ASSISTED LIVING MARKETING 101
Digital Marketing Strategies for Assisted Living Facilities and Senior Living Communities.
Assisted living marketers are continually asking what digital marketing strategies and tactics they should use to increase their inquiries and close potential residents faster. We've developed a list of tactics that you may want to consider adding to your strategy.
Below we list the tactics that every assisted living community should use and some of the benefits you can expect from the implementation of them.
Implementing these strategies is a sure way to increase tours, grow your community, and increase your competitive advantage.
Use this menu to jump to the assisted living marketing idea you're most interested in.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
That's right. SEO is still vital. Especially with Google making changes to mobile search with "No Results" and the "Google Medic" update, which directly impacts organizations in the health and wellness industry like Assisted Living Facilities.
Google looks at over 200 factors to determine where a site ranks in search. It would be best if you tried to improve on all of them over the long term to build your search equity.
If you're not tracking your website using Google Analytics by now, you really should be a little ashamed of yourself.
To improve your site's performance, rank in search, and traffic, you need Google Analytics or a tool like it. For best practices, we recommend Google Analytics.
Even if you're not running Facebook ads, you should install the Facebook pixel. It's a great way to grab more data on your site visitors. Facebook can tell you more about the individuals that visit your site so you can get a complete picture of your pontential residents and their families.
You should have a clear process that tells potential residents how to get started and what happens right after.
Online Service Desk (support tickets)
Setting up a help desk ensures that your residents and prospective residents know that you care about their concerns. Using a ticket-based system also creates a system of accountability for your staff.
Landing pages are still relevant to every website that wants to generate leads online. More landing pages equals more opportunities to convert visitors into leads. Remember that landing pages should have one goal and that is to offer something of value for your site visitor's information (name, email, etc.)
It would be best if you made the next steps clear on every page of your website. The easiest way to do this is with excellent calls-to-action. For the most effective CTAs, use contrast to make them stand out and keep your CTA styling consistent throughout your website so that they are easily recognized.
One "Hub" that connects marketing, sales, & service
Using multiple programs, portals, and software to manage your marketing means much more than a loss of time and repeat information. It means inconsistent, and potentially missing data in critical moments. Using one hub allows everyone from your marketing, sales, and customer service team members to your senior level executives to view the same data for every contact in one system.
You should monitor social for opportunities to engage with your community and their families. Watching social channels can also lead to new residents or retaining existing residents when you chime in to offer help. You can also see what your competitors are doing on their social channels.
You should have clearly defined paths on your site to get visitors to book tours and eventually become new residents. Undefined paths make it hard to track and improve your online sales funnel and could make your sales cycle much longer unnecessarily.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
To get the best results, improving your website over time to increase your conversion rate would be wise. This approach is far better than waiting every 2 to 5 years to redesign your website. You can increase your tours and prospective residents month over month based on data. Here's a blog that talks about the specifics of CRO for Assisted Living Communities.
Offer Virtual Tours
With the number of smartphones and access to WiFi, you can make it much more convenient for prospective residents and their family members to experience your communities by offering online tours. With COVID-19, this is critical, now more than ever since visiting your community to do a tour is less likely. You can host virtual tours on your site or add them to your Google My Business page.
Facebook Live Video
Going live on Facebook is a great way to meet potential residents and offer live online tours of your community. You can run these for family members who live out of state or can't make the commute to your facility during the day. They can watch your Facebook live from their desk at work or at home. Staying in touch and connected while on isolation is imperative now.
Email Nurturing Campaigns
Leads still need to be nurtured. Do you have a nurturing strategy? Best practice is to have a lead nurturing campaign for every visitor that offers you their email address - even if they gave it to you offline.
Chatbots are the new go-to solution for after-hours customer service. Don't make prospective residents wait for you to get back to them. Add a chatbot to your site that can address their most common questions. You'll want to do this before your closest competitors catch on!
Video is a great way to earn the trust of potential residents and their families. Allow your prospective residents to hear about your residents' experiences in your communities first- hand.
Nothing grows trust more than third party reviews. It would help if you made a continuous effort to get your residents to post reviews of your community on Google and Facebook. This keeps your residents engaged and offers opportunity for feedback so that you can steadily and consistently improve your community.
Retargeting is a great way to stay in front of potential residents. These ads remind your site visitors that they were interested in your community after they've left your website. Plus, you can determine how long you'd like to retarget them.
Yes, live chat is still a very effective way to connect with site visitors. It's good practice to be available on live chat as much as possible. When you can't, chatbots can fill in the gaps, so your visitors aren't left hanging.
We know everyone has become enamored with video, but Google still loves indexing blog articles. Even more than that, blogs are always a great way to help to educate your future and current residents.
Assisted Living and Senior Communities have it made when it comes to producing eBooks and white papers. There are so many questions out there for you to answer. Providing premium content is a great way to convert traffic to leads and start nurturing leads to residents.
Surveys are a great way to get new ideas for providing more value. You can use reviews to customize your residents' experiences.
Answer How You Help
It would be beneficial to your prospective residents if you tell them how you help. Sometimes people are hesitant to make a decision when they aren't sure what you do or how you're different.
