A panel of senior living marketing professionals will share strategies and tactics for lead generation, nurturing and conversions given current restrictions regarding tours, events and community visits.
Someone visited your senior living website. Great, right? It is, except for one problem: the person who visited your site is anonymous. You don’t know who they are or whether they’re truly a good prospect for your senior living community.
What to do?
Simple: optimize your senior living website so that it encourages anonymous traffic to convert into leads.
Here’s how . . .
1. Gate your content.
Gated content is exactly how it sounds—premium content (like white papers, checklists, and infographics) that you keep hidden behind a gate.
In order for website visitors to access said content, they must offer up some info about themselves, like first name, last name, email, location, and where they are in their journey. (More on these form “fields” in a moment.)
It’s a fair exchange—they get great content, for free, and you get some valuable intelligence on your website’s visitors.
2. Make sure you have engaging calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout the site.
These CTAs will naturally lead people to places where they can easily convert from anonymous visitor to a name and face: landing page for gated content, contact us page, schedule a tour page. You get the idea.
3. Provide interactive elements, like Live Chat and other self-qualifying tools.
Live chat is a great way to turn anonymous visitors into real leads. One of the first questions your chat can ask for is a name, in a friendly, natural way. Like, “Hi, there. My name is Rebecca. Got any questions?” If someone types a question, Rebecca can respond by saying, “Hey, great question. Before I answer, can you quickly tell me your name and give me an email address, just in case we get disconnected. Then, I can follow up.” (Hint: SiteStaff is one of our favorite Live Chats for the senior living industry.)
With self-qualifying tools, like interactive surveys and other prospect decision tools, the anonymous website visitor can answer a series of questions to help them better understand the options for their specific situation. Many of these tools only require the person to submit an email to get the results (no phone number for a sales person to hound). But an email is all you need to continue to nurture and grow the relationship. (Hint: Roobrik is one of our favorite prospect decision tools.)
4. Provide easy ways for people to subscribe to blogs and newsletters.
If someone’s reading a blog post, you can have a slide-in subscription box that says: “Get more helpful articles like this. Subscribe to our blog.” Same with a newsletter.
Experiment with what works for your audience. A lightbox pop-up form (that box that suddenly “takes over” a website page) can be annoying to some visitors but a great way to convert others. You need to see what works for your specific audience (website analytics will be your guide regarding this).
5. Use progressive fields in forms to capture better info.
For that first point of contact you make with an anonymous senior living website visitor, you want to ask for the least amount of info, but at the same time, you need SOMETHING to help inform how to score the lead appropriately (more on scoring leads below).
At the very least, for that first contact, you should get first name, last name, email, state, and a dropdown that might ask: Which bests describes you?
And then the dropdown would offer three options:
- Actively looking for a senior living solution for myself
- Actively looking for a senior living solution for someone else
- Not actively looking, just researching for now
If the person downloads only one piece of gated content from your site, you’ll have enough info to know at least something about this lead—and what to do with them next.
But here’s the beauty of smart forms these days: you can use what’s known as progressive fields on forms. This means every time a person fills out another form on your site, the form automatically adjusts for that particular prospect and requests NEW information in NEW fields.
So you won’t make them repeat what they’ve already entered (except for what would make sense to the prospect—like their name and email). But on the second form they fill out, you could ask for their full address and phone number and depending on HOW they answer the initial drop-down question we mention above, you could ask an appropriate follow up.
For example, if on the first form the person indicates they are actively looking for a senior living solution for someone else, perhaps you ask this question on the next form they fill out: Which best describes your situation? “I’m actively looking for a senior living community for my…”
- Other family member (aunt/uncle, sibling)
And then this: Which best describes your timetable? I’m looking to make a decision in…
- 60 days.
- 3-6 months.
- Within a year.
- 18-24 months.
Now you have even further intelligence, which will help marketing and sales teams follow up appropriately.
Note: you’ll need good marketing automation, like HubSpot, to set up progressive fields on forms. And we won’t lie—this does take some time to think through, but once you get it set up and working, this will result in excellent information to inform your next steps.
Which brings us to the following . . .
Once you have senior living leads, what happens next?
Now that you’ve turned anonymous website visitors into leads, here’s what should happen next:
Score leads appropriately.
Remember what we said about the form fields above? How they provide important insights? You’ll use the information people share in these form fields to help score each lead appropriately.
