7 Senior Living Marketing Trends To Watch For in 2021

7 Senior Living Marketing Trends To Watch For in 2021

It’s always a good idea to be looking ahead and the next year’s marketing trends. In senior living, we believe there are at least seven marketing trends that will affect the senior living industry. If you position yourself correctly in these trends, you’ll take three steps ahead of your competitors. 

 

Voice Search

By the end of 2020, studies show that half of all searches will be voice-activated. Let that sink in for a moment. Today, more than ever, seniors and their adult children are using their phones and smart speakers voice services to learn about retirement community options. So, do you know what Siri or Alexa says about your community? Grab your phone and find out!

We’ll cover the best way to set up your community for success in a later blog post series. 

 

More Advertising Restrictions

In 2019, Facebook changed its housing, employment, and credit ads policy to “prohibit unlawful discrimination.” We’ve found this new update to be challenging to work with simply because retirement communities have age restrictions in place. While you can reach out to Facebook for a special exemption to these policies, we don’t think it’s worth your time. And we thank there are better ways to advertise on Facebook by using an email list or targeting visitors that “like” or “follow” your Facebook page. 

Google introduced new housing ad policies in October 2020

So keep an eye out for additional restrictions like these on other advertising platforms in 2021. There will most likely be updates or changes made to policies like these in the new year. 

 

Automation Tools

If you aren’t using automation tools to help your leads down the sales funnel, you’re losing money. Decide right now that 2021 will be the year that you begin to implement automation marketing tools like Hubspot or Mailchimp. 

In case you aren’t convinced that automation tools work, here are a few numbers that should change your mind:

You get the idea. Adopt and adapt to marketing automation tools because they work, they’ve never been easier to use, and they make you money.

 

Email Drip Campaigns

Email drip marketing or email marketing campaigns is one form of marketing automation. Here is the basic idea: (1) someone books an assisted living tour on your website, (2) their email address is added to an automated email campaign that sends useful information about your community’s assisted living, and (3) they become more and more connected to your community until they move-in. 

There are three main benefits to using email drip campaigns to nurture relationships with your leads.

First, you can offer precise content to a precise segment of your audience. Think about how this would not work generically to understand why it works so well when your audience is segmented. Let’s say you buy a book from your local bookstore about how to grow better tomatoes at home. The next day, you receive an email from them about how their motorcycle books are now on sale. Do you think you would stay committed to their email list? Probably not. But if that bookstore sent information about how to improve your tomato garden’s mulch or a coupon for any book about gardening, you would most likely stay engaged with their content. 

You can do the same thing with your senior living community. Segment your audience into categories like assisted living, independent living, short-term rehab, memory care, new leads, leads over a year old, cold leads, hot leads, leads who attended an event, and so on. 

 

Longer, Richer Blog Posts

A short, 500-word blog post might be really easy for you to write, but it’s not doing much for your website. If you really want to improve your SEO, you don’t need to publish any blog posts that are less than 2,000 words. Instead, aim for your posts to be between 2,000–3,000 words long. 

According to Hubspot’s data and studies, a blog post of around 2,500 words is the kind of blog post that works best at producing leads. However, Hubspot also recommends that if you covered the topic in 1,000 words or less, then it’s okay to post it — just know that it’s easier for longer blog posts to rank higher than for shorter posts. In theory, Google looks at a longer, richer post as having more probability of answering a user’s question than a shorter, thinner post.

Here is one example of a blog post idea that will get you to 2,000 words or more: 25 Ways Retirement Community Life Is Better than Being Alone At Home.

 

Live Chat

We’re seeing more and more senior living websites offer live chat to its users. Sometimes it’s a real person and other times it’s AI-powered. The bottom line is that if you’re not offering live chat, your competitors are or they’re going to offer it soon. 

Senior Housing News reported that one community that implemented live chat had 50 new unique leads, 15 scheduled tours, and two move-ins. Is that some additional traffic you can use? Probably so. 

We know how difficult it can be to think of new ways to generate leads and schedule more tours. But we’re telling that if you use live chat on your website, you will see more leads and more tours. 

