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How To Market Assisted Living Effectively

Use these 17 strategies to level up your marketing.

Amanda McGrory-Dixon, 7th May 2024

If your senior living community struggles to turn leads into residents, you aren’t alone: Many senior living operators report this is one of their top challenges. Learning how to market assisted living effectively is a powerful solution to propel leads through the sales funnel. 

Read our curated list of top marketing strategies to take advantage of opportunities and boost your occupancy rate.

Table of Contents: 

1. Understand Your Target Audience

No matter how great your marketing materials are, they won’t be effective if you don’t know who to target.

Your target audience consists of people who are most likely to use your services. It may be a specific age range or people who require your specific services. For example, the target audience for a senior living community is different from the target audience for a memory care community. 

Spend some time taking a deep dive into your target audience and discover who they are and what they want:

  • Listen to your current residents.
  • Listen to visitor feedback.
  • Read online reviews of your community.
  • Pay attention to feedback from your sales team. 

Use this information to create personas to guide the creation and dissemination of your marketing materials. One persona may be an active senior who doesn’t want to care for their home anymore while another persona may be the adult child of a senior who needs memory support. You would market to each persona differently.

2. Develop a Comprehensive Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is an actionable roadmap that keeps your marketing strategy on track and helps you monitor the ROI of your efforts. While every senior living community should have a marketing plan, it’s especially helpful if you have strong competition or your occupancy rates begin to fall.

A good marketing plan includes:

  • Marketing goals that outline what you want to accomplish.
  • Objectives that identify the steps you plan to tackle in the short term as you work toward your goals.
  • Key performance indicators that you can use to measure the success of your plan.
  • Value propositions that set you apart from your competition.
  • The target audience you want to reach.
  • Your budget for putting the marketing plan into effect.

Once you have your marketing plan in place, use it to guide all your marketing decisions.

Expert Tip: Our senior living marketing plan template can help you craft the perfect marketing plan to help you reach your goals.

3. Use a Powerful CRM

The average sales cycle for assisted living is 317 days. This long cycle means there are plenty of opportunities for prospects to slip through the cracks. 

A powerful CRM is a must for any assisted living community. The Aline CRM helps your sales team monitor a lead’s progress through the sales funnel and increases the likelihood a prospect will become a resident. 

Look for a customizable CRM that has integrated messaging capabilities to streamline your workflow. Your CRM should also integrate with other sales and marketing efforts, such as a contact center and calendar for scheduling, and allow you to easily pull sales data into actionable reports.

4. Foster an Online Presence

It might be tempting to believe a common stereotype that older audiences are not online and prefer print marketing materials or television ads. However, 32% of senior living inquiries stem from the web or social media, which means if you don’t have an online presence, you’re potentially cutting your lead intake by almost a third.

Strategies for fostering, an online presence for your senior living community.

Start by developing a helpful and engaging website. Include images and videos that highlight the best features of your senior living community to grab users’ attention. Publish helpful content on your website, covering topics important to seniors and their loved ones. 

For example, you can publish articles about senior health and wellness or share tips for caregiving older adults. Sharing this type of content establishes your community as a trusted resource for prospects before they even need your services. 

As you set up your website, optimize it for SEO, so it shows up in search engine results. A few tips for getting your website crawled include:

  • Ensure your site is logically organized with a site index.
  • Use descriptive URLs to show search engines how your content relates. 
  • Keep title tags short, so they show up completely on search results.
  • Use alt text for images to describe them for users relying on text-to-speech.
  • Use appropriate anchor text for any hyperlinks to provide context to the link.
  • Add an author for credibility.

5. Target Potential Residents With Online Advertising

While print ads in magazines or mailers can be effective marketing strategies, online advertising is often more effective and has a better ROI. 

Pay-per-click ads are ads that show up in search results for specific keywords. Since you only pay for the ad when users click on them, they are highly effective. 

For example, a user may search the keyword “caregiver tips for dementia.” If your memory care community has a PPC ad for this keyword, your page will pop up at the top of the search results. Users may click on your resource and use your tips. When they start looking for a memory care community for their parent with dementia, they’ll already be familiar with your brand.

Social media ads are another example of online advertising. These ads specifically target people whose algorithm indicates they’re already predisposed to learning more about your brand. 

For example, they may follow other caregivers for people with dementia, so your social media ad for your memory care community may pop up in their feed. Because they already have an interest in your offering, the ad is more effective.

