New Frontiers for Senior Facility Marketing

Education is no longer a concern for senior living facilities trying to influence the public. Children of baby boomers are hit daily with a slew of advertising and marketing channels. Their baby boomer parents are starting to need more help than they can give, and they understand the need for more hands-on care.

For senior living marketing executives, the game now is to be the destination in their area. Some like Friendship Village in Schaumburg Illinois get a reputation of being the nicest place around. They may be also considered expensive, but there are enough wealthy Chicagoans that filling vacancies is not a problem. In fact, there can be a waiting list for these high-end facilities.

Meanwhile, smaller facilities have their own challenge. They can’t usually convince the public that they are the nicest place, but they can claim to be more affordable, more peaceful, and offer a better bedside manner then larger competitors.

Many senior living marketing directors come from a caregiving background. They have a huge heart and truly love and care for residents. But an effective marketing strategy can sometimes be evasive.

As with most healthcare organizations, personal referrals are always the top lead generator. No matter how much marketing and advertising you do, it still seems there’s more to do. There’s no golden ticket to be found. Marketing avenues are also hard to choose. Should I spend time on Facebook? Should we send direct mail? What about radio?

As an agency experienced with many healthcare advertising campaigns, including senior living and its continuum of care, jSinger Marketing has three basics to follow for amped up lead generation that truly increases residency rates.

1. Stay Local.

Advertising beyond your normal radius is foolish, especially with expensive radio and TV advertising. Most children of seniors want to visit their parents near home or work. There is a level of guilt they have after sending their parents to a facility, and the promise of a visit is always paramount in the decision-making process.

2. Speak to the Children of Seniors.

This is obvious for seasoned senior living executives. Decision-makers are younger and spend a lot of time on Facebook, email and socializing with friends. But a big mistake is posting on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. These networks reach a much younger audience and should not be considered a serious marketing tool for senior living. To the other extreme, it’s too old a demographic if you are using direct mail or newspaper ads.

3. Stay Consistent.

There’s nothing worse than a Facebook page last updated eight months ago, or a monthly email that disappears for six months. You’d be surprised how terrible a facility can look with a blog that is not updated. People searching for a senior living facility for their parents care about your attention to detail. It’s a very serious decision and they want to make the right choice. If you don’t care about your website or your exterior signage, or your brochure looks 20 years old, don’t expect them to choose you over competition.

Using these guidelines, along with lead tracking tools and data provided by high-end Internet marketing agencies, senior living facilities can ramp up residency rates quickly. There’s no glory in getting your name out there with flashy advertising if you don’t fill vacancies. It may feel good in-house to hear your name, but it’s not building the organization and business.