Given today’s increasing competition and industry-specific challenges, you need a senior living marketing plan to guide your strategic efforts. Transitioning to a senior living community is one of the most emotional decisions many families ever make, and it’s one that’s often filled with resistance. You cannot expect to effectively market to prospective residents and their families without a deeply personal, thoughtful approach that considers their unique needs, concerns, and aspirations — and that requires a written, documented plan.
To help you develop a marketing plan that attracts new residents, enhances your community’s visibility, and differentiates your living experience, let’s review:
What a marketing plan for a senior living community looks like.
Six signs you need a marketing plan — stat.
Best practices for your marketing plan.
Access to a free downloadable marketing plan template, specifically made for senior living communities.
What Is a Senior Living Community Marketing Plan?
A senior living community marketing plan is a written document that provides a roadmap for your marketing efforts within a set period of time. With a documented marketing plan, you can define how to put your goals into action for better accountability while making the most out of your limited budget.
Your marketing plan is different from a senior living marketing strategy. However, you can make up your senior living marketing plan from one or more marketing strategies.
For example, you might combine an SEO strategy and a content marketing strategy to drive more leads directly to your website. How you combine different strategies depends on a variety of factors, such as your current business goals, target audience, and the size of your marketing budget.
Related: Learn more about how to implement a digital marketing strategy.
Why You Need a Marketing Plan for a Senior Living Community
If you’re not convinced you need to organize your marketing efforts into a formal plan, here are some common signs your senior living marketing team needs more direction and guidance.
Your community is starting to see lower occupancy rates: Your community needs a certain number of residents at any given time to cover overhead costs and generate revenue. An effective marketing plan helps you attract new residents, reinvest in amenities and services, and continue promoting a sense of community.
The competition is heating up: Did a new senior living community turn up in your area? That community may have the upper hand simply as “a new face on the block.” A marketing plan helps you stand out from the competition. With a targeted message, you can differentiate your senior living community from newer alternatives.
You’re the new face on the block: If you find many people are unaware of your senior living community services, it’s time to raise your profile. A marketing plan focused on increasing brand awareness helps you gain the recognition you need to challenge incumbent senior living communities.
Your brand is misunderstood: Maybe your referrals are declining or you’re starting to see a few more negative reviews than usual. A marketing plan helps you strategically target those misconceptions and demonstrate how to address those common concerns. In an industry where word of mouth is everything, rehabilitating your reputation is a top priority.
Your audience is unsure of your offering: Are potential leads unclear about what services you offer or unaware of the value of your community? Consistent branding enforces your values and missions throughout every step of the customer journey — from the pre-registration landing page to the welcome email. It allows your target audience to feel connected to your community before stepping through the door. Without that consistency, your leads can feel confused about what you offer and why it’s superior to the competition.
Your marketing strategies are primarily print-based: Your target audience is more digitally savvy than you might expect, so it may be time to reassess your approach and develop a modern marketing plan that leverages digital channels and targeted strategies. Taking proactive steps to develop and implement a senior living marketing plan helps you achieve your business’s wider goals and fix reputation problems it may face.
How to Market Senior Living Communities Strategically
Every senior living marketing plan looks different. Your plan depends on your unique goals or problems to solve. But every marketing plan must cover certain crucial components. Here’s how to write a marketing plan for your senior living community.
Get to Know Your Audience
Your prospects are discerning and selective. With the number of available alternatives on the market, prospects are looking for a senior living community that fits their lifestyle, personality, and medical needs. This is why it’s critical to zoom into the details and get to know your prospective residents.
You can better understand their nuances by conducting surveys, attending community events, forming focus groups, and keeping up with industry research. Or you can use digital tools to support your own data discovery for even deeper, more effective targeting.
Data analytics tools, for instance, help you track and analyze resident behavior, engagement patterns, and preferences while social media listening platforms gauge sentiments, conversations, and topics relevant to the senior living community.
Use Your Research and Insights to Create Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are generalized representations of your customer. Creating a buyer persona puts a human face on your target audience, helping you better understand their motivations, goals, pain points, and decision-making processes.
You can separate your buyer personas by demographic variables, such as age, gender, education, occupation, and income, or psychographic details, such as interests, values, lifestyle, challenges, and aspirations.
One example of a buyer persona could be:
Harold is concerned about health and wellness and active in managing his personal well-being. In addition to waking up at 5 a.m. for an hour-long jog, he spends his time learning about fitness, nutrition, and preventive health care. He’s looking for a community that’s committed to helping him live longer and healthier.
Clearly Define Your Goals
Remind your team what you aim to achieve with your efforts. SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals keep your senior living community marketing plan focused. As your goal, you could write, “Increase occupancy rates by 15% by the next quarter,” or, “Achieve 20% increase in brand awareness among the target audience of adults age 55 and above in the local community.”
Don’t forget to use specific KPIs to measure progress throughout your plan. Some relevant financial KPIs may be sales growth rate, customer churn rate, or marketing budget ratio.
Develop Marketing Strategies That Match Your Goals
Depending on your goals and target audience, you want to develop digital marketing strategies that align with the marketing plan.
That could mean choosing a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy to drive traffic to your website or specific landing pages within it. Or it could mean monitoring and responding to online reviews and feedback on Google My Places or responding to reviews on third-party sites, such as Yelp, SeniorAdvisor, Caring.com, or A Place for Mom.
Set a Realistic Budget
Marketing expenses include costs for advertising, public relations, market research, digital marketing, events, and other relevant activities. Not only does outlining these details help you allocate resources effectively but it also allows you to better evaluate your performance and calculate the ROI on your marketing efforts.
Review Your Performance
So you used your plan to guide an exciting new marketing campaign. Now it’s time to evaluate how you performed. Reviewing your current senior living marketing plan will make future iterations even more impactful.
Compare your actual results to the planned targets to help you narrow in on specific areas of success, highlight tactics that worked, and analyze strategies that might need improvement. If you set the appropriate KPIs in place, you can easily compare your results to measure the overall effectiveness of your marketing plan.
Bonus: More Best Practices for Your Senior Care Marketing Plan
You followed our guide and compiled a list of to-dos to create a solid senior living marketing plan. What are some other marketing tips to keep in mind?
Pay attention to the competition: Knowing the platforms or even which part of your target audience they attract helps you make more informed decisions in your marketing plan.
Assign task leaders: A marketing plan has many moving parts. Specify which team members are responsible for which tasks.
Understand what your marketing plan is not: This keeps you focused on your defined goals — even when more exciting problems threaten to distract you along the way.
Take Your Senior Living Marketing Plan to the Next Level
A thoughtfully designed marketing plan is a vital investment toward thriving in a competitive landscape. Your marketing plan won’t just increase your community’s visibility — it will also attract new residents and differentiate your offerings in the marketplace.
By implementing best practices, using a marketing plan template, and supporting it with at least one senior living marketing strategy tailored for your target audience, you can effectively direct your marketing team to opportunities that result in qualified leads that your sales team can easily convert.
Start investing time and effort into developing a comprehensive senior living marketing plan. You’ll soon be the first choice for seniors and their families.
Download Your Senior Living Marketing Plan Template
In this marketing plan template, we outline how you can formalize a plan that will articulate your intentions clearly and help you reach your wider business goals. Download your senior living marketing plan template now.
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