For example, someone who is looking to make a move for a parent within 60 days is in a very different situation than someone who sees the move happening in the next 12-18 months. The former would be considered a sales-qualified lead (SQL). These folks are ready to talk to sales since they’ve indicated they’re making a decision soon.
The latter would be a marketing-qualified lead (MQL). They’ve engaged with your content, so you’ve gotten their interest, but they’re in an earlier stage in the buying journey. You want to stay in front of them and continue engaging them, but it would be a waste of everyone’s time if sales followed up at this point.
How you score the leads will depend on your senior living community’s approach to sales, including how you’ve set up your CRM. (Hint: Are you new to the concept of lead scoring? We can help set up yours based on our decades of experience working in senior living sales.)
Nurture marketing-qualified leads (MQLs).
Like everything else in marketing and sales, the concept of lead nurturing has evolved. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Yes, you’ll likely want to set up a series of follow-up emails that automatically go out to MQLs, but it’s incredibly easy for this process to become overwhelming from a backend perspective when you consider the “logic” behind the workflows.
For example, if someone downloads Guide A and B, but not Guide C, then they’d go into campaign #1, but if someone downloads Guides A, B, and C, they go into campaign #2, but if they only download Guides B and C, they go into campaign #2.
If you have dozens of guides and “rules” based on downloads or personal attributes (e.g., adult daughter vs. adult son vs. husband looking on behalf of wife), it can get incredibly unwieldy. And you’d absolutely need quality marketing automation, like HubSpot, to make it all work.
For communities with a full-time marketing department and dozens of locations nationwide, this complex approach is feasible. For smaller operators, it’s OK to take a more streamlined approach. The goal is to simply stay in front of people who’ve expressed interest and engaged with you. A combination of high-level emails and even a direct mail piece could be a good program. Or maybe you just do emails. Or perhaps you use some sort of text campaign.
Bottom line: do something.
(Psst: Got some older MQLs that were never nurtured? We’ve developed an effective turnkey program you can use to re-engage some of these leads. Contact us and ask about it.)
Have a follow-up plan for sales-qualified leads (SQLs).
How your sales team follows up with SQLs will very much depend on the sales culture and structure of your department (including your CRM). With SQLs, a more direct approach can work, like phone calls (hint: Marchex is an excellent automated phone solution).
Texting is something you’ll likely need to consider as we go through this next decade. For one thing, people are much more likely to respond to a text than a phone call or email. So you might reach out initially via text to say “Let’s schedule a tour.” Second, as more and more of the younger generations (like millennials and Gen Z) get involved with decisions for their aging loved ones, you’ll need to communicate using methods they prefer—like texting.
Overwhelmed by scoring senior living leads?
Don’t worry—that’s why we’re here! We can help you set up programs that work for your senior living community.
When it comes to senior living SEO, no one knows exactly how Google’s search algorithm works (except for a select number of folks inside Google). Attempting to game Google remains a pointless endeavor (though many continue to try). Instead, smart senior living marketing teams use search engine optimization (SEO) for better rankings. This involves building a site with excellent content that will come up naturally in various searches people do on Google. (That’s a very simple explanation, but you get the gist.)
Over the years, certain SEO “best practices” have emerged (practices that are endorsed by Google itself). Still, as technology and people continue to evolve, so does search—and the best practices that go along with it.
Below isn’t an exhaustive list of senior living SEO “must-haves” for 2020.
Rather, it’s a mash-up of the best practices that persist even in 2020 as well as reminders about SEO tactics that all senior living marketing teams should be paying attention to.
1. Compelling Content Written for Humans First.
Yes, folks: quality content is still king. Because at the end of the day, all Google really cares about is keeping searchers happy. And by happy that means serving up exactly what that searcher is truly looking for. Google has gotten quite adept at understanding context and even nuance, and, of course, searchers have gotten incredibly granular with their search queries.
The words you use (or “keywords,” as we say) still matter, but what’s more important is providing excellent content that’s written in a natural way—content that will help people who are looking for a solution to that particular problem, such as . . .
- “How to pay for senior living communities”
- “Tips for choosing assisted living”
- “What’s the difference between assisted living and independent living”
2. Compelling Content that’s DIFFERENT from Your Competitors’ Sites.
You want to provide thorough, helpful content. But you also want to provide content no one can find anywhere else. The biggest mistake we see in our industry is this: too many senior living community websites sound exactly the same.
