The goal of every marketer, whether they’re marketing sneakers or private jets or porcelain veneers, is to deliver the right message to the right audience to inspire a desired outcome. There’s a lot more that goes into it once you get started, but at its heart marketing is about matching the message to the audience in a way that resonates and motivates them to action.
The basic concept is the same whether you’re marketing tennis shoes, a diamond tennis bracelet, or physical therapy for tennis elbow.
A comprehensive plan of attack keeps your message on brand while connecting with potential residents. And because baby boomers are increasingly more tech-savvy1, senior living community marketers need to make the digital pivot to using social media and web marketing—without discounting traditional methods.
Here are six steps you can take to revitalize your senior living community’s marketing strategy.
Tip 1. Ensure Responsive Website Design
Search engine optimization (SEO) is what drives your website to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) where prospective residents and adult-child decision makers will find it, but your website itself (starting with your landing page) is what lays the groundwork to convert those leads into new residents. From the very first interaction, your brand story should be straightforward, the user experience effortless, and essential information easily accessible. And don’t forget dynamic layout and formatting. Your website has to look good on a desktop, tablet, and smartphone.
Don’t make your customer hunt for information, or worse, feel like you’re deliberately hiding pertinent info on pricing, living arrangements or care. These details should be accessible from the home page. Make sure users can quickly and easily contact you when they have questions!
Tip 2. Promote Storytelling Through Images
Using photos and other visuals is one of the best ways to communicate your message. Don’t underestimate the value of quality images on your site. Research shows that while 7% of communication is verbal, 55% is visual.2
The images on your site aren’t just visual dividers, they tell a story. For senior living communities, that story isn’t just about a specific service or product. You’re creating a narrative around an attractive way of life through authentic and engaging photos.
With this in mind, use real pictures of your residents whenever possible. Not only will viewers relate to a real person over a stock photo (one company saw a 35% increase in signups3 after replacing a stock photo with one of an actual employee), but your residents will get a kick out of seeing themselves out and about in their community. Take your use of images a step further by encouraging residents to share those images with friends, family and potential new residents.
Of course, video is a must-have, and allows you to speak directly to users. All your videos should download quickly and include closed captions since 92% of consumers watch videos on their mobile devices without sound.4
Tip 3. Create High-Quality Content
Written content is a great way to market your senior community. But the benefits aren’t just limited to information sharing on your website. Blog articles also highlight the daily experience of your residents while organically showcasing your brand voice and tone. Potential residents get a sense of the community atmosphere and the chance to decide whether it’s the place for them.
Regularly publish new, unique content that includes internal and external links, highlights your keywords and is limited on self-promotion. Focus on the lifestyle future residents can expect to lead and newsworthy events like changes in the retirement tax code, Medicare workshops or community events for seniors. Show them you care about their health and well-being regardless of whether they choose your community or not.
Tip 4. Provide Useful Opt-In Rewards
Landing pages are an indispensable tool to reach new resident leads, but only if they feel they’re getting something truly helpful in exchange. The last thing you want is someone regretting their decision to opt-in because they received a deluge of marketing emails. To combat list attrition, create authentic, relevant and interesting opt-in rewards.
The most successful opt-in rewards are in the form of information, usually a downloadable e-book, pamphlet or video. Maybe you’re sharing a guide on taking care of elderly parents, a 3-D tour of the living spaces in your community, or a checklist for making the most of your retirement investments. Seventy-five percent of boomers don’t feel they get tailored rewards from the online brands they patronize,5 so make sure you’re giving them something for them.
Tip 5. Maintain Effective Email Marketing
Email marketing continues to be one of the most cost-effective ways6 to reach customers with new information or as an opportunity to cross-advertise across platforms. These marketing emails only target customers who have opted in, so the first step is to assure them you won’t share their information or drown them in spam. Send an initial thank-you email that clearly lays out expectations—how often they’ll receive emails, what kind of information they’ll be receiving, and a promise you won’t sell their address to others.
Newsletters can be great as long as they’re full of helpful information and not too heavy on self-promotion. Trust us, they know your end goal is for them to sign a contract and move in. They’ve opted in because they want a better idea of the community they’d be a part of, and your newsletter should show this. Include engaging content about local events, people in the community, or practical information like a free Medicare seminar. The more enticing you make it, the more effective it will be!
Tip 6. Establish a Strong Social Media Presence
Any company that’s serious about its web presence should have a solid social media strategy. For senior living communities, this primarily means Facebook since that’s where you’ll find most of your 65+ leads, but don’t discount platforms like Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.
You should use social media to promote the lifestyle your communities offer for residents. If the content is good, it will sell itself. Achieve higher page rankings by putting out quality new and unique content7 and linking to external events or posts your reader may find useful. Retweet at other users in similar fields or share links from prominent influencers. Always respond quickly to comments, both good and not-so-good, in a professional yet friendly way.
Need to revamp the marketing strategy for your senior living community? Dreamscape Marketing can help. Call us today at 888.307.7304.
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