for memory care will necessarily call it that. We’ll use words like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory support. We’ll also pay attention to how people search in different markets.

We can target ads based on criteria like the person’s location, too. For example, let’s say we have a client who has a senior living community outside of Austin, Texas. We can target people within a 10- to 15-mile radius of Austin who are doing searches on things like “senior living near me,” or “assisted living near me,” or “senior living Austin.”

Why can’t you use financial criteria in the targeting?

It’s true that you can’t use financial criteria in your ad targeting. This is because of federal and state fair housing laws, which state that we cannot target housing based on people’s income. At the end of the day, senior living is a form of housing. For example, we can’t run ads where the criteria include targeting people interested in senior living in Austin who also have a yearly income of $300K.

But what we can do is help people self-qualify. Within the ads, we can include something like “Rents starting at $5,000/month”. Someone reading the ad can decide, “Yep, that works.” Or “Nope, I can’t afford that.”

Another tool we can use is “negative” keywords. Essentially, you’re telling Google that it shouldn’t show ads to people who use specific keywords. For example, consider people who search for “at-home assisted living.” We’d indicate “at home” (and various combinations and synonyms) as negative keywords, and Google wouldn’t show our ads to people who use those search terms.

What’s the definition of a PPC conversion rate, and is there a good benchmark for senior living?

A conversion rate for PPC ads is the percentage of people who convert after clicking your ad.

The definition of “convert” will vary depending on the advertiser. An e-commerce store running ads for perfume will consider a sale to be a conversion, but in senior living, there’s a much longer sales cycle. We don’t expect someone to click on an ad and convert into a resident. Instead, our goal is to convert the person into a lead.

For example, if someone clicks on an ad, they might go to a landing page where they can download a brochure in exchange for their name and email address. When a person takes that action, they become a senior living lead. That’s the conversion point.

If 100 people click your ad, and 10 become a lead, that’s a 10% conversion rate. We consider this a good conversion rate in our industry.

Conversion rates can vary depending on geographies and a community’s budget. Generally, we like to see conversion rates between eight to 15% for senior living.

Of course, clients will often say, “The conversion rate is only 10%? That means I lose 90% of the prospects clicking on the ad.”

On the surface, that might be true, but effective advertising is as much about allowing people to self-qualify out of your sales funnel as it is about bringing them into it. As much as you want to bring lots of people into your sales funnel, you also don’t want to waste anyone’s time on leads who will never become residents in your community, no matter what you do. And, that other 90% isn’t lost forever. Those folks can always come back and convert at a later date.

What are landing pages, and why are they super important in PPC campaigns?

You could be targeting the best keywords and have great ads that people click, but what if there’s a disconnect on the landing page—the place on your website that the Google Ad click sends them to? What if the landing page doesn’t deliver on what the ad promised, or it’s confusing, or it doesn’t function properly, and someone navigates away before converting? Well, you’ve just wasted money on that click.

To improve landing pages, we’ll conduct A/B testing. Sometimes, the smallest change—like changing the color of a submit button, for example—can improve conversions. We’re constantly monitoring landing page performance to achieve that desired conversion rate of 8 to 15%.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that what happens to the leads after they convert matters, too. This is where lead scoring and marketing automation come into play. High-intent leads can go onto the sales team, while leads that aren’t ready for a sales interaction can continue to be nurtured through automated lead nurturing.

What are the cost per lead benchmarks for senior living PPC?

The lowest cost per lead right now is for independent living. They can be as low as $18 per lead, or as high as $45 to $50.

Assisted living is higher. Typically, we see the low end around $38 to $40. The high end is in the range of $80 to $100. Again, this depends on location. A densely populated metro area will likely be more competitive and more expensive.

Memory care is a moving target and is constantly getting more expensive since there’s so much competition. This isn’t surprising, either. Every community that offers memory care already knows it’s an urgent need and a lucrative source of move-ins. The lower end of memory care is about $100 to $120. The higher end can be $400 or more.

