Over the past two years, the senior living industry has witnessed one of the biggest transitional periods it has ever seen, and the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have been immense and varied. From staffing issues and reduced patient census to an intense new focus on infection control, there has certainly been a lot to overcome. What’s more, family caregivers are simply more hesitant to place their senior loved ones into care, requiring that extra bit of reassurance that assisted living is truly the right option.
With seniors and their families becoming increasingly tech-savvy and knowledgeable, effective assisted living marketing and sales strategies are perhaps more important than ever before. 2020 and 2021 were undoubtedly years of radical change for senior living marketing. With COVID-19 posing new and unprecedented challenges, assisted living communities have been forced to alter, adapt and constantly think on their feet. 2022 provides an opportunity for senior living organizations to take the best of these changes, implementing them in the long term to increase patient census.
Let’s explore 5 key areas you can focus on to elevate your marketing and sales strategies and increase patient census this year.
- Diversify Your Digital Presence
From the beginning of the pandemic, senior living organizations have been forced to adapt to new web-based assisted living marketing and sales methods, and these new approaches are here to stay. Many seniors and family caregivers are understandably still concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19, and may feel reluctant to carry out in-person visits. The use of free, accessible video calling platforms like Zoom and FaceTime to offer virtual visits is not only beneficial in regard to infection control, but also offers a cost-effective and highly convenient alternative to in-person visits for seniors and family caregivers.
- Ensure Your Website is up to Scratch
With new assisted living facilities opening their doors each year, ensuring your website performs well in the increasingly saturated online sphere is vital. Your website should contain a well-researched search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, without losing focus on the importance of user-friendliness for peak conversion rate optimization (CRO). Without SEO to drive in traffic, CRO serves little purpose, and without CRO to keep visitors on your website and taking further action, SEO becomes virtually meaningless, too.
SMCG TOP TIP: If you’re unsure on how to unlock your website’s true potential, seeking out professional marketing consulting services could be an excellent investment for increased census. At SMCG, we have a team of SEO specialists and website developers waiting to take your website to the next level.
- Update Your Branding
As a senior living facility, staying true to your brand has always been important. In a digital age where prospective residents are inundated with information, it’s vital to have strong, recognizable branding that keeps your organization at the front and center of their mind. What’s more, this branding must be strong enough to convey your message in a flash, capturing the imagination of seniors and family caregivers before they instinctively scroll on by. Any good branding strategy covers all avenues, encompassing everything from digital content and direct mail to sleek graphic design and collateral. By keeping your goals, message, and target consumer persona consistent, you can build trust in your brand from the start.
SMCG TOP TIP: Don’t be afraid to innovate; in a world of shortening attention spans and information overload, creativity is key if you want your potential clients to stop scrolling and listen to your message. Cookie-cutter approaches no longer cut it!
- Prioritize Customer Service
Though the best assisted living marketing and sales strategies are dynamic and ever-changing, one thing that will never change is the vital role of excellent customer service. In 2022, seniors and family caregivers are more well informed than ever before. As we’ve already touched upon, seniors have been forced to learn more on the internet, meaning they likely have most of the information they need before even scheduling a visit. Prioritizing exceptional communication with families and a warm, friendly and courteous approach truly goes a long way, helping seniors immediately get that ‘home from home’ feeling. Not only do great customer relations lead to positive communication and visits, but these experiences also result in great reviews, building a positive reputation and further trust in your brand.
SMCG TOP TIP: Make sure your actions match your promises. Big claims and bold marketing strategies mean nothing if you don’t follow through with targeted action.
- Invest in Hospitality-Based Sales Training
Ensuring your whole team has adequate sales training is an excellent way to guarantee your levels of customer service are consistent across the board, and that each team member feels empowered in their individual role. Great sales training should be regularly updated (on a quarterly basis, for example) to reflect new market trends and evolving consumer personas. This will allow your team to tailor their approach to each individual prospective resident that walks through the door, recognizing their unique values, needs, worries and desires.
Boost Your Assisted Living Marketing and Sales Strategy Today!
In an era when seniors and their family caregivers can access endless options at the click of a button, and where assisted living marketing is becoming increasingly reliant on robust online strategies, it’s more important than ever to have a solid sales and marketing plan to hand. With the winning combination of clever, informed marketing, unique and consistent branding and constantly updated hospitality-based sales training, your assisted living facility will gain the recognition it deserves to increase census this year and beyond.
If you’re ready to find a senior living marketing agency to boost your sales and marketing strategies, get in touch and find out more about how SMCG’s marketing consulting services will help you increase patient census.