Attracting prospective residents and keeping occupancy rates high takes a thoughtful, personalized approach to your senior living community marketing plan and strategies. To thrive in this competitive industry, you need to highlight what makes your community unique, understand the needs of your prospective residents, and build trust with those prospects and their families — all cornerstones of effective marketing.
Let’s review some of our favorite senior marketing tips to give you some creative inspiration and help bring those ideas to life. We’ll cover:
- How to start your senior living marketing planning.
- How to add a human touch to your community and brand.
- How to leverage the power of a CRM and other marketing tools for impactful results.
Proven Tips and Ideas for Senior Living Marketing
1. Define your marketing goals and objectives: The first step in devising a marketing plan for your community is determining your goals and objectives. Are you trying to attract new residents or increase brand awareness? Do you want to increase leads or referrals? Are your occupancy rates up to the industry standard? Once you can answer these questions, you can build a marketing plan that resonates with your target audience.
2. Get to know your audience: You need to understand your target resident and determine who would get the most out of your senior living community. Your message to a senior looking for an active lifestyle is completely different from a senior who needs more daily assistance.
Once you determine your ideal client, you can create buyer personas that detail personal demographics, such as age, gender, hobbies, interests, location, and income. These buyer personas help you better understand the challenges prospects face and how your community can help meet those needs.
3. Analyze your competitors: You can’t beat what you don’t know. This is where a SWOT analysis comes in handy for more effective senior living marketing. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Take the time to document your strengths and weaknesses as well as your competitors’ and define any threats and untapped opportunities in the market. With this competitive analysis, you can better hone your messaging and offerings.
Create a Human Touch to Your Community and Brand
4. Highlight the voices of your community: No one can market your senior living community better than your own residents. Developing case studies based off the real-life experiences of current residents is one of the best, most authentic ways to market your community. Prospective residents love to know why others chose your community. They want to hear stories that mirror their own lived experiences.
You can highlight these stories on your community website — your home page, blog, or a dedicated web page are all great spots. To ensure you speak to your different personas, feature a diverse range of resident voices. While your residents share similarities, they also have distinct living experiences, and some stories may resonate more strongly with certain personas.
In addition to prominently promoting these case studies on your website, you can then use them in direct marketing pieces, community newsletters, social media channels, email campaigns, local events, or online advertisements.
Reviews and testimonials are another effective way to add an authentic voice to your marketing. Don’t be afraid to ask your residents or their family to leave reviews about their experience, and make sure your website and Facebook page include a spot for posting moderated reviews. You can also share these positive reviews on your company website, LinkedIn, or other social media channels.
5. Sponsor local events: Sponsoring local events is a great way to build brand awareness. Choose events that would attract your senior living community’s prime demographic, such as flu shot clinics, health fairs, or fun runs or walks that benefit cancer or Alzheimer’s research. Events are a perfect place to pass out information and promotional items as well as start a face-to-face conversation.
6. Build a community-focused social media presence: Encourage engagement with your online communities by posting relevant blogs, questions, and even informal polls, but don’t forget your real social media stars — your seniors. Share snapshots and short videos of your residents thriving in your community. Those chair volleyball games, bingo tournaments, and holiday parties are heart-warming social media gold.
To grow your social media accounts, invite current customers to like or follow your social media accounts, and answer any questions or comments promptly. Today’s social media algorithms like to see engagement on both sides. Remember, the key to a good social media presence is consistency — posting regularly helps build a loyal following.
7. Create a referral network: To build a referral network, determine who is most beneficial to your residents and how their work aligns with your services. Of course, that means medical and senior care professionals, but attorneys, insurance companies, or financial advisors also work in tandem as they guide seniors during this transitional stage of life. Churches, local nonprofit organizations, or even rec centers that offer classes for seniors are great additions to your referral network as well.
These professionals already know what services their clients need. You want to make a connection with them so that your community is top of mind if their senior clients need services like yours.
And don’t discount your competitors. Every community offers their own unique services and lifestyles, and not every senior is a fit for every community. Take the time to get to know your competitors and better understand how you can help each other with a mutually beneficial partnership referral system.
Current residents and their families are also a valuable source of referrals. When it comes to authenticity, you can’t beat word-of-mouth referrals. This is why it’s so critical to provide seamless service and care from inquiry to move-in and beyond.
Leverage the Power of a CRM and Other Marketing Tools
8. Use marketing automation tools: A good customer relationship management tool — also known as a CRM — helps you create targeted, thoughtful, effective outreach that meets your prospects where they are. Senior living marketing software can help your community unlock the full potential of your outreach and increase speed-to-occupancy by giving you one place to log new prospects and follow up with them from that first meeting to when they sign on the dotted line to become a resident of your community.
