In senior living marketing and sales, we all know the various stages consumers go through in a decision-making process that can last from several months to several years. A marketing automation program can act as a digital thermometer, allowing you to monitor the temperature of leads and letting you know the right time to connect – or reconnect – to move them forward in the sales process.
Support Your Marketing Investment
A community’s leads represent a significant marketing investment. A well-designed and managed marketing automation program continually cares for this investment in a way that the sales team would never have capacity to do. Salespeople are best when working one-on-one with leads to generate move-ins. And we know it takes time to build those relationships and develop trust that leads to a yes. Unfortunately, what little time is left is given to cool leads, even though cool leads can represent 80 percent of a community’s lead base.
All communities are seeing significant percentages of leads coming from online sources. Plus, the continued and important investment in building a lead database is warranting new CRM strategies and tactics. We’re also seeing the continued value of delivering targeted content. No one wants junk mail, email spam, random texts and other communications they don’t care about.
Targeting Your Audience
However, like everyone, our audience does want targeted, relevant information, especially if it’s timely – for instance, sending a lead information about a special offer on a specific floor plan a few days after they viewed that very floor plan on the website. Or sending an email with the calendar of community events after someone’s viewed your website’s Lifestyle page. When that comes from your community, it makes you look like an expert, gives a favorable impression and boosts your influence.
CRM strategies and technology allow for tailored, customized messages. Don’t let the “automation” word stump you when talking about these programs – that just applies to the way of connecting with a lead, not the message delivered.
When it comes to the senior living industry, this is often out of the comfort zone for some and presents a challenge to implementing a successful marketing automation program. You have to be committed to a solid technology orientation and be prepared to make investments in your lead management system, website, email marketing program … as well as evolving your sales process to be able to respond in a timely and relevant matter when the system identifies an engaged/warming lead.
Start with Lead Nurturing
Successful marketing automation rollouts begin with well-designed base programs and then add complexity based on results and learnings. For example, start with a lead nurturing program for new independent living leads, another for leads who’ve been in the database for a while, and a third quick-hit cycle for health services leads.
Over time, higher-quality leads will be delivered to the sales team, and additional communications can be implemented to address other phases of the sales cycle. These types of programs will be the standard within 5 years – 10 at the outside. As current seniors and younger generations continue to adopt and increase their use of digital technologies, those who are forward-thinking now will get a leg up on the competition.
Learn more about marketing automation and why it is important to your marketing strategy here.