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Marketing During a Pandemic: How to Adjust Your Community’s Messaging

[Editor’s note: The following content was inspired by discussions during our senior living marketing webinar about the pandemic, which you can access for free here.]

Due to COVID-19 and the 24/7 news cycle, all eyes are on senior living communities, for better or worse.

In a recent article, we talked about how your community can use Facebook Live to help combat negative perceptions. Now, let’s have a deeper conversation about marketing during a pandemic.

In particular, let’s discuss how the senior living marketing team should re-frame your messaging during these unprecedented times.

1. Go longer and deeper with your messaging when marketing during a pandemic.

When it comes to effective content marketing for senior living communities, we usually advocate succinct, punchy copy. Right now, however, most people are stuck at home (whether they’re working or not), so you’re going to have a captive audience like never before. This means you can go longer and more in depth because people 1) are craving detailed info and 2) they have the time to read, watch, listen.

So what do we mean by going deeper? Don’t forget, you live and breathe the senior living industry every day, so everything is second nature to you, right? But for those on the outside looking in, they don’t know all the details. And thanks to the current media spotlight, people are curious. So educate them. Get into the fine details, the inner workings, the “inside baseball” stories, as we like to say.

Inside baseball is a metaphor for the minutiae—the detailed inner workings of a system that are usually only interesting to insiders and aficionados. Right now, many people are interested in the inner workings of senior living communities, such as how cleaning/disinfecting is done and who determines the daily menus.

Your content could be a series of “How We Do X” blog posts:

  • How We Clean During a Pandemic
  • How We Handle Social Distancing in Our Community
  • What Goes Into Creating a Daily Menu
  • How We Source Local Ingredients

You get the idea.

2. Talk about those “boring” topics you never would normally discuss in senior living marketing materials.

For example, who ever thought a topic like “senior living community supply chains” would be a must-read topic, yet here we are!

Right now, everybody’s focused on their own personal supply chain management. If you can show the differences between institutional supply chain management and your personal household management around toilet paper, eggs, and sanitizer, that will be a GREAT service to people.

How to accomplish this? Well, do something educational and reassuring by taking people “behind the scenes” via a Facebook Live video and bring them into the kitchen and supply closets and show an abundance of food and supplies like toilet paper—it’s not a direct sales message, but it certainly is a comforting one. People can “see” for themselves and think, “Mom will be OK. They have supplies, they have folks who are cleaning, and they have the infrastructure already built right in.”

No, this isn’t something that you would ever put in a marketing brochure—”Hey, when you choose our senior living community, you’ll always have toilet paper!” But right now, this is something that’s top of mind for people.

Bottom line: there are some interesting opportunities for creative storytelling around things that you never thought you would tell a story about.

3. Show your community’s commitment to—and expertise with—supporting older adults.

One example would be instead of simply saying you provide a safe environment, walk people through the exact procedures and protocols that you put in place to ensure safety every day.

And not just from a health perspective—yes, that’s the main concern on everyone’s mind right now, thanks to COVID-19—but also physical safety. For instance, how many lay people understand what the term “elopement” means when it comes to older adults? This is a great opportunity to educate about an industry-specific topic and to demonstrate your community’s specific approach.

4. Share the spotlight.

Again, this is a great opportunity to take people deep inside your daily operations. People love to understand how things work, so take advantage of that. You have talented people working in your communities. Make them the stars of these stories.

For example, bring forward your dining room supervisor, your chef, the person who’s running activities, or your head of healthcare. Make them the focus of your content and let them talk about what it is that goes into delivering the kinds of services that make up your community.

Hint: these make great topics for Facebook Live events (and then you can repurpose the content into blog posts and other written content).

5. Show your city/town spirit.

So many people are hunkering down right now and taking a keen interest in their local communities, particularly small businesses. Demonstrate how your senior living community supports and celebrates the businesses in your local town/city.

For example, talk about local businesses that you buy from/rely on. Keep a section of your COVID-19 website page dedicated to information that older adults (and their families) would find helpful, such as grocery store hours for older adults, pharmacy drive-thrus/deliveries, restaurants still offering takeout, and so forth.

Again, you’re celebrating your local town and city while also making your senior living community website a destination for responsible and accurate information as it pertains to seniors.