To make your job easier, look for a system that provides email templates, workflows, landing pages, and lead processing to easily identify the right prospects for follow up, craft newsletters, and deploy social media campaigns. Any CRM you choose should feature reporting transparency and offer real-time, shareable dashboards to prevent missed opportunities.
9. Stay in close contact with your sales team: As marketing gathers leads, the sales team needs to quickly respond to qualified prospects. Of course, every prospective resident has their own unique situation, but many senior living move-ins happen after a major health change, and those seniors may need immediate assistance. These prospective residents don’t have time to wait on slow sales responses, and if the sales team can’t react in a timely manner, they not only lose out on the sale but also on the opportunity to support seniors with the care they need.
With a CRM, the sales team has real-time access to new leads as they enter the system. The sales team can monitor upcoming move-ins and move-outs to stay on top of their occupancy goals and use lead scoring to see where they should prioritize their outreach efforts and manage all their sales activities, such as scheduling visits, making calls, sending emails, and recording prospect notes.
10: Leverage a dedicated, integrated contact center and live chat functionality: Implementing an integrated contact center and live chat is a proven way to increase your leads, tours, and conversions. In fact, we’ve seen our clients increase leads by 35%, increase tours by 20%, and increase web lead conversions by 21% simply by relying on a dedicated contact center.
Senior living marketers and sales reps often work on understaffed teams. They’re not available to take every call or inquiry and often miss messages. As we discussed, prospects look elsewhere when they receive this kind of slow — or nonexistent — response.
With a top-notch outsourced contact center, real people can promptly answer incoming calls for a highly personal touch, make outbound calls for web forms, and provide immediate support with live chat. These contact centers become immersed in your business and act as an extension of your community by sharing your specific messaging and value propositions. They can perform detailed discovery, book tours for qualified leads, and push that information to your CRM.
Related: See how Heritage Senior Living increased its leads, inquiries, tours, and move-ins by leveraging Aline’s Contact Center and CRM.
11. Implement lead scoring: Not every lead is the same. One prospective resident may feel excited to learn more about your community and ready to embrace this life change. That prospect — or their family — has engaged with inbound communications, enjoyed multiple face-to-face conversations with leasing consultants, and toured your community. However, another prospect may still feel hesitant about leaving their home and has only opened an email and talked to the leasing consultant on the phone rather than in person.
Lead scoring accounts for these specific interactions and assigns a dynamic score to the prospect. This score predicts the likelihood of move-in. As the prospect further engages — or even disengages — with the marketing and sales cycles, the score automatically adjusts to help both your marketing and sales team better prioritize their efforts and ultimately support your goal of improving conversions and increasing occupancy.
12. Invest in senior living-specific sales training: Generic sales training doesn’t teach the nuances of selling a senior living community. Guiding prospects through the sales funnel during such an emotional life change takes a special approach that centers on empathy and building trust. This sales strategy is known as prospect-centered selling, and it teaches you how to untangle any emotional resistance and advance prospects toward readiness.
Of course, you’re a marketer. Your sales team needs this training, but why should you bother investing in this as well? High-performing sales and marketing teams work best when the two align their strategies and messaging. By understanding your sales team’s strategy, you can develop more detailed personas, provide more targeted marketing enablement support, and deliver consistent messaging.
Related: Learn how Cypress Cove improved its conversions while lowering marketing costs with sales enablement training.
13. Track your results: A good CRM program tracks how well your different marketing strategies have worked. What mediums prompted leads and how many of those leads turned into new residents?
Once you track the results of your marketing strategies, you can set up benchmarks for future performance. Talk to your sales team, executive director, and other stakeholders to identify different performance indicators to show how effectively you achieved these objectives. By setting benchmarks, you can flag areas that need improvement and better track your progress. Make sure you continuously monitor performance and tweak your benchmarks as needed to help you achieve your goals.
Kick-Start Your Marketing Plan
Ready to put your creative marketing ideas into action? It’s time to draw up a marketing plan that can help you figure out your community’s objectives and address them in ways that will attract new residents and boost your return on investment.
Download our customizable marketing plan template, designed specifically for senior living communities, to create an actionable guide to achieving your marketing objectives and goals.
Blogs, stories and studies from the forefront of senior living operations
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Best Senior Care Sales Techniques for Attracting New Residents
How to Write a Senior Living Marketing Plan (Free Template Download)
How to Make Your Senior Living Community Marketing More Effective