How to Avoid Costly Mistakes in Senior Living Marketing

marketing mistakes

Is your website delivering more qualified leads than you know what to do with? No? Here are four common mistakes in senior living marketing, and how to avoid them.

1. Not marketing enough

One of the biggest mistakes senior living providers make, especially smaller companies and communities, is not marketing enough, and instead relying on prospects to come to them, for example, through referrals. Professional and personal referrals have a 12% move-in conversion rate, which is excellent, but you’d still need a lot of referrals to fill your units.

Providers that don’t market enough typically view marketing as an expense, rather than as an investment. But they’re wrong. As entrepreneur Tom Panaggio writes in Small Biz Daily, when you spend money on marketing, you expect a return. Thus, it’s an investment. When you think about marketing as an investment with an expected ROI, you will be willing to put more money into it, which will allow you to market more effectively.

Don’t be scared by the price tag of a marketing campaign. Think instead about impact of gaining even a single new resident.

2. Not tailoring messages for your target audience

Even though you would like to spread your marketing messages far and wide, they need to appeal to individuals.

Senior living providers have two main audiences: the seniors themselves and their adult children, who are often involved in the decision-making process. The trick is that these two audiences aren’t always looking for the same information. The results of a 2012 study showed that prospective residents and their adult children often have different perspectives, especially about the level of care required.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to appeal to two different audiences with the same message. Instead, create marketing materials -- including brochures, content, and emails -- tailored to each segment of your audience.

For even better results, extend this customization to your tours as well. Senior housing expert Diane Masson identifies “not doing enough ‘discovery’ to tailor a tour to a senior’s lifestyle” as one of the three major mistakes senior living salespeople make. Remember, you aren’t just selling a room or an apartment, you are selling a home.

3. Not leading prospects down the sales funnel

The sales funnel has changed, or, more accurately, much of it has disappeared. Studies show that anywhere between 57% and 90% of the traditional sales funnel has effectively been obliterated by online research. This is just as true for senior living as anywhere else -- a Google study from October 2014 found that about 75% of Baby Boomers use search engines to research senior living.

What’s replacing the sales funnel is content. Now, instead of your sales team moving prospects down the sales funnel, it’s the content on your website, on social media, even on online referral and review sites. If you don’t have a content strategy to nurture prospects toward contacting your community, then your marketing isn’t doing its job.

4. Not capturing and following up on your leads

Let’s suppose you do have a website that is working to attract prospects and strong content that’s leading them down the sales funnel. Do you have a process, such as a CRM, to capture and follow up on those leads?

Putting a submission form on your website is a great start, but is that lead followed up within the recommended two-hour window? Is someone there to answer the phone, even after hours and on weekends? Does anyone monitor your Facebook page? Leads can come in at any time and from a variety of channels, and you need to take all of them seriously.

To learn how to close more leads using modern digital marketing techniques, check out our webinar.

Watch Our Senior Living Sales and Marketing  Best Practices Webinar

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