How to Use Content, Email, and Automation in Senior Living Marketing During COVID-19

COVID-19 has forced many senior living communities to shelve their 2020 marketing strategy. Mitigating risks for all stakeholders – employees, residents, families – is now the main priority. How can senior living communities effectively build trust with prospective residents and ACIs during this time of uncertainty? It’s a challenge every community has grappled with in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Ultimately, the tools and technology that providers use to communicate timely updates, educate audiences, reduce fears and instill deeper levels of trust will be the most reliable resource for prospects, regardless of the stage in the resident journey.

Luckily, if your community already has segmented email lists, automation and a content marketing strategy in place, the challenge above is far easier to overcome. That said, major overhauls and adjustments are required to help providers effectively reach, engage and nurture relationships in the wake of COVID-19. Continue reading to learn some tips to help your community leverage content, email, and automation to nurture leads and foster long-lasting trust.

Is Content Relevant and Trustworthy for Prospective Residents and ACIs?

Prospective residents and ACIs need a trusted place to turn to receive answers. Your community’s content can be that trusted resource. By analyzing at your data and the behaviors of prospects, your senior living marketing team will gain insight into which pieces of content are the most relevant to your audience right now. Though, as a cautionary piece of advice, do not let your content marketing strategy be consumed and defined by COVID-19. If your eyes have glossed over from the same redundant slogan of “we’re in this together” that nearly every corporation has adopted in its COVID-19 messaging, you aren’t alone. MindShare’s Consumer Tracking Study has indicated the first signs of consumer burnout related to COVID-19.

While the survey highlights this growing sentiment across the consumer sector, it does not isolate the feelings of prospective residents and ACIs in the senior living industry. So, while creating relevant content and resources to help people navigate the Coronavirus crisis is important, it’s equally important for your community to look to its data to see what’s truly resonating with your audience. Diversifying your content offerings during this time could provide your prospects a slight break from COVID-19 fatigue. Again, let your data and audience engagement with your content via email and automation dictate which topics should be created, and how frequently those topics should be addressed.

Does Your Community Leverage Email to Communicate Updates?

Almost overnight, the needs of prospective residents and ACIs changed due to COVID-19. While your staff has likely adjusted to this new reality, have your prospective residents? Your community can leverage email to engage directly with prospects and ACIs. Timely email communication shouldn’t be an excuse to spam inboxes with daily updates. To avoid the pitfall of having prospective residents and ACIs tune out your emails and unsubscribe, try the following:

  1. Start a newsletter dedicated to COVID-19 updates – A dedicated newsletter published on a consistent cadence (e.g. every Monday at 10:30 a.m.) will help your community keep all prospects aware of updates and changes to your community during COVID-19. Sending one-off emails every time a change occurs becomes tiresome to prospects. Alternatively, a bi-weekly or monthly newsletter with the purpose of communicating updates and inspirational anecdotes can be perceived as helpful and educational. Use this newsletter as an opportunity to spotlight uplifting stories that happen at your community. Additionally, any activities or events your staff created to lift the spirits of residents should be summarized and featured in the newsletter with pictures. These creative decisions will show prospects that during COVID-19, your community is making the mental and physical wellbeing of its residents a priority. Also consider adding testimonials from employees who exhibit passion, compassion, and a commitment to their profession. By using this newsletter format as a “catch all” for these stories and updates, your community will have a compelling – and uplifting – newsletter that earns subscribers and retains the interest of prospective residents.
  2. Use Email to invite people to webinars and online events – Was there a training session that contained helpful insights for prospective residents? Consider including information about it in your dedicated COVID-19 newsletter or create a webinar about the training and invite people to RSVP and attend via email. Online events also have the potential to boost engagement, since digital has replaced face to face interactions. Consider using email as a vehicle to notify prospective residents and ACIs about these events to foster a deeper connection between your community and its audience.

With email, your senior living marketing team has a cost-effective means to engage with a massive audience. When supplemented with relevant pieces of content and powered by automation, email can be an indispensable asset for providers during COVID-19.

Is Automation Adapting to the Changing Journey of Prospective Residents?

Now more than ever, prospective residents and ACIs need relevant information related to safety. Marketing automation allows providers to send targeted, personalized, and customized messages to prospects over time, which fulfills this immense need for information and answers. While this is true, if your automation is currently on autopilot with messaging from 2019, your senior living marketing team is doing itself and prospective residents a disservice.

If your content and messaging haven’t reflected the dynamic, fluid reality we find ourselves in, there’s an opportunity to go back and optimize messaging so it better speaks to the changing concerns of your audience.

Automation is designed to fuel lead nurturing campaigns, naturally adapting to each unique path prospective residents take during their journey. Once your senior living marketing team has reviewed its messaging and workflows and adapted them to fit your audience’s current needs, it will be ready to let automation handle the heavy lifting of nurturing leads.

An automation platform has the capabilities to distribute marketing efforts via email, text message, social media posts, among others. So, adjusting workflows and communication to ensure it is consistent will make it easier for prospects to empathize with your community, making it a trusted advisor and resource during tough times in the process.

Ultimately, automation is built on the behavioral and unique person-level touchpoints. When an individual’s behavior changes, so does the content and messaging that is delivered. If automation is integrated with a CRM, these lead profiles will change based on the behavior, so only the most relevant and helpful pieces of content and communication are sent to that individual. Automation handles this on a 1:1 basis, but because of the numerous integrations that are possible, can also accomplish this task at scale.

When marketing automation is leveraged with content and the right strategy behind it, leads will be reached with the right messaging at the right moment. This gives senior living sales teams more time in the day to meet with families and follow up with the prospects that are likeliest to become a resident move in.

Contact Our Team to Leverage Your Content, Email and Automation

When the right strategy is deployed and executed, email, automation, and content work together harmoniously to nurture leads and foster loyalty and trust with your brand. That said, it can be a challenge to optimize these strategies to empathize with your audience and dedicated personas. If your community is struggling with where to start, we can help. Linkmedia 360’s team of senior living experts are happy to guide your community through the process. Let email, automation and content do the heavy lifting for you, while your sales team prioritizes the leads that require personalized attention.

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