That’s right. This month, we’re bringing you the 100 Best Senior Living Marketing Tips as determined by us. Now we think we have some insight into this and have developed a pretty good list, but by no means do we actually think we have the definitive list, nor have them in the only order that makes sense. But we like a challenge, so we put ourselves to the test. In truth, it was a bit harder than we had imagined. Not so much in finding 100 to list, but in finding 100 that were both distinct and substantial enough to make a difference in the success of a community’s marketing efforts.
So, for the next five consecutive posts, we’ll be counting down from 100 to 1. Enjoy!
100. Read the GlynnDevins blog, Insights.
99. Design services for model residences. Ask a local designer to provide design services in exchange for promoting their services within the model.
98. Submit upcoming events to the media and online media. Pursue any opportunity to get exposure.
97. Represent all members of your audience in marketing materials. For example, don’t show photos of only couples or just women; show singles, men and families, too. And don’t forget about minority representation.
96. It’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate. When in doubt, check in with leads. They’ll tell you when enough is enough.
95. Use information-based events to engage the audience. For example, challenge leads and prospects to set fitness and health goals at a Healthy Aging event. Inspire them to keep their minds fit at a Brain Fitness event. Help them learn about the reality of the local real estate market, downsizing or the latest in digital technology.
94. Evaluate social media tools for your community. The future impact of social media on senior living community marketing isn’t known, but the speed with which it has gained widespread acceptance suggests it will have a role and does currently with some select prospects. Begin the discussion about how it fits with your culture and style.
93. Don’t blame the economy. Sure, it has added to the list of objections, but they’re still just objections. The core benefits and quality of life offered by a senior living community is as valuable now as it has ever been. Good salespeople and good communities continue to be successful.
92. Vary your sales approach based on discovery. Different people make decisions in different ways. Some are motivated by the numbers (cost of health care, tax benefits of Life Care, estate protection), while others will base their choice to move on less tangible things (style of apartment, social activities, maintenance-free living, dining services, etc.). It’s important to remember that there are wide-ranging personalities out there, so make sure you reach them all by having a varied approach.
91. Keep in mind that the best time to ask for a referral is right after someone moves in or makes a deposit.
90. Event success is influenced by more than weather. You can’t control weather once you’ve planned an event, but you can check to make sure your community’s event or promotion doesn’t compete with a major sporting or city event before you schedule it.
89. Plan for event follow-up. Event marketing begins with the event, but it doesn’t end there. Make sure you have accounted for staff time to be sure all leads who attended can be contacted in a timely manner to qualify them and move them toward a one-on-one appointment.
88. Choose the date and time of your event carefully. Look for response patterns, if possible, or poll your current residents and/or family members to determine the best opportunity for attendance. If you’re unsure, give people more than one option.
87. Help everyone connected with your community create referrals. Create referral packets that can be distributed to your board of directors, executive team, associates, residents and family members to increase the number of referral leads your community gets.
86. Know the stories of your residents. Keep your eyes and ears open. Telling resident stories is a great way to get media coverage for the community.
85. Clean up your database. While you’re on the phone with leads, update your database by getting new addresses and phone numbers.
84. Take photos of everything. Document marketing events, social events, speakers and special visitors. Then post them online or use them for newsletters, internal communications, news releases or media requests.
83. Take a cue from hospitals with senior membership groups. Hospitals encourage the greater community to take exercise classes, attend lectures, etc., to build familiarity and top-of-mind awareness – which in turn means the hospital will be the choice when health care needs arise. Establish a club with benefits that bring prospective residents to your community on a regular basis. Make the wellness center available to them if possible, and community dining venues, on-site lectures, entertainment events, etc.
82. Add an online RSVP option for events. Phone calls are great, but people often like the convenience of completing a form while they’re on your website. Use both an automated message to acknowledge receipt of the RSVP and request a phone number on the form to confirm their reservation or change of plans.
81. Let leads and prospects know friends are welcome at events. It’s always implied, but call it out in invitations and follow-up calls.