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Part V: NEW 100 Best Senior Living Marketing Tips

Today we bring you the last installment of our New 100 Best Senior Living Marketing Tips with numbers 20-1.

Feel free to look back at numbers 100-81, 80-61, 60-41 and 40-21.

We really hope you’ve enjoyed this series. Please help us add to the list if you have more tips for senior living marketing.

20.  Evaluate 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.

19. Be sure your website is responsive to mobile platforms. Smartphones and tablets have changed the way websites are accessed. More and more visits to senior living sites are coming from these devices. Be sure your website displays in a mobile environment, or create a dedicated mobile site to meet this need.

18.  Communicate your uniqueness. The core benefits of a senior living community are similar, but individual communities aren’t. Identify what differentiates you and clearly communicate those defining points. For example, if you have organic food items on your menu or have an association with a local college ─ 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, more expensive 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. And share the marketing plan with department heads to get input on collaborative activities.

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, send little notes, email or text them 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. And don’t forget to evaluate your website experience, because this is often the very first contact a future resident has with your community.

9.  Consistently market your community, no matter what your occupancy level. 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.  Treat your website as an extension of your community. Second to referrals, community websites are by far the most cost-effective lead generator out there. What impression does it make? Does it provide a high level of customer service? Does it elicit the same feeling one would get if they walked into your community? Your website should be a hub for all marketing activity and a gateway to your community.

6.  Leads have monetary value; treat them as such. Communicate this to all staff, 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.  Be an advocate, not a salesperson. The best salespeople don’t sell, they serve their clients. A senior living community isn’t the right choice for everyone who shows interest. Put the prospect’s needs first and give them the best information you can about your community, as well as other options they may have.

2. Become a master of discovery. The more you know, the easier it is to position your community as the right solution. Have different questions for different types of individuals, and create an environment, such as a model apartment, that helps put people at ease. Find your own style rather than “learn” a process. If you aren’t effective at discovery, you won’t be effective.

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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