Five Essential Tactics for Your 2019 Senior Living Marketing Plan

Is your community confident about surpassing marketing and occupancy goals in 2019?

This year will surely bring its fair share of unexpected challenges. To help your team prepare for what’s ahead, we’ve rounded up five essential tactics to include in your 2019 marketing plan. Continue reading to learn:

  • A recap of the greatest shared challenges marketing teams faced in 2018
  • Five tactics to help your community improve its occupancy and acquisition strategy in 2019

The Year that was: 2018’s Greatest Senior Living Marketing Challenges

Before jumping in on how we’ll take on 2019, let’s recap the challenges that were most common in 2018:

  1. Finding High Quality Leads
  2. Impactful Reporting & Insights (Data Integrity!)
  3. Winning in Today’s Competitive Market
  4. Too Much Work, Too Little Time


Occupancy is facing more pressure today than ever before. Assisted Living occupancy is at its lowest level in the last 12 years while Independent Living is nearly below 90%. Is this because supply is outstripping absorption in a fiercely competitive market that includes expanding home health options? Or, because two thirds of the real estate are 17 years or older and we’re not meeting changing consumer needs? Or, could it just be that you’re not being found as often as you’d like by those most likely to move into your community? Any or all the factors above could pertain to your community. Regardless of where you stand; the tactics provided below will help your team improve its acquisition strategy and win 2019.

Five Tactics to Win in Senior Living Marketing in 2019

Tactic #1: Make Your Website the Center of Your Communications Strategy:

Prospective residents will become aware of your community through a variety of channels:

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Direct Mail
  • Paid Google Ads
  • Referrals
  • Reviews on sites like
  • Social Media

Regardless of how prospective residents and ACIs hear about your community, they will ultimately view your website as the source of truth to learn more about your specific offerings. Fortunately, your website is completely within your control and should serve as the primary asset that connects and reinforces your messaging.

With your website serving as the center of your communications, your team can track marketing strategies and ‘close the loop’ between traditional and digital channels.

In addition, your website can also serve as a testing ground for messaging. Your team can tweak or test headlines, content, or even entire pages to determine what resonates most with your traffic. That messaging can then be applied to your other pieces of marketing collateral, making your website a true asset to any senior living organization looking to improve an acquisition strategy.

Tactic #2: Scale Communications with Technology and Automation:

After the testing mentioned above is performed, your community can scale its messaging through technology and automation integrations.

A prospective resident may hopscotch back and forth between being “ready to tour a community” and “self-education” phases. The nonlinear resident move-in journey is a lengthy one, taking eight months to two years depending on the level of care your community offers.

During that time, your automation investment is sending emails with content aimed to nurture leads based on their stage in the move-in journey. Calls-to-action (CTAs) and messaging are aligned with the prospects dedicated persona profile (memory care, independent living, and assisted living messaging tracks are some of the workflow options your community could use).

Concurrent to these consistent automated touchpoints, your technology solution is factoring in lead scoring for each of these prospects.

Once your prospective resident surpasses its lead score, your sales team can follow up with manual outreach. With automation and technology working with your messaging, your community will nurture leads with the right piece of content on the right channel at the right time.

Tactic #3: Publish, Publish, Publish: 

Imagine a prospective resident or their loved one hopping on Google and searching “benefits of a senior living community”. Your blog post appears first on Google. This individual has never heard of your community but was touched by the resident videos included in the lengthy piece of content. Beyond resonating with site traffic, this blog post also differentiates your community from “the community down the street”. After that initial blog post, the site visitor continues to click through to your photo gallery, floor plans and pricing before exiting the site.

Most marketers would feel confident that alone is a win and that an inquiry or a campus tour are coming soon. Now, imagine the possibilities and the sales pipeline with over 9,000 unique blog entrances (9,000 brand new site visitors finding your website through content) every month – each with a user experience similar to the above. A consistent publishing schedule with quality content can produce results previously mentioned and should be a staple in your community’s 2019 marketing plan.

How is your community publishing content today to resonate and convert site traffic?

Tactic #4: Generate Quick Wins with Paid Media:

While your community publishes content consistently and prepares for SEO successes to take hold, it can generate immediate impact by investing in paid media.

It’s no secret that search engines like Google make money from advertising revenue. If your senior living marketing team hasn’t invested in paid media, consider adding this to your budget and 2019 marketing plan. In addition to being at the top of a search engine results page (SERP) and actively driving leads to your community, paid ads provide the following benefits:

1.) Keyword-level data – You’ll gain insight into the specific keywords that are converting the best for your community. By extension, your team will understand which keywords are underperforming and driving fewer clicks and visitors to your site. Aside from keyword performance and search density, your community will also learn the intent behind certain keywords that could prove crucial to conversions. The distinction between the keywords “what is occupational therapy?” and “occupational therapy near me” will help your community capture intent along all stages in the residents move-in journey.

2.) Optimization Opportunities – How impactful are insights if they aren’t applied? The keyword-level insights your community obtains from its paid campaign should be applied to your site’s content and overall messaging. After these keywords have been optimized on applicable pages, your community will likely notice a lift in organic visibility. Your community should also notice increased conversions on pages where those keywords have been optimized.

Tactic #5: Command Your Data:

Simply having access to data isn’t enough anymore. Understanding, quantifying, categorizing and analyzing data sets are critical to gaining a unique competitive advantage in senior living. There are four events in the resident move-in journey that data science can be used to assist and inform:

1.) Initial inquiry

2.) Campus tour

3.) Resident move-ins

4.) Resident move-outs

Is your community harnessing data science to influence a favorable outcome for each of the four events above?

Senior living communities that are commanding data are impacting operations and marketing in the following ways:

  • Identifying the channel that produces the highest quality lead that’s ready to move-in
  • Reducing the timeframe from initial inquiry to move-in for identified service lines/levels of care

Ultimately, data science has a measurable impact on occupancy. As an additional benefit, by using these predictors, your community will shorten the lengthy sales cycle. Your community can take advantage of the first party data at its fingertips to predict and produce the outcomes that matter most.

Need More Tactics? Contact our Team Today

2019 is already shaping up to be the most competitive year yet for providers. That doesn’t mean there aren’t tactics within your community’s control to improve and refine its acquisition strategy. If your team is left with more questions than answers and needs additional help with its 2019 marketing plan, contact our team.

We’ll apply our expertise to help your community accomplish and surpass its goals. Make 2019 a year to remember.

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