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Despite national senior living occupancy rates falling to near-record lows (87.8%) at the beginning of 2019, the senior living industry is poised to become more competitive than ever as Baby Boomers age into the market.
Senior care providers need the right marketing strategies and tools to capture this aging market and attract new residents. With 60% of Baby Boomers using the internet to make purchases, it’s safe to say that embracing a digital marketing strategy for your senior living business is a great way to reach them.
In this article, we’re going to share senior living marketing tips that you can use to boost occupancy.
The senior living and senior care market is poised to grow dramatically. In the United States alone, the home care market is expected to grow to $225 billion by 2024 (Business Insider). Plus, the number of people in the United States living in senior care communities by 2030 is estimated at 2 million (American Senior Communities).
Despite this growth, senior living and senior care marketing budgets are stagnating. About 60% of senior living marketers in 2018 saw their budgets stay the same or decrease. This means that senior living and senior care marketers are increasingly being asked to do more with less marketing dollars at their disposal (LinkMedia 360).
Shopping for senior living and senior care largely begins online with 75% of senior living consumers researching their options through internet search engines (Google). Since 83% of these consumers don’t have a specific provider in mind while searching, this creates an excellent opportunity for your senior living facility to draw them in (LSA).
Senior living marketing starts with an informative and well-optimized website. Your site is the focal point for your digital marketing efforts, so make sure that it’s solid. You want your website to act as a menu of services that your senior living facility offers and reflect the culture of your community.
Start by using a modern and simple design that’s mobile-friendly.
If you don’t know what that means, hire a web designer to design your site for you. Your website is an important tool, so if you have to spend a little of your marketing dollars to make it beautiful and easy to use, do it.
As a senior living community, you’re probably going to want to target two distinct audiences:
Seniors who will be living in your community
Their adult children who are helping them look
To target both markets effectively, we recommend building your main site for the seniors who will be living there and including a callout on your homepage for the adult children to click for information about your community that will help them assist their parents in making a decision.
Here’s a great example of a senior living community website from GenCare Lifestyle:
A quick scroll through the page will show you several design features that you’ll want to use for your own site:
Modern design that’s mobile-friendly
Large, easy to read fonts
Images that show life in the community
Easy-to-fill contact forms
Your site is often the first impression people get of your business. For senior living marketing, it’s imperative that you inspire trust.
Many of the people seeking senior living communities will start their search online. While recommendations and word-of-mouth marketing are great, at some point, your target market is going to take their search online.
To make sure that your senior living community is getting in front of the right people, you need to use senior living marketing tactics that will land your site on the first page of search engine results, preferably in the top five spots.
Getting your senior living site found online will involve keyword research to find the terms you want to target (and that you want potential customers to associate with you). You can start with local SEO terms like “senior community [city]” and then expand your keyword targeting to include the services and amenities your community offers.
One of the fastest ways to get your site to show up at the top of the search engine results is by using PPC advertising.
Next, you can set up and optimize your Google My Business page. This is a free service that Google provides and the information feeds through to Google Maps. Having a Google My Business page can make a huge difference in where your site appears.
Finally, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) to drive organic traffic to your site. SEO takes longer to take hold, so many marketers use SEO in combination with PPC advertising. While PPC advertising will bring in traffic fast, SEO will bring in more traffic over time.
To optimize your site for search, you’ll include your target keywords throughout your site and use a blog (see tip #3) to expand on those keywords and reach a broader pool of potential community members.
Creating educational and informative content is so important to getting your site ranked well on search engines. Plus, you’re adding value for your potential residents who want information that will help them make decisions.
If you’re not sure what to write about, take a look at your customer journey map. Pick a stage and consider what readers in that stage want to know about senior living and your community. Here are a few areas to explore to find blog topics for your senior living community blog:
Community Member Highlights:
Write about your residents (or let your residents write their own posts). This is a great way for potential customers to get a really good idea of who makes up your senior living community and what life is like.
Have a team member who regularly goes above and beyond or who your residents just love? Write about them and share why you value them, how they fit into the culture of your community, and how they represent exactly the kind of service residents can expect.
What’s going on around your community? Blog about the fun events in your city, all the best places to eat, and the top tourist attractions that make living in your community the best decision.
What’s going on in your senior living community? Your blog is the perfect place to talk about events and special occasions that are happening just for your residents. And don’t forget to post about the event again afterward!