This is why — when users visit your website, they’re looking for information and answers. A live chat satisfies their needs faster than a typical contact form. And we all know that the communities who respond first and please their users first are more likely to continue the relationship with that senior or adult child. 

 

Google’s SEO Algorithm Changes

Moz.com shows that Google updated it’s search algorithm at least 10 times in 2020. We can almost guarantee you that there will be additional changes in 2021. That’s why it’s a good idea to have an eye on what Google is doing. If you’re the first community to adapt to Google’s changes, guess what? They will like your website just a little bit more than your other retirement community competitors. 

4 Action Steps To Create A Better Tour Experience With Technology

Every retirement community and marketing/sales team has the same goal — book more tours, increase census and grow waitlists. The key in that three-step plan is to convert potential residents and their adult children from tourers to residents and community fans. While the experience you provide on the tour will have a large impact on whether or not a tour results in a booked room or apartment, the experience you provide before and after the tour has just as big of an impact. 

 

Think about a time that you’ve experienced amazing automated customer service before and after a service or product you purchased. For me, it was purchasing food from a local food truck. This particular food truck was located in an area with few seating options. So I was worried about (1) hearing my name called for my food and (2) grabbing an open table before it was gone. This food truck solved this problem because they took my phone number, entered it into their system, and told me I would receive a text when it was ready. It was a flawless experience. I grabbed a table and 10 minutes later, I received an automated text telling me that my food was ready.

 

If your senior living community can provide a similar experience with technology, your tours will improve and you’ll stand out from your competitors. Here are four ways you can implement technology to create a better tour experience:

 

Implement text and email reminders about the tour 

When a potential resident or adult child books a tour through your website, you need to capture their phone number and email address. With this information, you can automatically send them reminder emails and texts about the tour. We recommend immediately having an automated email sent to them right after the form is submitted with important information they will need like the address, a phone number if they have further questions, and a three-step plan that displays how booking a tour is step one and moving into your community is the final step. Including this three-step plan simplifies the process for them.

 

Studies show that text messages have a 98% open rate, which makes sense, right? Who leaves an unopened text message on their phone? Another study found that companies who implemented automated text message appointment reminders had a 38% lower no-show rate. A no-show is a revenue killer. You prepare for tour, you say “no” to other tours who want to book that time, and then they don’t show up — that is wasting time and money. 

 

So, to sum up this first point, you need an automated email that is sent immediately after someone books a tour on your website. You also need to send a text reminder to the person touring so that you save time and money and so that you create a better tour experience. 

 

Send an automated email summary of the tour

You need to create an automated email that is scheduled to be sent after the tour is complete. This email should include a simple review of what you went over in your tour. If the tour is for a potential assisted living resident, be sure that it’s targeted to that person; you don’t want someone who toured for memory care to be sent information about independent living. That would be information they (1) don’t want and would (2) fine useless. You do not want to put your potential resident or their adult child in that position. 

 

As a senior living marketer, you know for certain that your leads aren’t just touring your community. They’re considering at least three others at a minimum — probably a lot more than that depending on where you live. 

 

By sending a summary of your tour, you’re helping them remember all of the positive aspects of your community and your residents. This one action item will give you a leg up on your competitors. 

 

Send an automated review request text or email

You most likely deliver amazing tours and showcase your star residents to the potential residents and their adult children. So, if those you tour receive 5-star treatment, we think you should at least get a 5-star review! 

 

Here’s how this works — set up an automated email or text to be sent after your tour (ensure it’s setup for a different time than your automated email summary). In that automated message, say something like, “We hope you enjoyed the 5-star treatment we do our best to offer everyone who walks through our doors. Your thoughts about the tour would really help others who are considering our community. Could you help us out by posting a Google review? Click here to start your review.”

 

This will get you more reviews, a better website ranking, more tours, and you’ll begin to see your census increase. 

 

Set up them for an email drip campaign

This last action step is for those who really want to take their marketing to the next level. We’re talking about email drip campaigns, drip marketing, automated email marketing, or whatever else you want to call it.

