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100 Best Senior Living Marketing Tips #20-#1

Today we’re wrapping up our countdown of the 100 Best Senior Living Marketing Tips…Ever. We hope you’ve enjoyed our insights, and look forward to receiving yours. In case you missed our previous tips, you can see them here: Tips 21-40, 41-60, 61-80 and 81-100. Enjoy!

20.  Be open to new ideas. Sometimes new tactics can stir up the marketplace in a positive way. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and create some buzz!

19.  Track your marketing results. Take time to evaluate the cost per lead for your entire program, and for each specific event and tactic, so you can better plan for future marketing efforts. Know what works, and review and re-evaluate at least annually.

18.  Communicate your uniqueness. The core benefits of a senior living community are similar, but individual communities are not. Identify what differentiates you and clearly communicate those defining points. For example, if you have organic food items on your menu or if you offer distinctive programming (such as Tai Chi or language classes) ─ don’t forget to mention it. That’s what makes your community unique!

17.  Planning your inquiry generation is essential. Hope isn’t a plan. Know what you plan to do to get new leads and work your current lead base. Efficiently using your available budget comes from planning all your marketing activity together. Knowing if you’re on track comes from having a plan to measure against. Making it up as you go along is always more work and rarely produces better results.

16.  Set sales goals. How do you know if you’re successful if you don’t set goals? How much investment is needed? As a community, “we want to be full” isn’t a realistic goal.  Most of us work better when we know what we’re trying to achieve. Be specific and realistic in setting goals, and track your progress.

15.  Make sure marketing doesn’t stop at the marketing/sales director’s door. Inspire everyone in the community to be part of marketing. Include them in celebrations when sales goals are met. Recognize associates who go above and beyond to assist the marketing team.

14.  Establish personal relationships with your leads. Get to know as much as you can about them ─ birthdays, anniversaries, pets’ names, favorite foods, etc., and then use that information to reconnect. We all buy from people we like.

13.  Vary your method of contact with leads. Call them, write them, and send little notes to let them know you’re thinking of them. They should hear from you at least every three months.

12.  Work your lead base. Especially the cold ones. We have a tendency to think about new leads, but there are some great leads in your database whom you haven’t connected with in a while. Those people who were “too young” four years ago may be ready to move today.

11.  Have a mini-marketing plan for each warm/hot lead. Personalize your approach based on what is relevant for each one, with the goal being to make/strengthen your connection to them, and their connection to you and the community, with each contact.

10.  First impressions matter. The marketing team is the voice and the face of the entire community. Always remember to pay attention to how people are greeted ─ in person or by phone ─ and put your best foot forward.

9.  Consistently market your community, no matter what your occupancy level is. Seems simple, but it’s surprising how some communities let lead generation fall to the wayside when they’re relatively full and stable. It’s easier to maintain awareness than re-establish it, and often actually less expensive in the long run.   

8.  Referrals are usually the least expensive leads to generate, so actively pursue them. Don’t wait for your residents to come to you. Create ways for them to make referrals, such as having a formal referral program, hosting a “bring a friend” lunch or simply asking to meet the friend who comes every week to visit.

7.  Have a well-managed paid and organic search program for your website. Second to referrals, this is by far the most cost-effective lead generator out there. Individuals are seeking your services every day, but don’t know who you are. Search puts you and your website in front of these individuals.

6.  Leads have monetary value; treat them as such. That goes for everyone, not just marketing staff. Your community invested significant resources – both dollars and time – to create each and every inquiry. Know what it is, and treat each lead in a manner commensurate with an item of that value.

5.  Recognize that your number one competitor is the prospect’s decision not to leave their current house. You lose more sales to no decision than to someone deciding to move to a competitive community. Do you know how to sell as well against the prospect’s house as you do against the competitor across town?

4.  Be benefit-driven. Individuals need to know what’s in it for them. It’s not enough to say “CCRC,” “Life Care” or even “maintenance-free.” Focus on how the features of a senior living community translate to tangible quality-of-life factors for a person ─ the benefits will make the sale.

3.  Work the crowd. Sales don’t happen at events – they happen at appointments. Position staff at each table to encourage appointments. Use pre-set appointment cards.

2.  Listen. Selling is always about showing how your service is a solution to a prospect’s needs. You can’t be effective if you don’t listen and understand a person’s individual needs.

1.  Be passionate about your product. Selling is about relationships, and relationships are about trust. If you believe in what you have to offer, prospects and their families will believe in you.

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