Benefits to Adopting Voice Activated Search in Senior Living

It may be hard to imagine, (and if you’ve read about voice search you’ve seen the statistic) but by 2020, 50% of all searches we perform will be via voice activated search with a smart device. Is your senior living marketing team excited by this revelation? Right now, your senior living organization may not perceive voice search as a priority, however it will soon become one. What can we do?

In this post your community will learn:

  • 2 Benefits your senior living organization will receive by optimizing for voice search in 2018 instead of waiting until the 2020 voice search revolution
  • 3 Tactics your senior living community can take when optimizing for voice search

The Voice Activated Search Revolution is Coming – Prepare for it Now!

According to an analysis by eMarketer in May 2017, smart speaker and voice assistant adoption rates among Baby Boomers are the lowest when comparing to age cohorts. Though that’s the case, adoption rates are still growing year-over-year. Unsurprisingly, the adoption rates of Millennials and Gen X are higher, with Millennial adoption rates representing the early adopters of voice activated search.

Despite the comparatively low adoption rate among Baby Boomers, consider this: Voice search is growing, and with that growth, follows innovation, intuitiveness, and sophistication as A.I. and machine learning are increasingly leveraged. By 2019, the voice recognition market is projected to become a $601 million industry.

Convinced yet? Instead of fighting against the current, think of the creative ways voice activated search could be leveraged to make the lives of your residents better & solve problems, while also keeping your sights focused on maximizing occupancy and profitability.

To add proof to that pudding in terms of practicality, let’s cover the benefits your senior living community can expect to receive by optimizing for voice search before adoption peaks.

Benefit #1: Your ACI’s Already Use Digital Assistants & Voice Search

Connecting with your targeted ACI is crucial to meeting occupancy goals. How do we naturally build trust with them without the hard sell? You’re familiar with the phrase/proverb of attracting more flies with honey than vinegar, right?

Well, it may be easier to attract and retain the interest of the ACI by having your senior living community show up first when that individual searches living options for their parents using their own voice.

These age cohorts started becoming comfortable with voice activated search in 2011, with the advent of Siri. Though, if you recall Siri’s first incarnation, it lacked the sophistication of today’s smart speakers and voice assistants. At times, Siri would misinterpret a voice command or question, leading to a comical response. That initial experiment in innovation helped pave the way for today’s rapidly-growing consumer market.

In seven years, Millennial and Gen X ACI’s are becoming increasingly hands-free, further demonstrating the importance of having your senior living community be present when these searches are conducted. These cohorts are using voice search and digital assistants to accomplish the following:

  • Schedule appointments
  • Order food
  • Control household appliances
  • Call contacts

…and yes, purchase products. In a survey conducted by NPR and Edison Research, 22% of smart speaker owners have used voice commands to purchase a new product not purchased before.

In the use case we’re vying for, we’re talking senior housing, not an Ecommerce transaction. And as you could infer, an ACI or resident will likely ascribe to a different process when deciding on a senior living community than they would when getting a pizza delivered or ordering a set of dress clothes. Even with that in mind, voice activated search still provides ample benefits to the communities that optimize for it now.

Benefit #2: Optimizing for Voice Search Creates Lucrative Ranking Opportunities

Ok Google, how would we go about attempting to rank with voice search results?

If your senior living community is looking for a strategic opportunity to rank where your competition isn’t, then look to voice activated search. In the evolving, omni channel world we live in, multiple devices are becoming the norm. An evolution of that norm is ease of use & functionality, and voice search lends itself to the crowd looking to create efficiencies where they can. In this case, the efficiencies are created with their voice.

Like SEO, wanting your voice activated search term to rank above the senior living community across town requires effort, understanding, and tactical execution. That said, there are tactics your senior living marketing team can perform to unlock the benefits of voice activated search.

Backlinko has identified some telling findings after analyzing the results of over 10,000 Google Home search results. Without treading over that ground, we have additional tips when looking to earn a spot in prime real estate reserved for voice search results.

1.) Think & Focus on Mobile – We began with desktops and transitioned to searching primarily on our phones. Earlier this year, in Google’s mobile-first indexing Webmaster blog post addressed that evolution on a massive scale. So, to take advantage of today’s voice activated search ranking opportunity, focus on providing useful queries for mobile searches utilizing hands-free, voice commands. The future of search may very well be without a screen, but to take advantage of today, focus on your prospects using voice commands on their phones.

2.) Focus on Capturing Local SEO Search Intent – With the majority of ACI’s using mobile and an increasing number of digitally savvy seniors adopting smart phones, your senior living community will need to combine mobile best practice with today’s voice activated search trends. Mobile phones and local search intent are the peanut butter & jelly of couplings. The local, mobile search query also correlates to voice activated search frequency. BrightLocal conducted a study on voice search and discovered that 46% of voice search users look for a local business on a daily business.

3.) Keep Your Keywords & Phrasing Natural – To have your voice search optimizations rank, there’s one additional component we recommend implementing. The voice search queries need to match the way actual humans speak. As machines learn to adopt semantic language, this will become increasingly commonplace. Your team first needs to understand the type of search queries that lend themselves to voice activated search, before optimizing for them. “The best senior living community near me” could very well be one of the phrases to start. The more natural the phrasing, the better the chances are that term will rank.

If your senior living community implements the tactics above, will increase the probability & frequency of appearing in SERP results when prospective residents or ACI’s are using voice search. And, if your community begins optimizing for voice search before your competitors, will receive additional phone calls and interactions that your competition isn’t receiving.

Those benefits come with a low-cost barrier of entry, which should motivate your team to capitalize on the potential of voice search before adoption is widespread, far reaching, and hypercompetitive in all business sectors.

Speak Now or Forever be Behind the Voice Search Bandwagon

In addition to the strategic, profitable opportunities optimizing for voice search provides communities, there are also benefits to the wellbeing of your prospective residents. AARP outlines the safety, mobility, and companionship a voice assistant or smart device could provide. Again, the benefits from adopting voice search and smart devices are wide-ranging.

That said, if your senior living community isn’t convinced and needs additional ideas when optimizing for voice search, contact our team. We’ll be vocal and frequent with our recommendations. Use your voice and surpass your occupancy goals before 2020 hits!

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