6. Continue to create responsible COVID-19 resources.

No one wants to be creating this content, but here’s the thing: YOU are uniquely positioned to discuss COVID-19 from a senior living perspective because YOU WORK IN THE INDUSTRY. Don’t let the uninformed or misinformed take control of your community’s story or narrative.

Instead, continue to create responsible COVID-19 resources that will truly help your residents, their families, prospects, staff, and the media.

Some ideas:

  • X Underreported Things Everyone Over 60 Should Know About COVID-19
  • Step-by-Step Guide to Skype and Facetime
  • X Ways to Keep in Touch with Your Senior Loved Ones During Lockdowns
  • Keep the Body Moving: X Great Alternatives to Daily Group Walks
  • X SMART Strategies for Helping Seniors Stay Safe during a Pandemic

Need more topics? People are searching on topics in Google all the time. Conduct a search on your own, such as “keeping seniors safe during COVID,” and scroll to the bottom for “People Also Search On” for additional ideas.

7. Share positive stories and messages, too.

People are rightly concerned about this pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you should forget to share happy news. Perhaps it’s a picture of a resident celebrating a birthday with their family members looking on through the window. Or it could be something as simple as sharing a pic of daffodils blooming in front of your building or outside a resident’s window.

8. Reconsider print advertising and direct mail.

With so many people stuck at home, now might be a great time to run some local newspaper ads and/or do some direct mail campaigns. You don’t need to “sell” either—it could simply be an alert regarding some strategies about how you’re keeping seniors in your communities safe. The call to action could be to set up a virtual tour or to join the next Facebook Live event. Psst: we make designing print pieces extremely turnkey—check out SMARTbrand.

Need help marketing during a pandemic?

We’re always happy to help senior living communities with their marketing during a pandemic or other crisis. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. And be sure to check out our COVID-19 resource library—everything is free to download.

Senior Living Sales Tips: Characteristics of Super Star Sales Talent

Senior Living Sales: Characteristics of Super Star Sales Talent

The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) reported that assisted living occupancy reached a new low last quarter (Q2-2019).

If you operate an assisted living facility (or other type of senior living community), what can you do to remain competitive and boost occupancy? You can’t change your location, product, or competitors. You probably don’t want to turn over the management team or cut rate. You might even think you have the best community (your competitors probably think the same thing). You say that you care more, that you have the best team, that you are resident-focused, just like everyone else says.

How can you improve your sales conversions?

Well, for one thing, you need a super star sales counselor, and they are a rare breed. But if you know what to look for, you might just be able to find one in the wild. Here are the five top characteristics of the best senior living sales talent.

1. The Best Senior Living Sales Rep Sees Prospects as Real People.

Unfortunately, too many sales people in our industry treat prospects as a commodity. These sales folks tend to take the position of “subject expert.” They want to be right, and they believe they have heard it all before. They perceive prospects as numbers and assign them a value: top 10, hot, warm, cold, or future. This value assignment drives their effort and engagement. Their approach is to talk prospects into the community, and they often use fear and manipulation to create urgency.

You want to avoid this type of sales “talent” at all costs.

Because the greatest sales people seek to understand the prospect’s wants, needs, and goals. Solving the problem on behalf of the prospect is their biggest concern—and they are passionate that they have the best solution. This dedication to the prospect drives their engagement.

2. The Best Senior Living Sales Rep Sells Value, Not Features.

After listening to thousands of mystery shops, it’s clear that too many sales people still approach interactions as a transaction. They spend most of the time talking, listing every feature, and hoping something will stick.

Great sales people spend time developing rapport with the prospects. In other words, they take a relational approach. They listen and reflect back what they hear to demonstrate that they care about the prospect. This builds enough trust to empower the prospect to open up and communicate their needs and goals. After this, the sales person can focus on personalizing the value of their community to each individual prospect.

3. The Best Senior Living Sales Reps Are Respectfully Persistent.

Rejection is common in sales since more prospects will say “no” rather than “yes.” Most sales people give up after a couple of attempts because they are uncomfortable with rejection. But what these sales folks don’t understand is that it often takes multiple attempts simply to connect and build rapport. Still, these sales people would rather focus on the new leads and hot leads rather than nurture the leads that aren’t ready yet.