How does Senior Living SMART work with a client to develop their PPC budget?

We start by having a very open conversation with each client about goals for leads this year and how that breaks down per quarter and month. For example, the client might want ten leads a month, eight of which come from paid ads.

From there, we’ll do keyword research using the seed list of keywords as our base and review the geography. Google wants you to spend money, so it’s incredibly transparent about how much keywords cost in different geographies.

Using our ideal conversation rate as a guide—so again, for senior living, we’re happy if we can land in between 8 to 15%—we can do some reverse-engineering with the numbers.

For example, if we get a hundred clicks on assisted living keywords that cost X amount, and the goal is to convert 10 of them, what does that mean in terms of the cost per click? How do we spread that cost over 30, 31, or 32 days? PPC platforms operate on a monthly basis, but they parse your budget on a daily basis. And because of that, we use either 31 days—or if it’s a month with 31 days, we use 32 days to make sure we don’t go over budget—to figure out our daily budget.

Once we’ve reviewed these scenarios, we can recommend a budget to the client. If the budget isn’t what they had in mind, we can adjust while resetting expectations about leads. Instead of expecting eight leads a month coming in from PPC ads, they might need to adjust their expectations to five leads a month due to their budget constraints.

Can clients do PPC work on their own?

The question isn’t “can they.” In theory, anyone can run paid ads if they have money. The question is, should they? Effective paid advertising requires more than simply tinkering with the ad platform and entering a credit card. The paid ads team at Senior Living SMART are specialists with years of skill and expertise—and a track record of getting the results our clients seek.

We monitor campaigns and make tweaks so that we can optimize a client’s budget and get them the quality leads they’re looking for. It’s a dynamic process—setting and forgetting ads won’t yield quality long-term results. So having a partner like SLS to set up and manage your ads is one of the best investments you can make.

Need help getting better senior living leads through PPC campaigns? We can help.

Let’s discuss how we can turbo-charge your paid advertising strategy.

Mistakes you're making with your senior living leads

6 Mistakes You’re Making with Your Senior Living Leads

An evergreen topic is one that’s always relevant (no matter how much we might wish it wasn’t). That’s why we’re revisiting this evergreen topic: mistakes you’re probably making with your senior living leads—and what you can do about it.

No, you might not be making all of these errors. But even one or two can have a dramatic effect on your numbers. Resolve to do better this year! Here’s what to look for with your senior living leads—and how to make fixes that stick.

Mistake #1. You’re treating all leads the same.

Remember, every lead will be at a slightly different point in their journey. Some are in research mode—maybe for themselves, maybe for a loved one. Others are gathering options as they think more seriously about making a move to senior living in “a couple of years.” Others are looking to make a move within a few months. Still, others might be in panic mode—their mom has fallen or their dad has died and now mom’s alone—and they’re looking to decide soon.

Why on earth would you give everyone we described above the same emails, the same content, or the same cadence of sales calls? You wouldn’t—or you shouldn’t. One size does not fit all when it comes to leads.

  • WHAT TO DO: Develop a lead-scoring strategy and score leads accordingly. Then, create a plan for communicating further with each “set” of leads that need nurturing. Only serve up true sales-ready leads to the sales team.

Mistake #2. You still think that you’re in control of the sales process.

Before the Internet, people relied on salespeople to educate them about the things they wanted to buy. Today, people have all the information they need—at their fingertips—to educate themselves when making a purchase, whether that’s a pair of sneakers, a used car, or a place to start the next chapter of their lives post-retirement.

Prospects can check out a brand’s website, read online reviews, ask friends and family for quick recommendations via text and email, and seek opinions on social media before ever entertaining the thought of speaking to a salesperson.

