How to Develop a Marketing Plan for Your Senior Living Community
Ideally, creating a strategic marketing plan for your senior living community is at the top of your annual to-do list.
Marketing is about connecting with and attracting a targeted audience. Successful business owners must know who their consumers are, where they are, and the most effective way to position their products or services to these consumers.
A thoughtful and strategic marketing plan can take your senior living community’s brand recognition and perception to the next level.
It can help turn your community into a competitive force within your town or region by providing your team with direction and specific marketing tactics with the shared purpose of growing your brand and your business.
As an administrator of a senior living community, you probably spend much of your time within the daily operations of your community. You have residents, team members, maintenance, and vendors to manage.
Creating a marketing plan can seem daunting; however, if you don’t take the time to develop a strategic marketing plan to attract and retain residents, you're neglecting a crucial part of your business.
This article provides a step-by-step guide on creating a customized, effective marketing plan for your senior living community.
What Is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan or strategy is a custom-crafted game plan that identifies your target audience, outlines messaging, tone, and content and details the best platforms and outlets to tell your organization’s story.
Think of your marketing plan as a road map that details everything you need to attract and convert leads to residents who will benefit from living in your community.
An effective marketing plan helps identify your senior living communities' value proposition, brand messaging, overall goals, target audience, and resident demographics and provides clear marketing directives for your entire team – both digitally and boots on the ground.
Creating a Marketing Plan for Your Senior Living Community
Baby boomers are looking for high-quality yet affordable retirement and senior living options. They’re selective, mostly comfortable with technology, and willing to take the time to research to find the community that best fits their needs. For those prospective residents needing assisted living or memory care, their adult children or grandchildren are the consumers of your marketing.
A successful marketing plan takes knowledge, time, and consistency. Your senior living marketing plan should reflect your organization’s mission, vision and values, as well as easily showcase the approach in caring for residents’ activities of daily living (ADLs), amenities, apartment floor plans, pricing and availability, plus an overall summary of what to expect when choosing your community for their next home.
Although a successful marketing plan must represent the needs of each organization, an effective plan should always include the following elements.
Define Your Business Goals
Your marketing plan has to begin with specific, strategic, measurable goals.
This is the time for you to take an honest look at your business and your current marketing efforts. Consider what’s missing, what could be done better, and where you’re falling short.
Make a list of what you want to accomplish with your new marketing plan.
Potential goals you should consider:
- Increase brand awareness
- Build & nurture relationships with current residents
- Increase referrals and repeat business from existing residents
- Improve retention rates
- Increase occupancy rates
- Improve your online presence and increase traffic
- Attract and convert more prospects
- Updates and additions to your senior living community
- Increase sales
Research and Identify Your Target Audience
Your target audience is simply the people who will benefit the most from your product or service.
Every marketing decision you make should speak to the residents who will benefit from living at your community.
Your ideal consumer should visit your website or tour your community and feel like you’ve answered their questions and solved their concerns of finding the best senior living option for themselves or a loved one.
For example, assisted living communities should create marketing material that attracts seniors who need personal care services but want to maintain their independence. A memory care community should produce resources and guides for consumers who need education and help in navigating the choices. Retirement or independent living communities want to emphasize social and life engagement activities and allow future residents to visualize themselves at your community.
The following steps will help to identify your target audience:
- Outline what age and acuity most closely matches your care levels.
- Ask current residents what they like or dislike about your community.
- Speak with your sales team to gain insight into customer behavior and preferences.
- Speaking with your staff will give you invaluable information about what residents are saying about your community.
- Analyze your competitors.
- Look at the market research from the owner/developer to identify trends.
Create a Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. This customer should embody everything you learned from your target market research.
Creating a buyer persona helps you envision a precise, personalized picture of your target audience, making it easier to create a marketing plan that targets your ideal customer.
Your buyer persona should consider your ideal customer’s:
- Income level
- Triggering events
You can have more than one buyer persona. For example, a senior living marketing plan should include a buyer persona for potential residents, family members, staff/team members, and volunteers.
Digital marketing is a crucial aspect of any marketing plan. Without understanding digital marketing, you can’t have an effective senior living marketing plan.
Digital marketing or online marketing refers to marketing efforts online. Most consumers use the internet to research products and services before making a buying decision.
Don’t assume that older adults aren't tech-savvy.
Baby boomers are more tech-savvy than ever, and they’re beginning their search for senior living options online. A Pew Research Center study found that 82% of U.S adults age 65 or older use the internet.
Below are a few of the most effective digital marketing elements:
Your website is arguably your senior living community's most important marketing asset. It’s your virtual front door. Most often, a prospect will have made up their mind about your community long before they visit or meet your team members.