Both PPC and social media ads generate traffic to your website, building brand awareness. Since the ads are highly targeted, they’re more effective at gaining conversions. 

Also, ad platform analytics can help you better understand your audience, allowing you to determine which content is most important to potential residents and refine your strategy.

6. Engage Potential Residents With Newsletters

Once you collect a potential resident’s email, keep them engaged with email newsletters. 

Your newsletter should be 90% information that establishes your authority and expertise in the senior living industry. For example, highlight events and activities that are open to the public and include workout tips for seniors. 

Only about 10% of your newsletter should be sales-based to ensure recipients see the newsletter as helpful and not sales spam. 

For the best chance of success, personalize the newsletter with the recipient’s name and include strong CTAs. Many senior living CRMs, such as the Aline CRM, allow you to automate your email marketing, so these newsletters are a breeze to send regularly.

7. Participate in Your Community

Being an active part of your community builds brand awareness. Set up volunteer programs for your residents, such as a Stories With Seniors partnership with a local elementary school, or host or sponsor public events, such as a Veterans Day celebration. 

Your staff is also a great resource — they can host public informational sessions related to caregiving support or dementia or offer programs such as grief groups that support the local community. Join your local chamber of commerce to meet other business owners in the community.

By engaging with your community, you make your senior living community visible to everyone, not just those who have an immediate need for your services. When they do find themselves in need, they’re more likely to turn to you since they already have a relationship with you.

8. Streamline Your Systems

Senior living communities have a lot going on behind the scenes. There are sales and marketing initiatives, day-to-day operations, billing and leasing, regulatory maintenance, and care plans to follow. Plus, you need to keep your staff happy. Each one of these requires a specific software program.

Many senior living operators are overwhelmed with all this data, especially when it’s spread across multiple programs that operate independently. Streamlining all your systems and data into one easy-to-access place is key to demystifying your business and ensuring you have the latest data to inform your decisions.  

Streamline your senior living community data with a powerful software suite.

A software suite designed specifically for senior living communities makes this much easier. With Aline, you have the power of the only end-to-end software designed to cover a resident’s entire life cycle from lead to resident. With the full suite, you can :

Because the suite is designed specifically for senior living, you have everything you need for success at your fingertips.

9. Digitize What You Can

Part of managing a senior living community involves administrative tasks that are easy to execute but can take up large portions of your day if you’re not careful. Use digital tools to automate these tasks as much as possible.

Make scheduling tours easy for your sales team using a scheduling app, such as Calendly, that makes availability obvious without much back-and-forth between parties. These programs also make it easy for potential leads to sign up for tours or other events independent of sales.

Ensure you choose a calendar that integrates with your CRM for automatic updates to resident profiles to automate scheduling reminders, so potential residents never miss a meeting.

Wrapping up the sales process requires a lot of signatures. Instead of wasting time printing, copying, and scanning documents and tracking down the signatures, use a signature capture program, like DocuSign. This program allows you to send documents securely and easily track signature status.

Digitizing the process helps your sales team and makes it easier for your future residents. Just ensure the apps you select integrate your systems with your existing tech stack.

10. Read and Engage With Reviews

If 99.5% of shoppers read reviews online before making a small purchase, such as a new toaster, it’s reasonable to believe that just as many would read reviews of a senior living community before moving in. This means you need to be on top of your online reviews.

If you haven’t done so, create a small business profile online for your senior living community using platforms such as Google,, or a Place for Mom.

Monitor your reviews regularly and respond to each with an authentic thank you — don’t copy and paste a generic response. Potential residents want to know you care about how your community is viewed and how you respond to criticism.

Respond to negative reviews with a thank you and an apology if appropriate and always offer to speak with the customer more in depth to solve the problem. Refrain from arguing with the reviewer and move follow-ups to a different channel, such as a phone call.

11. Expand Your Referral Network

Establish a robust referral network. Market research shows that 64% of market source conversions for senior living result from an unpaid referral. Many seniors are referred to their senior living community by doctors, social workers, senior centers, hospitals, hospice centers, or even your existing residents. 

These referrals are often more effective than other marketing strategies because they come from an authentic source that the potential resident already trusts. Plus, these referrals are free to you.

The best way to ensure your residents refer you to their friends and family is to provide excellent care and the amenities your residents value.

Increase hospice referrals and other professional referrals by building relationships with the senior care professionals in your community. Make referring their patients quick and painless by standardizing the referral process and automating what you can.

