Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses in every industry operate, senior living arguably more than others. In fact, the pandemic accelerated a trend that’s been on the rise for years – the need for more sophisticated digital marketing strategies to engage with prospects.
While this generation of tech-savvy seniors may have been shaped in part by necessity, growing consumer preference among seniors indicates that the digital trends we’ve seen in the COVID-19 age are here to stay.
So how do senior living communities adapt to reach people who expect sophisticated digital experiences and innovation in the decision process? Here are four key trends we’re seeing from our work in the industry along with best practices for senior living communities.
The days of leads’ waiting several days for a follow-up from a salesperson are gone. Today’s seniors and their families expect near instantaneous communication. While this can be a daunting task for sales staff, automated text messages and email programs can provide relevant details to prospects to make an informed decision while also helping community sales teams identify those who are most ready to make decisions. Ideally, these communications should be tailored to the actions that prospects are taking and the questions they’re asking.
Automated text messages are a great way to confirm scheduled tours, provide information about community details and tour protocols, safety and screening procedures, or answer questions from families and prospects. Email lead nurture series can give more in-depth information about community amenities, pricing and testimonials. Including links and buttons that help move prospects further down the decision funnel makes it easier for sales managers and staff to identify hot prospects and follow up directly.
While automated programs are a great way to get information to prospective families quickly, they should always be accompanied by a follow-up from a member of the team to be the most effective and provide a personal touch.
Develop New Digital Entry Points
Families expect senior living communities to have contact forms and a way to schedule a tour on their website. To better capture higher-funnel leads and foster engagement with site content, senior living providers need to find creative ways to collect information and provide value.
Tools such as needs assessments, quizzes and cost calculators give prospects valuable information to help them make decisions about senior living. A personalized digital experience also gives communities a way to collect relevant information about prospects with a more sophisticated user experience than a simple form, while providing transparency and context to would-be residents about how their data will be used.
Explore Virtual and AR
While in-person tours are invaluable in giving seniors and their families a feeling of what life is like at a community, virtual and augmented reality tours have become even more important during the pandemic. Prospective residents want to be able to tour a community from the comfort of their home, limit travel time and effort, and get a feel for what life at a senior living community will be like.
Both video and virtual tours are becoming more common, but expect to see AR tours grow in popularity. AR gives communities the chance to share additional information and context about their space while providing a more sophisticated user experience.
There’s no way around it – as more and more tech-savvy individuals begin considering senior living, providers and communities will have to embrace technology and digital trends in ways they haven’t in the past.
While digital marketing and lead generation will become more of a priority for introducing families and communities, traditional relationship-building, engagement and sales techniques aren’t obsolete. In fact, personal connections between sales teams and prospects will become even more important as communities vie for move-ins and up their digital efforts.
Leaning into digital trends will help senior living communities build their prospect pipeline, but seasoned sales professionals who make it feel like home will be key for turning them into residents.
Work Samples and Case Study
MP&F is privileged to work with more than 90 senior living communities in 25 states across the country, handling every aspect of marketing, communications and public relations, including those described here. Check out our case study and work samples on senior living here.