The greatest sales counselors understand that most prospects are stressed and emotionally exhausted. The best sales counselors know it takes multiple attempts to engage and build trust. They focus on what they can do and they are politely persistent in staying connected. They do not take rejection personally because they understand that when someone is making an emotional decision, the path is rarely linear.

These sales folks also embrace technology that can help nurture these “not ready” leads over time. They work with marketing to make sure relevant lead nurturing workflows are set up that will resonate with different buyer personas.

4. The Best Senior Living Sales Rep Are Not Afraid of Silence.

Super star sales counselors leave space for silence to give prospects time to process the information. This type of sales person wants to hear what’s important to the prospect (or what the prospect is questioning).

In an interview, I always ask why the candidate thinks they will be successful in a sales role. The interview is over when they say, “I’m a good talker!” This type of sales person will not do well in an emotional selling environment because they will make the conversation about them, rather than about the prospect. Instead, I always perk up if the job candidate says, “I’m a good listener. I hear what people are saying and can respond accordingly.”

5. The Best Senior Living Sales Reps Embrace Follow Up – Creatively, Personally, and Energetically!

It takes energy, effort, and optimistic persistence to continue to follow up with prospects over the course of their sales journey. Prospects inquire, go dark, re-engage, and change direction throughout the process. Most sales people work the hot leads and new leads because they are only interested in closing sales in the next 30 days—they’re not thinking about the long game.

Super stars realize they need to keep the pipeline full with leads at every stage of their journey. They meet them where they are and stay in touch throughout the sales cycle – without any strings attached. Super stars drop off dinner, write a personal note (yes, handwritten!), leave a plant with a note on a doorstep, and/or send a book they know will help. When they leave a voicemail, it’s to let the prospect know they are thinking of them, not just “checking in” for an update.

Bottom line: When it comes to filling your community with super star sales talent, hire for heart first. You can always train them on specific skills as they go along.

What You Need to Know About Your Online Senior Living Competition

Competitor Analysis: How Senior Living Communities Need to Evaluate Online Competition

You’ve likely set goals and key performance indicators (KPI) for your digital marketing strategy. Hopefully, you’re reviewing the data and adjusting your strategy based on the results against your goals. But to truly analyze your digital marketing success, you have to compare it to the results from your market. In other words, you need to conduct competitor analysis. This involves monitoring and measuring your competitors’ digital marketing efforts as well.

Want to be a better online sleuth? Focus on these top four areas and follow our tips.

Content

Look at what types of content perform best. Which blogs have the most reads or the greatest number of likes and shares? What sort of content offers does the competition promote? What about videos? Infographics? You get the idea.

Pro tip: And speaking of ideas, keep track of content topics that your organization hasn’t been capitalizing on—yet. We’re not suggesting that you plagiarize, but we guarantee looking at your competitors’ content will get your own creative juices going.

Website Traffic

It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole when looking at competitors’ websites and related analytics. Focus on these metrics for a solid overview of a site’s performance:

  • Overall traffic by month
  • Unique traffic
  • Main sources of traffic
  • Who is visiting
  • Time on site

Pro tip: HubSpot has an excellent (and free) online website grader that can provide this top-level intel. If you want to go deeper, SimilarWeb has free and paid subscriptions.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization has changed dramatically in the last two decades. One of the foundational elements is keywords (although the way we approach keywords has also evolved over the years).

  • What keywords are they bidding for?
  • What keywords are they ranked for?
  • Do they have any quality backlinks?

Pro tip: SpyFu is a great tool for SEO competitor analysis. WordStream takes a deep dive into eight tools (including SpyFu).

Social Media and Ads

When it comes to social media, look beyond “vanity metrics,” such as the number of followers, since those are rarely accurate. Instead, focus on engagement, such as the number of shares and comments. This will give you a better idea about what content is resonating with people.

Pro tip: Social Media Examiner offers a great list of four free tools to help you analyze and compare.

See how you compare with your competition!

Want someone else to do the heavy lifting for you? That’s what we do!  Click HERE to schedule a free consultation!

How to Build Your 24/7/365 Senior Living Sales Team

How to Build Your 24/7/365 Senior Living Sales Team

Fifty percent of all senior living sales inquiries occur outside of regular business hours. Prospects often engage during early mornings, after work, and on weekends when full-time sales teams are not typically in the community. And keep in mind that these prospects aren’t just looking at your community. They’re likely engaging with several at the same time.

