Your Senior Living Community Marketing Has More Than One Audience.

Remember when we compared identifying your target market to playing darts? Your audience is the bullseye on the dartboard, and your marketing efforts are the darts. If you want your promotions (darts) to yield results, you must create them with your target market (the bullseye) in mind. Throw your darts anywhere but the bullseye, and you’re just wasting your time.

Determining who’s in the bullseye is very important. Identifying your target market is how a marketing strategy achieves success. But what about the darts? You know where to throw them, but do you know what they should be made of? Making sure your marketing is seen and heard by your ideal prospective residents and their loved ones is essential, but if the marketing itself isn’t appealing to your demographic, you won’t succeed.

By this point, you should know the target market for your senior living community. On the resident side, you’re dealing with the silent generation, who are currently between 75 and 95 years old. But the bulk of your promotional efforts are most probably geared toward 57 to 75-year-old baby boomers as both prospective and family decision makers. You may also be seeing members of Generation X taking on the roles of decision makers as their baby boomer parents begin engaging with aging care services and start researching senior living communities.

No two prospective residents are the same, and there are many demographics senior living marketers should consider before formulating a promotional strategy for your community. However, there are a few best practices for attracting your ideal audience, no matter who they are.

How to Attract Your Ideal Prospective Residents

The decision-making cues for your prospective residents and their families or caregivers may not be the same, and it’s important to make a distinction in your marketing efforts that reflect the different concerns and motivations activating each group. Here are some tips on how to craft messaging that best delivers your differentiators to your two main audience segments:

1. Focus on Family

A good portion of your prospective residents are from the silent generation or the early years of the baby boomers. The Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, and several overseas military conflicts are defining events in their lives.

Family is typically one of this generation’s major motivating factors. Your new resident leads have a demographic tendency to place familial relationships as a top priority in their decision making process. With that in mind, if your senior living community is family-friendly, put that message front and center! Highlight images of your residents or seniors spending time with and engaging in activities with multiple family generations, and solicit testimonials from residents about their experiences.

Show off the programs, outreach and events that underscore the importance of family in your residents’ lives. Draw attention to this concept in your marketing, including the emphasis your community places on leaving a legacy.

2. Highlight Value and Quality

Prospective residents tend to keep a close watch on their finances. The average net worth of the silent generation tops $817,000, and as a group they’re intent on being a good steward of their financial resources so they can leave a legacy to their family.1 Demonstrating that your community makes sense economically is vital to reaching this demographic.

3. Develop Your Digital Strategy

If you’ve assumed your target market isn’t online, you’re wrong. About 40% of Americans age 75 and older own a smartphone,2 and another 62% use the internet regularly.3 More than half your new resident leads are online, and your job is to make sure they’re exposed to your ad campaigns.

A few tips for optimizing your digital marketing to target your ideal prospective residents include:

  • Making sure your website is uncluttered and easy to understand
  • Updating Facebook frequently
  • Engaging reputation management to monitor your online reviews
  • Cultivating a robust search engine optimization (SEO) strategy

How to Attract Decision Makers

Decision makers aren’t looking at your senior living community asking, “would I be happy here?” Instead, they’re wondering, “will my loved one be happy and safe here?” Keep these tips in mind when determining how to effectively market to your decision makers.

1. Digital is KING

To find the decision makers for your ideal prospective residents, start with the internet. Around 83% of baby boomers are online, as is 91% Generation X.4 Both generations love watching internet videos and interacting on social media channels, especially Facebook.

Your decision makers are tech-savvy and expect more from your community’s website than just the basics. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile, loads cleanly and quickly, and is easy to navigate. If your decision maker can’t easily find the answers to simple questions about your community—including the basics such as your phone number and street address—they’re unlikely to stay on your website long enough to convert.

2. They Love TV

American seniors consume more TV than any other demographic age group. On average, people over age 65 watch more than seven hours daily.5 But so do the younger generations! So, with the right TV spot, you can appeal to both residents and decision makers on one of their favorite mediums.

Use local channels to buy ad space. Make sure your advertisements highlight the benefits of your senior living community for both seniors and their families. Don’t undersell your community, but don’t overpromise either. 

3. Be Open and Honest

Decision makers are often skeptical and slow to trust, because making a personal choice for someone else can feel like a large responsibility. Given the overall characteristics of Generation X, they may have an even more difficult time trusting institutions.6 They’ve been through multiple recessions and endured the decline of American industrialism. Simply put, they’ve seen too many examples of organizations letting people down. They struggle to buy into the promises you’re making about the quality of the community and the level of care their loved one will receive.

Be transparent about what you do, how you do it, why you do it, and your vision for the future of your senior community. Family decision makers will feel better about their final choice if they feel you’re being realistic.

A successful marketing strategy for your senior living community should balance messaging toward your prospective residents with messaging targeting their decision makers. If you’d like to learn more about how you can tailor your marketing to reach both audiences, Dreamscape can help. Contact us at 888.307.7304 to schedule a strategy session today.

For a list of references, please contact us.