More seniors are going online, a trend that has accelerated over the past year. Tech spending among adults age 50+ jumped by 194% in 2020, and 85% of this demographic now owns a smartphone (up from 77% in 2019).
Senior housing providers are also getting more web inquiries, suggesting that prospective residents and their families are becoming more likely to search for housing online. That makes it more important than ever before to step into the digital age when marketing senior living facilities.
Here are a few tech-driven tools and strategies providers can use to support successful senior living marketing initiatives.
Interactive website content
Regardless of where a search begins — Google, social media, or word of mouth — many future residents will ultimately end up on the community website.
Your website should be a comprehensive, easy-to-use source of information. Digital content like blog posts, downloadable resources, and virtual tours will help paint a complete picture of the community living experience.
When developing your website content, be sure to provide multiple ways for prospective residents and their families to contact you. Some people prefer to fill out a form and be contacted via email, some want to hop on the phone right away, and some may just have a few questions that can be answered via live chat. The more accessible your community is, the better first impression you’ll make on your website visitors.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Once you have a solid website up and running, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) tools to monitor and increase traffic. These tools provide valuable insights into popular keyword searches, competitor performance, and opportunities to improve search rankings.
For example, if your community is in Seattle, do you show up on the first page of search results when someone types in “senior living Seattle”? If not, who does? More than two-thirds of traffic goes to the top five search results, so if your competitors are there and you’re not, you’re likely losing out on a lot of potential business.
Social media tools
Social media use is increasing among older adults — nearly 75% of adults ages 50 to 64 and 45% of those 65 and over use at least one social media site. Currently, Facebook is the top platform for this demographic.
As an example of how to use Facebook effectively, take Vitality Living, a Tennessee-based senior living provider. Last fall, they started using Facebook live broadcasts to foster engagement and interaction with their community during the COVID-19 shutdown. They gave virtual tours, held weekly talent competitions featuring residents and staff, and hosted fireside chats with the CEO. As a result, their Facebook page got 100 times more impressions in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the first.
Don’t know what to share? Social media analytics and management tools, like Facebook’s Audience Insights, can help you figure it out. These tools identify top-performing posts, manage content scheduling, and measure and improve engagement.
Online reviews and referrals
One of the most effective ways to market senior living communities is to ask current residents and their families to share their experiences and refer others to the community.
More than 30% of older adults post reviews, ratings, and comments from their smartphones, and that percentage is going up. You can encourage and incentivize residents to be brand ambassadors by sharing their thoughts via Google reviews, social media sites, and other online platforms. To make it even more personal, feature resident stories on your community’s website and social platforms.
Once you get people engaged with your content — whether it’s your website, your social media pages, or a chatbot, you’ll want to capture their information so you can continue to market to them. The key to getting people to give you their contact info is providing them with something valuable in exchange, such as:
- Newsletters from your community
- Ebooks, guides, and other downloads that help people find the best senior living community for themselves or their loved ones
- Online calculators that allow prospects to determine what they can afford
- Virtual tours
Marketing automation tools make it easy to create forms to capture prospect information, and then track and follow up with leads. Say someone visits your site and enters their name and email address to download a guide to comparing senior living communities. You can then use marketing automation to continue to automatically send them content to move them down the sales funnel.
Marketing automation can be used after a resident moves in as well, to solicit feedback, reviews, and referrals from residents and their loved ones. For example, you can set a marketing automation workflow to send an email to residents 90 days after they move in asking them to complete a short satisfaction survey. If they’re satisfaction level is high, you can ask them to post a review on A Place for Mom.
Customer relationship management (CRM)
A reliable CRM is the backbone of a successful senior living marketing strategy. Or, more precisely, it’s the tool you need to turn your marketing into move-ins.
A CRM serves as a comprehensive database of contacts collected across communication channels, as well as a hub where sales teams can easily track and nurture promising leads. It ensures that none of the leads you’ve worked so hard to engage fall through the cracks by providing an at-a-glance picture of everyone who interacts with your community and automating workflows so that your sales team follows up with the right person, at the right time, and with the right content.
To compete in today’s highly competitive arena, you need to make the most of every opportunity. The senior living marketing tools and strategies above will help you do just that. To learn more about the role technology plays in this industry, read “How Technology Gives Senior Living Providers a Competitive Edge.”