 

Here’s how it works. Once you get a lead’s email, you enter it in your drip campaign software, and the lead begins to receive automated emails from you. You need to set up emails that have content they want, not bullet points of amenities you want to push on them.

 

For example, an assisted living move-in checklist would probably be very valuable to the person who just toured an assisted living apartment in your building. Or an ebook about the difference between Medicare and Medicaid would most likely be very helpful to someone considering skilled nursing in your community. 

 

You get the idea. Find pain points or areas where they’re struggling, and then send emails with content that addresses those pain points. You’ll be amazed at the result, and you’ll be utilizing technology that very few if any of your senior living competitors are using.

 

If you want to get this kind of technology activated for you and your marketing, just book a call. We’ll get it in place for you so you can book more tours, increase census, and grow a waitlist.

The Senior Living Guide to Responding to Reviews (with templates)

senior living marketing review responses

We all know how critical online reviews are when adult children are considering your community. But your response to these reviews is just as important. Here’s why:

 

Google likes businesses that respond to reviews

Tight-lipped Google rarely confirms how their search engine algorithm works. But they did highly encourage business owners to respond to their reviews and that high-quality reviews improve a business’ visibility. 

 

You can show off your brand voice

This is one way that you can separate yourself from your senior living competitors. Few communities do a good job of creating and using a brand voice. A brand voice is a personality and emotion that a company uses in its messaging and communication. In the same way that your community logo represents your community, so should your brand voice. Maybe your brand voice is empathetic, funny, classy, or something else. 

 

You can tell your side of the story

Without a review, the review reader only reads one side of the story, and that is the side they’ll believe. The nice thing about Google reviews is that your response is the final word. The reviewer can’t respond to your community’s review (unless they edit their first review).

 

How to respond to a review with no text

The reviews with a star rating and no text response are the most frustrating reviews to receive. Not only could it negatively affect your star-rating, but you also don’t receive any feedback. 

 

Pro tip — check your CRM for the name of the reviewer. We’ve found that reviewers who leave no text response often have not ever interacted with your business. If that’s the situation, your response will be simple. 

 

Template: “Hi _________. We looked for your name in our CRM and didn’t find any record of it. If you have questions or concerns, please give us a call at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.”

 

If this individual has interacted with your community, your response should be short. 

 

Template: “Hi ________. We would love to know how we can improve our services. Please give us a call at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.”

 

How to respond to negative reviews

A one-star review does a lot of damage to your overall rating. If all you have is a one-star and five-star review, that is a 50% rating. Add another -five-star review and you move to 66%. To get to 80%, you would need four five-star reviews. 90% would take nine five-star reviews. 

 

Obviously, negative reviews have a huge impact on your star rating, search engine optimization, and overall brand appearance. But your response to a negative review can undo some of that damage. As mentioned previously, Google wants businesses to respond to reviews, which means your website ranking will improve if you respond. And a well-crafted response can protect your brand image. You must include these items in your negative review response: 

 

  1. Personalization. Always begin with the reviewer’s name if you have it. 
  2. Follow their name with a “Thank you.” You might not feel like thanking the person, especially if it’s a particularly negative review. But thanking the individual for taking the time to review and for trying to improve your company shows the reviewer and others that you do care. Side note: Always err on the side of caution when it comes to naming anyone else besides the individual that wrote the review. You never want to violate a HIPAA regulation in your review responses. Just stick with the reviewer’s name, and you’ll be fine. 
  3. Show empathy. This is, again, where senior living reviews can be a bit tricky. If the reviewer accuses your community of negligence or something like that, do not mention any details of the referenced event. In a situation like that, it is still possible and recommended to show empathy. Something like, “We hate to hear that your experience did not meet your expectations…” shows empathy without addressing or disclosing any additional details. 
  4. Talk about the next step. We recommend a call-to-action for every review — negative and positive. For negative reviews, all you need is a simple statement like, “Please call us at (XXX) XXX-XXXX and ask for ______ so we can discuss this with you further.”