Because your website represents the first impression, you need to give every visitor a great experience.
Make sure your website:
- Is well designed. Visitors need to find essential information quickly. Your site should be organized in a simple, user-friendly way.
- Is visually appealing. Clear, beautiful images of your community amenities, team, and residents are crucial to high conversion rates.
- Looks good on different devices. Your website should be optimized for mobile devices, desktops, laptops, and tablets.
- Is updated. Your website should frequently be updated with new information, video content, and images.
- Downloads quickly. Visitors are busy and slow sites are abandoned. Google also prefers sites that download quickly.
If you don’t have a website, your website isn't attracting visitors, or you lack the knowledge or time to create one, a marketing agency like Solinity Marketing can design a customized website that sets your senior living community up for success.
We’ve all heard that “Content is King,” and it continues to prove true. But not just any content.
High-quality content is key.
Your potential residents and Google love great content! Google algorithms search the internet for helpful content, and your site is ranked based on the quality of your content.
Every piece of content you create, whether that’s written blogs or eBooks, whitepapers, podcast episodes, video or photos, must be evaluated and reviewed to ensure it speaks to your ideal consumer. Your content should answer a question, solve a problem, or educate your reader.
Great content attracts prospects to your website, establishes you as an expert, builds trust, and converts prospects into residents.
The importance of consistent, valuable, high-quality content can’t be overstated.
If you don’t have the time or writing ability to create a content plan, Solinity Marketing can create custom content for your senior living community.
Activate Social Media Channels
There’s a good chance many of your future, and current customers have a social media account.
Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are amongst the most popular social media channels for consumers. Channels like LinkedIn or Twitter are also recommended to increase your visibility and meet consumers where they are.
Once you begin releasing content, you have to determine the social media channel that will give you the best opportunity to connect with your ideal customer.
Facebook is one of the most powerful tools for reaching and engaging prospects and their families. LinkedIn is the preferred recruiting tool for sharing career opportunities and job postings to join your team.
According to Pew Research, adults 65 and older overwhelmingly prefer Facebook (followed by Instagram) over any other social media channel, making Facebook a must for senior living communities.
If the thought of managing multiple social media channels is overwhelming, there are tools to help schedule and manage multiple platforms.
Pieces of content might include:
- Announcing community events
- Engaging with potential and current residents
- Featuring new amenities and services
- New and existing staff member features
- Question and answer features with prospects and their families
- Resident features and testimonials
- Live videos of social events
- Videos of your community
Choosing a senior living community is an emotional and significant life decision.
Social media is an excellent way to build and nurture personal relationships with prospects and their families.
You need lots of great content to market your senior living community! A blog is the best place to feature content.
Search engines such as Google are scouring the internet for new and helpful information.
Google looks for websites that consistently give readers high-quality, relevant information in their particular industry.
Every blog you create must be written with the purpose of helping to inform, educate or influence visitors to help them navigate the questions surrounding a move-in decision.
For example, a blog. about the best way to find an assisted living community posted on your website could be seen by a potential family member outside of your city. Likewise, a post about the different ways to pay for a senior living community would be helpful to potential customers and their families.
Blogs on a consistent, planned schedule will give you the best opportunity to reach the most prospects and rank high in Google search results.
I’m sure you use email daily to connect with residents, staff, and various partners. Email is also an enormously effective digital marketing tool.
Email marketing is the process of sending informative emails to a list of contacts who have given their permission to contact them about your products or services.
- A person entered their name and address on a form on your website to get specific information
- Someone signed up on your website for email newsletters
- A current resident has permitted you to send information via email
Marketing emails are one of the most effective ways to build and nurture relationships with prospects and current residents.
SEO or search engine optimization is the process of implementing techniques that improve your company’s website visibility in organic (unpaid) search results.
Simply put, when someone Googles your particular product or care service, you want them to find your website before finding your competitors.
Remember! There are thousands of senior living communities, and you want to maximize the visibility of your community.
Your website, content, and social media channels should all work together to improve your search results.
Below are a few tips for successful SEO:
- Choose and optimize relevant keywords
- Make sure all of your contact information is correct on your website and social media channels
- Share all content on your social media channels
- Make sure your website is user friendly
The demand is growing for senior living communities where aging adults can live and thrive.
Competition is fierce, and to remain competitive, you must establish your senior living community as a high-quality, safe, and well-managed living option.
There’s no better time to update, implement, create, or revitalize your senior living marketing plan.
Whether you need help creating a marketing plan from the beginning or need guidance in a specific area, a senior living marketing agency can help with everything from branding, and analytics, to public relations and more.
Schedule a free evaluation with Solinity Marketing today.