By Kayla Murphy, PR & Integrated Media Manager
Inbound marketing is the practice of creating and publishing quality, relevant content so people can seek you, find you and engage with you. That being said, your website is often the first impression of your retirement community for prospects, and should ultimately entice them to find out more about you.
By following these six steps, you can create a solid inbound marketing plan, using your website as a primary tool, that will generate leads:
1. Identify Personas
Your potential residents will not place equal weight on all aspects of your community. For some, the most important question is “Can I bring my dog?” while for others, “What social opportunities are there?” is much more pressing. A widow or widower may prioritize social opportunities inside the community, while a younger couple may look for day trips or group travel options.
To figure out your prospects’ personas, look at who has moved into your community within the past year and find common themes. There are a few tools you can use to help you figure this out, including Nielsen’s PRIZM. Once you have an understanding of the types of people who have moved to your community, you can begin the next step: creating a content calendar.
2. Create a Content Calendar
Content can be anything from a white paper to a social media post, and you need to plan for a variety of content (because you have a variety of prospects). Love & Company focuses on blogs, as they can be repurposed for so many different uses—e-newsletters, media pitches, social media content—and they also help boost search engine optimization (SEO).
When you think about your target personas, think about the questions each persona would likely ask about your retirement community counselor, and then answer them through your blog. Write a blog about the dog park at your community for the “pet lover persona.” Feature the Men’s Club that meets for breakfast twice per month to reach the widower persona. Discuss contract options. Feature different floor plans. Highlight the customizable options available. Interview the Executive Chef. Profile happy residents who embody each persona. Compile a photo essay of the campus. Make a Top 10 list of local restaurants for the foodies. The ideas for good content are endless.
The key when planning your senior housing content calendar is variety. Don’t publish four floor plan blogs in a row. Don’t feature only testimonials. Don’t spend all of May focusing on widowers and all of June focusing on pet owners.
3. Promote Your Content
Once you’ve invested your time strategizing and writing amazing content, it’s important to plan how you will promote it. Too often, well-crafted blogs get one post on social media and then it’s done! For each blog post, consider creating three to five leads that could be shared on social media and then schedule them in advance; depending on which social networking outlet you use, you could post the link immediately, a day later, a week later, a month later, and then six months later. For other outlets, you may want to do just immediately, a month later, and six months later. It depends on your audience and your platform – Twitter audiences can typically handle higher frequency, while Facebook fans may become irritated if they see similar content too frequently.
Don’t be afraid to repurpose these and add hyperlinks to previous blogs where appropriate. Use email marketing to send the blogs to your lead base. Consider promoting a post on Facebook to make sure you get eyes on your content. Set up a Facebook ad targeting your chosen persona (it’s a very small cost per click and cost per impression, especially when measured against the amount spent on traditional advertising or mailers). Send a blog to a friendly reporter and ask them if they’d be interested in writing a feature about that content for their readership. Promote it through other blog sites.
You’ve created this content; don’t let it languish on your site.
4. Convert Your Audience
And once you’ve expanded your audience by promoting well-written content, you want to get to know them a little better. At the end of each post, you need to include a call to action or form for the user to take advantage of. Something as simple as “Sign up for our e-newsletter to get more great content delivered to you.” If you have another whitepaper on a similar topic, perhaps one that goes a bit more in-depth, include a link inviting them to download the white paper, but require them to fill out a form to get it.
5. Track Results
Now that you’ve published and promoted a great blog or white paper and set specific calls to action, track the results by setting up goals in Google Analytics. What kind of goals should you set? The answer, unfortunately, is, “It depends.” Goals could include tracking time on site, pages visited per visit, and whether the visitor filled out and submitted a form (conversion).
Once you’ve set these goals, you’ll be able to track the results in Google Analytics or another metrics program. And of course, after they have submitted a form and are entered into your customer relationship management (CRM) tool, such as REPs, you can then track them through the rest of the sales process.
After you’ve had the opportunity to monitor the performance of your content, start readjusting your plan by asking yourself if your stories are working. Are your floor plans yielding high goal completions? If so, make sure you feature each of them. Are you noticing a higher goal completion from Facebook fans? Perhaps you should put extra effort into your Facebook strategy. If a tactic isn’t working for a persona type, stop using it. There’s no point in continuing to put forth effort that doesn’t provide results.
Identify personas. Strategically create a content calendar. Promote your content. Convert your audience. Track the results. Readjust. Using these six steps will help your retirement community enhance its inbound marketing practices using—generating more leads and sales.
Which step is the most challenging? Let us know in the comments!