Six Website Considerations Before You Kick Off Your 2019 SLC Redesign Project
There is no place like home. To that end, the main entrance, public spaces and living areas of your senior living community are constantly maintained to keep up with the high standards of your community. You want it to feel like a home for your residents when they arrive.
Dutiful planning, time and resources are invested by the management and supported by senior living marketing initiatives to ensure excellent experiences for residents. This is time well spent as it also serves to attract new residents to your senior living community.
What about your website? Does it receive the time and attention it deserves so it can play its role in resident acquisition?
If you’re reading this blog post either your senior living marketing team or C-suite is considering a website redesign in the near future. I’m sure you want your website to look fresh and inviting and not appear stale and outdated.
Before you jump into the project, website considerations must be made to ensure your online presence accurately depicts your community, while also performing and converting site visitors. In this post you’ll learn the following:
Key questions to ask and website considerations to make across six important areas:
- Priorities and Goal Setting
- Prioritizing Your Audience
- Current Website Traffic Assessment
- The Role of Technology
- Selecting the Right Partner
Website Consideration #1: Priorities and Goal Setting
First, you want to make sure you have clearly defined your priorities and goals for the new senior living community website redesign project. What is your community trying to accomplish with the website?
Is the website the center of the community’s brand and communications strategy, or is it an extension of your printed brochures and materials? Is the website being used as the most dynamic and up-to-date representation of all amenities and events, or does it trail behind the stack of glossy brochures taking up space in the conference room?
Second, is the main goal of the website to make the phone ring, or do you expect it to deliver a seamless experience and provide all of the information needed to support the resident and their family as they make this all-important decision?
Are you going to set expectations and establish resident engagement and lead generation goals? Developing and committing to resident acquisition goals can justify a larger budget when in the planning process. Speaking of that…
Website Consideration #2: Establishing a Budget
When planning a website redesign for your senior living community, the budget range matters to focus your choices as it relates to a number of factors. How quickly do you want to move? What team members and resources will be assigned to hit the milestones? Is having an ROI important? And if so, how do you plan on measuring it?
Your senior living marketing team may intimately understand how important these respective questions are to have addressed before kicking off a redesign project, but oftentimes, an unrealistic expectation can be set regarding a website’s anticipated performance and the investment needed to achieve the ambitious goals set forth by corporate or the C-suite.
For example, do you want your senior living website to integrate with your CRM of choice while also seamlessly nurturing leads with marketing automation? Enabling the API integration between your website, CRM and automation are essential in determining the correct attribution per marketing channel, but unfortunately it isn’t free to implement.
Understanding your senior living community’s specific goals and aligning the website’s budget to reflect those goals is the first step in fostering deeper connections with respective residents and tying that back for organizational buy-in and budget approval. Granted, some of these areas can scale as your senior living marketing strategies become more refined and as your website evolves, but a realistic baseline budget is crucial for successful website redesign projects.
Website Consideration #3: Select and Prioritize Your Ideal Audience
Have you selected and prioritized the discrete set of target audiences for your website? Is your main target the senior and future resident, or their adult-child influencer (ACI?) While only one generation apart, they have very different web usage behavior.
ACIs tend to fall into Generation X and have spent the better part of their professional career adapting to the internet – and more recently to social media. They have expectations of getting the information they want, when they want it. If does not appear on the first page of the Google search results, it may not even exist in their eyes.
In addition, not only does their gender, age, income, and education level matter, but also their behaviors and motivations, their triggers and touchpoints, their greatest fears and proudest accomplishments. All of these elements go into the composite sketch of your ideal ACI and it’s best to have this nailed down before you start picking wireframes for the website.
Website Consideration #4: Current Traffic Assessment
Just like redesigning your home, you’ll want to be aware of current traffic patterns to understand how people use the space. Does everyone still end up in the kitchen, after you’ve spent all this time and money redecorating the family room?
Specific to the website, are you attempting to direct traffic to a certain feature, function or location page? If so, is the path they need to follow obvious and clear or will it require some hunting around? Your senior living marketing team will adversely impact your redesigned site if it first doesn’t have a tangible understanding of how your current site traffic clicks and interacts with your community online.
For example, has your team regularly checked Google Analytics to understand its sources of traffic…the starting pages and 1st and 2nd interactions? If so, you’ll be able to determine the current flow of traffic and make the decision to keep the flow or come up with a new one. Again, reinventing the wheel isn’t always necessary, and maybe all your walls really needed were an aesthetically-pleasing coat of paint. The data in Google Analytics will help your team make these determinations, while removing the guessing work if its properly tracked and tagged.
Website Consideration #5: The Role of Technology
How much technology do you want to embrace on your senior living community website? Do you want to keep it simple or do you have the people and processes available to embrace the full marketing technology stack? Some senior living communities have websites with interactive floor planners, while others offer simplistic descriptions of amenities supplemented with photos.
In any case, do you have a marketing technology stack roadmap in place to ensure the right pieces are integrated at the right time? As previously mentioned, some of these areas can scale as your services and online presence become more robust and profitable to your senior living community.
Your website shouldn’t be forgotten until the next redesign in 2024. Ongoing tactics are essential to keeping pace with lead generation trends and in staying proactive to the advancements in tech that drive profitable resident interactions. We aren’t necessarily recommending to double-down on VR or A.I., unless your ideal residents have indicated that as a priority. Embrace the role of technology, and how it can be used to solve the problems and answer questions dire to your identified ideal audience.
Website Consideration #6: Selecting the Right Partner
Lastly, picking the right partner for your senior living community website redesign project is critical. What’s their level of experience in the industry? Do they truly understand your ideal persona(s)? Are they skilled at technology deployment? Do they run an efficient project team and have tools in place to best manage the project?
The questions posed above will help your senior living marketing team discern and vet ideal redesign partners versus a canned solution that doesn’t take your specific goals into consideration. The right partner should consistently communicate and forecast activity, so your team has veto power and the opportunity to showcase the unique attributes of your community online.
Consider This: Implement These Website Considerations to Receive Internal Buy-In on Your Redesign
When your senior living organization reframes its perception of what a redesigned website can and should be to prospective residents, it will place the proper weight and emphasis behind its overall importance. Your website should be an online handshake with your community, and oftentimes, is the first point of contact with prospective residents and adult-child influencers.
Is that handshake warm and welcoming, or cold and clammy? Take the website considerations we provided above into account when answering that question. Speaking of questions, we posed numerous one’s throughout this post, and if your senior living marketing team or organization has any questions for us, feel free to contact us.
We want to help your community create a website that addresses your ideal residents pressing questions, while showcasing the elements that make your community special in the first place. Here’s to your team staying savvy and inclined for a strategic website redesign!