By Dan Rexford, Vice President of Marketing Innovation
As a senior living marketing consultant, a Life Plan Community’s CEO very often will ask for a definitive answer as to why the retirement community’s occupancy is not where it should be. Unfortunately, in my experience, there is seldom a magic bullet. While I don’t believe any one of these senior living marketing tips will bump your occupancy up to 97 percent, I do believe that continually “sharpening the saw” (as Stephen Covey would say) and pressing on every available opportunity will go a long way in leading you to your sales goals.
Our last blog covered numbers 1 through 10 of the best senior living marketing tips, and today we’ll cover tips 11 through 20.
THE BEST SENIOR LIVING MARKETING TIPS: 11-20
11. Evaluate the quality of your leads by utilizing lead scoring. Regardless of which CRM you are using, you should the evaluate the quality of your leads, weighing each lead by likelihood to move to your community based on particular characteristics (e.g., distance from community, wealth, age, date of inquiry, friend of resident, child in area, etc.)Don’t judge a book by its cover. Consider everyone a qualified lead until you learn otherwise.
12. My father, who was a wealthy man, told the story of going to a new real estate development and being ignored because he was in his “painting clothes.” A frugal man, he happened to enjoy do-it-yourself projects and could have easily afforded any house in the community, but he got turned off by the sales team’s behavior. In short, don’t discount someone because of what value Zillow places on his or her home or by the car he or she drives. Commit to discovery by first establishing intent before moving on to finances.
13. Establish and continuously track the cost per sale from all of your marketing expenditures (TV, radio, direct mail, newspaper, magazines and online directories). Utilizing this ROI approach will help you shape your strategy and budget decisions, such as spending more money next budget season on direct mail, newspaper or online tools like Google, A Place for Mom or Caring.com.
14. One way to decrease your need on online directories is to improve your community’s SEO. Having a strong blog and social media presence can increase your community’s website’s SEO while helping to convert leads to sales. When someone types your organization’s name into a search bar, your organization will be one of the top several results. Your blog and social media plans should be key components of your integrated marketing plan, so that it reinforces the messaging your prospects are receiving. The best indication that you are successfully implementing a confluent marketing program is when you ask your prospects where they heard about you and they say, “I don’t know, I see your community everywhere … direct mail, newspaper, online … EVERYWHERE!”
15. Utilize your executive team as a closing tool (taking advantage of the principle of authority). If prospects are obsessed with finances, introduce them to your CFO … if they’re worried about their health, introduce them to your doctor or nurses. Members of your executive team can be incorporated into your tour of the community with just a little advance planning. In addition to appointments and tours, events for hot prospects where they get to meet and question your executive team can reassure and close many prospects.
16. Just as follow-up time for new leads is important, timely follow-up with event attendees can mean the difference between success and failure. Strike while the iron is hot by suggesting a personal tour (important note: the word “tour” is less intimidating than the word “appointment”) so that you can show them all the things you couldn’t show them during the event.
17. Use social media to provide engaging content to your prospects within your market area. For example, if your sales team loves rolling down to the local mom-and-pop deli for lunch, take a photo and share it on social media (Facebook especially). Your prospects will like to see your team supporting a local business, and by tagging the restaurant (or attraction, event, group, organization, etc.) on social media, you are also establishing a relationship with a local business that may share/repost your photo, yielding free exposure within your target market.
18. Make sure that every response to a prospect—whether it be a personal email, an automated email or a phone call—has a logical NEXT step, such as an invitation to a seminar, luncheon, open house, appointment or an opportunity to receive additional information (white paper, brochure, etc.). The point is that you are moving the relationship forward!
19. Understand that not all content is created equal. For example, if you are offering content as a digital inducement, the content should address their needs, not yours, e.g., a white paper on The Seven Dimensions of Wellness (their need) vs. a brochure on your community (your need). Too often we try to sell our community rather than establish ourselves as a trusted resource.
20. Take advantage of a cost-effective marketing technique called remarketing. Remarketing is a digital tactic that places your ads in front of people who been interested enough in your community to visit your website and filled out a form but for whatever reason haven’t further engaged. As your ads follow prospects around the internet (Google, Facebook, Bing, etc.), they are reminded of how you can address their needs.
Good luck applying as many of these tips as possible! For a recap of our first entry in this blog series featuring the first 10 tips, just click below:
I hope you found these tips helpful! Stay tuned for part three, which will add 10 more of the best senior living marketing tips to this list.
If you would like to chat in depth about any of the tips mentioned above—or how your organization can put them into practice—feel free to reach out to Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013.