After being thrust into the virtual era during the pandemic, senior living providers are continuing to pivot to digital-first approaches to better engage with leads. As audiences become savvier and more comfortable with technology, Sales and Marketing leaders may question whether offline channels like direct mail have a place in today’s prominently online buyer’s journey.
While some may want to pit offline vs. online, direct mail isn’t at odds with digital. Far from it. The interplay between these two channels surrounds the consumer throughout their buyer’s journey. Data derived from each channel’s performance can be immediately actionable for Sales outreach, and can be used by Marketing to inform the optimization of the holistic omnichannel campaign.
Let’s explore how direct mail provides value and connects providers with their ideal audience to grow occupancy.
Direct mail should support the same goal as your digital efforts – convert inquiries to move-ins. As senior housing leaders embrace digital as the foundation of marketing, they can leverage direct mail to guide leads back online to the website, using a custom landing page URL specific to that direct mail piece. This creates a cohesive campaign that tracks meaningful activity, lead sources, and channel attribution across online and offline channels.
In terms of timing and messaging, teams that integrate direct mail with digital benefit from two distinct advantages in their marketing campaigns.
Agility – For example, if a campaign’s budget is heavily allocated to direct mail, testing that same message with digital channels can determine which channel converts more leads. Depending on the outcome, your team can then quickly shift its budget and strategy in real time to reallocate budget to drive the greatest ROI.
Flexibility – Direct mail enables providers to reach a broad, qualified audience or target a narrow, defined audience with personalized messaging as behaviors change in their buyer’s journey. For example, direct mail can be an effective way to introduce a community’s offerings to top-of-funnel leads during the initial awareness stage. With warmer, middle-of-funnel leads, direct mail can be used to send personalized invitations to encourage RSVPs for upcoming events. As marketing automation, email and website content continue to nurture your leads, direct mail can be implemented to break through advertising clutter by putting your most effective messaging in your lead’s mailbox.
As we noted earlier, the level of data integrations available to providers improves the effectiveness of direct mail and makes it a versatile channel in an omnichannel campaign. Teams can get extremely granular with audience targeting by using data from direct mail to inform their digital strategy (and vice versa) to generate or nurture leads.
This two-way sharing of data makes it easier for Marketing to optimize campaigns while Sales focuses its efforts on qualified leads. Two digital channels that benefit from being paired with direct mail include online display advertising and paid search.
Prospecting data such as age, gender, and geotargeting are incorporated into display ads in the passive and active awareness stages of a buyer’s journey to ensure the ideal audience is reached; direct mail reinforces this messaging. Additional targeting parameters can be implemented based on the lead status, such as only showing display ads to leads who have toured a community or attended a virtual event. In this example, if the lead attended a virtual tour but has yet to place a deposit, a direct mail piece with a personalized message could be sent to encourage that lead to take the next step. Other use cases and tactics such as retargeting can also be implemented with display advertising. Retargeting ads can also be deployed to past site visitors who haven’t RSVP’d for an upcoming event or have yet to attend a virtual tour.
As ad variants and ad copy are tested based on your keyword lists, the messaging that converts the most leads can be applied to direct mail pieces. If a paid ad failed to convert a lead, direct mail can be deployed to reengage with that lead after implementing a tactic such as IP address matching that targets and appends a physical address to the user’s IP address.
By pairing direct mail with digital marketing, senior housing providers can obtain data, insights and results that wouldn’t be possible deploying these channels separately. That said, recent targeting restrictions on Google and Facebook have made it more important than ever to have an expansive first-party data install to continue to target by these methods without relying on the data in ad platforms.
With 30+ years of first-party data information, GlynnDevins partners with senior living providers to strengthen their data strategy. Using this data, your Marketing and Sales teams can leverage offline and online channels with the granularity and personalization that your audience expects.