Brand Style Guide
Developing a brand style guide will help keep the look and feel of your community consistent. It's even more helpful to review your brand style guide with any team members that can create and publish content.
Social media is still a great way to drive traffic to your website and engagement with your residents. We recommend using social media for internal and external communication. Assign your channels to a specific audience.
Showing floor plans and images of your rooms and community is a best practice in the assisted living industry. When potential residents can't find your floor plans, it encourages them to check other local competitor websites.
While amenities may not be the primary reason prospects choose your facility, it's beneficial when you make them available to site visitors.
Calendar of Events
Displaying upcoming events is a great way to share the common interest of your current residents with potential residents. Listing calendar events is an easy way to help them start feeling like a part of the community before they move in.
Beyond listing out the meals you most commonly serve, sharing how you accommodate diverse dietary needs is a great way to win the trust of prospective residents and their loving family members.
Health & Wellness
Prospective residents and their families want to know how your community maintains the health of its’ residents. It's good to outline how you help and encourage residents to stay active and healthy outside of diet.
Resident stories are a great way to showcase the successes of your community's care for your residents, allowing potential residents to see how you help residents with challenges similar to their own.
Accreditations are a great way to share your expertise and showcase that you are industry experts. It can be even more helpful to explain what your accreditations mean if you display them on your website.
Family members and residents need to know that they are safe in your facilities. Your website should cover how you handle various situations and events if they were to occur.
Your special or unique programs are a great way to increase your competitive advantage. Share them with visitors to showcase how your community is different.
Printed Collateral/Digital Versions
When you convert your printed material, like brochures and sales sheets, to digital files it not only saves money on print costs, it also provides more content that can turn site visitors into leads.
Local Activities List
Listing your community's events is helpful, but sharing local events near your community is a great way to add more value to your community. It's another way to show that you encourage residents to stay social and active.
Answer What Makes You Unique
While listing amenities, menus, and events are good, your competitors often have the same or similar benefits. It's helpful to your prospects to explain how your community is unique.
It can be very frustrating for potential residents if they have to come in to access applications and paperwork. We recommend offering as many online applications and forms as you possibly can to make it as easy as possible to join your community.
Using a content calendar to plan out and schedule your blogs and social posts can help you find gaps in your marketing. It's also a great way to ensure that you are continually engaging your community.
Owning and building out the LinkedIn business page for your community can be very helpful. Requesting staff to list your community in their work experience and linking to your business page is an excellent way to expand your reach in search results.
It's best when your website is optimized to convert and answer the core questions your prospective residents are asking. Some of these questions include problems you solve, cost, challenges they may experience, what current residents say about you/reviews, and how to get started.
Customer Relationship Manager (CRM)
Using a Customer Relationship Manager or CRM is a great way to keep track of prospective buyers as well as existing residents. CRMs are an excellent way to get organized and also allow authorized staff to access the same customer history.
Marketing automation has proven to be the engine behind most successful online marketing efforts over the past few years. Automation allows content to be delivered to site visitors based on their preferences and individual actions allowing assisted living communities to reduce their cost while oftentimes more than doubling their results. For more on Marketing Automation for Assisted Living Facilities click here.
We believe it's critical for every business to have a page on each social network that their prospective buyers use. Assisted living communities would benefit from doing the same. Limiting your social channels makes your community less accessible to potential residents who don't use the same social platform.
Email is still the highest converting form of marketing. In our smartphone-driven world, assisted living marketing teams have access to potential residents right in their purses and pockets. Most people check their phones almost every time they get a notification making another strong case for continuing to use email in your community marketing strategies. You can be reasonably confident that they will at least read your subject lines.
It amazes us how many assisted living communities shy away from sharing their prices on their websites, knowing that prices are one of the top five if not the number one question people ask about before making a purchase. We advise that assisted living marketers display their rates as a way to qualify leads before scheduling tours or booking appointments.
Displaying your staff is another excellent way that assisted living marketing teams can build trust with site visitors and potential residents. Site visitors often feel like they know the staff better from pictures and videos they've seen of your team members, making connections easier.
12-Month Marketing/Growth Plan
We feel that it's in every business's best interest to have a clear plan of action for the year. Many assisted living marketing managers, and coordinators become overwhelmed when it seems like they have to engage in every marketing tactic or trend that comes across their desk.
It's challenging to connect with your audience when you have not defined who they are, where they go, what they like and don't like. Buyer personas are a great way to better understand who you are trying to reach, their challenges, and what solutions would most appeal to them.
Defined SMART Goals
It's difficult to know if you're doing a good job if you have not defined what "good" is. It's beneficial to audit your current metrics and determine what type of occupancy growth you need to hit your numbers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Your prospective residents and their families have tons of questions. A great way to help your prospective residents is to answer as many of the most commonly asked questions as you can on your website. Adding a frequently asked questions page or section on your website is a great way to keep prospective residents moving forward in the buyer's journey. If you don't know where to start, this blog lists 13 questions your website should answer.
Don't try and take on every one of these at once. It will be overwhelming, and we both know that you already have a full plate.
Take a look and determine which two to three tactics will yield the most results the fastest if implemented. Once you've narrowed it down, try implementing one each month or once per quarter, depending on your bandwidth.
If you find that you need help implementing any of these strategies, we are here to help.