Assisted living and senior living centers need to be proactive about marketing and skillful at selling. Here are some marketing and sales ideas that will help you keep your facility vibrant and full.
Assisted living centers and senior care businesses are at an interesting juncture. The pre-2008 days of waiting lists remain a memory, but the golden years of millions of baby boomers are looming. The opportunities for success with senior living businesses are looking good.
Here are some tips to help you improve your assisted living marketing, from the fundamental to the fine-tuned. Get these in place to reach the right audience, diversify your offering, and communicate the right message at the right time.
#1. Develop an Effective Website
Your assisted living center’s website will be the focal point of your online marketing, so its importance cannot be overstated. It’s not only your main informational hub but also one of your most important salespeople.
First, make sure you have a clean, modern design that’s mobile responsive. You can get a design on a template service like UXI® for minimal cost today, so there is no excuse for having an outdated design.
Here is an example home health care mockup that will give you the idea:
Design keys include:
- Attractive but not overwhelming images that show your facility and communicate the value you offer.
- Simple, intuitive navigation.
- Content broken up into headlines and small blocks so it’s easy to skim read.
- Clear contact information, with maps to your location.
- Easy to fill out contact forms.
Think of your website design as a first impression – a kind of handshake. As much as anything, you want to impart a sense of trust. If your website fails there, it’s likely you won’t get the chance to meet the prospective family in person.
Pro tip: Use Visuals and Infographics
Make sure your website design conveys information with both words and visuals. Communicate value by showing your amenities and services with real images (not stock photos). Embed videos and feature a virtual tour (detailed below).
Also, content like infographics works well with visual learners:
#2: Plan Your Informational Campaigns
Choosing assisted living or home health care is not a snap decision. People will take months, and perhaps even years making a decision on living arrangements for their senior years.
For marketing campaigns, this means you need tactics that start with people as they gather information, then keep your brand in front of them as they move through their decision cycle.
This starts on your website. Blogging is an excellent way to provide insight and thought leadership that connects with both prospective and current residents. Here’s a great example.
When you provide excellent content you make big strides towards earning trust. These articles also work well for both social media and email drip campaigns.
Be sure to have social media widgets on your blogs so readers can share the content, and post new articles to your social media pages. Encourage new leads to follow you on social media like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
Also, create a newsletter sign up so new articles and other newsletter items can go to people’s inboxes:
The biggest challenge here is creating and executing a content plan. You’ll need a writer who can research interesting topics and develop content consistently.
Fortunately, senior care, retirement, memory loss, insurance…the list goes on. There’s an abundance of topics your clients, staff, and prospects care about. Use their informational needs to start and nurture a relationship as they consider their options.
We’ve seen assisted living centers get new residents after several years of nurturing the relationship at the informational stage of the buying cycle. Work with people as they inform themselves while enhancing your brand image and earning trust.
#3. Get on Page One of Search
There are two ways people find assisted living and home healthcare services.
The first is ask around for recommendations. People ask friends directly, and also put out posts to their social media networks to get recommendations. Word of mouth is powerful, necessary marketing.
Second, people go online and search; instead of asking a person, they ask Google Home. Okay Google, what are the best assisted living centers in the Tucson area?
This search is the first step in their research process – and you need to be found on page one of results to make yourself known to them.
Start by doing some keyword research to discover the keyword phrases you want to target. Start with general terms around your services (assisted living + location). Expand on your specific services and amenities.
Page one of the search results is broken up into three different sections.
The first is pay per click advertising (PPC). This is how you get to the top spots on search, using the auction systems on Google and Bing. PPC ads give you the most control over ranking and content delivery, but you have to pay to gain top spots.
Second, set up and optimize your Google My Business page. This is a free listing that connects to Google Maps. It’s the primary way that Google knows where your service area is so you come up for local searches. Optimize your descriptions with keywords and get customer reviews to increase your ranking.
Third, do search engine optimization (SEO) work on your website. This also gives you free ranking/clicks and is a good way to expand the keywords you rank for so you can get traffic from people doing informational searches. Optimize your main pages for your main target keywords, then use your blog to expand on diets, memory loss, retirement, and other issues of importance to seniors.