  • WHAT TO DO: We’re not suggesting that salespeople are irrelevant. What we are saying is that to be successful in senior living sales today, you need to embrace this shift. If someone hasn’t asked to speak to you yet, you shouldn’t be hounding them with calls. They will let you know when they want to connect. In the meantime, focus on folks who have requested your help or insight. Note: you’ll likely be working fewer leads at any given time, but they will be better leads since they’ll have high intent.

Mistake #3. You’ve underestimated the length of the sales cycle.

The sales cycle has increased in length dramatically in recent years. Remember, the prospect doesn’t care about your sales quotas or projections. If a younger Boomer is planning her retirement two years out, you need to adapt to her schedule—and you need to keep her engaged at every step along the way.

  • WHAT TO DO: This is why great content and marketing automation are critical. To keep people engaged at every touchpoint of the longer sales cycle, you need to provide the right content at the right time—and get it to them easily (again, removing all points of friction). Generic content won’t cut it. Producing content that’s similar to your competitors won’t work, either. You need original content that resonates. And yes, that is an investment.

Mistake #4. You’re not maximizing marketing automation to its fullest.

Speaking of marketing automation . . . we find that most communities haven’t begun to scratch the service in terms of maximizing available features.

  • WHAT TO DO: Audit your marketing automation and make sure you’re using all features. Or, downgrade your license so that you’re only paying for what you use. Hint: We’ve helped other communities save money because we know what to look for in the licensing agreements, especially with complex marketing automation products like HubSpot. Get in touch if you want us to take a peek under the hood.

Mistake #5. You have people interacting with leads who shouldn’t be.

Your front desk person is wonderful for routing calls to residents, greeting visitors, and helping residents make calls or check on deliveries. But don’t expect your front desk person to be a surrogate salesperson. That’s not their specialty.

  • WHAT TO DO: Some communities get lots of phone “traffic” from potential residents. If that’s the case with your community—and if you’re finding that these leads fall through the cracks or don’t covert—it might be time to think of a better way to manage these leads. A good solution? A call center with expertise in senior living.

Mistake #6. You have leads who get added to the “cold” list way too quickly.

Too often, we see a community’s CRM filled with “lost” or “cold” leads—and yet, these leads only received a couple of “touches” before they were moved to the cold/lost list. As we mentioned earlier, the sales cycle in senior living is long. You need to nurture early-stage leads. And you need to be persistent with sales-qualified leads that have expressed direct interest in your community.

Not only that, but let’s talk about third-party leads for a moment. Since these are shared leads, they require a different strategy. The community that responds to the lead the fastest tends to have better conversions.

Once again, treating all leads the same way is not a winning strategy.

  • WHAT TO DO: Audit your CRM’s lost/cold lists. As we like to say, there can be gold in those cold leads. Luckily, we have a turnkey re-engagement campaign that can help you sift for the gold. You should also revisit how you manage third-party leads. Need help? Consider trying our “speed to the lead” solution. This is an automated five-step lead nurturing workflow that nudges people along the sales funnel and encourages them to request a tour.

Do you know something’s off with your leads, but you’re not sure what to do next? Call us.

The ultimate fix for any breakdown in your lead management process is simple. Call us! We combine our senior living expertise with our marketing expertise to create a lead management process that gets results. Get in touch and let’s talk.


Why Senior Living Leads Require MANY More Touches Than Others

How many touch points does it take to get a senior living lead to move in? While this number will vary from one community to the next, generally speaking, senior living leads require many touches—likely more than your marketing and sales teams even realize.

In the Enquire Solutions white paper, Marketing Automation Templates for Senior Living, they share a chart about the number of touch points a prospect requires, on average, before becoming a resident.

Turns out, leads need a minimum of 22 touches for independent living, assisted living, and memory care and 28 touches for life plan communities. The sales cycle can range from 107 days (for memory care) to a whopping 400 days (for life plan communities). Assisted living and independent living fall in the middle at 145 days and 203 days, respectively.