 

Template: “Hi _____________. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We hate to hear that your experience did not meet your expectations. So please call us at (XXX) XXX-XXX and ask for _____ so we can discuss this with you further.”

 

A response like that will impress review readers and protect your brand.

 

Asking a customer to delete a review

If the negative review contains personal information that should not be disclosed, you should report the review to Google (or the review platform) and ask the reviewer to remove the review. This shows review readers that you’re serious about privacy and they can consider your community to be trustworthy.

 

Responding to neutral reviews

So what do you do with that three-star review? One more star and it’s a positive review, but one less star and it’s a negative review. Here’s what we’ve learned about neutral reviews:

  1. Again, personalize your response and thank them for leaving a review.
  2. Focus on the positive aspects of the review. If they complimented a particular employee or service that you offer, focus on that compliment. For example, they might say, “Although Heather was a delight to work with, the food wasn’t that great.” So, your response should include that positive aspect of Heather. Something like this, “We’re so thankful that Heather is a part of our team. She’s worked with us for ___ years, and she is one of our hardest-working team-members.”
  3. Show empathy. Don’t violate any HIPAA regulations, but do acknowledge that you hear their complaint. Include a statement like this, “Although we’re happy to hear that you were pleased with _______, we do strive to provide a five-star experience in all aspects of our community. We hate to hear that your experience did not meet your expectations.”
  4. Invite them back. If necessary, it might make sense to invite the reviewer back. For example, if someone tours your retirement community on a day when the state is surveying your building, that might be a stressful day for everyone. “Thank you for touring with us, but we’d love to give you another tour that meets your expectations. On the day you toured, the state surprised us for our annual survey, which required the attention of key team members that we always introduce to those that tour with us. They would love to meet you! Please call (XXX) XXX-XXXX to schedule another tour.”

 

Template: “Hi ________. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We’re so happy to hear that you were pleased with _________. [Another sentence or two about the hard work your community puts into this service or a sentence about the employee mentioned]. Although we’re happy to hear that you were pleased with _______, we do strive to provide a five-star experience in all aspects of our community. We hate to hear that your experience did not meet your expectations. On the day you visited, _______ happened, which prevented us from offering our five-star tour experience. So please call (XXX) XXX-XXXX to schedule another tour. We would love to see you again!” 

 

How to respond to positive reviews

Finally, we’ve reached the pinnacle of reviews — the positive reviews. These reviews are so fun to read and share with your team. But please, don’t stop there! Chances are, this reviewer is now a big fan of your community and might even do a bit more for you than just leaving a review. You should include these things in your positive review response: 

  1. Ask the reviewer if you can share the review on social media. If they’re a really big fan, you probably know how to contact them. But if not, ask them if you can share their review on your social media platforms. 
  2. Personalize the response, and thank them.
  3. Respond to specific things mentioned, especially if the positive things mentioned are typically mentioned in a negative light. For example, “poor food,” or “bad tasting food,” is a common item you’ll see in a negative review. So, if it’s mentioned in a positive way, key in on that fact. Talk about how great your community chef is, how the dining rooms provide a fantastic dining atmosphere, where your high-quality food comes from, etc. 
  4. Offer something of value. This is how you turn a fan into a super-fan. If it’s a really amazing review, offer to send them something like a branded coffee mug or a branded blanket. If they say “yes,” congratulations, you’ve just gained a super-fan — someone who will go above and beyond for your retirement community. 
  5. Invite them back. You want this person involved again and again. So let them know where they can find information on upcoming events. 

 

Template: “Hi, _________. Thanks for taking the time to leave us such an amazing review! We’re so happy to hear that your experience was exactly what we strive to produce for each guest. Thanks for mentioning ________. We _____ [go into detail about how you make this service so amazing]___. Because you went above and beyond in this review, we’d like to send you a gift — a free XYZ Village Community blanket! Just call (XXX) XXX-XXXX and ask for ____. They will get your free blanket in the mail asap. By the way, we’d love to see you at one of our upcoming events! Just check the website, and learn about what’s coming next. We can’t wait to see you again!”

