Your Ultimate Guide to Senior Living Marketing

Jaime E. Love

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(Ad) Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, industries across the board have been feeling the challenges of decreased profits, labor shortages, and more. But few industries have been affected as profoundly as senior living. 

The pandemic has also led many people to think more seriously about their future and the quality of care they will eventually receive in senior living or senior health service providers. As a result, this is a challenging and exciting time in the senior services industry, as disruptions and innovations occur.

If you’re ready to learn everything you need to excel in marketing for the senior living industry post-pandemic, this guide will give you all the information you need.

Let’s dive in.

An Overview of Today’s Senior Living Industry

According to the Population Reference Bureau, there are more than 46 million adults over the age of 65 in the U.S. By 2050, that number is expected to double.

Therefore, more and more of the U.S. population will need care. These savvy adults are more likely to use technology and the information available on the Internet, making them much more likely to understand what they want and the types of senior living arrangements that suit them best.

The same is true of their children or other relatives, who often assist in decision-making.

Finding qualified staff has always been a pain point among senior living facilities and senior healthcare services. The pandemic has only exacerbated this trend, not only due to staffing shortages but also due to increased labor costs.

Lastly, although the elderly population is increasing, many baby boomers want to stay in place, and many are resistant to moving to a senior living facility.

The industry’s current state means that marketing is more important than ever. Even if you have the best staff and the most state-of-the-art facilities, they’ll never become residents if people don’t hear about you.

Getting the right message to the right people at the right time can significantly increase interest in senior living facilities, even for hesitant seniors.

Senior Living Marketing 101

What We Mean By Senior Living Marketing

Senior living marketing refers to the efforts of retirement communities and other senior healthcare services to spread the word about their offerings and attract seniors who may become clients.

Because you can’t just build an independent living facility and then expect seniors in the area to flock to it of their own accord, senior care companies will have to invest in marketing services to bring prospects to their door.

Senior marketing can take many forms, from traditional printed ads and mailers to brochures, websites, events, Google ads, or social media content. Every facility, service, and community has different needs and will benefit most from various marketing methods. However, all senior facilities and service providers need some form of senior living marketing to drive business.

Importance of Senior Marketing

Marketing can help bring in customers and drive sales on the business side. But more than that, on the customer side, senior marketing helps service providers give seniors and families the resources they need to make the best decision for their health – both physical and mental. The reality is that many people are uninformed and unprepared for the changes that the aging process brings. Through marketing, seniors can become aware of needed services and new facilities that will improve their well-being as they navigate a new stage in their life.

What Does a Senior Living Marketer Do?

Senior living marketers help senior living facilities and providers spread the word about their services. Facilities that don’t have dedicated marketing staff (or vendors) either neglect marketing, which is bad for both the business and the clients, or they increase stress on other parts of their organization by asking non-marketers to shoulder the burden.

Senior marketers help you by:

  • Analyzing the market and your competitors
  • Creating a personalized marketing strategy for your senior living organization
  • Providing resources and network opportunities
  • Crafting unique and compelling digital content
  • Presenting advertising opportunities
  • Producing high-quality print products
  • Reporting on metrics and analytics of your marketing campaigns
  • Bringing in new leads

In other words, senior living marketers can help you more efficiently and effectively grow your business and serve your clients.

Should You Hire a Senior Living Expert Marketing Partner?

Senior marketing is the answer if you’re wondering how to generate leads for senior living facilities. While it’s possible to market on your own, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be getting the maximum impact from your marketing. Hiring a senior living marketing partner can offer a few perks that you may miss out on by taking a complete DIY approach:

  • Expertise. Senior living marketing agencies and partners have been around the block when creating compelling marketing materials and strategies that will convince prospects that your senior care facility or service is right for them.
  • ROI. While hiring someone to do your marketing inherently comes with a cost, the expertise of marketing partners and the scale at which they can operate will give you a return on investment that will be much greater than if you’re spending hours doing marketing on your own or hiring staff in-house.
  • Resources. Marketing agencies and partners have tools and programs that they’ll use to execute your strategy that would be costly and difficult for you to acquire and use yourself. They also have connections and a network that can present unique marketing and advertising opportunities to expand your reach.

Ultimately, hiring help for your senior living community or business should provide a positive return on investment while saving you time and a lot of stress.

The Importance of Managing Your Online Reputation (and How to Do it Effectively)

The way people communicate has changed drastically over the last few decades – and that change accelerates every year with the advent of new apps and technology.