12. Create and Share Videos

Videos that highlight your senior living community and share resident stories are an effective tactic to get leads.

Video marketing data shows that more than 90% of businesses report gaining a new client after publishing a video. Your future residents are active on YouTube with nearly 450 million YouTube users over the age of 55, suggesting that seniors are receptive to video marketing materials.

When making your videos, keep them short and to the point. The average adult attention span is just over eight seconds, but the average time spent watching a single internet video is nearly three minutes.

Ensure your video has a clear message and add subtitles, so people can watch without sound. Include a clear CTA at the end, such as signing up for a visit, and share the video on social media.

13. Be Active on Social Media

More than 62% of the world is on social media daily, so if your senior living community isn’t on social media, it should be. Run social media ads, share videos and thought leadership, engage in conversations important to senior living audiences, and share news and updates about your community to build brand awareness.

You can also take advantage of influencer marketing. Most baby boomers will make a purchase based on a recommendation from someone they follow on social media. Influencer marketing must be authentic, so reach out to people your audience follows, such as senior wellness influencers, and ask them to give reviews or share your content.

Statistics about social media use by generation.

When creating and sharing content on social media, be mindful of where your audience spends their time. Research shows that baby boomers spend the majority of their time on Facebook, so focus your Facebook social media efforts on reaching potential residents directly.

Millennials and Gen Xers who might be looking for senior living communities for their parents spend the most time on LinkedIn, X, and Pinterest, so focus marketing materials for that audience there.

14. Share Stories, Not Jargon

The senior living industry is filled with alphabet soup: AL, ALF, ANP, CCRC, LTC, MC. These acronyms can confuse your leads, especially at the beginning of the sales cycle. 

Minimize the jargon and instead focus on sharing stories with potential leads. Talk about specific residents’ experiences in your marketing materials. Ask residents to share their favorite part of your community or have them describe their experience. Save the facts, statistics, and finer details of your community for later in the sales cycle. 

Not only do people remember stories 22 times more than facts, but emotional connections created through narratives are known to drive brand loyalty. 

Using jargon in your marketing materials may seem more efficient to you since you use these acronyms every day, but for potential residents, these acronyms make your community feel more like a medical institution than a place where they can relax, make friends, and have fun. 

15. Schedule Tours

Marketing strategies such as video ads and social media are great for raising brand awareness, but you need face-to-face interactions to effectively move a prospect to the next stage of the sale. 

Get potential residents in the door and experience what life is like in your community. Give them a tour, let them speak with residents, provide a free meal in your cafeteria, and encourage them to participate in games and other activities. If possible, allow them time to experience the community without a sales rep. 

Tours should be personable, well-planned, and include follow-up. Administer a survey afterward to find out how you can improve future tours.

16. Never Miss a Phone Call or Chat Message

The average lead response time is 47 hours, but conversion rates drop by eight times after just five minutes. The longer you wait to respond to a lead, the less likely that lead is to convert.

The solution for senior living community sales teams is to never miss a phone call or chat message, but that can be hard for your sales staff to tackle on their own. That’s where Aline’s Contact Center comes in. 

Our Contact Center works as a virtual arm of your sales team, responding to phone and digital leads within five minutes and boosting conversions. Our clients report an average of 35% increase in leads and a 20% increase in tours.

17. Measure and Analyze Your Results

Longer sales cycles correlate with longer stays in senior living communities. As a result, you need to move more people through the sales funnel consistently to avoid vacancies. You want to ensure that every step is effective. A high-quality CRM designed specifically for senior living, such as the Aline CRM, can help you do this.

Use your CRM to help you monitor a prospect’s movement through the sales life cycle and generate reports to discover ROI on your marketing initiatives. Find out what’s working and put more effort into the marketing strategies with the most ROI. 

Streamline Senior Living Marketing With Aline

Once you learn how to market assisted living communities, try different strategies to see how they work for you. Depending on your specific offering, different strategies may work better than others. 

Using sales and marketing software like Aline can streamline the sales and marketing process for your team. Easily generate reports to identify effective strategies. You should reinforce the strategies that work and minimize the ones that aren’t worth your time. Monitor leads and prospects as they move through the sales funnel to become residents.

Book a demo today to see how Aline can boost the work your sales and marketing team is already doing. And for even more senior living sales and marketing tips, download our free guide to optimizing performance with better lead generation.

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