This can create challenges since studies show that the sales person who responds to the prospect first—”speed to the lead”—has the best chance of converting them. This is why building a 24-hour virtual sales team is a must if you want your community to remain competitive.

Sound like a daunting task? Here’s the good news: Many solutions exist to help you fill in the sales “gap” during off hours.

Senior Living Website – Your 24-Hour Sales Office

Eighty-seven percent of your prospects begin their journey on your senior living website—and it’s open 24 hours a day.

What information should you have on your site? Think about the top 10 questions that prospects ask your sales people during the inquiry process (and what resources the sales team provides). Make sure that those answers and resources are easily accessible on your website.

For example, prospects usually want to know what your community offers. Therefore, information on accommodations, amenities, activities, and care should be accessible through downloadable brochures, calendars, menus, and floor plans. Extra points for video tours and photo galleries, since most people prefer to consume information visually rather than reading a lot of copy.

Prospects also want to know about pricing, so tell them (at least the “starting at” pricing). Pricing transparency improves qualified lead conversion. People use pricing information to self-qualify themselves, which will give your sales teams a better chance to work with high-conversion opportunities.

Finally, prospects want to educate themselves before they get a sales pitch. Having educational blogs, guides, and checklists to help prospects make an informed decision will go a long way in building trust.

Make sure that there are CTAs (calls to action) throughout your website to lead your visitors down a path to conversion. For example: scheduling a visit, requesting a call back, or subscribing to a newsletter. Each CTA creates an opportunity to convert an anonymous visitor into a lead.

Marketing Automation/ Lead Nurturing

If someone called into your community or scheduled a tour, your onsite sales team would follow up, right? Marketing automation creates workflows for ongoing lead nurturing after prospects leave your website—without your senior living sales team doing a thing.

Even better? The most powerful marketing automation will allow you to personalize the content and messaging based on each prospect’s interests. Lead nurturing that is both automated and personal tends to have the highest conversions.

Not convinced? Well, imagine this: someone comes to your website at 10 PM on a Saturday and they request a brochure. Your sales team is not available and your prospect does not want to wait for the information. No worries! As soon as the person requests the brochure, they would receive it right from the website along with a “thank you” email that demonstrates the community team is ready to help. From a backend perspective, the person would be automatically enrolled in a lead nurturing workflow.

Then, a day or so later, they receive a second email to see if they have any questions. The second email might also include a CTA to request a call back and a second piece of content, like “how to make a decision” guide. Finally, a few days later, they receive a check-in email with encouragement to schedule a visit.

Notice how each interaction offers resources, builds trust, and encourages them to take the next action—and it’s all happening automatically in the background without your sales team needing to do anything.

Remember, 90% of your first-time website visitors are “not ready to buy”—yet. Marketing automation keeps prospects engaged, brings them back to your website, and exposes them to your brand until they are ready to move forward.

Technology that is Always On Duty

Complete your virtual senior living sales team with these technology solutions (vetted and approved by us, Senior Living SMART):

  • SiteStaff humanizes your website via chat services with college-educated American hosts hired for empathy, trained in senior living sales skills, and ready to answer questions with information available in a community-specific knowledgebase.
  • Roobrik offers interactive assessments to match needs with solutions. Prospects spend four to five minutes answering up to 28 questions about their situation, challenges, finances, cognitive status, and readiness to embrace change. A “Care Fit” report scores each person based on urgency and then matches them to care and housing recommendations.
  • Marchex provides a lens into the customer journey, their experience, and sentiment. And the entire process is automated—every single call. With the data surfaced, your sales team will be able to deliver a better, branded customer experience, which will result in greater revenue performance. By understanding “breakage” in the customer journey, you can advise your staff about lost opportunities and tips for correcting them. Information gathered will help the sales team to personalize their interactions, which will give you an advantage over competitors.

And, of course, if you need help with your senior living website or marketing automation, give us a shout!

Top 5 DIY Marketing Tips for 2019

Top 5 DIY Marketing Tips for 2019

Already working on your Q1 marketing plans? Join your fellow senior living sales and marketing professionals for this 45- minute webinar where you’ll learn helpful tips to get your promo plans in place for 2019.

