Despite the stereotypes, today’s seniors are far from Luddites.
- Nearly three-quarters of adults over 65 own a mobile phone, and the number of seniors with smartphones increased by 40% from 2014 to 2015.
- More older adults than ever before are texting: 9 out of 10 seniors with smartphones say they text weekly, and average 11 texts per day.
The senior living industry is looking for new ways to respond to a market that is increasingly online and mobile. Adding text messaging into your senior living communication strategy can lead to big wins. Here’s how.
Meet prospects where they are.
Seniors and their adult children research senior living communities on their mobile devices. More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers. And 50% of all mobile searches are conducted to find local results, like your community.
Since texting is the most popular feature on smartphones, adding it to your mobile marketing and sales strategy gives your sales team a powerful new tool. Texting your leads meets them where they are and makes communication that much easier.
Quick follow-up is crucial in any industry -- in fact, conversion rates increase by 391% when a lead receives a response within a minute of contact. In senior living, an industry that requires 8 to 19 touches on average to secure a new resident, establishing rapport rapidly is even more important.
Text messaging is built for speed. Your sales team is 8 times more likely to get a response from a text message than from an email or voicemail. Here’s why:
- Text messages are brief. It doesn’t take much time for a prospective resident to shoot you back a quick text, confirming an appointment time or requesting some more info on your community. And, it’s easy for your sales team and call center staff to tap back a quick reply. This encourages an immediate back and forth.
- Your messages also go right into your lead’s pocket, making it easy for them to respond at their convenience. For seniors with standard cell phones or without data plans, this is likely the most convenient way to communicate with them when they are on the go.
- Text messaging is versatile. It’s often much less disruptive to receive or respond to a quick text message than to take a phone call. Prospective residents can text while they’re spending time with their grandchildren or in the doctor’s waiting room. It’s easier for adult children to find the time to send a quick text during a busy work day than to call or email.
- Text messaging works well with calls. Prospects can text to let a rep know when the best time to call might be, making it an excellent adjunct tool for your bread-and-butter -- sales calls. The more modes of communication you have working together, the more quickly you’ll develop rapport and bring that new resident into your community.
People don’t just respond to text messages. They take action. In fact, strategic use of text messaging in your sales process can boost sales by 328%.
But not just any text will give you these benefits. As with all modes of communication with your leads and prospects, it’s important to use texting not just to provide information but to start conversations.
Today, business text messaging is a two-way affair. Gone are the days when companies mass-blast their leads and customers with texts. With modern texting tools, you can use text to build rapport, to engage your prospects, and to provide value:
- Send a personalized appointment confirmation. For example, a sales team member might text a prospective resident to say, Looking forward to your tour on Thursday at 3 PM (and continuing our chat about Corgis!). Text or call if you have any questions before then!
- Share a link to an article that provides useful information on a challenge a prospect is facing. For example, if an adult child expresses concern about the hassles of moving his mom, you can send this useful article with a brief note. Hi Matthew, I came across this article and thought of you and your mom: http://tinyurl.com/nc73e78. I hope it’s helpful!
- Request a time to chat on the phone. For example, a sales rep might text, Hi Lydia, do you have time for a quick phone call next week? I have some thoughts about insurance coverage that I think will be useful for you.
- Invite a lead to an upcoming event. For example, your sales team leader might send a group text, personalized for each recipient, that says: Hi [FirstName], I wanted to invite you to our upcoming panel talk, Creativity in Your Golden Years. For more information or to reserve your seat, check out our event page at http://tinyurl.com/jtbgm7r. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Text messaging platforms, like TextUs, can easily sync with your existing CRM. This means contacts who come in through text can be automatically tracked, just like email and web touches. You can also get the same data from text as other modes of contact, which gives you insight into your leads and prospects and drives strategy decisions.
Get ahead of your competition.
Texting is a new tool for senior living. Most communities don’t use texting to communicate with their residents and prospective residents -- yet.
This gives you a great opportunity to beat out your competition. One in five early adopters of mobile technologies experiences 30% annual growth. Compare this to slow adopters, who are more likely to experience no growth at all.
By adopting text messaging now, you’ll impress seniors and their adult children with your innovation, and they’ll enjoy the speed, ease, and convenience of texting with your team.
Interested in learning more about senior living texting? Check out news of our recent partnership with texting powerhouse TextUs.