You can’t beat these changes, so here are some essential lessons on how to adjust. You cannot afford to disregard negative online reviews or your online presence because they affect your reputation and, ultimately, your bottom line.

Dos of Online Reputation Management

1. Do: Address issues and negative reviews publicly.

If someone on your staff makes a mistake or someone leaves a negative review, hiding it or ignoring it won’t make it better. No matter what, you should never delete negative reviews. This will only further frustrate the person who left the complaint.

Instead, respond directly and be as transparent as possible. Maintain decorum, apologize if necessary, and present a solution as best as you can. Then offer to take the conversation offline to prevent further scrutiny or a lengthy response. All businesses make mistakes at times, but there’s a big difference between an organization that sweeps mistakes under the rug and organizations that correct course.

2. Do: Encourage positive reviews.

While you can’t avoid all negative reviews, you can encourage positive ones. If you’re not already set up on Google and other review platforms as a business, take the time to create your accounts, or find an expert to help.

In your marketing materials, after tours, or when having positive conversations with seniors or their families, encourage patrons to leave reviews to let you know how you or your staff helped them. While you shouldn’t offer an incentive, as this can look suspicious, you can explain why these reviews are important and how they can help you continue offering a positive experience.

Don’ts of Online Reputation Management

1. Don’t: Ignore complaints. 

Even if you don’t have a Google or Yelp account for your business, this doesn’t mean that you’re not at risk of prospective patrons reading complaints somewhere.

Whether it’s a complaint that a resident brings to you personally, an unhappy email from a family, or a negative review online, complaints should never be ignored. Show your patrons that you care about their well-being and happiness by being proactive and responsive when they address their concerns with you.

2. Don’t: Get defensive. 

When you do respond to complaints, negative reviews, or concerns, the last thing you want to do is get negative. Becoming combative and mean or patronizing towards a senior in your care or their family is worse than not responding at all.

If done in a public forum, like Google reviews, it’s also an instant red flag to anyone considering your facility or service. As a rule of thumb, you should always take the high road and avoid any dismissive or demeaning behavior.

5 Senior Living Marketing Tactics to Use

Multi-Channel Marketing

While it’s easy to assume that all seniors can be targeted on the same platforms and in the same way because they fall into the same age group, this could not be less true.

Multi-channel marketing is marketing through different platforms in order to reach different segments of one broader audience. While you may think you just need to target members of the community who are over 65, you need to account for the different demographics within that broader category. Additionally, you may also want to target other age groups who may be family members of your target audience.

A few different channels you can use include:

Using a targeted approach for several of these channels and repurposing content when possible will give you a robust marketing strategy that reaches more people.

Utilize Storytelling

When marketing to seniors about a senior living facility, it’s important that you make them feel like this place could be their home. The best way to do this is through storytelling.

Storytelling involves a protagonist, a crisis or climax, an antagonist, and a solution. You can use resident senior living stories in your marketing materials to help tell the story of how your facility or your senior service is helping to solve a pain point for someone in your community.

Video content that highlights resident experiences is great for this purpose. You can also have staff speak to their experiences working with the seniors in your care. This helps prospective patrons relate and feel like they could have a similar experience if they joined your community or enrolled in your service, and can help attract new staff.

Optimize Your Website

Your website is the source of truth for individuals searching for senior care solutions. In order to use your website for marketing purposes, it’s crucial that you ensure that it is up-to-date and has:

  • Relevant and useful information
  • Compelling content, like videos or blog posts
  • Contact information and instructions
  • High-quality visuals

A great way to make your website useful and attractive for prospects is to include information about services you offer like hospice, memory care, medical equipment, legal services, financial, entertainment, or continuing education for seniors. These can be a big draw and should be featured prominently.

Additionally, you want to ensure that your website is mobile-optimized so that it can easily be accessed from a smartphone or a tablet.

To make your website a truly valuable marketing tool, engage in content marketing. This is primarily done through content on your website, like blog posts, that are SEO-optimized to show up in search results so that your website is more easily discoverable.

Try PPC Ads

PPC, or pay-per-click ads are a cost-effective way to ensure that your website shows up on the first page of search results.

These ads look almost identical to an organic search result but are always positioned above all organic content. While SEO is still important for ensuring that your site is deemed reputable by Google, PPC ads can be a faster way of acquiring leads to your website.

Target Both Seniors and Their Caregivers

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