  • Goal set based on numbers
  • Identify target personas
  • Select the right promotion for the job to be done
  • Select the right media for the job to be done
  • Measure a job well done

The takeaways from this webinar will help you better structure your goals, strategies, tactics and actions to drive more move-ins more effectively. We’ll also answer some of your questions.

The Five Most Important Resident Marketing Trends

The Five Most Important Resident Marketing Trends

In 2017, LeadingResponse marketed to, and surveyed, more than 250,000 prospective residents, their adult children and caregivers to gain insights, and generate new move-ins for their senior living community clients.  During this hot topic webinar, you’ll learn more about the amazing data and results that were born out of this initiative and how to use that information to dramatically improve your occupancy.

What You Will Learn:

  1. Provide the latest resident marketing trends
  2. Discuss best practices based on data to generate new move-ins
  3. Gain consumer behavior details that increase your conversion rate
  4. Learn more about very targeted efforts to yield the strongest qualified leads
  5. Discuss the difference in behaviors between face to face leads vs digital leads
The Senior Living Sales Counselor – A Trapeze Artist

The Senior Living Sales Counselor – A Trapeze Artist

Success in senior living sales is a balance of art and science with many analogies. I have heard it described as a dance-very artistic. Others describe the journey as a funnel or pipeline-100% science. My analogy involves a trapeze. Let me explain!

Going to the circus as a child, I was mesmerized by the trapeze artists. I watched excitedly as they climbed the precarious ladder up to the tippy top of the tent and gathered on the absurdly small platform to take their places. I don’t know what their official roles were, but I thought of them as catchers and flyers.

The catchers were first up, hanging upside down, establishing a steady rhythm, and preparing themselves for the responsibility of catching one or more of the flyers-without a safety net. The flyers then started their swinging back and forth, getting into synch with the catcher and waiting for the right time and alignment to let go of the safety of the swing.

I held my breath until the flyer was caught and brought over to the platform on the other side. It always seemed to take forever and I could never figure out how the flyers knew just the right moment to let go and fly! There was a lot of technique involved in executing this feat, but there was also grace, flexibility, and trust.

In a senior living sales process, I see the families as the flyers and the community sales teams as the catchers. Families bravely climb the scary ladder, gather together on the platform, and try to make it to the other side of finding the right senior living community. Our community sales team “catchers” are always ready to catch the family and bring them safely across the divide. They cannot rush the flyer or entice them over; they just have to be there as a steady presence to build trust.

Usually, the family members gathered on the tiny platform nominate the adult daughter as the first flyer and over she comes as the family scout. Others follow with encouragement from those that went before until, finally, the future resident joins. And the whole time, the senior living sales team is there, waiting to catch.

Whether your sales philosophy falls more on the side of art or on the side of science, here are some resources that should be of interest.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Follow Up: From Failure to Fabulous!

Are you sick and tired of giving away more than 3/4 of your prospects to your competition because of follow-up failure? Keep reading…because you’re about to go from FOLLOW UP Failure to Follow up FABULOUS!

customer journey

Senior Living Sales: Mapping The Customer Journey After They Say Yes

Senior living sales and marketing departments spend a lot of time developing prospect personas and mapping out their journey. But what happens once a prospect becomes a bona fide customer? Their journey doesn’t end once they move in.

As a resident, they begin a new journey, one that can be happy, sad, or meh (depending on many factors). Senior living sales and marketing departments MUST pay attention. If you don’t, you could be losing out on a great referral source. (Happy residents talk up their experience and refer others.)

Take some time understanding the customer’s journey AFTER they say yes. Look for ways to build on what’s working. And address any issues, even if they fall outside senior living sales and marketing.

First, keep these things in mind:

  • There’s a lot going on. There’s a move that has to be coordinated, downsizing that needs to happen, financial matters to figure out, and paperwork to sign—lots of paperwork with lots of legalese.
  • It’s a significant change. The decision to move to a senior living residence is right up there with saying yes to a marriage proposal, choosing a college, and getting a new job. There’s stress and uncertainty. It’s a reminder that they are aging and need more help. They are giving up their home and familiar routines. Perhaps they’re afraid of losing personal control. Plus, they might be sad to leave their friends and community and become a stranger in their new environment.
  • They may be moving in after a crisis. Some residents are facing challenging situations, such as the following:
    • Severe health issue
    • Loss of spouse or caregiver
    • A decline in physical or mental health
  • It’s exhausting. Going through the decision process, planning the move, and then doing the actual move-in can be physically and emotionally exhausting for both the resident and family.