The question, of course, is why. Why do senior living leads require so many touch points? And what do your marketing and sales teams need to do as a result?

Why Senior Living Leads Require More Touch Points

Moving, in general, is stressful.

A recent OnePoll survey reported that Americans say moving is the most stressful life event (followed by divorce and marriage). While older adults might recognize that it’s time to move into senior living, the act of moving (and all it entails, like selling their current home) might cause them to stall and stutter along the way.

This is why sales and marketing teams need to be patient and provide those regular touch points. You want your community to be top of mind when the person is finally ready.

Moving into a senior living community is a big monetary investment.

The bigger the price tag on a purchase, the more time people need to evaluate their options and crunch numbers. This is true for any pricey purchase, not just senior living.

Even older adults who have financial stability—for example, they own their own home and have retirement savings—might be skittish about moving into senior living. After all, what if their money runs out?

This is a very real concern. In fact, New Retirement cites a study that claims “60% of baby boomers are more afraid of running out of money than dying.” But here’s the rub—older adults should be worried. The same article shares the following:

    • 83 percent of baby boomers in the lowest income quartile will run out of money in retirement
    • 47 percent of boomers in the second lowest quartile will run out
    • 28 percent of boomers in the second highest quartile will run out
    • 13 percent of boomers in the highest income quartile will run out

Providing extra touch points—and including ones that directly address money worries—is a smart way to reassure prospects and move them down the funnel.

Choosing a senior living community is one of the most emotional purchases a person (or family) will ever make.

When a person buys their first home, emotions can run the gamut, but excitement and pride tend to top the list. When a person is shopping around for senior living, the emotions they experience are understandably different. While some people might feel excited about the next chapter, especially if they’re recently retired and entering into independent living, others might have mixed feelings:

    • A sense of loss about leaving their home (often the one where they raised their family)
    • Monetary concerns (will they outlive their funds?)
    • Fears around declining health
    • Existential angst (facing their own mortality)

Given what so many senior living leads are dealing with, it’s no wonder they need time to process, consider their options, and engage numerous times with communities before making a decision.

Our job as senior living marketers is to patiently accompany them on this journey of contemplation and discovery. The goal of ongoing communications shouldn’t be to sell, sell, sell, but rather to give, give, give. Give prospects information that will truly help them.

Strategies for Creating a Multi-Touch Lead Nurturing Campaign

Here’s what you need to keep in mind as you nurture your leads over the long haul.

If you haven’t already, invest in marketing automation. You can’t do effective lead nurturing without quality marketing automation. Full stop. It’s important to choose the right marketing automation for your community’s specific needs and budgets. If you need help selecting software, call us.

Make sure you set up lead scoring. Not all leads are created equal. Some leads will be more sales-qualified than others. The sales-qualified leads (SQLs) will be served up to the sales team for follow-up. The marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) will enter your long-term lead nurturing programs.

Understand your prospective buyers. In addition to the pain points outlined above, your prospects might have other pain points as well. Remember, you’re selling to various people, including older adults, spouses, adult children, and so forth. You need to create lead nurturing for each persona.

Map out different journeys and create content that will be helpful throughout each journey. For example, if your prospects are getting “stuck” because of concerns over money, develop content that acknowledges their fears and that offers potential solutions. Some examples . . .

    • Provide a short guide on the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit and a checklist that helps the person self-qualify.
    • Create and share short videos from current residents who had similar money concerns—and what helped them feel good about choosing your community.
    • Give authentic answers to tough questions. You could create a guide called “Retirement Worries: What Happens if Your Money Runs Out?”
    • Offer a complimentary lunch & learn with your community’s financial counselor.

You get the idea. When you approach your lead nurturing from a problem/solution perspective (rather than a sell, sell, sell perspective), developing helpful content for 22+ emails isn’t as challenging as you might think.

That said, if you get stuck with all the touch points, let us help.