If you do this right, you can find your business ranking in three places on page one.
It’s important to note with assisted living search advertising that the people doing the research (family members) often won’t be in the local area of your facility (for example an adult child in New York might research for a parent living in Atlanta). This can create issues with PPC advertising because it’s costly to geo-target ads to broad geographic areas.
Because of this, be sure to optimize your SEO for your location so you rank organically for searches. For PPC, limit your keywords to exact match search terms so only the precise search terms trigger your ad. If you run phrase or broad match you’ll probably waste a lot of clicks.
#4. Manage Your Online Reputation
Today’s consumers seek out opinions and reviews on virtually every service they are considering. They want to know what other customers think about a service, first hand.
Because of this, reviews play a large role in the final decision making of your clientele. You need to be aware of what’s said about you and be proactive about getting positive reviews.
First, be aware of where reviews get posted. Start with Google Places, where the review summary dominates the listing. Yelp doesn’t get a lot of assisted living reviews, but it does tend to rank organically. Top Rated Local offers a cumulative score based on multiple review platforms. You can elect to get reviews on Facebook, and should do so if they’re mainly positive.
There are also review sites that specialize in assisted living reviews, such as caring.com and senioradvisor.com.
You can claim your listing on these sites and respond to reviews. Note that these types of sites often show up in organic search listings (and sometimes the paid listings), so they may be the first exposure to your brand.
The key to a positive online review profile is your service. When you read reviews of senior care businesses, the ambiance of the facility, food, and friendliness of the staff are what people comment on the most. A clean, cheery environment is a must. Highlight your dining options. And most of all, make sure your staff always goes the extra mile to be helpful, positive, and professional.
Beyond this, ask your happiest residents or their kids to write up some reviews on sites where you need content. It’s best to ask personally, but you can also send an emailer. We use this type of template:
When the reader clicks on “good”, it links to a review site where they can write comments. When they click on “not good”, it opens a feedback form so you can learn what the problem was.
Don’t ignore reviews, because your potential clients won’t. Get this content working in your favor.
#5. Create a Video
You can communicate value, explain the range of your services, present a client testimonial, and give a tour of your facility – all in just a couple minutes – through the power of video.
Here’s an example:
This video communicates their value effectively through a resident’s story:
In both cases, the video gives a strong sense of the services and lives of the residents.
In addition, you can create other videos that expand on resident activities, special events, and what it’s like to work at your business. Post these on YouTube and use them in your social media marketing.
#6. Develop Your Social Media Presence
Many assisted living and home healthcare services think social media is pointless because their target demographic isn’t active on any of the platforms.
And granted, it’s not wise to target people in their 80’s on Snapchat (at least not yet).
But you probably already realize the fault in this thinking. You’re not simply targeting elderly would be residents, you’re targeting their adult children, many of whom are very active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
It’s worth it to set up a business Facebook page and use it as a gallery, place for updates, and information resource. We already mentioned how you should post your blogs and videos here. You can also curate content from other sources.
But you’ll like the most reactions (and therefore exposure) with fun, lighthearted posts that show the upbeat side of your residence. For example:
Posts like this create the homey, welcoming feel you want for assisted living.
Facebook can also be a powerful advertising tool because you can target potential clients based on demographics, life events (like retirement), or a pending move. You can also create a list of your current clients and develop a lookalike audience to target ads to. These can be effective ways to get in front of people early in their consideration phase.
#7. Use Marketing Software and a CRM
You can save yourself a great deal of time and headaches by putting all your marketing channels, tactics, and data onto one software platform. Trying to manage all this separately quickly becomes overwhelming, causing you to miss important opportunities.
It’s also worth it to put customer relationship (CRM software) to work for you. This allows you to track leads as they go through their sales journey, then connect that journey into your relationship with them as a client. In time, you get a real picture of what it takes to turn a prospect into a client, and what the lifetime value of those clients are. When you have that number, you can better gauge what you need to invest in your marketing to win new business.
Contact us to get a demo of the Marketing 360® software and a free website mockup.
Those boomers are starting to think about where to live out their golden years. Will it be with you?