Second, figure out how senior living sales and marketing can you create a customer journey that supports residents and their families?

You want to create a journey that provides an empathetic, positive experience. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Do your research! Talk with residents and families and learn from their move-in experience. Did you provide a move-in gift or welcome package? If yes, did they find it helpful? If not, what was lacking? Can the senior living sales and marketing teams work on a better welcome package?
  • Look at your touchpoints and channels. What interactions do you have with residents and families during the move-in process? What are the methods by which these touchpoints happen: in-person, emails, phone conversations? Bottom line: the senior living sales rep shouldn’t disappear once the customer has signed. Remember, YOU are the person they know best. Greet them and their family the day they move in. Make a point of checking in on them over the next thirty days. Ditto with their family. If they bring up any issues, don’t say “Oh, I’ll look into that” and then forget. FOLLOW UP.
  • Think about how the customer feels during each touchpoint. Go through each touchpoint and think about how the customer may feel. Are they scared? Emotional? Confused? Disappointed? What are ways for everyone to come together to address these things?
  • How can you make that experience better? Look at opportunities to make the process easier. How can you reduce some of the stress and uncertainty? How can you make the process consistent and scalable? Are there best practices in your organization?
  • Get ongoing feedback and commit to ongoing improvement! There’s always room for improvement. Build on what’s working and fix what’s broken.

Interested in learning more strategies for exceeding prospects’ expectations?

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

senior living web design

Senior Living Website of the Future: A Case Study

Vitality Senior Living wanted to build a senior living website of the future. We worked with them to integrate website design and function to align with their sales culture.

Vitality wanted to accomplish the following with their new senior living website:

  • Provide the right content at the right time to the right prospect
  • Create a highly engaging site that would encourage visitors to stay longer and keep them coming back
  • Represent senior living in a positive light using vibrant images and positive language
  • Engage prospects in every stage of readiness, not just those ready to move in within the next thirty days
  • Allow prospects to self-select their stage of readiness, consume content created for that stage, and advance seamlessly through the journey
  • Automate lead nurturing campaigns for earlier-stage prospects while advancing prospects who are ready to engage with the sales team
  • Generate high quality, organic leads

Step #1: Personas, Stages of Readiness, and Content – Oh My!

We created buyer personas and mapped the buyer’s journey based on three stages of readiness: Research, Planning, and Action.

First, we created a buyer persona for the adult daughter and the older adult prospect and mapped out motivations, obstacles, priorities, wants, and needs for each. Then, we were able to plan the right content that would be valuable to each persona. In addition, we could organize the blog and resources by stage of readiness.

For example, a prospect in the beginning stages of Awareness and Research usually wants to know where they will live, what they will do, who will take care of them, and if they can afford to live there. Someone in a Planning or Action stage needs to know how they are going to downsize, which community will be the best fit, when to make the move, and how to have the conversation with the family. Once we completed this, we created a blog calendar and the writers got to work. We moved on to the next step – engagement.

Step #2: Drive Traffic To the Site & Keep Them Coming Back

Vitality didn’t want to use traditional senior living labels, such as seniors, assisted living, or memory care. Instead, they wanted positive age-neutral descriptions, such as older adult, lifestyles, and choice. As a result, we had to get creative in using keywords to drive search engine optimization.

To engage website visitors, we included several Senior Living SMART partners in the development of the website.

  • Site visitors can take a Roobrik assessment. Each assessment takes 3 to 5 minutes and leads prospects to a personalized Care Fit Report that presents their best care options. Prospects can share their report with other family members or save it for later. This keeps them on the website longer and increases return traffic and conversions.
  • We also added interactive room planners for each community. This way, prospects in Planning or Action stages can choose an apartment style and design it by adding furnishings. These room planners by NextGenTools are the only ones that work on mobile devices and allow prospects to share their completed design on Facebook or email to other family members. This increases time-on-page by 6 to 8 minutes and creates a reason to come back to the website.
  • Future enhancements include adding live chat to improve conversion from anonymous visitor to qualified leads and tours. With SiteStaff, we are getting 40% conversion from chat to lead and 20% conversion from chat to scheduled tour!