Too often, communities simply go through the motions when it comes to creating and sending automated emails. That approach won’t get you the results you want. Reach out and let’s discuss a sound strategy for creating a multi-touch nurturing campaign that turns prospects into move-ins over the long haul.

Let's chat!

lead generation ideas for senior living people infographic

Lead Generation Ideas for Senior Living: Revisit Cold Prospects

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

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

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

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

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

How re-engaging your cold database serves two purposes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Qualified Lead action figures packaged on the shelf and ready to purchase

Senior Living Sales Tips: Marketing Qualified vs. Sales Qualified

When we work with clients, we love sharing all sorts of senior living sales tips, including definitions of common terms. Ones you’ll hear us talk about a lot: marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) vs. sales-qualified leads (SQLs).

What’s the difference? Let’s dig in!

What is a marketing-qualified lead (MQL)?

Before people “buy” something big and meaningful—whether it’s a new car or a new home in a senior living community—they do their homework. During this stage, they are actively gathering info. They are researching. They are dreaming. Some might have an urgent need. Others might be planning for months or even a year or more from now.

Obviously, if your sales rep were to call any of these folks, the sales rep wouldn’t get very far. Why? Because the prospect hasn’t reached that point in the process where it makes sense for them to engage with a sales person. They haven’t made a decision. They haven’t even whittled down their options. In fact, they might actively hate the idea of talking to a sales person right now, preferring instead to self-direct their buying process.

In other words, they are NOT a qualified sales lead—yet. But their actions demonstrate that they could very well become sales qualified somewhere down the line. But for now, they are a marketing-qualified lead (MQL). They have indicated their openness to educational materials and learning more.

The challenge: making sure MQLs keep your community top of mind so that when they ARE ready to take the next step (like a tour), they remember your senior living community.

One of the best ways to stay top of mind is through an automated lead nurturing program. The marketing-qualified leads will receive a series of emails that speaks to who they are (their buyer “persona”) and where they are in the buying process. Over time, some of these leads will become sales qualified.

What is a sales-qualified lead (SQL)?

A sales-qualified lead means the person has indicated through their actions that they are nearing a decision or have made a decision. For senior living communities, people who are sales-qualified are likely requesting pricing/financing options, tours, conversations with current residents, and the like.

SQLs are handed off to the sales reps to follow up with directly (in person or via phone/ZOOM in the Age of COVID-19).

Why is it important to differentiate MQLs from SQLS?

If you push all leads directly to your sales team, three things can happen:

  • The sales team is forced to manage too many leads.
  • The sales team makes 2-3 attempts to get in touch with a prospect. At that point, they move whoever they can’t engage with directly to cold/lost leads.
  • The prospect gets scared away and disengages because they are not ready for the sales interaction.

Senior living sales teams often fail because they can’t recognize the high-intent leads. Why? Because all leads look the same if they’re pushed over equally. Not to mention, prospects won’t get the types of interactions they’re necessarily looking for, either. In the end, it doesn’t work out for either the sales team or the prospect. The result? BOTH move on.

By identifying and labeling leads as MQL or SQL, however, you move the hottest leads to your sales team while your marketing team works on nurturing the MQLs until they’re ready to take the next step.

No wasted time, no wasted effort. Just better conversions along with happier prospects and happier marketing/sales departments.

Bonus senior living sales tip: Your website needs to speak to MQLs and SQLs.

You’ll have both types of people entering your senior living website. As a result, you need to make it super easy for people to self-identify where they should go.

But here’s a secret: Most senior living websites only offer SQL options (typically in the form of “click to call” or “schedule a tour”). Talk about a wasted opportunity, right? You need a way to capture the MQLs so that you can continue marketing to them. Offering valuable content, such as downloadable brochures, guides, and e-books, will increase web conversions by up to 30% (based on our experience) provided you follow best practices.

Remember, though, that capturing info is just the first step. You need to nurture the MQLs until they are ready for an interaction with the sales team.