 

Responding to reviews with a review software

Earning reviews, responding to reviews, and managing your reviews is a really big deal. If you can manage all of that without any kind of software, then we don’t think you’re human 🙂 

Just kidding. But by using our system and technology, managing your reviews has never been easier. We’d love to tell you about it. Click below to book a call, and let us know you need help managing your reviews.

One Thing Your Senior Living Website Is Missing

senior living lead generator

99.99% of senior living and retirement community websites are listing the same information. Levels of living or services, about us, a blog, our history, and contact information is essentially the extent of each website’s information. 

 

But we know one thing you can add to your website that will encourage website users to engage with you; in turn, you’ll get more leads. 

 

The answer? A lead generator.

 

What is a lead generator?

It’s simply a piece of content that produces leads. You may be thinking, “I offer a blog on my website. Isn’t that my lead generator?” Well, be honest: how many leads or tours has your blog produced? That’s probably a difficult number for you to figure out.

 

We believe blog posts and articles are great for SEO, but they’re not the best at producing leads. How many people sign up for your company’s newsletter or blog post updates on your website? Probably not many. But don’t drop your blog posts just yet. They’re critically important to SEO and nurturing leads. We’ll speak more about that later.

 

When we say your website needs a lead generator, here’s what we mean: on your home page, you need a piece of content that requires users to submit a form before they download the content. By requiring them to submit a form with their basic contact information, this means two things for you: (1) you receive their contact information and have a new lead, and (2) you need an irresistible piece of content.

 

What are some examples of lead generators?

To answer this question, put yourself in the shoes of the adult child looking for a safe, caring place for their parent. What kind of information would they deem so valuable that they would give you their first name and email address so that they could have it?

 

Let’s look at some examples. Would something like, “The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Community,” catch your eye? Of course, it would. Or perhaps something like, “50 Questions to Ask A Community During Your Next Tour,” would also get your attention.

 

Here is how you can create the perfect lead generator for your community. Look at your adult child’s pain points in the customer journey. When you find a pain point, produce a piece of content that solves that pain point. It’s as simple as that. 

 

If you want to have a better website than your competitors, add a lead generator. You’ll get leads that they’re missing. 

 

Ready to produce an amazing lead generator that will convert more website users and book more ours? Click here to get started.

10 Free Tools for Senior Living Marketers

facebook marketing senior living

As a marketer, you probably have a lot of items on your plate and a very busy schedule. You need tools that make your job easier. 

As a senior living agency that partly focuses on digital marketing, we know the best tools. Here are our ten favorites:

 

1. Canva

You no longer need to be a graphic designer to create stunning designs. Canva makes creating beautiful graphics fast, easy, and, most importantly, free. You can pay for a paid account that gives you access to extra icons and images. But honestly, the free version gives you way more than you need. They have preset dimensions for just about everything: Facebook ads, flyers, blog images, etc.

 

2. Google Trends

This is a great tool to check once a month. You can search for what people are searching for and determine what’s popular. You can look at the trends nationally or locally. 

 

3. Google Alerts

We highly recommend setting up Google alerts for your community and competitors. With alerts set up, you can be notified whenever your community name is mentioned. Google Alerts is the best way to keep track of what’s important.

 

4. Bitly

Have you ever posted a link to Facebook from your Facebook? Chances are, it’s long and ugly. That’s where Bitly comes in. Bitly can take ugly URLs and turn them into shorter, more-clickable URLs. 

 

5. Hootsuite

Managing posts on multiple channels is time consuming. Fortunately, a free account on Hootsuite gets you: three social profiles, 30 Scheduled Messages, and one user. With that plan, you can schedule out a month’s worth of social media posts!

 

6. SEMRush

SEMRush is a powerful SEO tool. With a free account, you can track your competitor’s keywords, figure out how much traffic you’re missing out, and check out your domain strength. There’s a lot of information you can get for free so reach out if you need help navigating it. 

 

7. Mailchimp

The nice thing about Mailchimp is that it integrates with everything. You can connect it to your website, CRM, automation software, and more. Plus, a free account lets you send up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 email sends per month.