Step #3: HubSpot & CRM Integration

Vitality wanted to automate lead nurturing strategies for all of the leads that are earlier stage. An “earlier stage” lead is a person who is not ready to tour or talk to a sales person, but they’re still expressing interest. Vitality also wanted to be sure that “urgent” leads quickly went to the sales team.

As a result, we recommended integrating the website with HubSpot (for automated nurturing). We also recommended integrating the site with their senior living CRM (they use Sherpa) to connect leads in an Action Stage to the sales team for face-to-face and voice-to-voice relationship building.

The results? A senior living website of the future!

The new Vitality website is attracting more of the right traffic, engaging them longer, and speaking to (and converting) them throughout their journey.

Want to take your senior living website to the next level? We’d love to help! Request your free 30-minute brainstorming session or fill out the form below to get a website assessment.

FREE Website Assessment

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

Senior Living Sales: Creative Pricing Strategies for 2017

Senior Living Sales: Creative Pricing Strategies for 2017

Well, it’s budget time once again. Time to reevaluate pricing, analyze trends, and build 2017 business plans, tactics, and strategies. Setting rates usually starts with an analysis of occupancy and vacancy by unit type; calculating rent, care, and community fee averages; evaluating current resident rates; and comparing competitor pricing.

Here are some creative senior living sales strategies to think about for 2017:

Value/ Premium Pricing

This strategy allows a pricing spread throughout the community, offering greater pricing elasticity to meet a wider range of financial options for prospects without eroding rate.

Select an equal number of…

  • Value Apartments with undesirable locations (end of long hallways, upper floors); undesirable views (parking lot, dumpster, mechanical units); or with a lack of amenities (dark, small, limited closet space)
  • Premium Apartments with a premium location (near elevator, on the first floor, near dining room, etc.); premium view; or with premium amenities (upgrades, closet space, square footage)

Set Value and Premium Rates

  • Price the Value Apartments a dollar amount lower than the average rate per unit.
  • Price the Premium Apartments a matching dollar amount higher than the average rate per unit.
  • This creates three price points for each apartment type and leaves the overall rate unchanged.

Value/Premium Pricing is Most Effective With…

This strategy works well in communities with 10 or fewer vacant apartments with undesirable views, locations, or amenities that are not selling. This short-term pricing strategy does not erode rate as the additional rate gained in Premium units offsets the discounts offered in the Value apartments.

Variable Pricing

Much like paying points on a mortgage, the greater the upfront move-in fee, the lower the monthly base rent.

For example, for every $2000 more paid up front, the resident base rent is reduced by $200.

Variable pricing benefits:

  • This gives the community good cash flow up front
  • The advantage for the resident is that the investment is paid back within 10 months and all future increases are based on the lower rate.

This strategy provides solutions for prospects who:

  • Have good liquidity from the sale of their home or from strong investments, but they do not have much income. (They can put up a large move-in fee and buy down their monthly price that is within their income range.)
  • Have a strong income but do not have upfront cash (waiting to sell their home, money tied up in annuities, CDs, or other investments).

Variable Pricing is Most Effective With…

Rental CCRC/ IL where the length of stay is longest. It competes well against the buy-in model, as it offers control of the rate to the resident without requiring a large buy-in fee. It pays back the investment in the present where the buy-in model only pays back at the end of the stay.

It also works well in economically fragile markets where people need more options in order to create a financial solution. It also works well in more sophisticated metro markets where the buyer wants to be in control and is always looking for a deal.

Volume Pricing

This short-term strategy establishes a “can’t walk away from” price to move a volume of apartments quickly. Establish a defined time frame or a number of apartments offered to limit rate erosion. This approach trades rate for occupancy until the community reaches an occupancy percentage to turn the rate lever back on.

The best strategy is to identify a specific type of unit, such as studios, or a specific location, such as upper floor location that have been vacant for a long time.

Most Effective With…

Works well with communities under 80% occupied where the cost of vacancy outweighs the erosion of rate. This strategy also works with communities who are convinced that their only barrier is rate. Using volume pricing for 60 – 90 days will confirm or dispel the rate barrier theory. If no one buys at the volume rate, it’s not a pricing issue, so keep digging.

Check out other sales and occupancy growth resources in our Senior Living Marketplace »