For SQLs, you’ll still want to make “Book a Tour” or “Contact Now” visible options on every page. Live chat (true live chat hosted by real, knowledgeable humans) can be another great way to speak with SQLs (and even MQLs who have specific questions).

Sales and marketing professionals getting to know their leads better through information collected from website forms and social media input and other internet activity

Senior Living Leads: How to Gain Deeper Insights

Your website is bringing in senior living leads. Congrats! Now what? Enticing anonymous site visitors to give up their information is only the first step. Now, you must learn how to quickly gain insights into the website leads so that your marketing and sales teams know what to do next.

The following three tactics will help you effectively manage your senior living leads.

Keep in mind that you must have good marketing automation software to do any of these tactics. In fact, if you had to do any of these things manually, it would be impossible to keep up.

Tactic #1: Implement progressive profiling on website forms.

For the sake of this exercise, let’s assume your community website has multiple gated “offers.” By “offers,” we’re referring to guides, ebooks, checklists, and the like—information people seek when evaluating communities and senior living in general.

“Gating” means that the offer is behind a form. In other words, the website visitor fills out the form to access the content. Oftentimes, people will download several items during one visit. Or they might return in subsequent days/weeks and download more info. Each time they do so, they fill out another website form. This is where progressive profiling comes in.

Simply put, progressive profiling helps you get more information about the person every time they fill out a new form on your site. On the first website form someone fills out, you’ll capture the essentials like first name, last name, phone, email, and timeframe for making a decision.

When you set up progressive profiling thanks to good marketing automation software, the prospect can bypass most of these questions when they fill out subsequent forms. Why? Because the system will recognize the person (thanks to the magic of website cookies).

So, instead, you can ask the prospect other relevant questions that can help you market and sell to them better. For example, perhaps you ask the person about their hobbies and interests. The person’s new answers will automatically sync with their contact record in the system’s backend (as well as your senior living CRM if you’ve integrated the two). Now, marketing and sales have even deeper insights into the lead.

BENEFITS: Progressive profiling provides deeper insights that will allow your marketing and sales teams to create more relevant follow-up communications. For example, if the lead says they love traveling and going on day trips, your team can highlight any programs or amenities that speak specifically to this interest.

Tactic #2: Give your senior living leads a score.

With good marketing automation software, you can teach it how to score your senior living leads appropriately.

At its simplest, lead scoring allows you to automatically label those leads that are ready for a specific action. In most cases, we’re referring to the sales hand-off. You can teach your marketing automation software how to identify a high-value lead for sales to follow up on immediately.

Your marketing and sales teams would determine the criteria that would go into scoring a high-value lead. The criteria will likely include things like:

  • Specific content the lead downloaded
  • Engagement with lead nurturing emails (what did they open, what did they click on)
  • The amount of time spent on the site
  • What the lead indicated regarding timing for making a decision

The above is an incomplete list. Your marketing and sales teams will determine the criteria based on experience with leads who’ve gone on to ultimately convert into move-ins. What do those leads have in common? That’s the stuff that will fuel your lead-scoring criteria. Leads that aren’t ready to go to sales will continue to be nurtured.

BENEFITS: With lead scoring, your sales team can put its focus on high-value leads that stand a good chance of converting rather than on leads that aren’t ready. Marketing, on the other hand, can continue to nurture not-ready leads with relevant follow-up emails that will help move them down the sales funnel.

If you want to take a deeper dive into lead scoring, check out HubSpot’s detailed instructions. Or better yet, have us set up lead scoring for you!

Tactic #3: Segment your website leads according to personas.

If you do nothing else, at least do this. Segmenting leads according to your will help your marketing and sales teams have more meaningful follow-up conversations.

For marketing, this means the follow-up lead nurturing emails will talk to that persona, specifically the concerns and challenges the persona faces. For sales, this means the conversations the rep has with the person will be based on persona attributes.