 

8. PNG->JPG, PDF Compressor

This might be my favorite tool on the list. Sometimes, an advertiser needs an image in a particular format. If they need a JPG and you have a PNG, you can get your image transformed to the correct format in about five seconds. 

If you’ve ever tried to send a PDF that was too big, you know how annoying that can be. With PDF Compressor, you can upload a large PDF and download a smaller version. 

 

9. PageSpeed Insights

I can’t say this enough — your website speed is crucial. A slow website equals lost leads. Check out your website speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. It will give you a report on everything that’s slowing down your website. 

 

10. CoScheduler Email Subject Line Analyzer

If you want to increase the open rate on your emails, analyze your email subject lines with CoScheduler. CoScheduler will break down your subject line word-by-word and give you tips on how to improve it. 

Well, there you go. My top 10 favorite tools on the internet. If you have one that I missed, please let me know! 

5 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Page Today

Think about your favorite Facebook pages. Why are they your favorite? Is it because their content is all about themselves and never about you? Or is it because they’re always telling you to buy, buy, buy without providing any value to your life? You’re probably thinking the exact opposite. And you’re right. 

We like Facebook pages that make us feel valued and provide value. That’s what your Facebook page should do, too. So here are five things you can do to your Facebook page today to improve it. If you do these five things, your followers will thank you, engage with you, and share your page with others.

 

1. Follow the 80/20 rule. 

80% of your posts should be all about providing value without a call-to-action. Here are some examples of posts that provide value: (1) We celebrated [resident’s name] 100th birthday party today! Doesn’t she look amazing? (2) What’s the difference between independent and assisted living? Our latest blog post answers that. (3) Here’s an article from SeniorsStretch.com that lists five stretches seniors should do every morning. 

Notice that none of those posts include a call-to-action. You want people to want to hang out on your Facebook page so that they are there when you do ask them to do something like “Book a Tour” or “Call to Learn About Our Special.”

 

happy senior elderly residents

2. Your cover photo should be a picture of your residents, not your building.

Research from Shutterstock and Lumen shows that faces grab attention quickly. You want the happy faces of your actual residents enjoying an aspect of your community or having a conversation with other residents. 

Hire a photographer to take high-quality pictures of your residents during an event or activity. You may even be able to find a photographer in your area with senior living photography experience. 

 

facebook profile picture differences

 

3. Make sure your Facebook page profile picture logo fits

A few years ago, Facebook made the change from square to circle profile pictures. I still see so many senior living communities with a Facebook page logo that is cut off by the circle. That comes across as unprofessional. 

Ask your community graphic designer to produce a logo that’s made for a 170×170 size (that size is accurate of November 7, 2020). If your logo is wordy, consider using your logo icon or watermark only.

 

4. Do a Facebook page info audit

When is the last time you updated your Facebook page info? If it’s been over a year, it’s time for a refresh. 

Go to your Facebook page, click Edit Page Info, and then scroll through your publically-listed information. You might be surprised to find out what information is wrong or missing.

Pro tip: Facebook allows you to edit your current COVID-19 protocols. As a senior living community, you’ll want to let people know about the current safety procedures so update this frequently. 

 

5. Take notice of NationalDayCalendar.com

Mark April 11 on your calendar and schedule an annual reminder. What’s the big deal about April 11? Oh, it’s national pet day — the day where your Facebook page can triple it’s engagement. And here’s what you post on that day: “It’s National Pet Day! Comment below with a picture of your furry friend.” Adult children and seniors love sharing pictures of their pets.

On NationalDayCalendar.com, you’ll also find days and months that might have extra significance to your community like November, which is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, or September 12, which is National Grandparent’s Day.

 


 

If you don’t remember anything else from this post, remember this: be authentic with your Facebook page and your posts. When your followers can get a sense of your community culture and vibe just from your Facebook page, you’ll see more success and engagement. 

 

If you don’t have a social media strategy. aren’t sure where to start, or need an agency to guide you, we’d love to help you!