According to the National Investment Center (NIC) for Seniors Housing and Care, senior living occupancy dropped to a record low of 78.7%1 in the second quarter of 2021. That’s down from 95% in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt senior living communities, leaving many senior living marketers looking for valuable leads with margins tighter than ever. Analysts hoped occupancy would rebound in 2021, and while NIC statistics showing an incremental increase in occupancy rates in Q3 are a step in the right direction, a rapid return to pre-pandemic rates isn’t likely to come anytime soon.2
There are tens of thousands of senior living communities across the U.S. Between so many places to choose from and the lagging occupancy rates, the competition for residents is fiercer than ever.
Converting your leads into residents takes more than an informative website and engaging social media. You need a genuinely innovative marketing strategy to grow your senior living community. Here’s three digital tools to get you started.
Generating High-Quality Leads
Not all leads are created equal. Quantifying which leads to invest in nurturing will help you direct your sales team to those leads with the highest conversion potential.
One of the best ways to collect quality leads is top-notch targeting. To target your marketing properly, you need to know your potential residents almost as well as they know themselves. When you know who they are, you understand what types of media and messaging they respond to. Then you can focus your marketing efforts accordingly.
Start with your Google Analytics. Look at who’s interacting with your website and their typical user activity. What groups are filling out your online forms? What groups are most likely to bounce from your site? What pages on your website produce the most bounces for each group? The answers to these questions will position you to prioritize your leads and keep your sales team focused on those most likely to convert.
Automating Long-Term Follow Up
Across all types of senior living communities, the average sales cycle to convert a senior from a prospect to a resident is 193 days.3 That’s more than six months!
Seniors should take ample time to select a senior living community. Choosing the right community is a huge family decision with multiple stakeholders and variables to consider. Over the course of their decision-making process, your prospective residents’ interest may ebb and flow. That’s ok, too. As a senior living marketer, the best way to deal with this is to automate your marketing processes so you stay in touch with your leads long term—without having to think about next steps for everyone individually.
There are marketing automation products available to help with follow up. Many apps let you easily identify periods of increased engagement so you can communicate with a lead at their highest interest point. Of course, you want to avoid randomly approaching someone who viewed your website six months ago. You need to communicate with the seniors and decision makers who showed interest today.
For example, set up an automatic follow-up email to go out to a lead when they download a specific document from your site. Or initiate a chat when a user visits a certain page on your website. The possibilities with automated follow up are only limited by your imagination.
Focusing on Impactful Strategies that Work
There’s a reason magazine ad sales decreased by nearly $10 billion dollars in the last ten years. 4 As the print media audience migrated to digital platforms to find their preferred content, advertisers shifted their marketing strategies to meet them there. To make the most of your marketing budget, you need to put your messaging in front of your target market where they’re most likely to see it. And today, that means optimizing your digital presence to meet your prospective residents online.
So stay focused on what works. For example, last year, completion of web forms on senior living websites increased by 23%.3 These forms are high-value lead generators, because seniors who take the time to complete them are indicating that they definitely want to learn more about your senior living community. Don’t have an online contact form? Now is the time to add one.
Are you using the right tools to successfully turn leads into new residents? Contact Dreamscape today at 888.307.7304 to schedule a free strategy session to discuss which digital marketing tools will be most effective for your senior living community.