LeadingAge 2016 and the Digital Landscape
Our thoughts on improving senior living and occupancy marketing.
To better serve our senior living client partners, we attend industry events to learn more about their challenges and opportunities. The LeadingAge Annual Meeting and EXPO brings care providers and vendors together to better understand the needs of senior living customers and how we can design an ideal online experience for the senior, adult child influencer, caregiver and other individuals using the internet to gather information.
By getting face time with our clients and partners, our business development and client services teams gain a better perspective with every conference we attend, and LeadingAge 2016 was no different. Throughout four days of enlightening conversation, here are our top three takeaways on how we can work to improve the senior living and occupancy marketing landscape, thus elevating our client partners to advance in digital marketing maturity.
1. The Senior Living Industry Is Increasingly Competitive – Digital Innovation Is Crucial
Baby boomers, adult child influencers and independent seniors face more health care choices now than ever before, in addition to being armed with more information to help them through their journeys. How does one choose between 55+ communities, retirement communities, life plan communities (CCRCs) and more? Senior living care brands must invest in digital marketing initiatives that will speak to users at specific points across their research journeys. Those gathering information on financial options may be at a different point in their journeys than those inquiring about community amenities. Knowing that different users will want different information, this will require spending time and resources on website design, collateral development and social media programs that connect personally with potential residents and their loved ones. Content, from blog posts and downloads to campaigns and website copy, needs to be strategic, informative and meaningful.
2. Know the Why Before You Buy (A Digital Marketing Program)
Going beyond due diligence, it’s imperative for senior living brands to understand the “why” behind any new initiative or program. Activities need to be directly correlated to results, decisions need to be supported by an abundance of data and tactics should be attributed to an increased return on investment (ROI).
Traditional media is still an important component in attracting and retaining residents, but marketing efforts should be shifting to digital for senior living and senior care organizations. Senior living brands need to work with digital strategists and account managers who can demonstrate a proven track record of success.
3. Shift Your Perspective, Not Your Core Responsibilities
I’ve often heard senior living brands say they do not have the in-house capabilities to support a robust digital marketing solution and program. The key isn’t to ask the Director of IT or Marketing to absorb and manage digital marketing strategy, but to invest in a partner that can help your teams understand the complexities of online marketing for senior living while leveraging its unique opportunities. From search engine optimization to pay per click campaigns and conversion optimization, understanding the basics of digital marketing will provide senior living professionals with the ability to ask better questions, make well-informed decisions and perhaps most importantly, allow them to create better lives for seniors while continuing to improve occupancy rates.
LeadingAge was a great learning experience for us, and we’d like to return the favor. Contact us to schedule a brief overview of the basics of digital marketing specific to the senior living industry. We are experts, after all.