Would you market a plant-based fast-food value meal the same way to vegetarians and meat-eaters? Of course not! Both types of consumers might want the same meal, but their reason to purchase is going to be very different.
Even though you’re selling the same product to both audiences, your strategy will need to focus on what is most important to each. Once you get their attention, the way you treat those leads has to diverge. How does this apply to senior living? Because while you’re marketing just one community, the individuals in your audience have different and specific criteria guiding their final decision.
Here’s how it works. You’ve done your homework, created a high-impact SEO campaign, and engaged in some pay-per-click advertising. Leads are starting to come in, but some are prospective residents, and some are family members. Within these two groups, there are even more niche demographics. You might see first-time searchers, returning searchers, searchers focusing on value, lifestyle, amenities, dining, medical, geographical… the list goes on. And each type of lead has unique wants and needs.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing solves the problem of how to deal with your unique customers. The process creates and maintains personalized relationships at every point in the customer journey, from the very top of the sales funnel to the conversion finish line. In a human-focused industry like senior living, a one-size fits all approach to marketing just isn’t good enough anymore. Potential residents want to feel understood. They expect highly personalized and relevant content that answers their questions—sometimes even before they ask.
By consistently marketing to your prospects using customized campaigns, you decrease the time between research and decision-making. And when your leads are ready to convert, your community is top-of-mind.
Why Should You Engage in a Lead Nurturing Campaign?
Making a life-changing decision like moving into a senior living community is very different from picking a new toothbrush—which is why your sales process requires customized relationships. Not to mention, seniors are savvier than ever. They expect (and deserve) a high quality of life. And they aren’t afraid to use technology to find it.
Seniors making this decision want to maintain or improve their lifestyle. Family members are concerned with the care provided. Because of the gravity of this decision, the customer journey and path to conversion is much longer. While many consumer-based products convert in seconds, senior living takes months. More specifically, assisted living takes about 70 days and independent living takes around 120 days to convert.1 What’s more, nearly half of seniors begin researching senior living communities two years before they plan to move.
This long path to conversion means tailored tactics to engage the lead over time are a must. The goal is to keep the lead on the customer journey as long as it takes to make the decision. Lead nurturing provides that mechanism.
These days, this customer journey is taking place almost entirely online. Three out of four seniors look for senior living on the internet.1 At this very minute, and every minute after, 6,000 “senior living” queries are occurring in the U.S. This trend shows no sign of slowing down as senior living searches have increased by 20% year over year in recent history.
With so many seniors online seeking the valuable services you provide, creating a robust, effective lead nurturing strategy is essential.
How Does Lead Nurturing Work?
By now, you should be convinced that you need to engage in lead nurturing to properly promote your senior living community. But how exactly is this accomplished? Strategically, that’s how.
Start by understanding that your leads will fall into two different groups: your prospective residents and their loved ones. But you’re not done yet! Within these two groups, there will be subgroups. These subgroups need to be nurtured in a specific way, because every group of leads has unique motivations and goals. How you present your community, what you highlight, and how you sell will be different for each subgroup. But on the whole, here’s how you’ll shape your lead nurturing campaign:
- Capture: You want to get leads into a personalized campaign as quickly as possible, so your first task is to find out what’s driving their decision. Begin with paid ads and organic content that appeal to the motivations you’re targeting. Blog articles, surveys, and self-assessment forms naturally collect this type of information. The goal is to gather as much data about your leads as possible to start them on the appropriate customer journey.
- Follow-up: This part of the process can and should take many forms. Base the content in this step on the leads themselves and the type, frequency, and length of follow-up they’re most likely to engage with. One type of lead may want a helpful blog post, a piece of interactive content, or a case study. Another might respond best to customer testimonials, data sheets, and white papers.
- Contact: The final step in your lead nurturing campaign is conversion. But how do you get there? The greatest advantage to this customized and continuous digital strategy is that you’ve set up the lead for personal contact. Picking up the phone is a highly effective lead nurturing tactic for senior living. Customers in this space want you to treat them like human beings, and a phone call to discuss their unique needs, questions, and concerns demonstrates you value them as such. Phone calls convert 10 to 15 times more revenue and 30% faster than leads that stay online.
Lead nurturing is a specific, strategic process. And few, if any, senior living marketing professionals have the time or the budget to execute an intuitive lead nurturing campaign effectively. Dreamscape Marketing’s automated engagement service will deliver an efficient and personalized customer journey experience. Call us today at 877.958.9180 to get started.