The global pandemic has accelerated the pace of change for senior living communities, especially in the use of digital and marketing technology for stakeholder communication. Residents and their families, staff and the administration, even hospital referral networks all had to quickly pivot to digital-first methods to keep the lines of communication open.
Many of the new methods embraced in the past year will serve as the foundation of marketing communication strategies going into 2021.
With nearly a year of experience to draw from, providers are better prepared to face and embrace the challenges ahead. To help senior living marketing and sales teams, we’ve assessed campaigns from provider partners and pinpointed three key themes to consider prioritizing during 2021 strategic and budgetary planning.
Continue reading to learn each key theme and additional considerations for senior living marketing teams.
Prospective residents and adult child influencers (ACIs) are now relying heavily on a community’s web presence to access information about senior living communities. After analyzing and compiling data for 250 communities from March through December, GlynnDevins reported trends that reinforce the need for an optimized digital presence.
For example, session rates are up 29% in 2020 compared to the same date range in 2019. This shift in digital behavior indicates that prospective residents are spending more time on a community’s website, making it the most important asset for providers for the foreseeable future.
The news surrounding potential COVID-19 vaccines is trending positive, yet face-to-face interactions will still be limited – if not restricted – for the foreseeable future.
In anticipation of limitations on in-person tours, events and visits, senior living marketing teams will need a digital presence that’s as immaculate as your community’s grounds and physical spaces.
Keys to an effective digital presence include:
Simply put, having a digital presence no longer has the luxury of being an afterthought for senior living communities. Your website is now your most important asset and a critical way to represent your community.
Similar to the drastic increase in online traffic, COVID-19 contributed to a shift in email engagement. According to Survey Monkey, email engagement metrics like opens, clicks, views and submissions increased compared to the previous year’s average. This trend will likely continue in 2021, making email marketing strategies a top priority for senior living marketing teams. To maximize the engagement from your email audience, make sure each list is properly segmented. Using customized workflows, marketing teams can segment emails for a specific audience, so it receives messaging that’s more personalized to their needs and concerns.
Email newsletters – sent on a consistent basis – deliver a steady flow of timely and relevant content during longer sales cycles, making it an ideal channel to nurture leads. Collecting the engagement data and syncing it with a CRM helps marketing teams identify qualified leads that can be contacted by the sales team.
Email is also an effective way to drive visits to your website for additional updates, alerts and information. This data should be integrated between your website, CRM and email marketing automation platform, keeping teams on the same page with the continuous progress of the campaign. Additionally, this data can help teams determine the overall engagement from a lead and its status in the decision-making process.
Prospective residents are demonstrating an increased reliance on a community’s digital tools. While the need for quality content has grown, so has the need for content to be accessed via alternative methods. That’s why it’s important for senior living marketing teams to apply tools like notification bars onto its website. These digital tools can enhance a visitor’s overall website experience.
Additionally, senior living providers have taken to social media to tell more human and timely stories while communicating updates during COVID-19. This personalized approach, when integrated with your website, keeps audiences updated when in-person visits and events aren’t possible.
Another noteworthy communication tool that has been widely used are video chat apps like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, etc. These tools can be leveraged by communities to do the following:
By leveraging these communication tools in 2021, senior living providers have a reliable means to deliver updates to audiences that need connectivity more now than ever.
By prioritizing your strategy around the key themes/considerations above, your community will make itself adaptive to the challenges that 2021 will bring. If your senior living marketing team is interested in learning additional ways it can be ready for unexpected challenges without experiencing a dip in lead quality or form submissions, contact our team . We’ll be happy to advise your community like we have for our provider partners.