According to the 2017 Census.gov estimate, there were about 47 million senior citizens living in the United States. However, that number is about to double – the Population Reference Bureau estimates that there will be nearly 100 million Americans over the age of 65 by as soon as 2060.
Based on all of that, it’s important to note that digital marketing may very well represent one of the biggest assets you have in terms of how to generate leads for senior living facilities. But how do you market senior living to an audience that might not be as digitally savvy as their younger counterparts? Read on to find out.
PPC for Assisted Living Marketing Campaigns
Also referred to as pay-per-click, PPC gives you a tremendous amount of freedom in terms of how you reach new prospects across the Internet.
Ads in search engine results allow you to target people who have an immediate need and buying intent. Structure campaigns so they are targeted by the geographic area around each facility. Through this, you should be driving traffic to the closest facilities page on your website. Highly relevant ads and landing pages lower your cost per click, drive down your cost per move in.
When creating these search engine ads, you should use the location extension and enable Search Partners so your ads show up in the map pack and your search ads list your address. When managing multiple locations, we recommend running one campaign per location. Retargeting will allow your ads to “follow” someone around the Internet when they leave your website with image display ads. You should also tailor the creative to a past website visitor by pushing an exclusive offer. To be cost-conscious, don’t show ads to people who filled out a contact form.
To achieve the goal of the lowest cost per move in, you should list a ‘starting from’ price in your ad copy so you can ‘pre-qualify’ your clicks. This will avoid spending money on people who can’t afford your facility.
Another one of the best senior living marketing ideas has to do with content creation. If you are overseeing more than one facility, you should create a unique page for each property under your management and create as much community-specific content as possible.
When writing this content, it is important to know your target audience. For senior living, you will be writing blogs for potential residents and the children of those residents. The content should focus on topics that they will be searching online and provide value so it will rank in Google, like healthy living and wellness in older age. Additionally, blogs that feature longtime residents and the nurses or caretakers can be shared on social media platforms. This will generate a positive brand image and attract more residents or children looking for a community for their parents. Other blog topics that rank high on Google are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) or Should Ask Questions (SAQ), as the copy will include the keywords that people are typically searching for. Prior to writing the blog, you should do keyword research and organically incorporate them into your copy. The Google algorithm can detect when the keywords are not organically used or overcrowded and rank your post lower. We recommend blog posts to be around 600 words to prevent this overcrowding of keywords.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is all about maximizing the visibility of your senior living community as much as possible.
Not only should you optimize your website for all relevant keywords (like “senior living in [location]”), but you should do the same for Google Maps and Google My Business, too. Google Maps is crucial for marketing senior living. You should be sure that the NAP (name, address and phone number) is consistent across all platforms and the GMB listing is fully filled out for all locations. Posting on GMB every week and responding to all questions and reviews is another aspect you should be consistent with.
Make sure all contact info and relevant points of interest are updated across all channels to help increase your ranking, which will in turn increase your traffic. If you are managing multiple locations or branches, you should create a unique page for each location. This will increase your ranking for desired keywords. It also helps prospective residents get a better understanding of which location suits their needs best.
When it comes to the website, it should have a substantial amount of content, like the blogs mentioned above, which will also aid in the process of building links. The blogs should link back to other relevant pages on your website. Additionally, building out pages that showcase the team members and history of the facility can increase your rank and impress potential residents visiting your website. You should be submitting your site to relevant and local directories.
Another aspect to keep in mind is load speed and mobile responsiveness. If your website takes too long to load completely, it will hurt your rankings and people will quickly click off. You also want to use secure https URLs.
According to one recent study, about 62% of all seniors over the age of 65-years-old are currently active on Facebook.
Not only that, but about 72% of people between the ages of 50 and 64 are also on the site – meaning that it isn’t just a great way to reach seniors looking for a new home, but it’s a perfect chance to make an impact with their children who are helping them make the decision as well.
Regardless, focus on building a social media presence on sites like Facebook that helps your prospects as much as possible. You should create a Facebook page for each location that you manage. Also, answer the important questions they have in great detail and make sure you come off like you genuinely want to help them make one of the most important decisions of their lives.
Before building a content calendar, learn who your audience is. If it is a mixture of potential residents and their children looking for a new assisted living community, you should create posts that interest both groups. Each location you manage should have an individual Facebook and Google My Business page and include tailored content that targets your specific audience.
Use relevant images in all posts that you create and make sure you’re measuring all key engagement metrics (like click-throughs that take someone to your website) so you can immediately see what types of content work and, more importantly, what types don’t.
For social media content, you should be including not only vibrant photos from that particular location but also posts outlining the types of events that residents are enjoying, fun games and other assets of that nature. For most places, posting once to twice a week if enough to keep your audience engaged but not overwhelm them. Whenever you have a new blog or video published on your website, you should be sharing it on Facebook and Google My Business page. On your website, you can integrate Facebook messenger as a live chat.
When it comes to social media advertising, Facebook is the dominant network for residents but also consider Instagram for the children of residents who may be looking for options for their parents. Social media ads are a great opportunity to show a video of the facilities. Be sure to target past website visitors who did not fill out a contact form.
Utilize Facebook and Instagram’s ability to embed a contact form within the social media feed. This is a seamless experience for a potential future resident to reach out to you to schedule a tour.
“Reputation management” refers to monitoring your online reviews. The goal is to get as many positive reviews as possible but you should also be responding to negative comments and fixing any problem somebody might have had.
This type of “social proof” is always important, as your prospects tend to trust the actual experiences of real people more than they do traditional advertising.
Try to encourage your existing, satisfied residents and their family members to write reviews and testimonials and showcase them in as many places as possible. Do this not only on Google Maps (where your “Google My Business” page will play an important role) but also on Facebook and on your own website, too.
Video Production and Advertising
People don’t just want to know about a particular community in a general, bird’s eye view sense. They want to see where they’re going to potentially be living and get a sense of what their day-to-day experiences will really be like.
By far, quality video production is one of the best opportunities you have to do precisely that. It’s also a technique that can produce a potentially endless source of content, even after you show off the community itself.
You can do individual videos spotlighting certain residences and telling their stories, for example, to give prospects something emotional to latch onto. You could create videos involving a series of health and wellness tips. These videos live on the blog page, embedded into the content mentioned above.
Remember that not only do half of all marketing professionals name video as the type of content with the best return on investment, but marketers who lean heavily on video tend to grow revenue at a rate of 49% faster than those who don’t.
When it comes to email marketing for senior living communities, understand that you’re really going after two targets. Obviously, for independent living facilities, you want to target the senior in question. But for assisted living, you’ll also want to target the children of those potential future residents.
Therefore, create two separate email lists – each targeting its own demographic – and create content that is specific and optimized for each one.
If you are lacking in the number of contacts that you have you can rent targeted email data for residents and parents of residents. From there, you can send targeted email newsletters. You should be using your website and social media to collect additional emails from people interested in the content you are producing. Email blasts can drive a lot of website traffic and this traffic then gets remarketing on Google and Facebook, creating a marketing loop.
This will help make sure you’re reaching not only a specific type of person, but that you’re also answering questions and addressing concerns based on the types of things they’re actually thinking about within the context of senior living. A senior has different questions than their children, so they’ll need to be answered differently, too.
For the best results in terms of senior living advertising campaigns, organizational leaders should focus on understanding key concepts like:
- Content marketing
- Reputation management
- Video production and advertising
- Email marketing
If you’d like to find out more information about how to market your senior living facility in the most effective and intimate way possible, or if you just have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with a passionate team of experts in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Ballantine today.
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!