To get more backlinks to your site, you should consider reaching out to industry-related sites and publications to either link to your content or for guest blogging opportunities.
Link building is a great way to boost your site’s authority and increase your rankings. And that means more site traffic!
Many senior living communities don’t have a presence on social media because they don’t think there’s any value to it.
There’s a really good chance that your target audience uses social media. And, if your audience is there, senior living marketing rules dictate that you should be there, too.
Before you go out and join every social media platform you can find, you’ll want to do some research about the demographics represented on each platform. For example, Facebook is a good bet for senior living marketing because a majority of Baby Boomers use the platform to stay connected with friends and family.
TikTok? Maybe not. At least not for the next forty years or so.
Also, keep in mind that you’re not just targeting potential community members, but the adult children of those potential community members. And that demographic is active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
At a minimum, you should set up a Facebook page for your senior living community and use it as an information hub that directs traffic back to your website. You can share community news, photos, blog posts, videos, and content from sources other than your site that potential customers would find helpful.
Don’t just “set it and forget it,” either. Social media is social, after all. You want to be a lively presence on the site, showing off your senior living community to the fullest.
Here’s an example of how to use Facebook to show off what’s happening in your senior living community:
These types of posts really give you a feel for the culture of this vibrant community.
Social media can also give potential customers an easy way to contact you. When you first land on GenCare Lifestyle’s Facebook page, you’re greeted with a message popup so you can get answers to your questions:
And, if you’re running ads, social media platforms offer robust targeting tools you can use to get your message in front of exactly the right people.
Videos are a powerful senior living marketing tactic. You can use them to show potential customers what life is like in your senior living community as well as creating video testimonials that you can share on social media and your website.
Videos tell stories in a way that text and static images just can’t.
In just a couple of minutes of video, you can communicate the true value of living in your community, the amenities residents can expect, how the community interacts, and a host of other things that are sure to charm prospective community members.
Don’t know what your videos should be about? Here are some great ideas:
Resident or employee spotlights
Q&A with your care director, head nurse, and other staff
Facebook Live events with your engagement director
Virtual tour of your community
Welcome video for new residents and their families
Videos about frequently asked questions, specific care options, and more
Your community events!
Senior Living Communities even did a carpool karaoke series of videos that are definitely unforgettable:
6. Leverage Reviews and Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials go a long way towards convincing potential customers to buy and help you maintain a positive online reputation. 92% of consumers look at online reviews before making a purchase and 85% trust online reviews and testimonials as much as they do recommendations from friends and family.
Because of the impact reviews can have on your senior living business, you should try to get as many online reviews as possible. Google and Facebook are great places to start.
People seek out reviews because they want to learn more about your senior living community from people who experienced it—they don’t want a sales pitch. In fact, senior living communities with 15 or more reviews convert five times more leads than those with just a couple of reviews (Caring.com).
Plus, communities with more reviews get seven times more tours and eight times more move-ins than communities with fewer reviews.
That’s a huge difference.
But getting the reviews isn’t the end of your work. You also need to respond to the reviews. Yes, all of them.
Why? You’re not just responding to the original reviewer, you’re also showing everybody else who’s reading your reviews that you care enough to take the time to respond, either thanking someone for a positive review or working to resolve an issue brought to light in a negative review.
Consumers and search engines alike place a high value on what other people are saying about your senior living community.
If you don’t have many reviews yet, all is not lost. You can reach out to current residents and their families to ask for reviews.
Make it very easy for them to leave reviews for your community by linking directly to the sites you’d like reviews to be added.
Also, you can leverage the power of video marketing by approaching residents and families for video testimonials. These make an excellent addition to your website and can be used to generate interest on social media, too.
Senior living marketing is challenging. There’s a lot of competition for residents since more and more senior living communities and facilities are popping up all over.
How can you set your senior living community apart from your competitors? The best way is to use the senior living marketing tips we’ve shared right here to optimize your community’s online presence.
Retirees and their children turn to search engines when looking for assisted living and senior living opportunities. The senior living SEO strategies we use at Digital Marketing Agency can help you reach them.
As you’ve seen, audiences change over time due to generational and financial factors in the market, and this changes search intent. To reduce the impact of audience changes on your senior living community, Digital Marketing Agency performs continuing research on audiences.
Contact us today for a free quote and see how we can take your senior living marketing to the next level and help you boost occupancy!
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