Reminder: When we say “persona,” we’re talking about the prospective buyer and/or person influencing the buying decision. For senior living, personas can be divided into two main groups: seniors shopping for themselves or an adult child researching on behalf of a parent or older adult in their lives (like an aunt or uncle).

Those are BROAD categories. You can (and should) break them down even more:

  • Adult daughter researching for her mother
  • Adult daughter researching for her father
  • Senior searching for options for herself
  • Senior searching for options for himself
  • Adult son researching for his mother
  • Adult son researching for his father
  • Senior couple looking for options

Keep in mind that the above list is just a start. It doesn’t cover all the scenarios.

Our point is simple: How you communicate with an adult son researching on behalf of his father should be different from the way you communicate with an adult daughter researching for her mother. How you communicate with a single eighty-five-year-old man will be different from a 70-year-old couple getting ready to retire.

BENEFITS: Marketing automation will once again save the day by automatically identifying the persona it should attribute the lead to—and what communications should be served up to the lead as a result. And yes, persona identification will likely be one of the factors that goes into determining the overall lead score.

Bottom line: How you manage your senior living leads matters!

You’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and money into getting leads from your website. Don’t let them just “sit there.” And don’t group all of them together in one bucket. We know this might sound overwhelming. But it doesn’t need to be. Especially when you work with a partner like Senior Living SMART. Give us a shout and let’s talk about scoring your senior living leads appropriately!

Waiting For Your Pitch – Swinging in Your Sales Strike Zone


onight I am watching the World Series and watching the psychological battle between pitchers and hitters.  The pitcher’s goal is to avoid throwing anything over the plate while convincing the batter that every pitch will eventually rise, sink, curve or break into the strike zone. The batters instinctively want to rip every pitch and the balls coming at them look like cantaloupes with seams right up until the last moment of commitment. Getting on base ultimately depends on having the patience to wait for the right pitch in the strike zone and then making contact. It takes a keen eye to discern balls posing as strikes and actual hittable pitches.

This analogy is equally relevant in describing the sales process in senior living. The key in being a top closer is the ability to separate Prospect from Suspects early in the sales process before you spend a lot of energy swinging at an opportunity outside of the strike zone. Every community has a unique strike zone comprised of key demographics, strengths and unique differentiators. The strike zone may be comprised of geographical, educational, ethnic, religious, clinical, cultural, recreational or desirable amenities that attract your unique buyer persona. Your strike zone is also defined by basic sales realities such as the match of the buyers wants/ needs and your solutions, the access to key decision makers, financial qualification, the ability to manage the acuity and availability of the desired apartment type and location. Top Closers focus their energy on the prospects who fall within their strike zone.

There is a difference between the lead who is an unrelated friend of someone who is considering moving into the area from out of state with high care needs and limited financial information and the lead who lives up the street who attends the church/ synagogue/ mosque across the street, with a daughter and grandchildren in the neighborhood who was referred by a very happy family, is going to be released from rehab in less than two weeks and does not want to go home alone. All leads deserve empathy, information, and a helpful interaction to offer support and resources. Those in the strike zone need a focused, personalized plan with consistent follow up and a roadmap leading them to your doorstep.  The reality is that not every lead is equal and Closers spend their time with those with the highest conversion opportunities. This is about prioritizing – not permission to avoid lead follow up! Leads that may not start off in your strike zone, can become strike zone leads with nurturing and creative follow up.

Ok sales team, it’s the Bottom of the 9th (the last week of the month!) and you need to score another move-in so take a look at your Hot Leads and prioritize those within your strike zone. Look for those with strong referral sources (professional, friend & family, grass-roots community, & referral agency leads) and those with an imposed urgency (imminent discharge date, break in support system such as private duty/ home care/ family care) and those who would respond to a short-term incentive.  Keep your eye on the ball and when you are ready, swing for the fences – there is still time to get one more on the scoreboard this month!