Here’s the thing: we are essentially selling the same product/service, right? There are just so many ways senior living marketing teams can talk about “exercise tips for people over 70” or “10 considerations when choosing a senior living community.” Still, if you want your site to stand out—to people AND Google—you need to write about things in a way that captures the essence and spirit of YOUR community.
So perhaps you have a Q&A blog post with your community’s sales director and you ask him/her to answer specific questions regarding paying for senior living. Or maybe you interview the community’s dining director about the five most popular meals at the community and why he or she thinks they’re great—and then you follow it up by interviewing some residents with their thoughts.
And regarding that topic about exercise tips for people over 70? Maybe you videotape the activities director performing five different chair exercises. You use the content on the blog, on social media, and YouTube. Over time, as more people come to the blog post and share it, Google will “understand” that this is worthwhile content about exercise tips for people over 70, which will bring in even more traffic and help build site authority.
The topics might be similar to topics your competitors are doing, but you’re covering them in a completely original and interesting way. THIS is the type of content that “wins” over Google in the long run.
3. Speed, Baby!
Bottom line, you want a site that loads quickly. Don’t make it easy for people to go to a competitor’s site simply because yours takes too long to load. A good web developer can test page speed and identify where and how to lighten the load.
4. Site Security.
It’s 2020. Your site must be secure. In other words, you need https, not http. This is important for humans (people are getting better at looking for https). But Google now uses https as a ranking signal.
5. Mobile Responsiveness.
Google also uses mobile responsiveness as a ranking signal. So you need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly, which it should be anyway, since more and more people conduct searches on tablets and phones.
6. Google My Business Listings.
If people search on “senior living communities near me,” what comes up? Often, Google My Business listings surface to the top, which means you need to not only claim these listings, but also treat them like mini-websites and make sure they’re on brand, up to date, and have the most important content that someone would be looking for.
7. Listings on Other Sites with Authority.
Certain directory listings carry authority in Google’s eyes, so having listings on these sites can be helpful in building your own site’s authority. Don’t stress and worry that your senior living website will be doomed if you miss one or two listings, however. Do your best, keep it on your radar for review (so you can be aware of any new sites that become important), and keep going.
8. Oldies, But Goodies.
Yes, even in 2020, it still makes sense to follow these long-standing senior living SEO best practices for more effective senior living marketing online:
- Keyword-rich title tags. Title tags are HTML elements that specify the title of a web page. They show up as the clickable headline on search engine result pages (SERPs). Try to keep your title tag under 65 characters. Ideally, it should include a keyword phrase that expressly indicates what the page is talking about.
- Meta description: This is the snippet of text that typically shows up on SERPs under the title tag. Try to keep these under 150 characters and think of it as a little mini-ad for the page. Be clear what the page is about, but make it enticing so people will click.
- Internal links: Pay attention to keyword phrases that you use naturally in the page that lead to other topics you’ve written about on your site. Hyperlink those words (called “anchor text) and link to the corresponding content.
Bullets and bolding. Google likes good formatting, and what this means for your content is naturally including bold keyword-rich sub-headlines and bulleted/numbered lists for easier skimming/reading.
BONUS: Get Help from Experts in SEO and Senior Living!
Here’s the thing: you will never be “done” with SEO. It’s an ongoing task. And sometimes you’re so busy doing marketing and sales that some of these SEO “must-haves” can fall by the wayside. That’s why it makes sense to work with an SEO expert from time to time, just to make sure your site is in tip-top shape. And bonus points if the SEO expert has experience in senior living.
Well, look at that. We just described . . . us! We’d love to chat with you about your SEO needs for 2020.
Why is senior living reputation management so important? Well, let’s face it: people rely on online reviews more now than ever before. So, what people say about your community MATTERS (regardless whether you agree with their assessment or not).
Consider the following stats:
- According to a Harvard Business School study, a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue.
- Search Engine Land reports that 87% of potential customers won’t consider businesses with poor ratings.
- Search Engine Journal reminds us that more reviews are better. In fact, according to research, people won’t even begin to believe the average star ratings unless there are at least 40 reviews.
And that’s just the tip of a very large iceberg when it comes to stats about consumers and online reviews.
Senior Living SMART
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