As frank as it sounds, we understand that your organization’s mission is facilitated by one thing: revenue. And with the challenges our field has encountered this year, across the board senior living providers’ expenses have significantly outweighed their revenue. We recognize the tremendous ripple effect of this financial uncertainty, which has affected providers’ daily operations and caused delays in longer-term projects and master plans.
However, rebuilding revenue for the rest of 2020 is possible. In fact, we’ve already seen several organizations recover revenue over the past few months, leaving them even more time to get back on track before year-end. Specifically, organizations that have remained nimble and creative are seeing high returns on the investments they’re making (and maintaining) in marketing and sales efforts.
So, with the bounce-back efforts our clients have experienced, we’re trying to help as many organizations as we can recover revenue of their own before they close the books on 2020. Here are 10 strategies and tools your organization can mobilize quickly, as well as questions your team should be asking itself, as you work to rebuild census and revenue this year:
1 – Develop a plan
Which key metrics will have the biggest impact on your revenue for 2020?
Are conversions of prospects to sales high but leads low? Or are your conversion rates low and you need to improve closing techniques? Focusing on your metrics will guide you toward where to focus your time and investment.
2 – Inspire action
What can prospects do at your community that they cannot currently do in their house?
Especially now, in messaging and creative, it’s a good time to focus on the possibilities that your organization offers. In general, we’ve found that older adults cannot access the top levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs by staying at home; whereas in a Life Plan Community, they can become the best version of themselves. Dan Rexford expands on this actualization in our latest webinar, which you can watch here.
3 – Make a strong digital impression
Are you making a lasting digital impression on your prospects?
If they weren’t quickly heading in that direction already, senior living prospects have brought their searches online. Without campuses open for tours and without in-person marketing events, prospects have shown their sharpness (and resilience) by going digital.
This digital growth increases the importance of your organization’s digital footprint even more. Your community needs to not just be online, but it must also be found online using tactics and tools such as:
- Website and search engine optimization (SEO)
- Active, responsive social media platforms
- Engaging blogs, FAQs and prospect-focused content
- Properly moderated review site listings such as Google My Business
- Steady, online advertising
Plus, in addition to inspiring your prospects to learn more about your community online, confluent digital marketing campaigns produce insightful data you can use to optimize your ads and content so that they are all tailored to your audience for the biggest impact—and the biggest ROI.
4 – Don’t just obtain leads, nurture them
Are you connecting and engaging with prospects at every stage of their journey?
We know that the senior living sales cycle is long. Prospects, especially now, take their time to evaluate their options before making one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. Even more than for traditional products and services, senior living prospects need to be made aware of your community regularly, and those impressions must provide value to them.
Fortunately, from the time your digital campaign makes its first impression with prospects to the time they pick up the phone to call your sales team, you can harness lead nurturing campaigns to provide them valuable content and information at every stage of their “prospect journey.”
Like regular digital campaigns, most lead nurturing campaigns let you track and assign lead scores to prospects based on how they engage along the way. Examples of lead nurturing campaigns include:
- Automated email series
- Remarketing ads
- Regular social media posts (especially photos and videos)
- A regularly updated blog with prospect-focused content, e.g., FAQs
- Monthly or semimonthly email marketing sends
5 – Supercharge your marketing with video
Have you harnessed the power—and ease—of modern video marketing tools?
Video is a powerful tool, and it is more doable than ever. Sales and marketing teams can use apps and simple software to create compelling, personalized video content to share with leads. Video content also allows your organization to be seen as genuine, authentic and uplifting, which is especially important because today’s senior living prospects are much less receptive to marketing veneer.
6 – Bring your community to life, virtually
Can prospects “visit” without really visiting?
Video apps and the power of smartphones enable just about anyone to create dynamic marketing messages, and new software and digital experience providers are at the forefront of bringing community spaces alive. If your community wants to create 3D versions of each floor plan or even a full virtual campus walkthrough, they can be acquired for much less of an investment than you think.
7 – Host virtual events (and make them fun!)
How can you replicate in-person marketing events, some of the biggest deposit drivers around?
We have seen our clients have success with regularly scheduled online webinars, virtual info sessions and marketing events. Check here to make sure that your team has the proper tools to smoothly host an online event, and then focus on making it worth tuning in to.
A few examples of the most effective virtual sessions we’ve seen (so far) are:
- Virtual chef demonstrations and cook-alongs (complete with recipes provided by the sales team) or virtual wine tastings
- Informational sessions led by sales and marketing teams to answer prospects’ most pressing questions: How much does it cost? Is this still a good financial decision?
- Co-hosted webinars from third-party experts, e.g., real estate professionals, financial planners, senior relocation specialists
8 – Use COVID-specific sales techniques
Is your sales team meeting prospects where they are?
Even though sales teams may have been unable to make in-person connections with prospects, those personal connections are more important than ever. With the challenges older adults have faced this year, even a call to check in on a prospect can go a long way.
One of the most useful tips we’ve reiterated during recent sales coaching engagements [link to FVOS case study] is to meet prospects where they are. For three more COVID-specific techniques your team can use to close sales, click here.
9 – Use new tools to connect
Has your organization explored all the tools at its disposal?
Boomers aren’t picking up their phones. Your team needs to establish other ways to connect with them. Ensure your sales team is set up for success with outreach tools such as website chat tools, text messaging services, personalized video messaging, tailored email content and more. Today’s marketing world doesn’t have to revolve around connected phone calls: Any quality connection with a prospect helps advance the sales process.
10 – Make move-ins safe
What will new residents’ first impression of your community be?
For the individuals and couples who have chosen to proactively commit to your Life Plan Community, you must keep their move-in experience in mind as well. To make the best impression possible on new residents even amid COVID-19, it’s critical that your organization coordinates efforts with approved moving services and has each step of the move-in process mapped out to ensure the new resident and all existing residents are kept as safe as possible.
We hope that these 10 tools and techniques can help your organization recover revenue this year. If what you’re trying just isn’t having the desired impact, we encourage you to call Tim Bracken today at 410-207-0013 to coordinate a one-hour consultation. We will review your unique situation and offer recommendations to maximize the time left in 2020 to help your organization bounce back.